Traffic and Crowds

tgeorge

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Hello all

Background: This trip is just my husband and I. We will be there Oct 9-13 in a 1 bedroom. We rented a car, with the hopes of driving around the island to see some sights and get some photos (my husband has become quite the photographer) :-) I chose Aulani because 1) I'm a Disney fan and 2) I knew Waikiki was a bad choice for him since it gets so crowded. However, now I'm reading that the traffic and crowds in the North Shore may actually be worse. I'm a bit bummed since I was hoping we could take a drive up that way, but it may not be in the cards. I have no problem with crowds and can also just 'go with the flow, I'm on vacation', my DH, not so much. And by that I mean, will never happen (unless tranquilizers are involved). LOL

Should we avoid the North Shore as well and maybe just chat with the hotel staff when we arrive for some ideas of where we can go where it isn't super crowded or is it really not as bad as people are making it out to be? Thanks for any feedback from those of you who have been recently and can offer any advice.
 

Lilsia

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
I hate to break it to you, but Oahu is a very tourist heavy place. No matter where you go, you will hit traffic and crowds. I looked it up and they said that they average about a half a million visitor to Oahu each month. There are some non-tourist beaches that the locals will know about. But if you want to do anything "touristy" you will encounter crowds. We found that the earlier in the morning that you go somewhere, the less the crowds. Things also quiet down around dinner time.
 

tgeorge

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
I hate to break it to you, but Oahu is a very tourist heavy place. No matter where you go, you will hit traffic and crowds. I looked it up and they said that they average about a half a million visitor to Oahu each month. There are some non-tourist beaches that the locals will know about. But if you want to do anything "touristy" you will encounter crowds. We found that the earlier in the morning that you go somewhere, the less the crowds. Things also quiet down around dinner time.
Yeah, that’s kind of what I figured. I was there 13 years ago, but like I said, crowds don’t bother me.

Tranquilizers it is 😁 I really do wish he could just calm down and enjoy the moment, but it just isn’t him. I know he’ll enjoy the time on our balcony, so hopefully that will help to alleviate some of his anxiety.

Thanks for the feedback
 
  • Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    Hawaii is beyond beautiful. Maybe he will be caught up in the amazing views that he won't notice the crowds. You can drive and just tell him to look at the scenery.
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    Hawaii is beyond beautiful. Maybe he will be caught up in the amazing views that he won't notice the crowds. You can drive and just tell him to look at the scenery.
    That’s my plan, or tell him to take a nap 😆 He really wants to take some sunrise and sunset photos, so I think we’ll be good with your suggestions of early morning/ evening excursions. We do have a tour for Pearl Harbor planned. He seems to do better when ‘others’ are driving, so I booked that instead of driving ourselves.

    I really hope he likes it because I’d love to buy at Aulani and visit regularly. If he likes it enough to stay there, we’ll be golden.

    Thank you for your feedback. We’re going to go and just try to enjoy the beauty and see what else we can make of it. I know I’m going to love it.
     
    Last edited:

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    Well, my husband just does not like to travel no matter where it is. I just go by myself or with my daughters. I would have no issue going to Hawaii solo. Have a fun trip.
     

    alohamom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 31, 2003
    I find it depends on the time of year and the day of the week. The "highway" that threads through the north shore can get crowded at certain times of the day if there is big surf or if there is an accident and the road gets clogged but we have been driving around that area many times when it was fine, actually quiet. Popular places can be crowded on weekends due to locals. Kailua and Lanikai beaches are a perfect example. Hanauma Bay, the popular snorkel spot, is closed on Tuesdays so Wednesday tend to be crowded with tourists who did not know that and make up for it by going the next day. Things like this.
    Unfortunately your time at Aulani is during the Hawaii school fall break which this year is Oct 7-11 so you might find the island to feel busier because of that.
     
  • tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    I find it depends on the time of year and the day of the week. The "highway" that threads through the north shore can get crowded at certain times of the day if there is big surf or if there is an accident and the road gets clogged but we have been driving around that area many times when it was fine, actually quiet. Popular places can be crowded on weekends due to locals. Kailua and Lanikai beaches are a perfect example. Hanauma Bay, the popular snorkel spot, is closed on Tuesdays so Wednesday tend to be crowded with tourists who did not know that and make up for it by going the next day. Things like this.
    Unfortunately your time at Aulani is during the Hawaii school fall break which this year is Oct 7-11 so you might find the island to feel busier because of that.
    Thank you for the info. This helps a lot. Of course, we'll be there during a school break, which may add to the craziness, but at least we know so he can prepare a bit more :-)

    At the end of the day, we won't be at work, we'll be somewhere beautiful, so hopefully all will be okay. I really appreciate your response. Thanks
     

    Mommy2Logan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2019
    We were there at the tail end of Spring Break crowds early part of April. I didn't find the traffic or the crowds on the North Shore bad at all. We toured North shore on a Monday and it was pretty quiet. The crowds at Aulani did freak me out a little bit upon arrival, the point that we actually called customer service to get out of our stay and change hotels. In the end, we decided to stay the night because I was tired and just wanted to go to bed and then by the time the next day rolled around and we found some quieter spots on property, it felt manageable so we stayed and had a great time. Our favorite low key spot to hang out at Aulani was right in front of Ama in the chairs facing the ocean. That deck does get very hot though and you will burn your feet if you aren't wearing shoes to walk on it. It is further away from the pool, about a 1 and a half minute walk up to the pool. We liked how quiet and serene it was there.

    Also, sometimes we went over to the Four Seasons beach and hung out. Much quieter over there as well as down at the Marriott Beach club (15-20 minute walk).

    We also took the path near the Four Seasons to the secret beach near Paradise Cove. You have to climb over some slippery rocks to get to it but its a fun little adventure and we had the whole beach to ourselves.
     

    vikequeen

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2015
    My husband is also terrible with crowds. We've only gone to Aulani at spring break and found it to be manageable. We always drive to the north shore at least one day as well. We always go as early as possible. If you are interested in sunrises, it will be easier for you than driving at noon.

    If crowds are a challenge, I recommend calling to reserve a cabana if its in your budget (I forget when they open, but they book early). Or taking the tips to walk down to one of the other beaches. Or hang out at the adult quiet pool if that's an option. I'm pretty good with crowds, but the number of people at the pools and lack of chairs created a lot of anxiety for me.

    Good luck. Its beautiful and worth finding a way to make it work.
     

    Mommy2Logan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2019
    I believe the adult only pools will be open to all ages the week they are there due to the pool construction.
     
  • tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    We were there at the tail end of Spring Break crowds early part of April. I didn't find the traffic or the crowds on the North Shore bad at all. We toured North shore on a Monday and it was pretty quiet. The crowds at Aulani did freak me out a little bit upon arrival, the point that we actually called customer service to get out of our stay and change hotels. In the end, we decided to stay the night because I was tired and just wanted to go to bed and then by the time the next day rolled around and we found some quieter spots on property, it felt manageable so we stayed and had a great time. Our favorite low key spot to hang out at Aulani was right in front of Ama in the chairs facing the ocean. That deck does get very hot though and you will burn your feet if you aren't wearing shoes to walk on it. It is further away from the pool, about a 1 and a half minute walk up to the pool. We liked how quiet and serene it was there.

    Also, sometimes we went over to the Four Seasons beach and hung out. Much quieter over there as well as down at the Marriott Beach club (15-20 minute walk).

    We also took the path near the Four Seasons to the secret beach near Paradise Cove. You have to climb over some slippery rocks to get to it but its a fun little adventure and we had the whole beach to ourselves.
    Thank you for the tips. I was debating between Four Seasons and Aulani. Since we rented DVC points, and got a 1 bedroom, that was my deciding factor, but we'll definitely go over there and check out the beach you mention. We have reservations at Ama for Saturday night (his birthday), but we may have to find the low key spot you speak of. It sounds lovely. I'm probably making way too much of this. I just really want him to have a good time. His anxiety with crowds apparently adds to my anxiety of wanting him to have a good time so we can continue taking vacations LOL . Deep breath in, deep breath out. We will be in Hawaii after all.
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    My husband is also terrible with crowds. We've only gone to Aulani at spring break and found it to be manageable. We always drive to the north shore at least one day as well. We always go as early as possible. If you are interested in sunrises, it will be easier for you than driving at noon.

    If crowds are a challenge, I recommend calling to reserve a cabana if its in your budget (I forget when they open, but they book early). Or taking the tips to walk down to one of the other beaches. Or hang out at the adult quiet pool if that's an option. I'm pretty good with crowds, but the number of people at the pools and lack of chairs created a lot of anxiety for me.

    Good luck. Its beautiful and worth finding a way to make it work.
    I think we'll definitely try to go early and get around as much of it as possible. But, we do want to hang out by the pools a bit too and enjoy the resort. I had hoped it wouldn't be 'too' crowded, but I guess we will find out. As you have already noticed, the adult only pool will be open to everyone due to the pool construction, but I may look into a cabana. If we have our own space, I think that will be good. I don't know why I hadn't considered that. Thanks for the suggestion!
     

    Mommy2Logan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2019
    I've marked on the map where the lounge chairs are that are quieter than the main pool area. They may be in higher demand when you go than when we were there because of the pool construction. You will want to claim these early (7:45. Have one of you hold the chairs and the other go get in the line for the towels).
     

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    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    I've marked on the map where the lounge chairs are that are quieter than the main pool area. They may be in higher demand when you go than when we were there because of the pool construction. You will want to claim these early (7:45. Have one of you hold the chairs and the other go get in the line for the towels).
    That was so nice of you! Thank you.
     

    linco711

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 17, 2004
    Well, my husband just does not like to travel no matter where it is. I just go by myself or with my daughters. I would have no issue going to Hawaii solo. Have a fun
    I've marked on the map where the lounge chairs are that are quieter than the main pool area. They may be in higher demand when you go than when we were there because of the pool construction. You will want to claim these early (7:45. Have one of you hold the chairs and the other go get in the line for the towels).
    I hate having to fight for pool chairs...we’re going to be there the same week of October. I’m so hoping it’s not crazy busy at that time. I would love to just relax at the hotel. But with all the construction going on, I know things will be crazy. My daughter lives in Hawaii and is gettin married on October 15th..and since we are DVC members wanted to use our points. Otherwise we would have definitely booked a quieter hotel. The crowds don’t bother me in Orlando, but when it comes to Hawaii, I want relaxation...
    .
    Same here...oh well..
     

    vikequeen

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2015
    I think we'll definitely try to go early and get around as much of it as possible. But, we do want to hang out by the pools a bit too and enjoy the resort. I had hoped it wouldn't be 'too' crowded, but I guess we will find out. As you have already noticed, the adult only pool will be open to everyone due to the pool construction, but I may look into a cabana. If we have our own space, I think that will be good. I don't know why I hadn't considered that. Thanks for the suggestion!
    If you get to choose, ask to be put away from the kids play area. There are cabanas in a couple of places. Those would be great with littles, but so great for most others. I think the one we had was by Ka Maka Grotto, but I can look it up if you can't find it. Its worth researching.
     

    cedricandsophie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2014
    We have been to aulani several times and usually drive along the north shore on our last day. We always have an afternoon flight so we leave aulani in the morning and go along the north shore all the way around the tip of Oahu and then head down to the airport, if you avoid the weekends the drive isn’t that bad. And it is lovely,
     

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