Our Amazing Trip to Paradise- Aulani- Pics added

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by sunryzez, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. sunryzez

    sunryzez DIS Veteran

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    Above is the link to the first part of our vacation to DisneyLand and Grand Californian if you are interested. =)

    Day 1:
    We got to LAX early and I'm glad we did. It was very busy and took quite a while to get through bag check, boarding passes, and security. We took a direct flight to HNL with American Airlines. We got really lucky with the plane. It was roomy and had individual tv's so my kids were thrilled! In case you didn't read my other report our family is a group of 6. I turned 36 this trip, Dh is 40, Mom 70, DD 15, DD 10, DS 9. I had prearranged a minivan taxi with Charley's. It was pretty easy. It was a flat rate of 55 dollars and fit all of us with 10 luggage's. Once we landed I called them and they were there within minutes. Driving up to Aulani was so exciting, after planning for so long we couldn't wait! The lobby did not disappoint. Pictures do not do it justice. It is breathtaking. The second you step in you know you are in paradise! They are so nice at check in. They give you a lei greeting, give you fresh lemon water, and explain the resort to you. They walked us over to check in. I had requested a high floor but got two studio rooms on the 5th floor. Our view overlooked a patio, one of their small buildings, and an island view. Considering we were on such a low floor I still really enjoyed our view. I was just glad we weren't staring at the parking lot! Since the airline did not feed us we were starving so we went to Ulu Cafe. We got the rotating Hot plate which was Garlic chicken with rice and veggies. It was so good. After that we went back to our room to unpack and get settled. For the rest of the day/ night we headed to Aunty's to get the bands, enjoyed the views, and tried all the pools. It was such a great day.

    Day 2:
    We hung out at the resort the whole day. We had the character breakfast and the food was amazing. I know there is a lot of discussion on if character meals are worth it and here is my opinion. When we make these types of reservations we make it a bit later ( 10:00am) and we know that the food is filling enough that we can skip lunch because we are still full so we look at it as two meals. This makes it more cost effective. Lastly, we have been to WDW numerous times and my kids still are all about meeting the charters. I have done the 4 hour line for Anna and Elsa and several other long waits. At this point I want to avoid that as much as possible so while the breakfast is so expense ( especially with a 10 year being charged as an adult) It saves a lot of time waiting on lines and time is something you never get back on vacations. So for my family we found it completely worth it. Good food, fun, and atmosphere. I highly recommend it. The characters were Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. The rest of the day we enjoyed the lazy river, slides, pools , and beach. Every view was more breathtaking than the last one. I went snorkeling at the reef and got a length of stay pass. With my DVC discount it was only 35.00. I loved it, the fish get so close to you and you can find some hidden Menuhunes. We headed over to the ABC store across the street for some groceries. I also thought the prices were reasonable for the most part there. We did hit up Target later in the week and their prices were better but if ABC is your only option it is nowhere near as expensive as I was expecting. We also got our first of many mickey shaved ice. The coconut and cherry were my favorite flavors! For dinner we got the kid's some pizza at Pizza Corner and my mom watched them and we ate at Oloe room. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. They had live Hawaiian music, wonderful drinks, the view is great at night, and we ordered a few apps and they were amazing! I really wish we would have done this more than once. If you are visiting this should be on your must do list!

    Day 3- This was another scheduled resort/relax day. After our Disneyland trip which was SO non stop I wanted my first few days at Aulani to be carefree. The kids had a scheduled Stitch's Goo so we dropped them off. Here are my notes on the kid's club. We are pretty laid back and had no interest waiting on huge lines for scheduled activities so my kids only did the 2 scheduled activities they preregistered for and the Chip and Dale's surfs up premium activity. However, we NEVER had an issue dropping our kids off for free play and they absolutely loved it! I also dropped them off at 9:30 a few days and was able to register them for lunch that day. There was only 1 day that wasn't available. I know my husband went out a few times early and always commented how long the lines were at like 7:00 am. I was so worried before this trip after reading these boards that my kids would never get to use this service but I'm telling you do not stress or worry. The kids LOVED making the Goo, they talked about it and played with it all week. The rest of the day we lounged around, swam, enjoyed the beach and just relaxed. My DH and I went across the street and checked out some of the stores and then found the path to the paradise cove beach with turtles. For dinner we did the Mischief Menehune character meal for Father's Day since my hubby loves fish so much. The characters were Donald, Stitch, and Pluto. I do not eat red meat or fish so I was worried I would not enjoy anything but I found several options I really enjoyed. I really recommend this meal as well. Between these two meals I already saw most of the characters that Aulani had to offer. Afterwards we went to Uncle's Story telling Fire pit. It was so relaxing. You get a great view and he is an amazing storyteller.

    Day 4:
    We had arranged for my mom to bring the kid's to the club at 9:30 because we had rented a car from Alamo at the resort and left bright and early at 7:00am. It was so easy. We had our car within minutes and even though we reserved a compact car the attendant heard my husband joking about why I didn't rent a corvette and she brang us a Nissan Z which is pretty close to a sport scar. My hubby was thrilled lol! We had diamond head and Waimea Falls planned which is why we didn't bring the kids. We got there at about 8:15 and the lot was not full but by the time we were leaving it was and a huge waiting line so we suggest to get there early as possible. Wear sunscreen, bug spray, and bring a water, it gets HOT! The hike is challenging but you can do it at your own pace so I think almost anyone can get through it. It was completely worth it. Just make sure you wear comfortable sneakers. At the end we got shaved ice and pineapple smoothies. We realized the falls we wanted to go to were on the North Shore but decided to do the drive anyway. I was so glad we did. The North Shore is lovely. The falls is only 16.00 to get in and are in a gorgeous botanical garden. You can swim in the falls and it is wonderful. It is refreshing and quite the work out. The current is strong so you need to be a good swimmer but they will give you a life vest. You get to actually swim right under the waterfall. I feel like I will say it a million times this trip report but every view was better and better. The geographical landscaping in Oahu has me in complete and utter awe! On the way back to the resort we picked up some more groceries at Target. You also need to refuel your vehicle so we got gas around there. At the hotel you just need to bring the rental back to the valet and they take care of the rest, SO convenient. While we were away my mom picked up my DD 10 and they went to the spa. My DD15 went to teen spa and got a mani and pedi and made fresh body scrubs. My DD had the Moana transformation and this was her favorite part of the vacation. When I got back to the resort we ate at Off the Hook- This was the only meal I did not enjoy. I thought it was overpriced quick service food and tasted terrible. However, Moana walked by. My DD ran over to her to show her she looked just like her and she was so incredibly nice. In WDW they never stop but she talked to her, hugged her, and even let me snap a picture. It really made my DD's day! The CM's at this resort are the nicest people I have ever met in my life. Everyone on the island actually was amazingly nice. That evening we watched Finding Dory on the lawn and really enjoyed it. They give you mats to lay/sit on. By the end the sky was full of stars! It was a wonderful day!

    Day 5:
    I was up SUPER early and out the door by 6:00 am because my mom and I had a scheduled excursion to Pearl Harbor. The bus picked you up at Aulani, gave a detailed historical tour and dropped you off for about 3 hours to explore. It was an extremely humbling experience. It was something I am glad we did but it was heartbreaking. They have a video with actual footage before you go on the boat to view the memorial wall and the ship. By the time you have viewed the sites, read all the quotes, and watched the videos you just feel really sad. On the way back the tour guide gave us more information about Pearl Harbor and some interesting history about Oahu. We were back to the hotel around 11:30.
    The kids had their scheduled Aunty's Aloha party. They really enjoyed this activity. We spent the morning in the pool and I got some more snorkeling in and at 2:30 I went to the DVC member tour. I found it so interesting. It goes very in detail to the lobby decor, history, and agriculture. During this time my DH brought the kids to play the tablet menehune interactive game. They all said it was awesome, even my hubby loved it. Afterwards we went over to MonkeyPod. This was great. I was so glad we went during happy hour. Drinks are 9 bucks, beers 4, pizzas 9 bucks, and half off apps. We ordered a bunch of pizzas, apps, and drinks. Everything tasted lovely. This I would also label a must do. We got ice cream at Two scoops. The macadamia nut caramel was wonderful. My girls spotted macaroons at the coffee shop so got those instead and they really enjoyed them.

    Day 6:
    It was my birthday so we planned a spa day. We hung with the kids in the morning and then brought them to the club. This spa is HEAVEN! The best spa I have ever been to. The outside is gorgeous, the showers are soothing, it is wonderful having a more private hot tub area, the relaxation room lives up to its name, the sauna and aromatic steam rooms are perfect, and the snacks and drinks are delightful. That is all before the service even starts! I got a hot stone massage and an add on scalp massage. DH got the hot stone, lomi lomi, sports massage. All the massages were perfect. After our services we enjoyed more time there. My advice is definitely do a spa day and spend as much time there as possible. Also bring a change of clothes to shower there. They have tons of toiletries and lovely smelling items. The showers are great. Afterwards we got ready for our luau. The two little ones did not want to go because my youngest daughter is terrified of fire and my son always want to do whatever his older sister wants to do so I scheduled their premium activity at that time. They had such a great time. It was 79 per person so it was the same price it would of been if they attended the luau. This was my son's favorite part of the trip. The ate,played games, had a dance party, decorated mini surf boards, and partied with Chip and Dale. I had never been to a luau before and I didn't know what to expect but again Aulani did a perfect job. People line up EARLY. We got there at 4:20 and line was already a bit long. By 5:00 I couldn't even see the end of it. VIP goes in first, then regular tickets, you take a group picture, they give you a free drink and lei and then seat you. Our seats were really good. We were at the fron end of the first table group after VIP so we saw everything just fine. We went and did all the pre activities and then they called the food by tables. Again the food was amazing. The show was very authentic. The storyteller had the most amazing voice, the dancers were great, and the fire part was exciting. At the end of the show they took pictures with everyone and everyone was so kind. My DH spoke with the storyteller for a good 20 minutes about Hawaiian culture and history.

    Day 7:
    This was family excursion day. We rented a car from Alamo again and headed out bright and early for the Dole plantation. We were first in line and got tickets for the train. We only had about 75 minutes there because we needed to head over to Kuaola Ranch by 11:45. The kids enjoyed it and we also did the garden tour. We got our dole whip ( yum) and a few souvenirs and had to head out. I could of easily spent about 3-4 hours there enjoying everything so I wish we had more time! We got to the Ranch and the drive over were in fact the best views of all. Even my kids were impressed. We ate at the ranch and the food was decent. We first had the Ocean Voyage. They take you on a bus, to a small canoe boat on a lake, you take a short walk on secret island, and then finally on a catamaran. It was a really nice ride. It was choppy and fun on the way out and smooth on the way back. They give you some great history and we saw some cute turtles by the reef. We then took the Jungle tour and really enjoyed it. It was rocky and fun. We saw great sights, views, and a few movie sites too. We even went up a hill and they were in the middle of filming Jurassic World. Someone drove by us in a van and the driver waved to us. I don't know who was in there but I can imagine I was that close to Chris Pratt( lol). We got to see the plane from Kong, the compound from Jurassic World 1 , and a few cool statues. In hindsight I wish we would of booked the movie site tour. Originally we didn't book it because we thought it would be to long of a day for my mom but sadly she got really sick during the vacation and ended up staying back at the hotel. On the way back we ate at the Aiea Bowl which was featured on Diners, drive ins and dives. We love Guy Fieri. My DH ate the Ox tail soup like he did on the show and loved it. I had tasty chicken, noodles, and rice. For dessert we tried a few different desserts and the Lemon Crunch cake was my fave. ( As you can tell we are total foodies) We did some souvenir shopping and then headed back to the hotel. Sadly it was late and time to pack. =(

    Day 8:
    This was the only day my DH got up early to get pool chairs. As I stated early I am not one to stress so I decided to not stalk pool chairs. Each day we always found at least one chair at any time and we always found a group of chairs behind Ama Ama right before the beach. However since we were going to be at the pool until 3 I wanted a clear view of all my bags so we needed a group of chairs by the main pool. I finished packing, went back to the spa to buy some lotions, bought some souvenirs, and set up my taxi home. I finished our cold cuts and made lunch for by the pool. We spent the rest of the day in the pool, lazy river, slides, and just lounging in the sun. My kids got to go to the Shaka a shaka pool party and it was so fun. Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy were there, they played games, and danced. It was a great way to end the vacation. At 3:00 we hit the showers in the lounge and ate at Ulu cafe again. We ate the same meal we started with. We let the bell check know we needed our bags and the bags and our taxi was waiting for us. I think I literally was about to cry. This was one of the best vacations EVER and I am so sad it is over.

    I hope you enjoyed my trip report. if you have any questions I will be glad to answer them. I will add pictures ( I seriously took about 1000) as soon as I figure out how.
     
  2. sunryzez

    sunryzez DIS Veteran

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  4. sunryzez

    sunryzez DIS Veteran

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  5. sunryzez

    sunryzez DIS Veteran

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  6. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

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    Thank you for your report! We are headed to Aulani soon and it's so helpful to read what others say about timing and excursions!!!
     
  7. heaven2dc

    heaven2dc DIS Veteran

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    Great review! So glad you enjoyed your visit to Aulani - such a beautiful resort! Love the pic of your son with the shave ice with Mickey ears :earsboy: Shave ice on Oahu is so much more fun to eat than anywhere else!
     
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  8. 85glht

    85glht I am Groot

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    Thanks for your report! Sounds like you and your family had a great time.
    When I saw the pic of the crab, all that went through my head was " hey, hey!!" (From Finding Nemo) lol
     
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  9. sunryzez

    sunryzez DIS Veteran

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    I agree, eating shaved ice in Aulani is better than anywhere :) They have so many flavors we were able to try so many combinations! And the Mickey ears always make everything better.
     
  10. lorenni

    lorenni DIS Veteran

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    This is a terrific trip report - such helpful details and pretty much exactly the trip we are planning for 2018. I may copy and paste your entire post into a word doc for reference!

    Thank you!!
     
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  11. scottmel

    scottmel <font color=darkorchid>Does my logic in my origina

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    Awesome report! We are planning to go next summer and I am already planning. SO HELPFUL to see your days broken out like that. We are really into the movie sites as well - the Ranch tour you did- I noticed on their page they had a package that included TWO tours and an excursion. I will assume the tours are the one you did and the one you wish you did. Would you recommend BOTH in the same day?
     
  12. scottmel

    scottmel <font color=darkorchid>Does my logic in my origina

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    Oops and I also wanted to ask how you think the trip would have went if you did Disneyland AFTER Hawaii instead of before? Can you share who you flied and when you purchased airfare?
     
  13. sunryzez

    sunryzez DIS Veteran

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    On their site there are 5 tours or day excursions you can do. The ones I did were named Jurassic jungle and the catamaran ocean voyage. I do recommend them all in one day ( I wish I would have done the third movie tour as well that day).

    We flew jet blue to San Diego and then flew American Airlines to Hawaii and back. I purchased all my airfare in December so about 6 months before the trip.

    I think Disneyland after the Aulani would of been okay but I enjoyed doing the parks first and relaxing after. However I wish we would of stopped in California for a day or two on the way back to ease back into the time difference. The jet lag was really bad for the whole family when we returned home.

    I'm so glad my trip report has been helpful to others. If you have any other questions please let me know!
     
  14. scottmel

    scottmel <font color=darkorchid>Does my logic in my origina

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    Thanks for the helpful replies. am planning on splitting a trip between waikki and aulani -definitely want to do the ranch tour. In order to maximize my time at aulani I am trying to do my touristy things while staying elsewhere. They offer hotel pick up at 6:30 AM do you think this is located too far away from Waikkikki for this to make sense or should I do this tour while staying at Aulani b/c of distance? Thanks!
     
  15. Kelly R

    Kelly R Earning My Ears

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    Great review! Sounds like an amazing time. We are heading there for Spring Break and can't wait...celebrating our 10 year anniversary and renewing our vows with our 7 and 5 year old girls.
     
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  16. lorimay

    lorimay DIS Veteran

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    Great review! I can't believe its been almost 2 years since we were there already. We need to go back.
     

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