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

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Seems like there are more character meet-ups at Aulani, than most guests have when visiting a WDW park! So glad that your family met them, and had some cute photos taken. :)
I was very impressed with the character interaction at the resort. There was always someone greeting guests but it was always closer to the main building so even though it was very Disney in that sense, you could still escape it if you wanted to and just enjoy the resort without that aspect.
 

MickeyCB

Well-Known Member
Also just found your trip report, enjoying it very much! Very excited to read this, as I am trying to talk my daughter and her fiance into going here for their honeymoon in October. Any pointers regarding the resort or surrounding areas would be appreciated. Mahalo in advance!
 

lapu_lapu

New Member
Also just found your trip report, enjoying it very much! Very excited to read this, as I am trying to talk my daughter and her fiance into going here for their honeymoon in October. Any pointers regarding the resort or surrounding areas would be appreciated. Mahalo in advance!
I went on my honeymoon to Aulani last October and can not recommend it enough! The resort is absolutely beautiful and there is so much to do in both Oahu and the resort itself. We found the weather in October to be great as well.
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Also just found your trip report, enjoying it very much! Very excited to read this, as I am trying to talk my daughter and her fiance into going here for their honeymoon in October. Any pointers regarding the resort or surrounding areas would be appreciated. Mahalo in advance!
Thanks very much for following along! Much like the comments made below, I can't say enough great things about the resort. It was great for us as a family but there were many couples without kids enjoying Aulani as well.

We certainly didn't do a lot of planning as we would for a typical WDW visit, instead decided just to go with the flow, but there is definitely enough to do in the immediate area and the island itself to create a memorable trip. The only somewhat downside we experienced was a lack of dining options in the immediate area that were not located at or within surrounding resort hotels but that really wasn't a huge issue.

I went on my honeymoon to Aulani last October and can not recommend it enough! The resort is absolutely beautiful and there is so much to do in both Oahu and the resort itself. We found the weather in October to be great as well.
Fully agree!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
ULU Cafe is just off the end of the Waianae Tower and near the adult only pool area while still a short walk from pretty much every other pool area in the courtyard.

We arrived when it wasn't overly busy so there was no line to wait in for food. We explored the restaurant area before figuring out what we wanted to eat. They had all sort of different options from hot, made to order selections of sandwiches, flatbreads, full-size pizzas and other hot items to a wide variety of pre-packaged cold options like wraps and salads. You could also choose from a ton of fresh baked goods, popcorn, chips and ice cream, including Dole Whip!

After taking a quick look around, Ella was quick to select the Mickey shaped PB&J kids meal while Lennon went with the chicken tenders and fries.

For really not eating a ton all day, I wasn't super famished so I just went with something simple from the prepackaged fridge. I picked out a turkey club wrap and a Maui Brewing Co. coconut porter beer. Kelly was the only one who really got something that looked good. She ordered a pulled pork flatbread and upon seeing it, I immediately regretted my wrap decision. At least I had the beer to make up for it.

We also picked up two refillable resort mugs for the trip and decided there was no way we could pass up a Dole Whip. We ordered two, one for each kid (in theory). Once the Dole Whips were given to us, we quickly realized we should have only ordered one! They are just a tad bigger than what you get in the parks. But for $6, great value!

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Our first food charge was quite a bit more than expected but I guess that happens when you throw in the resort mug charge.

We took our food to the last remaining table on the patio and hunkered in to eat. We had some hungry kids and they were pumped to be putting something into their bellies.

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We enjoyed a peaceful meal together and tried our best to eat the Dole Whips before they melted all over the place. Kelly couldn't finish off her pizza but I was happy to have her pack it up and bring it back to the room so I could eat it for lunch tomorrow.

With our dinner out of the way, and the sun setting, we decided to make our way down to the beach area and check out the lagoon/ocean before finding our way to Target for supplies and some clothing.

Once we stepped out of the resort area onto the beach area and looked out at the water and the setting sun, all the stresses of a long travel day definitely melted away. This was really a view you couldn't beat.

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The beach area is shared with the Four Seasons resort right next door and has plenty of space for all guests. Each hotel has their area kinda blocked off with chairs and loungers for resort guests to use. The water was really quite warm and we couldn't wait to spend a bunch of time out here, especially with some of the equipment you could use or rent if you were staying at Aulani.

Kelly was quick to spot PhotoPass photographers on the beach setting up for sunset photos but since we looked like a bunch of scrubs who just finished 9 hours of flying and had no clean clothes to change into, we figured we would be best served to come back another night when we looked presentable.

We hung around the beach for a little while longer before making our way back to the room to grab the car keys and head to Target.

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Target was only about a 15-minute drive from the resort and while it was only about 7 pm local time, with the travel and time change, we were absolutely beat. Throw in the luggage issues and it was clear that three of the four of us had no interest in being in this store. Kelly still seemed to enjoy herself and took her time browsing all sort of different areas.

I made a mad dash to the men's clothing area to grab a bathing suit, flip flops a shirt and a pair of underwear. I was set and ready to go. The girls...not so much. I huffed and puffed as I pushed the cart around until we finally made our way to the food area to grab some essentials for the week.

Upon checking out we kept our clothing and personal items separate from the food and treats, and beer of course, that we bought for the room. We had up to $300 to spend on the four of us from the airline and our final bill totaled $295. Perfect planning! Our food items rang in separately and we were finally ready to head back and get some sleep.

When we returned to the resort there was an email from WestJet stating that our bags were en route which made us breathe a little easier but even so, I wasn't getting too excited until they actually arrived.

We unpacked what we could and got the room ready so that we could hit the sack. Even if it wasn't 9pm local time, the lights were out and we were all fast asleep hoping that we would wake up to our luggage and get an early start on really enjoying what the resort had to offer!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Posters note: Since I am no longer using any photo sharing service, like Flickr, I'm attaching my photo files instead. I guess since I can only attach 10 photos as opposed to 20, I'll likely be making more shorter posts to coincide with the photos. Not sure if there are any better options but I really haven't looked into it but I'd be happy to take advice if there is any out there.

April 7, 2019 - The Luggage Returns

Even though we were all exhausted after our long day of travel and early exploration of the resort, I was wide awake around 2 am. Call it a mix of getting used to the four hour time change and the fact that our luggage was still in limbo. I checked my phone to see if there might be an update and to my surprise, there was an email stating that Kelly's bag was delivered to the hotel. Since we booked on separate flight reservations, I had not received one for the two bags I had checked which made me super nervous.

I decided to slip out of the room and head to bell services just to see if everything had arrived. Not surprisingly, the hotel lobby was a ghost town and was amazingly quiet. I wish I had brought my phone with me to take a few pics as I was sure I would not see the lobby as empty as it was for the rest of the trip.

I quickly made it to bell services and asked if they had received a luggage delivery. I was told they did and asked for the last names. Kelly still goes by her maiden name so I gave our two separate last names. I was told a delivery was made for one, but not both. I asked if I might see what was delivered so they led me into the storage room and to my relief, all three bags were sitting there waiting! I thanked the CM for showing me and told him I would call down in the morning to have the bags sent to our room. I skipped by to the room, quietly slid back into bed and told Kelly we were all set. Crisis averted!

I didn't get much more sleep as everyone was up by about 6 am. We knew that was likely to be the case on that first night or two but at least it would give us an early start to have breakfast and get out to stake our claim to good seats by the pool. I called the front desk and had our bags delivered while I prepared breakfast for the kids. They enjoyed cereal and toast on the lanai while Kelly and I opted for Larabars and fruit.

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We were in no real rush to get moving since we were up so early so I took some time to unpack my suitcase, which I do for any length of trip, and ready my stuff for the rest of our stay. Kelly, on the other hand, lives out of a suitcase and she takes that same approach for the girls so she slid their stuff under the bed and would rummage through as needed. Not sure how you can live like that but what can you do?!

When we finally were ready to head down to the pool it was about 730. We figured we'd have prime pick of the seats and we could hold some chairs for the day. We ended up taking the elevator down to the courtyard level and the first thing I noticed was the Polynesian version of several Disney classics playing. Throughout the trip, there were versions of Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Under the Sea, Be our Guest, You've Got a Friend in Me and many others. It was actually a really cool touch!

Once out in the courtyard, we made our way to the main pool and found front row seating that looked like a great place to stake our claim. The sun wasn't quite up over the towers yet but we figured by early morning we would be in full sun and still have a great veiw of the girls playing in the water. Of course, they had to dip a toe in to see how cold the water was so early in the morning.
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Each day begins with guests getting a new wristband, towels and life jackets (if needed) at 8 am. The signs are everywhere that if you stake claim to seats before 8 am and are not actually at the seats, just holding them with personal items, those items would be removed. Many families were out around the time we were and as it got closer to 8 am, I made my way to stand in line at the towel shack and asked that the girls meet up at 8.

Didn't take long for us to get our bands and towels and by about 805 we were ready to enjoy the water. Ella was quick to jump in and test things out!
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It may have been a tad chilly still in the shadows but it didn't stop the kids from being the first ones in and start splashing around. They did need a little break to warm up though and grab a quick snack before heading back in.

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We spent the first hour or two poolside, in the water having fun or climbing up the stairs to enter the line for one of the two waterslides that are available. There is a slide that is fully in the dark and super fast and another that allows guests to sit on either a single or double tube that leads you into the lazy river.

While nervous the first time heading up, once they got down the dark slide once, it was a non-stop trek back up the stairs to ride again. I was impressed with how fast the slide could be and the kids loved the giant splashes I'd create when I'd emerge from the darkness! We ended up starting almost every morning with a few slides before doing anything else.

Once the sun was fully up and beating on everyone, we decided to make our way down to the beach and enjoy the lagoon for a bit.
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It was pretty busy down there already but such a great spot to sit and relax and have a little fun. We checked out the water which was nice and warm and played in the sand. Looking around at the views of the ocean, the blue skies, the great weather, it really was a perfect paradise! We'd only just begun but we were thoroughly enjoying the experience so far.

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Ella was quick to notice a lot of other kids on boogie boards and wanted to give it a try as well. There is a rental hut just off the beach and the boards and beach toys are free of charge for guests to use. Lennon had no interest in the board but was happy to grab a sack of toys to take back to the beach with her to build some sand castles.

Ella was pumped to get into the water!

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We were off to a great start so far and it wasn't even 10 am!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We continued to enjoy some time down at the lagoon as the morning went on. Ella couldn't get out of the water on her boogie board and Lennon dove right into building some sand castles. She didn't have the same affinity for the water but was very happy to hang out on the beach, soak up some sun and play in the sand.

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With the kids entertained and Kelly laid out in a chair watching them enjoy the lagoon, I made my way back up towards the pool area to take my first dip in the hot tub. The adult only hot tub is two levels that overlooks the lagoon/ocean. Not sure why I was the only one in the hot tub at 1030 am. It's not like it's hot in Hawaii at that time or anything but it did make for a peaceful opportunity to soak my lack of muscles and enjoy the view.

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It was easy to see why people of all ages enjoy Aulani. There is so much to do for anyone who visits. We were really only about a half day into our first full day and we were already in love. And we had barely had the chance to try some of the food and island delights that were all around us!

I spent about 15 minutes or so in the hot tub before returning to the beach to meet up with Kelly and the kids. Ella was still in the water and by now Lennon had found a little friend who buddied up to her and her beach toys. Lennon was happy to have a little help building her sand castles and the two girls seemed to be having a great time together.

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After a little while longer at the lagoon, we decided to head back up to the pool chairs and see what kind of trouble we could get in. At this point, it was definitely time to get the girls a snack and it was really heating up on the pool deck. Since the Shave Ice stand was a few short steps away, we figured that was an ideal snack to enjoy.

The Shave Ice stand opens at 11, and people line up well in advance to make sure they get their treat. The line gets LONG as soon as the shack opens up and the CMs behind the counter are working hard to keep up with demand. I admit, much like the Dole Whip, the Shave Ice was a pretty solid value. $4.50 for a single flavour, an additional dollar to add Mickey ears and I think another 50 cents for additional flavours. Really not too shabby.

There are plenty of flavours to enjoy as well so the combinations are endless. Both Ella and Lennon selected three different flavours and added the Mickey ears (of course!) to their order. The machine they have to create the shave ice is quite cool and the finished product looks awesome! Though the girls didn't seem to be brave enough to add the condensed milk to their ice, which I understand is a Hawaiian tradition.

Nonetheless, these snacks looked darned tasty and the kids were pumped for a sugar fix!
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They ate their Shave Ice on the pool chairs while Kelly and I relaxed in the sun. Our first morning was just about perfect and we were looking forward to the rest of the afternoon. We had no real plans, outside of grabbing a bite to eat for lunch and heading offsite later in the evening. For now, we were happy to kick back and enjoy!

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Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
After finishing up their snacks, Lennon decided she wanted a little break from the pool and changed out of her bathing suit, back into her clothes. You could tell she was starting to get pretty worn out with the craziness of the travel day, the time change and now a morning full of activity catching up to her.

She wanted to head back to the room to grab some stuff to play with and take a little break from the heat so Kelly agreed to head in for a little bit so they could cool off. Ella and I would hang out at the pool and go for a swim while the others were gone.

Apparently, along the way back to the resort, there were plenty of characters out and about greeting guests. One, in particular, caught Lenny's attention and she ended up getting some great face time with one of her favourite princesses, Moana! The combination of our own photos and the availability of PhotoPass photographers made for some great shots throughout the week.

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While Lennon was galavanting with characters, Ella was dragging me up to get in line for the slides. We must have gone down the dark slide at least half a dozen times while it was just the two of us. The line for the tube slide was always longer than the dark slide but both generally moved pretty quickly. The Lifeguard at the top of the slide was helpful in getting everyone situated no matter which slide they were on which made the process pretty efficient.

We floated around in the pool for a while until Kelly and Lennon returned. Lennon, of course, bragging about her run in and conversation with Moana. Ella didn't seem to care too much but you could tell she was kinda bummed she didn't get to meet her.

At this point, I was getting pretty hungry so I decided to take a quick break for lunch. I ran back up to the room to grab a beer and heat up Kelly's leftover pizza. It definitely hit the spot! She raved about it the night before and I could see why. A very tasty treat and the beer wasn't bad either. I made sure to stock up on Kona Brewing Co's Big Wave lager. The perfect beer to help quench your thirst and cool off.

I made short work of my lunch and wandered back downstairs. At this point, both girls were out of their suits and in their clothes. Sounded like they needed a little downtime to relax a bit. Ella was hoping to run into Moana since Lennon had already met her so we were walking around trying to spot some friends.

As we rounded a corner, we bumped into the most famous Disney couple, Mickey and Minnie, all decked out in their best Hawaiian duds. It was once again picture time but seeing as how I was not wearing a shirt, I was most certainly avoiding the camera as best I could!

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We said goodbye to Mickey and Minnie and at this point everyone, well except me, was ready for a lunch break. I had swiped some jam packages from the ULU Cafe and both girls seemed pretty happy to head back up to the room for a bit, get out of the sun and eat some PB and J sandwiches for lunch.

We turned in our towels, gave up our prime real estate and made our way back. I took the kids and Kelly went off to look for something for her to eat and meet us once she'd found something.
 
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Darstarr

Well-Known Member
I made sure to stock up on Kona Brewing Co's Big Wave lager. The perfect beer to help quench your thirst and cool off.
I got compleyely addicted to Big Wave after our visit to Aulani. Not AA addicted, but I love it! Longboard is another one if my favorites. As is Kanaha (it is like a lighter version of Big Wave. Perfect for a day at the beach!) I am happy it is so easy to find on the mainland now. When we first returned it was tough finding it. Priorities!
 

Matt and Kelly

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I got compleyely addicted to Big Wave after our visit to Aulani. Not AA addicted, but I love it! Longboard is another one if my favorites. As is Kanaha (it is like a lighter version of Big Wave. Perfect for a day at the beach!) I am happy it is so easy to find on the mainland now. When we first returned it was tough finding it. Priorities!
I'm a big fan of many of the Kona Brewing Co flavours. I ended up trying Wailua Wheat towards the end of the trip and that might be at the top of my list now!
 
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