Just the 19 of Us – Oahu North Shore & Aulani – Jan. 2016 ~ Updated 6/4: Complete & DL TR Link!

Dugette

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Wow that whale cruise looks amazing! Glad you all enjoyed it, and of course made it there in time!
It really was awesome - better in person than can be conveyed in pictures. I could have stayed onboard all day!

Really? Everyone is barefoot on the cruise?
Yes, I don't love that part (I hate my toes), but they do barefoot cruises. They did tell FIL that he could keep shoes on, though, for medical reasons, but he decided to take them off anyway.

This area makes me nervous! Not sure I could stomach sitting there! Yikes.
It's quite sturdy, so didn't bother me (and Izzy was feeling brave), but I know a lot of people feel like you do, so more room for us to spread out. :rotfl:

Looks like an amazing boat ride? How long were you out on the water?
I think it was about 2 hours. Really awesome and I'm so glad we did it! :thumbsup2

Loved the pool update. Everything you and Izzy did sounded like so much fun. You can really spend a whole day at the pool area at Aulani, can't you?
You sure can and you will see more of that in coming updates. :rolleyes1

Whew, glad you made it to the whale watching cruise in time! That netting looked like a pretty fun place to sit. I've been on my fair share of boats in my life (gotta love growing up a Floridian) but I don't think I've ever seen that before. I think that would be a little more fun than a glass bottom boat, and since you weren't allowed to wear shoes on the boat...no risk of a toddler sticking a foot through the hole and losing a shoe.:rotfl2:
Haha, so true on the toddler shoes! :laughing: I've seen it before, I think, and I knew about it from our previous cruise with them. We didn't sit on it that time, just ran across once, but plenty of people did, so I felt pretty safe having seen that. It was nice.

Do you know if they have life vest available for the little ones on the boat?
I'm sure they do, but not required to wear them on this type of vessel, I think. I know I saw life jackets stored around the boat and they regularly take children, so I'm sure they have an ample supply. They probably said something about it in the safety briefing too, but I can't remember now.

I'm so jealous of your whale watching! I wanted to go while we were in Kauai but Kauai does not have any tours that allow kids under 3 and Arthur was only 20 months old!
Aw, that's a bummer! It was really fun. I can't remember if this one had an age limit, but I know I took Izzy in 2014 when she was only 2 (and free, as she still was this time! :thumbsup2)

Your boat ride looked amazing!!! What great pictures!
Thanks, it was wonderful.

I'm glad you made it in time :scared: (don't all of us speed a little when we're running behind?! :rolleyes1 ). I'm glad the boat ride went so well and that everyone enjoyed it!
I was just praying that MIL didn't happen to see a speed limit sign. :rotfl: She never said a thing, though, so I'm guessing not. I find I tend to rarely exceed speed limits by more than a few miles/hour these days (in my old age :laughing:), but in my 20's, I knew how to do a bit of sports car driving, so had to call on those skills with the minvan. :drive:

The pool area looks like so much fun! I didn't think I liked water slides, but just got back from staying at the Beach Club and Rory and I went down the pirate ship slide about 100 times - we had a blast. Glad Izzy had a fun time at the pool!
Glad you both enjoyed it so much! Funny how you don't know that you like something until your kid likes it. ::yes::

Your whale watching cruise looks great. Did you mention the name of the company you used (I may have missed it!)? Nice driving skills to get you there on time!
It was Hawaii Nautical and we sailed out of their West Oahu dock (they also have Honolulu). Good reviews and we've been happy with them.

What a great first 24 hours at Aulani. The rooms look great although I'm sure that 2 bedroom was pretty awesome! I'm surprised Izzy would still sleep in the PnP! How fun she could use the kids club and wanted to have dinner there (although I'm sure that phone call made you a little worried for a bit - not that she would have been bad at dinner though). DInner looks amazing! That mozzarella looks fresh.
I'm sure the 2 bedroom was amazing! They told us we could come take a look, but we never ran into them at a great time to do that and didn't want to just go banging on their door late at night. They loved it, though. Yeah, I'm thinking this was probably one of the last times Izzy used the PnP. She was probably close to the weight limit for it (or over?), but was small enough to be comfortable in it. Now she just crowds me out of bed on vacations. :crowded: Yeah, kids club was great and I'm glad they kept her for dinner, but I'm sure she would have been fine at Ama Ama too (and I originally had her on the ressie, before I knew Aunty's had an opening). Dinner was really good!

The pool morning and catamaran afternoon just sound perfect!! Definitely need to plan Aulani once Emma is 3 :-D glad Izzy enjoyed the kid's areas at the pool and slides and all that this time, and the raft slide looks like fun too. It is a lot of work carrying a 2 person slide up and dealing with a toddler! I remember that well from May 2015 at Blizzard Beach. Phew!
They really do have an amazing pool area. You'll see a lot more of it coming up, as we prioritized time there on this trip. And having the free kids club is so nice - she enjoyed it and we got little breaks/solo time. Yeah, they really need a conveyor belt for those giant tubes. What a pain trying to carry them up and not knock a kid down the stairs. :scared:

Odd they'd feature drinks on the catamaran ride then not have the ingredients at the beginning! LOL! Glad it was awesome though and you made it in time.
I know! I'm not sure if they just ran out quick or didn't check their champagne supply first. It was fine, though, they had plenty of other stuff.

The pool area at Aulani looks amazing! Glad you were all able to enjoy it!
Thanks, it was awesome and we all had a fun time.

Glad you made your whale watching boat! We did a similar tour in Alaska and loved it!
Oh, cool, I'd love to do something like that again in Alaska, if we manage to make that trip in 2018. :hyper:
 

Dugette

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Dinner and a Show

After our fun with whales, we headed back towards Aulani. However, we weren’t going back to our rooms just yet – first, we stopped across the street for Monkeypod’s happy hour. I had walked over there from Aulani last trip, but with Papa riding with me, I wanted to drop everyone off, then I think I had to search for parking and walk back from a somewhat distant spot. Kay and Jay met up with us there for an early dinner too.

Look like Izzy was happy to be back here:



We perused the menu:



Looks like Dug got some Lobster Deviled Eggs for an appetizer:



I’m sure I got the Pumpkin Patch Ravioli appetizer, as it’s delicious, but I don’t seem to have a picture – maybe I ate it too fast, haha. :confused3

And we got some fries for the table to share, I think:



And you can’t go to Monkeypod without getting a Mai Tai:





Izzy got the cheese quesadillas from the kids menu:



Kay and Jay thought they looked good, so I think they ordered some for themselves too.

Since pizzas were half price for happy hour, I think we got a couple for the table to share. Probably a cheese one there (and some garlic fries):



I believe this pizza is the Proletariat – pepperoni, all natural sausage, onions, green peppers, olives, fresh mozzarella:



We all had a nice time at Monkeypod. Kay actually had a co-worker in Hawaii (that I think she’d told about the flight deal), so they would be meeting up at Monkeypod a bit later too. After we ate, I brought Papa, Dug, and Izzy back to Aulani and Nana stayed with me for a shopping trip.

We headed to Costco first, since I had Dug’s American Express in hand now and wanted to fill the minivan’s gas tank. After that, we went over to Target and we each got some things we needed (the only thing of which I still remember is a Hawaii themed straw cup I used for water at home for a long time after the trip – until I got my tsum tsum Tervis cup prior to our cruise a few months ago :drinking1).

When we got back to Aulani, it was about time for the Starlit Hui (Aulani’s luau-type show, that was free at the time, but I hear it is not anymore or has been replaced :sad1: ). First, we checked the view from Nana and Papa’s balcony and that was decent, so they decided to just watch from there. Dug, Izzy, and I went down to the show area, though. We wanted to make sure Dug got a chair in the small section where they were available, since that would be much better for his bad back than sitting on the ground. We were told we could all sit in the chairs, but I didn’t feel a need to take two more from people who may need them, so I got a mat for Izzy and I to sit on the ground next to Dug’s chair, which was on the end of the row:







No idea why, but the lady seated next to Dug’s chair seemed strangely irritated at us. But she wasn’t saving the chair or anything. Maybe she just thinks young people should all sit on the ground? :confused3 No idea, but no reason to put Dug into pain when they provide the chairs for those who need them, including him. It was just uncomfortable and strange, but we ignored her looks and grumbles and enjoyed the night.

There was some pre-show entertainment as people found their seats:



Izzy had a visit from one of the performers as we awaited the start of the show:





They chatted about Minnie Mouse. Cute. :goodvibes

I guess there was some sort of kids activity pre-show too, though I can’t remember much, but I see Izzy up there:



And then the performers started entering:





Various pictures during the show:





Izzy’s highlight was seeing the characters enter towards the end:











She was fascinated, seeing them onstage:





At some point, a CM gave Izzy a bird made out of green reeds or similar, so she enjoyed playing with that during the show.

They changed the dance party at the end of the show since our last visit. If you read our 2014 TR, you may remember that Izzy tried to rush the stage to dance with Minnie and it didn’t end well (lots of tears :sad:). This time, they didn’t let any kids come up and dance near the stage until the characters had made their exits. So, we hung around after that and enjoyed the festivities (along with some of Jay’s extended family that we ran into there). At the end, the CMs were bidding people farewell as they made their way down the exit aisle:



Izzy and I made our way out:





We stopped up to Nana & Papa’s room to see how they enjoyed the show. It turns out that a palm tree was blocking a good chunk of the performance, but they still enjoyed the music and the parts they could see from their balcony.

Meanwhile, Kay and Jay had returned from the dinner with her co-worker at Monkeypod and were planning to head down to the Olelo Room for a while. I was the lucky one that got to go join them while Dug took Izzy back to the room to get ready for bed. :cool1: I was excited for some off-mom-duty time:



(I also took a ridiculous number of pictures in the elevators on this trip. :rotfl2:)

The Olelo Room is a Hawaiian-themed bar at Aulani and very nice:



Jay’s family was still eternally grateful for our tips on deals that made this trip happen for them (both the cheap flights and how to rent points at Aulani), so I indulged in some more free treats from them - some chips and a mango mojito:



There was also live music (sorry for terrible quality picture):



I had a nice time chatting with everyone and relaxing. This trip was really different than our last Aulani trip where I was tied to Izzy 24/7, mostly without Dug even around (work trip during our trip). It was really nice to have that parental time off and ability to chat with adults without a preschooler constantly vying for my attention.

On my way back to the room, I ran into Jay’s mom and her sister and we chatted for a bit about dogs and random things. They were super nice and, again, so glad to be there.

I got back to the room around midnight and found a sleeping angel:



Good job, Dug! :thumbsup2

I went to bed right away, as I had to rest up for our long-anticipated cabana day! :beach:

Up next: Fun in the sun! :sunny:
 

Dugette

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Shake Your Tail Feathers!

For a relaxing cabana day, this morning started off fairly rough. :headache: Izzy somehow managed to pinch her fingers in the fridge in the room and was crying. :scared: So, I went to grab something icy out of the freezer to put on her fingers and discovered that our fridge somehow got turned off and everything was melting and ruined. :eek: To top it off, milk was leaking all over and a shelf was broken/falling apart. :sad2: We managed to deal with all of that and still go down and have a lovely day at the pool (though I think I sent Dug down early to get checked in to our cabana while I got everything sorted out in the room).

In fact, we were very lucky the rest of the day. We checked in for Cabana #3, as it had been assigned to us, despite Cabana #5 being our first choice. As luck would have it, Cabana #5 no-showed and they were able to re-assign it to our group! party:

Looks like Dug started his day with a Photopass shot:



I see that Kay and Jay must have been doing that too. Probably while Izzy and I were wrangling up all of our spoiled food. :rolleyes:

Just as background, we rented this cabana as a Christmas gift for Dug’s parents, sister/BIL, and ourselves. Turned out to be a great gift that everyone really appreciated! Gave us a nice home base for the day to hang out and relax and visit. :goodvibes

Early on, I took Izzy to meet Donald Duck, who was out in the pool area for a scheduled meet and greet:





So cute! :lovestruc

The best part, though, was that Izzy asked him to shake his tail feathers with her :rotfl2::





The adorableness of this video still gets me:


I think Donald loved it too :love: :





Then it was time for some swimming:





This is the infinity pool, which was right near our cabana:



And this is the big family pool, also very nearby:



Since Izzy is my little thrill ride buddy, we made a lot of runs down this waterslide:



It empties right into the lazy river, which is nice:



The lazy river also has some areas that try to get you soaked, by the way:



I did pretty good at avoiding those with Izzy (neither of us really enjoys water dumping on our heads).

The line for the slide wasn’t very fun:



Could be worse, though.

Here’s the view from inside our cabana:



And back to the lazy river:







Looks like Izzy took some time to check out the fish in the snorkeling lagoon:



And we enjoyed some of the fruit plate that had been brought to our cabana (included with the rental):





Beautiful day:



Looking up within the cabana:



Nice shade. Also notice the rounded curtain thing on the left – you could pull it closed for a private changing area (or a “secret room”, as Izzy called it :rotfl:).

Looking out again at the beautiful day:



We were even provided with some free snacks (there is a cabana attendant that comes by with these things and also takes lunch orders, etc..):



We also had some waters stocked in the fridge:



I just have to say that these were basically the best snack in the world:



I think we all agreed and that packet did not last long at all. I believe the attendant brought us a bonus one, though. :thumbsup2 They also informed us that Costco (in Hawaii) sells them, which we made a mental note about. SOOOO yummy (if you like coconut and dark chocolate, like me).

While I relaxed for a bit, Dug offered to take Izzy to some character meets. They started with Goofy:



Then they got in the massive line for Minnie:



I have to admit that I was enjoying some “time off”, but it felt REALLY strange to be missing character meets with Izzy. :scared: But it’s good to give them some daddy/daughter moments, as she’s a pretty strong mommy’s girl (well, lately, she says that she and I are best friends and she and Dug are “best Star Wars friends” :darth:).

Up next: Super cute pictures with Minnie! ::MinnieMo
 
  • Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    Character Fun + Space Goo

    After waiting in that long line for Minnie, I’m glad that the pictures ended up so adorable :lovestruc:





    Haha, apparently this is how you get those cute photos (Izzy’s falling all over Minnie):

    (click to watch video)

    Dug jumped in for a couple too:





    Up next was our old Hawaiian buddy Stitch :stitch2::





    Looks like they were having fun:



    I’ve got video of this one too. In case you hear it in some videos (like this one), Izzy insists that you can’t say cheese, but instead need to yell “chicken feet” when taking pictures :rotfl2::


    Meanwhile, I was apparently being spied on by a bird in the cabana:



    But who cares when this is your view for the day:



    Then Dug and Izzy moved onto Mickey:












    I’m glad Dug took her to these meets, as it looks like they both had a great time. :thumbsup2

    The server must have come around for lunch orders while they were gone. I apparently got a hot dog:



    I ordered Izzy a macaroni and cheese and some milk. And I got a coconut mojito, based on Kay’s strong endorsement (really good!):





    Some of Jay’s relatives decided to snorkel in Rainbow Reef and Photopass was there:





    After lunch, I took Izzy into the “secret room” to get changed into clothes, since she had Stitch’s Space Goo at Aunty’s coming up (we had pre-registered for this free activity). Off to make some goo and see Stitch:



    We apparently got distracted by a good hiding spot on the way:



    Photopass was very active during the Stitch’s Space Goo class, so we have some evidence of what Izzy (and some random other kids) did:









    Gotta love the little lab coat and goggles! :cutie:

    Then it was apparently time for Goo:







    (She’s in that back corner, behind the stretchy goo.)

    And then Stitch showed up:



    I think she had a good time. Probably stayed and played at Aunty’s for a while after the class too. Fun that they do these things with the kids.

    Up next: A tour of the lazy river, thanks to Dug.
     

    schmass

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oh wow, so many updates!

    That is too bad that the Starlit Hui is no longer free, it looked like such a nice way to spend an evening.

    I'm glad you got some adult time - it must have been nice to travel with such a big group this time!

    The cabana looks amazing, and how nice that you got #5 like you wanted! Those chocolate coconut things sound delicious!

    Such cute pictures with the characters, and nice that you got more alone time!

    I love that they have photopass in the kids club and the snorkeling area. It looks like they have thought of everything there!
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    Oh wow, so many updates!
    Ha, yeah, I'm really trying to get this thing done and move on to the other pending TRs! Get ready for a few more updates. :thumbsup2

    That is too bad that the Starlit Hui is no longer free, it looked like such a nice way to spend an evening.
    It was a cool show and a bummer that they changed things. :sad2:

    I'm glad you got some adult time - it must have been nice to travel with such a big group this time!
    It was really nice! I liked being able to hang out with other adults and bring Izzy to the kids club at times. Very different than our previous trip.

    The cabana looks amazing, and how nice that you got #5 like you wanted! Those chocolate coconut things sound delicious!
    It was so great to have that cabana for the day! And those chocolate coconut chips were SOOOO good!

    Such cute pictures with the characters, and nice that you got more alone time!
    Dug and Izzy really got some adorable character meet pictures. I was a bit bummed I missed that, but time off is always good too.

    I love that they have photopass in the kids club and the snorkeling area. It looks like they have thought of everything there!
    They do a pretty good job. Though, unless it's changed, they still have the old-fashioned Photopass cards and you have to ask for special things (kids club/pool GoPro pics) to be added to it. It would be nice if they had Magic Bands and just scanned them in on the spot. But it worked.
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    The Waikolohe Stream

    While I was getting Izzy to Aunty’s and then relaxing on my own, Dug and his family hit the lazy river and he apparently had the water camera with him. First, a picture that must have been on the way there:



    As you will notice, Dug is much better at capturing the details surrounding him than I tend to be. ::yes:: But these are a bit random. Enjoy the tour of Aulani’s lazy river, the Waikolohe Stream. First, here’s what the exit to the tube slide looks like:



    The didn’t do the slide, but got in at the stairs near that area. Looking up:



    I never noticed this in all the spins I took on that lazy river:



    Another cool detail I never noticed:



    Dug’s dad relaxing:



    Hmmm, these ones look like some pictures I took while walking Izzy over to Aunty’s:



    Mickey was at the pool:



    This is looking over Rainbow Reef (snorkeling) towards the Menehune Bridge (play area), I believe:



    But back to the views while lazing on the river :cloud9::







    You can really see the Aulani canoe-style design here:



    Getting wet in the caverns:



    Meanwhile, I see that Photopass was in the water with a Go Pro over at the family pool and got some cute pics of Jay’s niece in the water with her grandparents (I won’t post, since I have no idea if they’d be okay with it, but very cool that Photopass did random family pics in the pool like that :thumbsup2).

    Here, enjoy a shot of Dug’s mom getting wet :laughing::



    Another cool detail here – these were not real flames, by the way:



    There are a ton of little Menehune (small mythical Hawaiian creatures) hidden around the resort. I seldom noticed them, but Dug had a good eye:





    Here’s both Kay and Jay getting nailed by the waterfall :scared::



    And Dug’s mom about to get water on her head again :eek::



    She was laughing about it afterwards, don’t worry. :rotfl2:

    After I dropped Izzy off, I wandered around a bit on my way back to the cabana. I took a picture from behind the Menehune Bridge area cabanas, in case anyone is trying to scope out their location and view:



    I think if we were to go back NOW (with Izzy approaching 5 years old), this would be a nice area because she’d be okay playing there with us nearby, probably. But our location was perfect for that time and the guests we had with us.

    Oh, looks like Dug decided to do the body slide after the lazy river:







    I like the fish in the rock :fish::



    Made it to the top:



    This is where the slide exits:



    When we went in November 2014, Izzy LOVED hanging out where you see that family on the left and just watching random strangers come flying out of that tube. She thought it was hilarious to see them splash into the pool. :lmao:

    I guess it was time for Dug to do the tube slide after that:



    And, of course, that ends up back in the lazy river:



    I apparently strolled by the fire pit where Uncle tells stories in the evening:



    And I checked out what the Executive Lanai area is like:



    This is another option for rental, instead of a cabana. Seemed really nice for a big group. You get that whole area. It was a little bit away from the pools, but had a nice ocean view. I think it was right in front of Ama Ama, if you remember the views from our dinner there.

    Up next: Ocean time!
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    In the Lagoon

    I decided to use the time I had solo to go into the ocean, as Izzy wasn’t really interested in leaving the pools:





    Guess I was in a good mood (though hard to take a selfie with a water camera that doesn’t have selfie mode and has a strap around your neck :headache:):



    This next one is one of my favorite pictures. :laughing: A couple was tossing their baby in the air and I caught a great mid-air shot:



    There was also a couple over in front of the wedding chapel :bride::



    After floating around in the lagoon for a little bit, I headed back in to enjoy some hot tub time while I had the chance. On the way in, I took a picture of some of the Casabellas by the lagoon:



    On our previous trip, we were given free use of one of these for a day (though hardly had time to use it). Nice if you intend to lounge on the beach. These are available for rental as well.

    My next stop was the hot tub at the infinity pool:



    And then I must have stopped back at the cabana to find the complementary dessert selection had arrived:



    I think they were decent.

    Dug and his family headed for the lagoon at that point:





    They tossed around a football and everyone had a great time:



    It must have been time to pick up Izzy by then, so I headed off to do that. I enjoyed the little waterfall along the way, I guess:



    And if you want to listen to it:

    (click to hear the soothing sounds of water :laughing:)

    I also saw Jay’s family floating around the lazy river together and waved to them. :wave2:

    I picked up Izzy and she wanted to pose with the Stitch statue on the way out :stitch2::



    You can see she has a baggie of "space goo" with her.

    We apparently stopped up to the room briefly and Izzy sang her way down the hall:


    On the way back down, Izzy said she thought the elevator should go down further than floor 1. We decided together that Aulani has a secret creepy basement and Stitch lives in it. :stitch:

    Dug and family were still in the lagoon. His mom seems happy:



    And I guess he spotted the wedding couple too :lovestruc:



    Beautiful resort:



    Looks like it was getting late in the day over the infinity pool:



    And Dug enjoyed a pool drink:



    And it appears he took a couple parting shots:





    Then it looks like we have a gap in the pictures. I believe that Izzy and I spent the rest of our cabana time enjoying the tube slide and lazy river, then ran out of time for the splash pad, as it closed earlier than the other things and I couldn’t get her out of the lazy river. I think she and I got back to the cabana just at the check-out time and helped Dug to gather up our things. He took them back to the room while Izzy and I enjoyed a bit more pool time, then we headed back to the room as well.

    Everyone got showered up and changed. We ate dinner in the room. Nana had made up some teriyaki chicken a different night and forced everyone to take some :rolleyes: , so we had some of that and leftovers from Monkeypod, I believe.

    After that, I think Izzy and I headed down to Aunty’s for a bit more play time for her. It was dark and pretty:





    Oh, looks like Dug took some pictures as he headed downstairs too:





    After dropping Izzy off, I must have stopped into the store, which had so many cute things that I resisted purchasing:









    I think I was checking for the photos from Stitch’s Space Goo at the Photopass desk in there and they said to come back later on? :confused3

    Then it looks like we hung out with family in the Olelo Room for a bit again:







    I think it was getting close to closing time at Aunty’s then (and bedtime), so I went to pick up Izzy, who had apparently obtained a glow necklace:



    Up next: A bit of shopping to cap off the night.
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    Browsing the Shelves

    Dug took a few food and drink pics while hanging out in the Olelo Room with his parents and some of Jay's family:







    Izzy and I stopped back into the store, I think to add those Stitch’s Space Goo photos to our Photopass account. And then we browsed around:





    Hey, here’s the one thing I got:



    Hard to tell from the picture, but this is a HUGE beach bag. It was fairly cheaply made (and only like $12 or something), so a handle ripped partly off after a few uses :sad1:, but it’s still cute and sometimes useful.

    We saw a lot of cute wedding things:



    Izzy tried on the bride and groom mouse ears:







    She liked wedding Mickey & Minnie:





    That store has everything, yum:



    The store/lobby level is above the pool level, so we had to take the elevator back down to say goodnight to everyone:



    Nana and Papa were thrilled to get a group hug with Izzy before she went to bed :grouphug::



    And then Izzy and I headed up to the room, with yet another elevator picture :rotfl::



    Dug came up a bit later and that’s it for the night.

    Up next: Breakfast at Ama Ama with the family.
     

    schmass

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 31, 2007
    What a fun, relaxing day! That resort is so beautiful! I never realized that there was a canoe design to the buildings - so cool!
     

    amazingact21

    Upendi
    Joined
    Nov 6, 2010
    That sounds like a really fun day! You made use of the resort amenities, which I think it great. I mean, you're at Aulani, might as well take full advantage of the awesome lazy river and tube slides, etc. Plus, beach time without a kid sounds wonderful.

    I have made Alex promise me he will take me to Aulani for our 10th Anniversary, and so I have been paying very close attention to all your excursions in the report for future reference. :rotfl2:
     

    cindianne320

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2010
    What an awesome, relaxing way to spend a day! Someday I need to go back to Hawaii and preferably stay at Aulani!
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    What a fun, relaxing day! That resort is so beautiful! I never realized that there was a canoe design to the buildings - so cool!
    As with many Disney things, it's a very thoughtfully designed and themed resort. Instead of theming involving Disney stuff, it's themed around Hawaiian culture and very well done.

    That sounds like a really fun day! You made use of the resort amenities, which I think it great. I mean, you're at Aulani, might as well take full advantage of the awesome lazy river and tube slides, etc. Plus, beach time without a kid sounds wonderful.
    I am really glad we decided to make that Cabana happen for a family gift. Everyone really appreciated having a nice home base for a pool/beach day together. I'd do it again with a small group like that. If it weren't $400+ (I think?, can't remember exactly), I'd do it just for our family too. There will be even more pool time to come in this trip. :thumbsup2

    I have made Alex promise me he will take me to Aulani for our 10th Anniversary, and so I have been paying very close attention to all your excursions in the report for future reference. :rotfl2:
    Oooh, great, perfect anniversary destination! :cloud9: Let me know if you need any tips. :goodvibes

    What an awesome, relaxing way to spend a day! Someday I need to go back to Hawaii and preferably stay at Aulani!
    Definitely put it on the list! :thumbsup2 Very relaxing day for sure.

    I enjoyed all the new updates!!!
    Thanks so much! :goodvibes
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    A Beautiful Breakfast

    Okay, so a bit of forewarning – due to the time zone difference, all of our devices decided to sync differently on this trip and my photos are all out of order/mixed up. :headache: I am too lazy to go back and reorganize the photos from this day, like I did the others (I just want to get this report done! :hyper:), so I’ll do my best, but if you see a photo that doesn’t seem quite right…well, it probably isn’t. :rotfl:

    When I woke up, I went to check the weather on my phone. First thing I saw was that it was ONE degree at home. :cold: Luckily, this is the next thing I saw:



    I believe we started off the morning by stopping by the Open House at Aunty’s Beach House so that Izzy could play and Dug could see the place. I think these are all from that time:























    We looked around and chatted with the CMs there. One of them mentioned to us that Makahiki’s breakfast (the buffet) had changed for the better recently (remember, this was over a year ago now). Good to know, but we stuck with our Ama Ama reservation this morning. You may remember that on our previous trip, we were rather disappointed with a character breakfast at Makahiki, so we were hesitant to repeat that again.

    At any rate, we managed to drag Izzy out of the kids club, against her will, to go eat breakfast. It was pretty much right next door:











    We were once again dining with Nana, Papa, Kay, and Jay and had a similar view to what we’d had at dinner there:



    It was nice, but I’d had fond memories of having breakfast out on their patio while on our previous trip, so this wasn’t quite that lovely (still great, though).

    Izzy got a kids menu and crayons, so she was happy:



    As you can see, she made her favorite letter (“L”) out of crayons. :rotfl:

    Dug got a press pot of coffee:



    Izzy got the Kids Mickey Waffles:



    I think we ordered one of the Hawaiian pastry baskets for the table to share:



    And I got a nice breakfast drink:





    I think it was maybe a pineapple mimosa? I can’t remember.

    And then I got this Belgian waffle with all of the available toppings:



    I think there was a banana-caramel, vanilla-macadamia nut, nutella cream, and I think the other one was just syrup (which I don’t care for):



    Appears that Dug tried the Loco Moco (traditional Hawaiian breakfast):



    Looks like Izzy got bored after eating and started sticking crayons in the chair? :confused3



    And some random ceiling décor:



    We all enjoyed our breakfast and then headed out for the day:



    Up next: Following the Menehune Trail
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    Following the Trail

    After breakfast, I think I went up to the room to get our swimming stuff together and Dug took Izzy to the Pau Hana Room (DVC Community Hall) to get us signed up for some activities later that day and check out a Menehune Trail device. He got both of us signed up for the ukulele lesson that afternoon (I’d regretted missing this on our prior stay) and he signed himself up for an animation class. Then they got a Menehune Trail device, which is like a tablet-based scavenger hunt around the resort.

    First, a couple lobby pictures:





    You can see how excited Izzy was about this :laughing::



    Time to start:



    Their first activity involved getting this little guy in the lobby to give them souvenirs:





    They also activated a special hidden feature in this overhead light:




    Izzy apparently managed to find her way back to the kids TV area:



    I know that big picture on the left comes to life as part of this game:



    Dug found a bunch of menehune, I guess:







    Floor decoration that periodically comes alive with lights (those circles) and magic pixiedust::



    At some point during this, I think I came and grabbed Izzy for pool time while Dug continued the scavenger hunt (Izzy and I had done some of it last visit, but Dug hadn’t).

    On our way to go get ready to swim, Izzy and I stopped for a visit with our friends Chip and Dale:









    Dug was outside taking pictures too, first this :fish::



    And then he spotted us from afar :magnify::



    I can also see some Photopass shots indicating a couple of Jay’s (non-child) relatives visited with Chip and Dale a bit after us. Glad they took advantage of the character meets too. :thumbsup2

    Looks like Dug took a few more pictures of his adventures before heading up for a nap. This is the outdoor seating at the Makahiki buffet:









    Then I must have gotten Izzy changed (or maybe she had her swimsuit on under clothes, I don’t know :confused:) and we did her favorite thing:



    We didn’t have a lot of time before she was due at Aunty’s for a free event (the Aunty’s Aloha Party), so we only did that slide and about 1.25 loops around the lazy river. But it was nice. We even got serenaded:





    Ahhh, such a great place to be :cloud9::



    And then I even got the attention of a Photopass photographer:





    In case you are wondering, she was actually sitting on my feet there - boy was that a workout! :scared: But she enjoyed being the "engine" of our vessel and trying to move us by kicking around.

    And I guess this is how happy Izzy was to get out :rotfl::



    Then I brought her over to the Ama Ama restrooms to change back into clothes for her activity at Aunty’s. Dropped her off and then stopped for a Stitch Photopass myself :stitch2::



    She made me be scary :rotfl2::



    (And I can actually see those same relatives of Jay’s that met Chip & Dale did these same photos too – complete with scary poses. :thumbsup2)

    And then, as we were wrapping up and I was chatting with the photographer (about DVC and the fact that she used to work at Saratoga Springs Resort at WDW), her good buddy showed up:



    So, I got a totally unscheduled Izzy-would-be-so-jealous Photopass shot with Mickey:



    And then he headed off on his way. So fun!

    Up next: Solo time!
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    Water & Music

    I used my solo time to hit the lagoon again for a bit:



    I actually ran into Jay’s whole family on the beach and chatted with them for a bit. They were having a great time. :thumbsup2

    And then I enjoyed the adults-only two-level infinity hot tub:









    This looks like the infinity pool, I think:



    I must have done the body slide as well:



    I can’t remember if I mentioned this earlier in the report, but one of the lifeguards told us that Izzy would be totally fine going on that slide. And she wanted to. In the end, I didn’t let her, as 1.) It dumps you into the water at the end and she hates getting her face wet and 2.) It’s very dark and enclosed and I didn’t want her panicking, falling on her face, etc. where I couldn’t see or help her. It worked out fine, though, as she loved the tube slide so much anyway and was okay missing the body slide once she realized how much she loved the other slide.

    I also took this time to do the lazy river without a toddler sharing my tube. Much lazier this way. :rotfl:

    It looks like I spotted Goofy over at the zero-entry area:



    And a lot of babies were out in their little floats:



    I also found a nice chair to sit and relax in for a bit (though that is hard for me, as I am inclined to go DO things….but I made “lounging” an activity in my rotation).

    I enjoyed my solo time, but soon had to go pick up Izzy from Aunty’s. I think she enjoyed her activity, but I’m much foggier on what they did in this one, since there was no Photopass at it. I think there were some crafts involved, though, as we got souvenirs that you'll see later.

    At any rate, we headed back to the Ama Ama restrooms to get her changed back into her swimsuit. While we were in there, a line had formed and Izzy came out of the stall exclaiming, “There’s so many people here!” :eek: I think the whole line was gushing about how adorable she was. :rotfl:Guess that they weren’t expecting a toddler to pop out of there and comment on them.

    As we walked, Izzy and I ran into a Photopass photographer and stopped for some quick photos:



    But don’t worry – to get that decent photo we had to keep shooting through things like this :laughing::



    That Photopass photographer told us about the upcoming pool party, which is where we were already headed. On our way there, though, look who crossed our path:







    So glad Izzy got a random Mickey encounter too and not just me.

    Once we waded into the zero entry pool, we watched Goofy playing some games:



    We also ran into Jay’s mom and her granddaughter, about a year older than Izzy, I think. The girls played together, having little swimming show-off sessions, which was cute. Having fun in the pool:



    I’m not sure if there was a big pool party with characters dancing like last time (where Izzy left in tears from not being able to rush at and hug Minnie :sad:). Maybe we wisely distracted her this time, I don’t know. Because the next thing I see is Dug swimming over to us:



    Izzy decided it was her mission to swim all the way across this rather large pool. Okay, cool idea, kid. Well, she was no match for the water and was barely moving, despite her best efforts at self-propelling. :sad2: So, out of true daddy dedication, Dug created a current for her :rotfl::



    She was so proud of her progress and had no idea! :rotfl2:

    Eventually we made it and she apparently got out and checked in on the snorkelers in Rainbow Reef:



    We had to get her changed to go back to Aunty’s again, as we had our ukulele lesson coming up (we all went up to the room for quick showers too). However, Izzy changed her mind and told us she wanted to do the ukulele class too (kids were allowed), so we brought her along:



    And then, just before class started, she changed her mind and wanted to go to Aunty’s instead. :headache: So, I ran her down there and made it back just in time for the class:











    This is what happens to my fingers after all that effort :eek::



    But, don’t worry, we did learn how to play “80% of all songs” on the ukulele. Here’s an example of one of MANY songs that can be played with basically the same notes:


    I know there were a whole bunch of others, but the only one I can remember is “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. It was a lot of fun to learn something new and we both enjoyed it. I wish more family attended this lesson – several were going to, but backed out for various reasons. They would have really enjoyed it, I think. Oh, well.

    Then Dug had his animation class:







    In addition to drawing, they painted a cell, which is pretty neat:





    I have no idea what I was doing during this time. :confused3 My notes say that we also signed Izzy up for the 5pm kids club dinner this day, so she was at Aunty’s this whole time.

    Up next: Life’s a beach.
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    Sunset on the Beach

    After Dug’s class, we still had time to kill before picking Izzy up from Aunty’s, so we just hung out together. Ran into a Photopass person:



    Did some more Menehune Trail:















    And then stopped for a Dole Whip:





    This one allowed you to operate the machine on your own, so I used my college freshman food-service-working skills and made a tall one:



    Yep, every time my rotation was working the ice cream counter that semester, LOTS of college kids would flock to me because I apparently gave them the most ice cream, by a lot. :rotfl2:

    I guess I liked the floor here with all the sparkly blue stones in it:



    Oh, the Menehune Trail game also made the splash pad come alive:



    Look for a menehune appearing on the back wall, in lights:



    You can see it appear about halfway through this:


    Looks like we also made this torch light up:



    Then we popped back into the Pau Hana room to return our tablet. They had a lei-making session going on:



    We stopped back at Aunty’s then, since we were nearby, but they said to wait another 10 minutes until dinner was over, so we wandered again. Ran into Kay and Jay and they had just come from taking pictures on the beach and said they could see whales. We headed down there and got a Photopass (but didn't see whales):



    Then back to Aunty’s again. I like how it does just look like the entryway of a house when you go inside:



    As we were walking across the grounds with Izzy, we passed Uncle and Izzy took one look at what he was holding and was like, “That’s a ukulele!” Uncle seemed impressed that she knew. :thumbsup2

    Our mission this evening was to get some family photos during the sunset over the beach. I had talked to a Photopass person working the kiosk the day prior (named Tia) and she told me that it would be her taking photos down on the beach this evening, so we should find her and she’d be happy to get the shots we want. Well, we got down there and couldn’t find her right away, but did find the Photopass person who I saw earlier this day (the one who’d worked at Saratoga Springs), so she took some pics for us to start:





    She got some of Kay and Jay as well.

    Soon, we spotted Nana and Papa AND we found Tia. She tried to get some pictures of Izzy, who was not in a particularly cooperative mood:











    And then we attempted a family sunset shot:





    That was about the best we could get of just us 3. :rotfl:

    She actually did manage to get some really nice pictures of the whole extended family (including us), so glad that we found her. I know Dug’s parents like having that photo of us all together in paradise.

    After those, we wandered around taking our own photos and just enjoying the beauty of our last night in Hawaii:





    Or, um, walking around with an attitude for those who were not yet old enough to appreciate such special moments in life :lmao::



    Nana was in camera-lover heaven:



    The wedding chapel looked gorgeous:



    Looks like Izzy even stopped running around to check out the view for a moment:





    Up next: Our last night
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    The Last Sunset

    Next, Izzy had to point out the moon:







    And back to running:



    While the others were enjoying their artsy photo sessions, I was doing this:

    (click to watch)

    I did get one photo, though:



    Here’s some from Dug:

















    Random shot of the other side of our new beach bag:



    And you can never have enough elevator shots :rotfl2::



    Oh, I actually know what that was about – Izzy managed to fall in a puddle and get her shorts wet, which she DID NOT LIKE, so I had to bring her up to the room for a wardrobe change. While we were there, she made up a new game that was played by holding my mouth shut and then listening to me try to talk. :earseek: She thought that was HILARIOUS. And it was, so long as it wasn’t painful from her fingernails. :scared:

    Then we came back down to meet Nana & Papa for a casual dinner at the pool bar.

    The pool area looks so different after dark:



    Here’s the bar and we sat off to the side (where the picture is taken from):



    And now I can’t remember what this drink was, but it’s the one that everyone always says you should get here (helpful, I know :laughing:):



    I do remember it was quite good. Ooooh, I just searched the internet and I think it was the Lava Flow. I'm not sure that it's actually on the official menu, though.

    I got some sort of sandwich that looks awful in this light, but I think it was good:



    Ah, just looked it up – I’m sure it was the Tuna Salad Sandwich on Taro Bun – that’s why the bun looks so dark and weird. But probably yummy.

    Dug must have gotten a pizza:





    Not sure what Dug’s drink is:



    Early on in this meal, Izzy said she wanted to go back to Aunty’s, so we brought her over. The no-charge pre-registration activities this evening were already full when we’d checked earlier in the day, but she could still go in for free play. It was so nice to have Aunty’s available this trip, partly for the parenting-time-off, but also because she really enjoyed going there when hanging with adults got too boring.

    After dinner, we joined Kay and Jay over in the Olelo Room to try some of their yummy desserts:



    Somehow, I don’t have a picture of the yummy desserts. :confused3

    After a bit, I had to get to the Photopass booth before they closed. I had everyone’s Photpass cards and needed to combine them all and get the CD(s) made:



    Worked out great and we even did well enough in the Photopass scavenger hunt (shots from various locations) that we got a free 8x10 print of the family photo, which we gave to Nana & Papa. Oh, I guess I actually just combined photos this night, but purchased the CD the next day to get any last day photos included.

    I also stopped at the Concierge and had them print our bill and charged everything to a Disney Gift Card.

    Then I picked up Izzy and stopped back to the Olelo Room with her to visit just a bit longer, as the rest of our party would be leaving before we saw them again. I think they all flew out super early in the morning, but we chose to take a late afternoon flight and maximize our time at Aulani instead.

    Izzy was in a much better mood now:







    You could tell it was late, as she was particularly cuddly. :rotfl:

    We headed back to the room soon, as I still wanted to get most of our packing done before bed tonight. While I was getting things ready for Izzy’s bedtime, she got clever with the stairs that were in the bathroom:



    Much easier than climbing in and out of the Pack ‘n’ Play. :thumbsup2

    I guess she demanded we take a selfie with Minnie while we both were wearing our “Aloha” shirts:



    And here’s what she made during that Aunty’s Aloha Party earlier in the day:



    I took my pool bracelet off and added it to the pile:



    Pretty colors!

    I put Izzy to bed, but she stayed awake for a LONG time while I was packing. I think Dug may have stayed down in the Olelo Room for a short bit, then come up to sleep. Izzy finally fell asleep close to midnight and I eventually felt good about our level of packed-ness and went to sleep too.

    Up next: Our last day at the pool.
     
    Last edited:

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    One Last Pool Morning

    As usual, I started my morning by calling the phone recording that lists all character meet information for the day. Here was my note (I think "PP" is pool party? Can’t remember for sure on that one. :confused:):



    You might be able to see that our priority this day was to meet Duffy! :cool1:

    Dug must have started the day by enjoying our balcony one last time:


    He also called and got our check-out time extended to Noon, which was great for our morning pool plans – we could change in our room instead of the Luana Lounge (for guests after check-out). Yay! :woohoo:

    Izzy slept in till about 8am, not too surprising given how late she had stayed awake the night before. She also wasn’t particularly willing to get up and get going, so we let her watch a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while we finished getting our stuff packed up (well, as much as we could at that point).

    I don’t know what we did for breakfast, but probably just munched on the collection of food/leftovers in the room. :confused3

    Soon, we headed down to the pool area and got our lovely purple bands before hitting the splash pad:





    I think Dug had already done the tube waterslide by then. Izzy and I went a couple times after that before the lines got too bad:



    Looks like one of the zero-entry areas:



    And we floated around the lazy river a couple times:





    Once again, we managed to catch a Photopass person with a GoPro:





    I also spotted Dug across the river :wave2::



    Izzy was starting to get braver with the water sprayers at this point, so I didn’t try so hard to avoid them for her on this go round :scared::





    We survived:



    And I guess we found Dug:



    I think Izzy was done getting her head wet now, so Dug took on the job of steering our tube:



    It worked:



    And then he went off and got drenched :rotfl::



    Looks like Izzy spent a little more time on the Menehune Bridge:











    And we checked out the fish feeding:



    Here’s a front view of the cabanas by the Menehune Bridge:



    Then into the infinity pool:









    And the family pool:







    More baby boats:



    We had to get out after that and head back to the room for showers and packing up the remaining things for check-out. :sad1:

    Up next: Duffy!
     

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