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Trip Report Aloha...E Komo Mai to Our Aulani Adventure!

Maelstrom Troll

Well-Known Member
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Jus got caught up on your trip and cant wait to share it with my wife. We’ve wanted to do Aulani for a while now and this might be the catalyst to start our saving!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Jus got caught up on your trip and cant wait to share it with my wife. We’ve wanted to do Aulani for a while now and this might be the catalyst to start our saving!
Thanks so much for reading along. I hope both you and your wife enjoy reading the report as much as I am enjoying writing it.

I think Kelly and I would both highly recommend Aulani to any Disney fan looking for a different Disney experience. It was terrific!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Before we made our way back up to the room we ran into one last character. Pluto was out on the trails and since we were on such a role the girls were happy to keep the meet and greet rolling.

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Because of the girls' late morning shave ice, we weren't in a huge rush to get back to the room for lunch so by the time we finally found ourselves back in the air-conditioned comfort of our studio it was somewhere around 130pm. I made the kids a PB & J sandwich with some fruit and they saddled up to the table to eat.

Kelly came back with a pretty nice little lunch for the two of us to enjoy. Yes, I realize that I had already eaten lunch so call this a second helping. She was able to find a roast beef sandwich and some nachos from one of the vendors near the beach area. Tasty little treat, along with another Big Wave.

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Not quite the same cheese sauce that you'd find in WDW but still not too bad. We enjoyed our meal on the lanai while the kids ate indoors. We didn't have the best view or anything but it was shaded and the calming sounds of the water wall near our door made for a nice, peaceful retreat. We all ate our lunch and were more than happy to relax for a bit before finding the energy to get ourselves ready for an evening out.

Kelly and I laid in bed for a while watching TV or checking in on how things were going back home while the girls were playing with their toys for a bit before turning to their iPads to watch some Netflix and take it easy.

Somewhere around 3 or 330 we decided to start getting ready to head back out. Showers for everyone and a slow pace to get dressed for dinner. Our plan was to head across to the strip mall across the street from our resort and check things out around there. We were told by a friend of ours that a great dining option is a restaurant called Monkey Pod so we figured that would be where we would end up that night.

Since it was still decently early and we weren't overly hungry after having a late lunch and before we made our way across the street, we would make our way to the kids club, Aunty's Beach House, to see what they have to offer the kids during the day. We weren't sure if the kids would actually agree to leave our sides to hang out at the Beach House but we figured we would check it out just in case.

Because it was so late in the afternoon, there weren't many people registering for the beach house, but many parents picking up kids after a day of activity. We spoke the CM about what's offered and how to register. It seemed like a very cool set up for kids and they certainly have a ton of fun activities that kids could enjoy throughout the day but we didn't end up registering the kids for future visits at that time. We knew we would have to line up super early to ensure they could get a spot on any given day but since the girls didn't seem too keen on being dropped off here, we didn't push too hard to move to next steps. It was neat to get an idea of what options they have though, including their menus available should children eat while in the program.

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At this point, we were ready to make our way off property and explore the area around us. We found our way back to the lobby and walked down towards the main street. The sun was slowly setting which was making for some beautiful natural light and there was a slight breeze making it feel amazingly comfortable outside.

We wandered down the driveway of the resort towards the sidewalk. As we turned toward the streetlights to get across the street, we wandered by the Aulani sign that I had yet to notice while driving past the hotel a few times. We couldn't pass up the chance for one more photo before wandering off to look around.

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Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As we crossed the street towards the restaurant area, we could see that MonkeyPod was looking pretty busy. We figured this was a good sign if so many people wanted to eat there. We must be in for a good meal!

The area around the strip mall is actually very cool. Train tracks run through the landscape and surrounding golf course, the Ko Olina Golf Club, and there are ample spaces to sit outside and enjoy the weather. There are all sorts of shops that tourists can check out and a great ice cream and Kona coffee shop.

Kids were running all over the grassy areas and it really looked like a great place to relax with a morning coffee or enjoy a sweet treat after dinner. Lenny seemed to enjoy the surroundings. She was cartwheeling all over the small hills and made sure to get a picture on the train tracks.
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Monkey Pod is a multilevel restaurant that was easily visible from the street. The exterior was super cool and I was pretty excited to get a look at the inside. It was a gorgeous night so we hoped we might be seated outside or near the upper patio.

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Instead of heading right in, we decided to walk around for a bit and check out what the ABC store that's a short walk from the restaurant.

For anyone who has been to Hawaii before, ABC stores are everywhere! This was one of the bigger ABC's that I've seen in my few trips to Hawaii and it was very well stocked with everything you'd need to buy when on vacation. I was most impressed with their liquor selection but the prices were a few dollars more than what we had paid the night before at Target.

We wandered around the store for a good 20 minutes or so and ended up leaving with a few items, most non-essentials that the girls just couldn't live without! I mean, who could pass up $5 fake flower hair clips? I was tempted to try some of the CBD sleep aid gummies they were selling but decided against it.

Kelly wanted to look in a few of the other stores that were around MonkeyPod so I decided to go put our name in for a table. I could tell there was going to be a bit of a wait seeing the number of people hanging around outside the restaurant but was pleasantly surprised that we'd only be waiting about 15 minutes or so.

I sat down outside with the beeper they gave me and waited for the girls to arrive. I should be used to this by now and it seems like Ella doesn't even notice but when she returned an older couple sitting near us could not stop staring and pointing at her arm where her glucose monitor was clearly visible. I always laugh that it seems to be adults who are far more curious/nosey when they spot one of her diabetic devices. Kids seem to be more upfront and simply ask her why she's wearing something on her body.

At any rate, the wait was only about 15 minutes until the beeper started blinking and we were led to our table. Sadly we weren't seated outside but we were close to a window with the setting sun providing some great light. The interior of the restaurant was just a cool as the exterior and it was definitely a popular place to be.

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We placed our drink orders and took a look at the menu. I was most satisfied with my Maui Brewing Co Bikini Blonde lager.

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The girls were sold on the Keiki (kid's) cheese pizza while Kelly and I went a bit of a different route. We were told everything was locally sourced and made from scratch, which I certainly appreciate, There were plenty of options to consider but we both ended up going with salad. I know, who orders a salad on vacation?! I didn't think I was "that guy" but I couldn't pass this one up. The description was too good. Kelly ordered the Waipoli Farm Organic Baby Romaine (caesar) salad with grilled chicken and I went with the MA’O Farm Organic Kale salad, also with grilled chicken.

With our orders in we sat back and reflected on our first full day.
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The food arrived pretty quickly and it looked delicious. The kids dove into their pizza and I was quite excited to dig into the salad.

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I did remove the onions but the rest of it was as good as it looked. The salad was great, but the chicken was outstanding. Cooked perfectly, super juicy, a great compliment to the meal. I was very happy with my choice to actually order some greens! Kelly really enjoyed hers as well and even the kids ate almost every piece of their pizza. We did end up boxing up a few leftover slices which I was hoping to enjoy for lunch the next day.

With our meal completed, we paid our bill and decided to check out the rest of the shopping area before heading back to the resort. Kelly had told me about this scavenger hunt that families could do that incorporated different areas around Aulani. It was suggested to try the hunt at night as there is a lot of light up effects involved that look better in the dark.

We figured we'd kill some time and let the sun go down a bit more before heading back to Aulani for our nighttime activities.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
Your Hawaiian vacation looks amazing!

I've eaten at one of the MonkeyPod locations on Maui. It was yummy! I'll look for it if I can ever talk the hubby into Aulani.

Also I hope you got some coconut syrup while you were there. Macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup are my favorite breakfast now.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Your Hawaiian vacation looks amazing!

I've eaten at one of the MonkeyPod locations on Maui. It was yummy! I'll look for it if I can ever talk the hubby into Aulani.

Also I hope you got some coconut syrup while you were there. Macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup are my favorite breakfast now.
Thanks for following along!

I really enjoyed MonkeyPod. If/when we return to Aulani, or Hawaii, I'll definitely make my way back.

And I did get to enjoy some coconut syrup later on in the trip but not the macadamia pancakes. I had a very good substitute though which I'll detail later in the report!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
With our bellies full, we set off to burn a few of the calories we just ate by looking around the rest of the mall area. We crossed the street where MonkeyPod was and wandered around a few more stores. There were a couple of different dining options that we could consider later on in the trip, including a pizza joint called Pizza Corner, which we were told has pretty good 'za.

We ended up stopping in and browsing through a few of the shops within the mall area, looking for cool things that we might be able to bring back with us. There were some pretty neat shops, many with clothing and other items and some that were really neat art galleries with some high-end stuff. A unique collection of eateries and stores for guests to enjoy.

We didn't end up buying anything but it was fun to browse and talk with some of the shop workers.
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When we figured we had seen enough, we decided to head back so we could start the Menehune Hunt around the resort. The sun had nearly set but we still had enough natural light to capture a few great photos of the Aulani entrance as we walked back to the hotel. No matter where you were on the property, it seemed like there was always an opportunity to get some great pics. Disney never overlooks the details.

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Before making our way to the Pua Hana Room, the community hall, to sign up for the Menehune Hunt, we made our way back to the room to drop off a few things. We could tell that the kids were getting a little tired but they refused to give in. They really wanted to find out what this hunt was all about so down to the pool level we went.

We walked into the Pua Hana Room and asked a CM if we could participate in the hunt. We had arrived after 7 pm, which is the time they typically stop lending out the tablets that are needed for the search but because we are DVC members, we get an extra hour so the timing worked out pretty well. While we waited for our tablet, I looked around the room which was really very cool. There were all sorts of Disney themed games like Jenga and Clue. A huge collection of BlueRay discs you could sign out and take back to your room. Couches and chairs that made for a very comfy sitting area in front of a big TV. It looked like a place we would definitely come back to throughout the week as they had a ton of day programs going on as well.

We were set up with our tablet and sent on our way.
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The game is hosted by Aunty who provides you with a number of clues to different locations around the courtyard. Once you find the location you are supposed to be at, the bluetooth from the tablet is connected with whatever landmark or area you are looking for. If you are in the right place and answer some riddles, or play the song that is on the tablet, something magical will happen around you.

In true Disney fashion, they really did an amazing job of blending these secret areas in with the landscaping. If you weren't playing the game, everything you see around you looks like its nothing more than amazingly well-themed landscaping. When you are playing the game, those subtle touches make for huge surprises that you wouldn't otherwise expect.

We made our way through a number of clues that led us all over the pool areas. The pools close at 8 so there were still a few brave swimmers enjoying ever last minute but for the most part, the deck areas were super quiet. I was taken back by just how dark it gets once the sun is down. It made the deck area seem much more intimate with the lighting that was used throughout the resort.
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After a while, Lennon finally dropped out and asked to go back to the room. Kelly was most pleased to head back up and get ready for bed so the two of them left me and Ella to finish our quest. We ended up finding a few more clues before returning the tablet to the community room. Ella didn't want to go up just yet so we walked down toward the beach just to see how dark everything looked at night.

It was pitch black along the water but there was a roaring fire not far away and a local CM sharing a great story about island culture to a group of resort guests. Something that is done multiple times a night. We didn't stay long to listen but it looked like a terrific added touch.
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We wandered a bit longer but finally decided to call it a night. I grabbed one last photo before heading up to unwind,
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With that, the two of us slowly wandered back to the room. When we arrived, Lennon was in her PJs, already under the covers in the pull out bed ready for some sleep. Ella and I got ourselves ready for bed and before long the lights were out. Wasn't much past 9 pm but the sun, the water, and the walking had taken its toll on all of us. We couldn't wait to grab some sleep and do it again the next day!
 

susan lees

Well-Known Member
With our bellies full, we set off to burn a few of the calories we just ate by looking around the rest of the mall area. We crossed the street where MonkeyPod was and wandered around a few more stores. There were a couple of different dining options that we could consider later on in the trip, including a pizza joint called Pizza Corner, which we were told has pretty good 'za.

We ended up stopping in and browsing through a few of the shops within the mall area, looking for cool things that we might be able to bring back with us. There were some pretty neat shops, many with clothing and other items and some that were really neat art galleries with some high-end stuff. A unique collection of eateries and stores for guests to enjoy.

We didn't end up buying anything but it was fun to browse and talk with some of the shop workers.
View attachment 369112

When we figured we had seen enough, we decided to head back so we could start the Menehune Hunt around the resort. The sun had nearly set but we still had enough natural light to capture a few great photos of the Aulani entrance as we walked back to the hotel. No matter where you were on the property, it seemed like there was always an opportunity to get some great pics. Disney never overlooks the details.

View attachment 369113View attachment 369114View attachment 369107View attachment 369116View attachment 369115

Before making our way to the Pua Hana Room, the community hall, to sign up for the Menehune Hunt, we made our way back to the room to drop off a few things. We could tell that the kids were getting a little tired but they refused to give in. They really wanted to find out what this hunt was all about so down to the pool level we went.

We walked into the Pua Hana Room and asked a CM if we could participate in the hunt. We had arrived after 7 pm, which is the time they typically stop lending out the tablets that are needed for the search but because we are DVC members, we get an extra hour so the timing worked out pretty well. While we waited for our tablet, I looked around the room which was really very cool. There were all sorts of Disney themed games like Jenga and Clue. A huge collection of BlueRay discs you could sign out and take back to your room. Couches and chairs that made for a very comfy sitting area in front of a big TV. It looked like a place we would definitely come back to throughout the week as they had a ton of day programs going on as well.

We were set up with our tablet and sent on our way.
View attachment 369108

The game is hosted by Aunty who provides you with a number of clues to different locations around the courtyard. Once you find the location you are supposed to be at, the bluetooth from the tablet is connected with whatever landmark or area you are looking for. If you are in the right place and answer some riddles, or play the song that is on the tablet, something magical will happen around you.

In true Disney fashion, they really did an amazing job of blending these secret areas in with the landscaping. If you weren't playing the game, everything you see around you looks like its nothing more than amazingly well-themed landscaping. When you are playing the game, those subtle touches make for huge surprises that you wouldn't otherwise expect.

We made our way through a number of clues that led us all over the pool areas. The pools close at 8 so there were still a few brave swimmers enjoying ever last minute but for the most part, the deck areas were super quiet. I was taken back by just how dark it gets once the sun is down. It made the deck area seem much more intimate with the lighting that was used throughout the resort.
View attachment 369109

After a while, Lennon finally dropped out and asked to go back to the room. Kelly was most pleased to head back up and get ready for bed so the two of them left me and Ella to finish our quest. We ended up finding a few more clues before returning the tablet to the community room. Ella didn't want to go up just yet so we walked down toward the beach just to see how dark everything looked at night.

It was pitch black along the water but there was a roaring fire not far away and a local CM sharing a great story about island culture to a group of resort guests. Something that is done multiple times a night. We didn't stay long to listen but it looked like a terrific added touch.
View attachment 369110

We wandered a bit longer but finally decided to call it a night. I grabbed one last photo before heading up to unwind,
View attachment 369111

With that, the two of us slowly wandered back to the room. When we arrived, Lennon was in her PJs, already under the covers in the pull out bed ready for some sleep. Ella and I got ourselves ready for bed and before long the lights were out. Wasn't much past 9 pm but the sun, the water, and the walking had taken its toll on all of us. We couldn't wait to grab some sleep and do it again the next day!
This resort is definitely on my wish list. You photos are great and the girls look like they are having a great time.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April 8 - Running in Paradise and Even More Salad!

It would appear that we weren’t quite acclimatized to the time change just yet as all four of us were up by 6 am! The girls already wanted to get out by the pool but Kelly and I weren’t quite as eager to get up and rolling so early.

As I have been training for my first half marathon, I planned to try and do a couple of runs while on vacation. I planned to run on this day but not until after breakfast and after we secured our chairs by the pool.

Our unexpected early morning changed those plans and allowed me to get out for a run a bit sooner than expected. I readied myself for a short run, prepared my BioSteel drink and loaded up my running belt.

I had been doing some research before the trip to find a good running route and it looked like there was a path that would total about 4km from start to finish. I figured that would at least keep me in the running routine and have me wrapped up under 25 minutes.

I slipped out the door, wandered towards the lobby, made my way down the stairs and set off toward the path near the beach. The pool deck was deserted but I could see the early morning yoga class running through their practice on the beach.

I set off down the path and was absolutely stunned by the view. The surrounding resort areas near Aulani are immaculate. The water is crystal clear. The sky was blue and the sun was slowly rising. Couldn’t think of a better start to my day or a more fantastic running path.

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The path was quite busy with runners and walkers. I was very pleased to have worked up enough motivation to get out and start my day this way. I ripped through the first Km with ease but then the air seemed to get super heavy and it was definitely a slog the rest of the way!

I battled harder on this 4K run than I did when I ran the equivalent of a half marathon for the first time in early March. I didn’t quit though and made it to the end of my path and back to Aulani in a fairly solid time. I made sure to soak in the peacefulness of my surroundings before heading back upstairs to get ready for the pool.

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When I returned the girls had already eaten breakfast and were busy getting their bathing suits on and packing up the beach bag with all their necessities.

I was sweating like crazy so I hopped in the shower and got myself ready to go.

I figured it was a good day to not only represent the World Champion Patriots, but also rock a hat that all three girls were begging me not to pack...

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I couldn’t wait to get to the pool!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
There is nothing worse on a run then feeling like it is a slog...
The worst feeling. Not sure what the issue was either. It didn’t seem overly humid or anything. That’s usually what kills me when I’m running in places like WDW. At the same time maybe my body was just in vacation mode and didn’t want to cooperate!
 

Swissmiss

Premium Member
The worst feeling. Not sure what the issue was either. It didn’t seem overly humid or anything. That’s usually what kills me when I’m running in places like WDW. At the same time maybe my body was just in vacation mode and didn’t want to cooperate!
Sometimes I think it’s just our subconscious (unconscious?) way to build up the mental stamina needed for some distances. If you can’t find the mental strength to get through a slog, it’d be really difficult to finish a half or full marathon. Because I agree with you, when I’ve had those sorts of runs, there has never really been a « reason » for it.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Sometimes I think it’s just our subconscious (unconscious?) way to build up the mental stamina needed for some distances. If you can’t find the mental strength to get through a slog, it’d be really difficult to finish a half or full marathon. Because I agree with you, when I’ve had those sorts of runs, there has never really been a « reason » for it.
Very good point and an absolute possibility. I’ve found lately that my body (and mind) feel better when I’m committed to running distances more than 10k as opposed to anything under 10k.

I did run a few more times during the trip and had the same struggles with each one but when I returned home those struggles have disappeared, thankfully.
 
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