Maui planning, tips, and trip reports

cgattis

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
I haven’t decided on which Luau yet but trying to decide between doing one on Oahu or Maui. We haven’t been to Maui so I don’t know if I would rather venture more there and do a luau on Oahu?

I also saw some people mention photographers on Maui. Pros/ cons for photos on Maui versus Oahu? Like I said previously we have never been to Maui and have Oahu so unless there’s a specific reason for Maui I think I rather explore the island rather than worry about pictures there.

I appreciate all the feedback!
The only photos we had made on Oahu were at Aulani, so unfortunately I didn’t do any research there; sorry! But at least we’ve got a good start on Maui research if you don’t see any on Oahu that suit your needs!

We did Paradise Cove luau on Oahu again, mostly because it was walkable from Aulani. But we really enjoyed it—great preshow activities, serviceable (and plentiful) food, and great show in our opinion.
 

monsterkitty

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Does anyone have experience booking the Haleakala sunrise on Maui? It seems like it requires the same level of sophistication as getting a ROTR boarding group 😂
So true! If you're staying at a resort, call the concierge desk and see if they have tours. We did that when we stayed at the Marriott Ocean Club and my sister did the same at the Westin.

Good luck!

ETA, we wore our hoodies we brought from home as well as wrapped ourselves in beach towels. There were a lot of people who'd take the blankets off their hotel room beds, lol.
 

greenkai3000

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 10, 2011
May I ask if anyone knows whether or not advance reservations on the Ferry to Lanai are a must, or if one can simply wait just until travel day to purchase tickets?
 

twodogs

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 20, 2012
Any spa recommendations in Maui? We are staying at the Hyatt in Ka'anapali, so somewhere in that area is preferred. Thank you!
 

FoodieFriend

DisneyFan
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Here's my food report from my weekend trip to Maui. We were unable to eat everything we wanted due to my sister feeling ill for a couple days.
We had lunch plates from Ogo Maui & Dope BBQ food trucks in Kahului. Ogo's menu changes from day to day, so I advise following them on Instagram. They were very busy at lunch time, so calling them to place your order might result in less of a wait for your food. Dope BBQ is moving to a new spot so follow him on Instagram for the location & hours of operation. We really enjoyed his brisket & street corn. Since these were food trucks, there's no eating area so we ate our lunch in the car.
We tried Cafe O'Lei at the Dunes Golf Course in Maui Lani which features prime rib on weeknights. So good & huge! I called for reservations about a week in advance. Many Maui restaurants on OpenTable were full about 2 or more weeks before our trip, so booking early if you know you want to eat is wise (Humble Market Kitchin, Lineage, Haliimaile General Store, Ko at Farimont Kea Lani were completely unavailable).
Our family friend told us to try Havens in Kihei for smashburgers & chow fun, so we called in our order, picked up & ate in our condo. We had the umami burger (mushrooms, jalapenos, blue cheese aioli) & wagyu chow fun (wide rice noodles stir fried with veggies & wagyu shortrib chunks). Very delicious! I hope we get to try more burgers next time.
We also tried to visit Kula Country Farms for fresh produce but we were there 30 minutes after they closed. On their website, they advertised U-Pick Strawberry season from Feb-June on Wednesday & Saturday for $5/lb and Pumpkin Patch thru the whole month of October with $3 admission per person over 2 years old. I hope we get to visit them next time.
We tried to dine in at Kula Bistro, but the wait for a table was about an hour, so we went with takeout instead. Large portions & very delicious! We had the risotto, ribeye, shrimp scampi & lasagna with a lot of leftovers! They also have a huge dessert case with both frozen & chilled desserts so save room!!!
We tried Maui Thai Bistro-Kihei which has reservations on both OpenTable & Yelp. We had their macadamia nut panang curry with shortribs, pad thai noodles & mango sticky rice.
We also had shave ice from Peace Love Shave Ice at Kihei Marketplace. While I appreciated their natural syrups, i felt they were a bit light on flavor where only the black cherry had real cherry taste. I liked the texture of their ice & the use of Roselani ice cream (vanilla, mac nut, haupia). We didn't get to try Gus Hawaiian Shave Ice this time, but I'll make it a priority next time. I'm told Ululani (various locations around the island) is a sure winner when it comes to shave ice.
On our way to the airport, we picked up sandwiches from 808 Deli & they were great! Toasted Italian, Reuben & Shiitake Beef Melt plus pistachio pudding. Always get their pudding!!
As usual, we took frozen mini cream horns from Stillwell's Bakery, chocolate filled mochi from Maui Specialty Chocolates & pretzels from Maui Bread Company back to Oahu to share with family & friends. Maui Bread has changed their menu from last year to feature German style breads along with their Hawaiian specialties which I really loved. We were able to pre-order from Stillwell's & MSC when we arrived on Maui for pick up on our departure day.
I was sad we didn't get to Leoda's or Maui Pie. Hopefully we'll get to more places next year.
 

trixie08

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 2, 2008
We just returned home from 2 weeks in Hawaii. Spent 7 nights at Maui Ka'anapali Villas before 3 nights at Alunai/4 nights in Waikiki. It was me and my 15 yr old son and we had a great vacation! On Maui we loved hiking Sliding Sands Trail at Haleakala, Road to Hana and Pipiwai Trail, snorkel trip with Trilogy, beach at MKV, shave ice and more shave ice at Uluani's.
Bought the Gypsy Guide for both islands are really enjoyed getting some history of the islands as we drove. Highly recommend Trilogy and the photographer we had took great shots in and out of water and photo package for the 2 of us was $69.
braysmommy, how was the RTH? I have been following the chatter on the Trip Advisor forum and the current situation with over crowding and behavior sounds like a headache.
 
  • DVC Doc

    Disney world traveller
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2011
    So true! If you're staying at a resort, call the concierge desk and see if they have tours. We did that when we stayed at the Marriott Ocean Club and my sister did the same at the Westin.

    Good luck!

    ETA, we wore our hoodies we brought from home as well as wrapped ourselves in beach towels. There were a lot of people who'd take the blankets off their hotel room beds, lol.
    Ok so I successfully booked Haleakala sunrise and wanted to report back for anyone who may be attempting this! Currently, the booking window opens 60 days prior to the date you want to go at 7am HST (1pm for those of us on the east coast). There are 75 spaces each day, of which 50 are available at the 60-day mark. First of all, go to the national parks site https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/253731 and create an account well in advance of your booking window. Make sure you are logged in and *exactly* 7am HST click on the date you want to go and quickly click "add to cart." You then have 5 minutes to confirm and pay the $1.00 reservation fee. On most days the tickets are gone within a minute.

    I recommend doing a dry run a day or two in advance so you get the hang of it. Glad I could put my Disney booking skills to good use to get this! 😆
     

    cgattis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2009
    WOW @FoodieFriend, you should be a competitive eater!! 🤣

    Really appreciate hearing about all these great places! Can’t wait to see how many I can try!!

    Have you eaten at Halimaile General Store before? Just ran across it recently and was interested. Also, have you tried Miso Phat sushi? I remember seeing it on Guy Fieri and he said he’d eat their food out of an old shoe LOL
     

    braysmommy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2010
    braysmommy, how was the RTH? I have been following the chatter on the Trip Advisor forum and the current situation with over crowding and behavior sounds like a headache.

    Our day was great! We left early from Lahaina and stopped a few places on the way to Pipiwai trail taking our time and listened to the Gypsy guide. We had reservations at Waiʻānapana State Park but most cars didn't realize reservations were needed and had to turn around. I have been seeing increased complaints on TA forum so not sure if crowds have gotten worse since we went. I did make sure to pull over for any car that came up behind me. On our way back there was more traffic but still not to the capacity I feared. Good luck with your planning!
     

    FoodieFriend

    DisneyFan
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2015
    WOW @FoodieFriend, you should be a competitive eater!! 🤣

    Really appreciate hearing about all these great places! Can’t wait to see how many I can try!!

    Have you eaten at Halimaile General Store before? Just ran across it recently and was interested. Also, have you tried Miso Phat sushi? I remember seeing it on Guy Fieri and he said he’d eat their food out of an old shoe LOL
    I've heard good things about the food at Haliimaile General Store but the service is S L O W. We'd rather try other places instead. For us, my mom doesn't eat raw stuff so sushi isn't always at the top of our list. My sister & I love sushi tho, so I'll put it on the list for next time. Thank you for the info. My actual Maui foodie list is HUGE so we always have to pick & choose to fit in what we can. I'm willing to share it if you're comfortable PMing me your email.
    My mom's friend lives on Maui, so she suggested Havens & Kula Bistro which we never heard of before. So much food, so little time!! :rotfl2:We're starting to use our WDW strategy of splitting entrees so we have less leftovers & don't get over stuffed.

    Have a look at the menus, read Yelp reviews & consider sharing items.
     
  • cgattis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2009
    Ooh you can’t just leave us hanging like that! How did you like Wai’anapanapa state park?? Some friends of ours went with their son who was about 12 at the time, and he called it “NAPA Know How” beach LOL (That’s from an auto parts store commercial for those who haven’t heard it.) It’s on the very top of my list for next trip. LOVED it but didn’t do the freshwater caves or hike around, so gotta do that this time. Any faves/tips?
     

    twodogs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2012
    We are staying in the Ka’anapali area. We have done the Road to Hana years ago when it was just DH and I, but this time we are going with our teens, and I think that will be too much winding roads for their stomachs. We want to do a waterfall type hike that is not super far from our resort area. We are all fit and can handle a fairly difficult hike. Are there any suggestions out there for a beautiful waterfall hike that is not across the island from our resort? Considered the sunrise crater hike but we have a few that get car sick, so that is out just like Road to Hana…
     

    braysmommy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2010
    Ooh you can’t just leave us hanging like that! How did you like Wai’anapanapa state park?? Some friends of ours went with their son who was about 12 at the time, and he called it “NAPA Know How” beach LOL (That’s from an auto parts store commercial for those who haven’t heard it.) It’s on the very top of my list for next trip. LOVED it but didn’t do the freshwater caves or hike around, so gotta do that this time. Any faves/tips?
    With the reservation system we got there a bit late so we hiked around some on both sides of beach before walking down to the beach to wade since we really didn't have time to swim. I would love to go back and spend significant time exploring and swimming here. So my tip is if reservation system is still in place make sure to get there at start of your booking window. I had read on TA forum that the people are non to nice if you overstay your reservation.
     

    cgattis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2009
    We are staying in the Ka’anapali area. We have done the Road to Hana years ago when it was just DH and I, but this time we are going with our teens, and I think that will be too much winding roads for their stomachs. We want to do a waterfall type hike that is not super far from our resort area. We are all fit and can handle a fairly difficult hike. Are there any suggestions out there for a beautiful waterfall hike that is not across the island from our resort? Considered the sunrise crater hike but we have a few that get car sick, so that is out just like Road to Hana…
    Just my opinion, but we didn’t find the road up Haleakala to be bad as far as car sickness. DD and I both get a touch of it but weren’t bothered. Definitely not like going to Hana, but if they’re super-prone, it could still be a problem I guess. The road is in very good condition and feels more like highway driving, but at low speeds. Just wanted to throw this out in case you really decide you want to head up there.

    But I personally don’t like hiking out on just barren flats, so a lush waterfall closer to your resort sounds awesome to me. There are bound to be some; hope you get some suggestions here.
     

    cgattis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2009
    With the reservation system we got there a bit late so we hiked around some on both sides of beach before walking down to the beach to wade since we really didn't have time to swim. I would love to go back and spend significant time exploring and swimming here. So my tip is if reservation system is still in place make sure to get there at start of your booking window. I had read on TA forum that the people are non to nice if you overstay your reservation.
    Yes I’ve read that too! I’ll be there waiting for them to open! (Which they may not love either LOL)
     

    cgattis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2009
    Ran across this article last night. It’s very well written and I appreciate the insight. Hoping things continue to improve.

     

    MsOnceUponATime

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2014
    [/QUOTE]
    Hi all! I know it’s not specifically Aulani, but lots of us do a combo with another island. Plus I just find I get the most descriptive reviews from DIS’ers!! So starting a Maui planning thread!! We’ll be there summer 2022. Would love to hear others’ plans and also learn from those going between now and then. Maui no ka oi!
    :tinker:I spent two weeks in Maui in May and returned just last Thursday from two weeks in Kauai. I'm happy to try to help answer any questions that anyone has.
     

    twodogs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2012
    Any tips for the rental car pick up at the airport? We rented through Budget. I remember in HNL, I did the registration ahead of time and then used the kiosk at the rental car location instead of waiting in the long line. Is this possible for rentals in Maui? Thanks! Can't believe we leave on Friday!!
     


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