She's Saying Aloha, an April 2022 Oahu and Aulani Trip Report (Updated 6/22)

GrandCalifornian

Can't Wait To Go Back
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Is that taking the H3 the whole way or going along Pali Hwy/61 as you get closer to Lanikai?
Our first time we took 61 all the way form downtown over the hill and down towards Lanikai. Later we came back over H3 and it was nice too, and quicker since it is all freeway. Either way is nice and both have cool tunnels, but we slightly preferred 61. You could go out one way and back the other to make a mid-island loop, or you could go around the coast one way like we did if you have a little more time. It's all good, and beautiful.
 

GrandCalifornian

Can't Wait To Go Back
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
With an early evening free, we had to choose between a boat cruise and visiting the Pearl Harbor area.

Surprisingly both kids wanted to go see Pearl Harbor and tour the submarine Bowfin.

We had looked at the different tour and museum options, and that one was a popular choice.


We hopped into the Jeep and headed for Pearl Harbor.


The parking and entrance area is shared in common for the Pearl Harbor memorial sites, but still wasn't super crowded being relatively late on a Sunday.


On the drive over we talked about Pearl Harbor with the kids, neither was super familiar with what had happened there so we gave a quick history lesson in the car stressing how sacred the site would be. I was very impressed with how both kids handled themselves while we were there.

They both did very well, and Marshall was super interested in soaking it all in. When we got there, we discovered that you could not take purses or backpacks into the park area. Not wanting to leave a purse in the car, we chose to store Melissa's purse at the commercial bag check area, where it was $6 to check the bag and have it stored safely outside the park gate. It meant we had to be beck there before they closed at 6:00 though.

Everything closes promptly at 6 though, they pretty much drag you out so there wasn’t too much risk of being late.

Once we were in the main gate, we walked toward the Bowfin and paid for our admission there.


The docent offered us headsets and audio players for the audio tour, which Marshall was really excited about. It turned out to be a great aspect of the tour, and was super informative.




Yes! They even had a kids version of the tour so it was age appropriate and interesting for the kids. He took the tour so seriously and I’m so glad we stopped and picked up the audio players. We learned so much more than we would have without them.

They served to set the pace of the tour, playing different audo explanations as we entered each room of the submarine. We toured the USS Midway aircraft carrier a couple of years ago, and this was similar but it was neat to see how different the inside of a submarine was.





The kids ate it up and really enjoyed it. I was surprised how much Allie even seemed to learn and enjoy.




After we finished up on the boat we walked across to the museum. The audio tour works there too and while we kinda had to rush through we got to see the whole thing and learn alot about submarines.





We were fascinated to learn that when submerged they had to run solely on battery power, and they would take measures to conserve power and air to extend their underwater stay to avoid detection by the enemy.

Marshall is definitely a "museum kid" and wanted to hear every story and read every sign. I was proiud of him, and felt bad for having considered going for a boat ride instead. I just figured that would be more exciting for hoim, but I was definitely wrong. He still talks about things he saw and learned on the Bowfin.

After we pulled both kids out of the museum I headed out to pick up my purse while Paul took the kids into the gift shop.

It is a central gift shop for all of the Pearl Harbor area, and there were a lot of items to see. Marshall at first chose a brick building set that included the Bowfin and Arizona memorials, but changed his mind and chose a set of memorial post cards instead.


He was so excited to get "his cards" and enjoys having us read and explain each one.

They are kinda graphic but just tell it like it is and he’s all into it.

I was surprised he picked them over the building set, but he liked them, and we bought them while Melissa picked up her purse from the bag storage spot.


After we were all back together it was time for dinner. Paul’s cousin had recommended Dixe Grill which is pretty close to Pearl Harbor so we headed that way.

My older cousin was a career Navy guy, and knows local hot spots everywhere, so we wanted to check out his recommendation in Hawaii. When we got there, we found what looked like a bar under a tattoo parlor.


It felt a little sketchy from the outside but we went inside anyway and it felt like we stepped into an episode of Hawaii 5-0.




He had said it was a great family spot, and the kids were great there. We were seated right away, and they brought us popcorn to get started.

It was a great little bar and bbq place. I ordered the brisket, Allie got pulled pork, and Marshall got his customary Mac and Cheese.




I really thought about a burger, but went with baby back ribs instead. They were really good, as were the sides we had to go with them including beans and cornbread casserole.


The food was amazing and the ambiance was great.

It was a grat local spot, and was exactly the type of place we wanted to find during our trip. Once we were done we hopped in the Jeep and went in search of a local ice cream spot for dessert.

We basically just used the phone to search for something close and ended up at Dave’s Icecream.


They make all of the their icecream in house which is super cool. I got my favorite flavor Butter Pecan.


I got mint and chip, while Allie got something odd like green tea and we're not sure what Marshall got. It was funny they asked us if we wanted a frequent visitor punch card after our purchase.

It’s definately another local spot but I would totally recommend as a hole in the wall icecream spot.

When we got back in the Jeep after icecream I decided that I’d drive back to Aulani. Driving isn’t my favorite thing in the world and I get nervous when I’m out of my comfort zone but Paul wanted me to drive the Jeep so he’d have a better chance of convincing me that we should buy one.


Since I enjoyed the Jeep so much, I wanted her to at least have driven it so we'd have some idea how it would work as a potential backup for her daily driver car at home. She agreed to do it and seemed to be enjoying it and we were on the freeway headed towards Aulani when Marshall remembered that he didn't have his cards.

It really drove nice, and now I got to get off the freeway, turn around and drive back to the bar to try and find his cards.

We drove about 15 minutes back to the restaurant, and Marshall and I went in. The hostess recognized us, and remembered that we had left the post cards. Our server had them, and he brought them out to us. Marshall was so relieved.


We were all glad that he got his postcards back. At this point I was done driving the Jeep and let Paul drive back home.

I headed back towards Aulani, and we watched the sun set as we drove. Soon we were back to Aulani and we headed to the gift shop one more time for a few more souveniers.


While we were waiting in line I asked if the coffee they had was the same coffee that they had served at breakfast and it was! So I got a bag of that. It’s really good.

It is good stuff, and unique to Hawaii. Allie got a spam musabi wishable from a blind package. The CM at the counter asked her whch one she was hoping for, and he agreed that she had chosen well.

She opened the package and had the toy she wanted.

Then we headed up to the room, tired from a long day of Hawaii fun.


Next up, we have to fit all of our stuff in our luggage,

I make a covert drone flight,

and we have to give back the Jeep.

 

GrandCalifornian

Can't Wait To Go Back
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Did Allie get a souvenir at the Pearl Harbor gift shop?
She looked but decided to wait and get something else at Aulani. That's how she wound up with the Spam Musubi wishable.

This trip report has been great so far, thank you!
Thank you so much! We have enjoyed sharing all of the different things we got to do.

Great report and can't wait for your drone flight. I also relate to the sign back at Dixie Grill!
Thanks! I was looking forward to drone flying at Aulani, or at least as close as I could get to it without getting in trouble. The Dixie Grill sign was funny, and set the tone for a fun restaurant. It was actually way more family friendly than it looked from the street, and the BBQ was quite nice.

This trip report has been amazing! Sad to see it nearing its conclusion
Thank you so much. We have really enjoyed sharing it, and we had a great trip. Thanks for joining in.
 

DaisyDuck001

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 5, 2006
I realize this is comparing pineapples and oranges, but overall did you guys like the Hawaii trip as much as your typical WDW trip?
 

Wood Nymph

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Surprisingly both kids wanted to go see Pearl Harbor and tour the submarine Bowfin.
It was nice that you could get into the tour at the last minute instead of having to get reservations ahead of time. The submarine tour looks very interesting, especially for the kids who don't know a lot about the war.

Marshall is definitely a "museum kid" and wanted to hear every story and read every sign.
That makes the trip worthwhile. :)

It felt a little sketchy from the outside but we went inside anyway and it felt like we stepped into an episode of Hawaii 5-0.
It looks very sketchy from the outside. ;)
They make all of the their ice cream in house which is super cool.
It sounds delicious. :)

We were all glad that he got his postcards back. At this point I was done driving the Jeep and let Paul drive back home.
I'm glad that they had Marshall's cards and that the "test drive" was over. I never really liked driving our Jeep, although I did like all the bells and whistles that my car lacked. :)

Next up, we have to fit all of our stuff in our luggage,
It looks like the gift shop is well stocked with extra large suitcases just in case. :)
 

GrandCalifornian

Can't Wait To Go Back
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
I realize this is comparing pineapples and oranges, but overall did you guys like the Hawaii trip as much as your typical WDW trip?
It is a tough comparison, but a valid one. I expected to much prefer WDW, but was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it was in comparison to a WDW trip. Not that it was better or more fun, but it was at least competitive. Melissa felt it was more relaxing than WDW, and I agree. The kids enjoyed it too, but would not trade WDW for it every year.

It was nice that you could get into the tour at the last minute instead of having to get reservations ahead of time. The submarine tour looks very interesting, especially for the kids who don't know a lot about the war.

That makes the trip worthwhile. :)


It looks very sketchy from the outside. ;)
It sounds delicious. :)

I'm glad that they had Marshall's cards and that the "test drive" was over. I never really liked driving our Jeep, although I did like all the bells and whistles that my car lacked. :)


It looks like the gift shop is well stocked with extra large suitcases just in case. :)
We looked at trying to reserve the Arizona memorial tour but weren’t sure enough to schedule a day for it. The Bowfin worked out great, getting to experience the area and learn about the history and some submarine specific things. It was a great educational side trip and was totally worth it.

Dixie Grill worked out nice and had great food, we just had to get over the outside look to go on in. The ice cream place was neat too and a yummy dessert.

Melissa didn’t mind the Jeep itself, but wasn’t fond of driving a strange vehicle in a new place. It was more comfortable to ride, and I got more Jeep driving time.

The gift shop did have lots of unique Aulani luggage options, but fortunately we didn’t buy that much stuff in order to need an extra bag. They were cute though.
 
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