Oahu Trip Report 4/9/21 to 4/17/21

Julia M

DIS Veteran<br><font color =red>not clever, not wi
Jun 10, 2000
I came up with a compromise that worked for my husband as well….we’d stay 3 nights in Waikiki, at a Marriott right off the beach, and doing intensive sightseeing Friday afternoon (we arrive aboOur trip report for Hawaii should have been a trip report for a DCL trip from April 2020. You know what happened with that. After much discussion and coordination of schedules (our trip was with my mom and our three 20-something kids), we rescheduled for April 2021. Back in about November, we made the difficult decision to cancel this cruise. Dh had the “great” idea to go to Aulani. I looked at prices and we were looking at something like 9K just for rooms (for 6 of us) plus airfare, food and activities. Gulp! Our cruise was the same 9K but included food, and the flights were just for dd who had to work on Saturday (the rest of us driving back and forth) So we decided to look into less expensive hotels and found a couple of good options with Marriott (I have platinum status with Marriott) . However, as it happens, our young adult children had changes in their lives. Our oldest had his company fold and he was obviously laid off. That meant he was applying for jobs and had no idea what April would look like for him. Our daughter quit her job and took a new one and she needed to save her vacation for a big trip she has booked for 2022. And our youngest, who works in aerospace, informed us he had a launch now scheduled for that week (true, that date will probably slip, as launches tend to do, but we couldn’t predict what would happen) And my mom wasn’t feeling comfortable about traveling, not knowing what COVID may have in store and the status of vaccines.

So dh and I considered our options. I still felt Aulani was way too expensive, but I knew dh really, really wanted to stay there. He discovered that Aulani made rooms available at a 30% discount for Disney VISA holders, so we considered that as an option. However, Aulani was still expensive, even with the discount. However, I should share that my husband is a gem…..a great father, an awesome husband and I really wanted to make a trip work. But I had to contend with my issue that I still felt it was too expensive. So we decided to stay at a cheaper hotel for three nights (Friday through Monday) and sight see those days. Then we’d check into Aulani and spend 5 nights relaxing and primarily enjoying the resort. Because there is a 30% discount for 5+ nights plus a $50 a day resort credit and only 25% for 4 nights with no resort credit, it wasn’t that much more to do a 3 + 5 split. So that’s what we booked.

Airfare was paid for with points and credits on Southwest.I booked a car rental through Costco, but knew that maybe I’d plan something different. That’s because car rental was $460 and parking $340. That’s A LOT! I knew we’d need a car the first few days and I also knew I planned a trip to the North shore while at Aulani, as well as leaving the resort for dinner, for example. So I really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, after much thought, I did keep the rental car, because with trying for two shorter duration rentals cost more, and even with less in parking fees, the total cost was essentially the same.

I then started working on our actual itinerary, focusing on what we wanted to do. Basically we looked at visiting Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center, Kualoa Ranch and the North Shore. Depending on our arrival time, I hope to fit in a visit to the Bishop Museum on Friday when we land. I tend to be a big time planner, but except for Pearl Harbor tickets, booked nothing until we had our negative Covid tests. We had many trips planned over the last year (the Disney Cruise twice, a three week British Isles cruise and London trip, a Boston to Montreal cruise and then this year, a week in Paris and an Alaskan Cruise in June) and I just didn't want to cancel a lot of things again if this trip didn't work out. This made booking some things difficult, because I waited until the last minute. Also, as the trip drew closer, I found myself less and less motivated to do a lot of sightseeing and just wanted to relax.

We took our Covid tests about 1pm on Tuesday April 6. We had our results by mid day on Wednesday, uploaded. We did our health report on Friday and finished packing.

In terms of our travel style, in the past we have been really active, seeing everything, getting up early and going full force every day.. But as we’ve gotten older and travel more, I like more relaxing trips. In terms of budget, I try to balance cost with time and energy. But we have the financial resources to do kind of what we want now.

One factor that was going to impact our trip a little was that I had cataract surgery about 2 ½ weeks before leaving. I wasn’t supposed to swim due to risk of infection until Wed. April 14.. So that impacted how I planned our itinerary.

Friday 4-9

We got up and made it to the airport a little early, I was glad we did because the only open coffee place was at the other end of where our gate was. We also discovered that we could get our Hawaii entry “approved” at our airport (SJC). We were given a wristband and subsequently sailed through the airport, just showing our wristband instead of being stopped and having our phone scanned. Very nice.

Our flight was uneventful and we arrived early at gate G10.. We walked miles (or so it seemed) to our baggage carousel and waited hours (well, really about 20 minutes, lol) and then went to take the shuttle for our Alamo car. I was not at all impressed with our “premium” car (a Honda Accord) but I also know there is a rental car shortage and I was grateful we got a car (we had a trip once where there were no cars left and were expected to hang around, hoping one was returned).

We made it to our hotel, the Sheraton Princess Kauilani and checked in. We were upgraded to a view that included seeing the ocean if you were out on the balcony and leaned and looked to the left. After getting ourselves oriented we walked over near the Royal Hawaiian, because I wanted to try Dukes. The line was super long, even for afternoon so we headed over to the Royal Hawaiian because dh wanted to try their mai tai bar. We easily had a table with a lovely beach view. Dh had the mahi mahi which he liked and I had the shrimp with polenta and fried lemon which was amazing. So a successful dinner. We crashed early, as I was tired, which was probably a mistake because I woke up at 4 the next morning. I dozed off and on until almost 7.

Expenses (I like to list our daily expenses as I know it helps me consider costs)
Tip for luggage at hotel: $5?
2 coffees and one scone from Starbucks at airport: don’t know
Water shoes for me . $18.84
Royal Hawaiian beach bar ($87.88……….Over the past year, my dh and I have made a concerted effort to support more local businesses and tip larger. Our family has come through Covid relatively unscathed and I know how lucky we are. And even though my oldest lost his job and moved back in with us, even that was lucky, because he was getting ready to buy a house right before his company folded. Thank goodness he didn’t do that! So, virtually all of our food purchases include a 30% tip…...just FYI)
Shaka tour download: $25

Julia M

DIS Veteran<br><font color =red>not clever, not wi
Jun 10, 2000
Saturday 4-10

The Sheraton was no longer serving buffer breakfast for platinum members. Instead, it was a box breakfast. Oh my goodness…..it came with a hard boiled egg, cut fruit, a granola bar, milk, juice, cereal, a fresh pastry from their case and coffee. It was served by the pool and we enjoyed eating outside.

I had originally planned to go to Pearl Harbor this day. But I screwed up and forgot to book the tickets. So instead, we decided to drive to the north shore. I’ve heard so much about it and wanted to see it. I purchased the Shaka guide the night before and we use that to help guide our trip. I purchased the guide that had all the Oahu trips on it and had a 15% discount so it ended up being about $28. The big thing I wanted to see was Turtle Beach. So we got going and started to drive listening to the guide as we went along. Parking at Turtle Beach was already limited even though it was really early. We lucked out, as there was a turtle on the beach. We drove as far as the Turtle Beach Club and then came back that same way. As we were heading back the traffic was really crowded, so we were glad we had gotten an early start. We stopped at one of the fruit stands and I got some fresh coconut, which is something I enjoy and seldom get.

We also stopped at Haleiwa and Waialua. We went to the little shopping center where Matsumoto Shave Ice is located. We went in and out of the shops and were going to get shave ice, but a woman at Maui Divers Jewelry recommended Aoki’s Shave Ice across the street. I can’t speak for Matsumoto’s, but my heavens, Aoki’s was amazing. Like the best shave ice I have ever had. Highly recommended. The shave ice was like cotton candy. Even at the very end, it was so soft and fluffy, it never became a hard rock. We also stopped at the North Shore Soap Factory in Waialua.

We stopped at the Dole plantation on the way home, but at that time (about noon), the wait for the train was already 75 minutes and there was a long line to get into the store. So we passed.

On the way home we stopped at Costco. I had heard they had good souvenirs and I was curious. I’m not a big shopper anymore, but I found a 12 pack of macadamia nut chocolates for $32.79 plus tax. What was especially nice was it came in a nice box with a handle (we took it as a carry-on on the plane)

We drove back to the hotel and walked down to Cheeseburger in Paradise. My dh remembered this from Maui and really wanted to go. We were seated immediately and then seriously, had no service for 15 minutes. I finally went to the hostess and asked, Apparently there was confusion with the wait staff on who served tables in the bar…..the server or bartender. We ended up finally getting served. We both ordered cheeseburgers (of course) and local draft beer. We had a table right next to the open window, so it was nice to people watch. I saw a woman walk by in a sundress I really liked and commented on how cute it was to my dh (this will be referenced again later). Dinner was good and we had a nice relaxing evening.

Costco. 12 pack of chocolate covered macadamias. $34.34
Dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise. $102.16. (2 cheeseburgers and 4 draft beers)
Shave ice $8
Tip for breakfast $3?/$5?
Fresh coconut $3
Soap $10 ( I think)

Julia M

DIS Veteran<br><font color =red>not clever, not wi
Jun 10, 2000
Sunday 4-11

We were up early today, as I had booked Pearl Harbor tickets for 8:30am. We stopped by the pool bar and just got a pastry and coffee….the little box was way too much food. We got an ace out parking spot (as my kids used to say) and walked into the Pearl harbor site. They are absolutely serious about their bag policy, so keep that in mind. We got there early (about 7:45am), so had time to go to the two small free museums run by the park service (both excellent). We then took the boat to the memorial. While I had been there once before, it was still a sobering and moving experience. I remember the oil in the water from back in the 80’s and couldn’t believe you could still see it out at the memorial. We were told there are two Arizona survivors still living.

After returning from the memorial, we walked over and watched the movie (currently not in the theatre, but shown on a TV with folding chairs in front under a canopy. We then walked over and had a quick snack from the food truck at the Pacific Submarine museum It started to rain, so I was glad there was a canopy. and went to the Pacific Submarine museum. The ticket also included getting to go into the Bowfin. However, the rain met the submarine was closed. We went inside the museum (also cool) and when we were down the submarine was open again because the rain had stopped. I think kids would love this. You basically can walk from one end of the submarine to the other and see everything. Very cool.

Remember the dress I saw while eating at Cheeseburger in Paradise? Well, my dh suggested we stop at Hilo Hattie’s on the way home to see if they had it. My first thought was he was so crazy…..like we will find that dress by going to one store? Also, I’m plus sized and this woman definitely wasn’t (although sweet of my husband to apparently not get this!). He insisted, so we made our way to the mall, parking by the Nordstrom at the Ala Moana mall. We had no idea where the store was and this mall is really big and multiple stories high. We actually parked relatively near to the store, walked in and there was the dress and they had plus sizes!! I could not believe it. I was so excited!

We headed back to the hotel and decided to walk over to the Moana Surfrider hotel for dinner in their beach bar. We ended up with a table right at the edge of the beach, so had an amazing view. My dh had a hot dog (yes a hot dog!!) and I had a fantastic salad. I think we both had a couple of beers. Again, really good food. After dinner, we walked by a little store and I had another shave ice. Not as good as Aoki’s, but it was right there.

We walked back to the hotel. I should add we have been having early nights…...I have not adjusted well to the time change.

USS Bowfin and Submarine museum. $42.80
Pearl Harbor audio tour for 2. $15.98
Rosie the Riveter mask from Pacific Fleet Submarine museum. $8.37
Nachos from Pacific Fleet submarine museum food truck. $11.47
2 sodas/waters from machines. $4
Hilo Hattie smocked dress $45.02
Breakfast tip $5
Dinner at Ala Moana $123
Shave ice $12


<font color=red>Can't wait to feel the "wonder" of
Jun 8, 2000
Thanks for posting your trip report. We’re doing the same, staying at the Sheraton Princess Kauilani before AulanI. Our first trip to Hawaii. How is the Princess. We have a room booked for the Princess wing, since I read that elevator waits can be very long in the high rise building. I’m sure I will have more questions. 😀