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Old 07-06-2018, 06:47 PM   #1
Jesper
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Default Another Aulani trip report

We just came back from Aulani and I was going to write a longer trip report, but disneyridleys just made a super nice one with tons of pictures (to be found here: http://www.mouseowners.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=129523). Since we went to pretty much the same places, I'll make a short one, and post a few photo's.

The party was yours truly, DW, DD21, DD18, DD8, MIL and Niece 17 (visiting from Europe). It was every one's first trip to Hawaii. We left Seattle at 9.45 on Hawaiian Airlines. Uneventful flight. They served a breakfast box consisting of yogurt, a roll, juice and a few grapes if I remember correctly. They also offered an adult beverage before landing. It tasted like POG juice with a smidgen of alcohol.

Upon landing we made our way over the rental car shuttle service. There were no signs, but a rather large crowd of confused people. A few rental car agencies have their own shuttle, but most share. As we rented though Hertz we had to take a shared shuttle. A shuttle pulls up, and will load people until full. If another shuttle pulls up, it will not open the doors until the first in line is full, and then the second will move up to that spot and open the doors. The result is that there's two or three shuttles idling with closed doors and empty seats while 20-30 people is standing in the heat and fumes waiting to get on board. Not very effective to say the least. We finally got on board and rode a few minutes to the Hertz counter. We were supposed to get a Nissan Armada, but they "were out", and we were given a Ford Expedition instead. It was tight with the luggage as we had 5 carry on suitcases and to checked ones in addition to backpacks, bags and such. Everything worked fine to begin with, but later, as in once we arrived at Aulani, the backup camera stopped working, and the rear right door could not be opened. Very annoying, but I did not want the hassle of returning it.

The drive to Aulani was uneventful, and took about 30-40 min. Then:

Aulani sign by BonJes, on Flickr
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:01 PM   #2
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We arrived at Aulani around 2PM and drove up to the lobby to unload the luggage and most of the passengers while DW and I made a Costco + Target run. The closest Costco is only 15 min away in Kapolei.

I had heard much about how everything is so expensive in Hawaii, but found that prices at Costco were not that different from our local Costco with a few exceptions such as milk and watermelons. We stocked up on beverages, breakfast items, snacks and some ready made dinner options. We then made our way over to Target, which is just a few minutes away.

It was 4.15 by the time we came back to Aulani, and was hoping our room would be ready, but I had not received any texts. Bell services called for us, and found out we were given room 1280. I had requested a room in the Ewa wing floor 9-12 as close to the ocean as possible, which meant 1286 would be number one choice followed by 1280. Bell services said they'd take care of our groceries while we made out way to the room.

Room 1280. 2 BR with Oceanview:

Room 1280 by BonJes

and the waterslides

Room 1280 -slides by BonJes

The lobby

Room 1280 - lobby by BonJes

After unpacked we made our way over to Monkeypod across the street from Aulani where we had dinner reservations. The food was ok, but nothing special. I liked the decor of the restaurant, but the music was loud to the point where you could not keep a conversation going with someone at the other end of the table.

We headed to bed early as we had an early appointment with Diamond head. First a view from the balcony at night:

Aulani lobby at night by BonJes

Aulani at night2 by BonJes
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Old 07-06-2018, 08:06 PM   #3
disneyridleys
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Beautiful shots!
We were also confused by the rental car situation, lol.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:04 PM   #4
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Beautiful pictures! What a view.

Thanks for taking the time to share, looking forward to much more.
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:44 PM   #5
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great start Cant wait to read more. We will be there in 2 weeks!!
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:18 AM   #6
JudieHopps
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Wonderful photos and Iím following along.
I canít read enough about Aulani, so bring on a full report if you want.
I am happy to tag along!

Thanks for sharing
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:28 AM   #7
SherriH
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I can't even read the Aulani trip reports without wanting to go back....NOW. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:04 PM   #8
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Thanks for following along!

I should mention that Aulani is not our home resort and securing a res at the end of June takes some persistence and luck. It took me three tries (thanks to HelenaBear for the tips) and a bit of walking to get it, and Oceanviews are the last to go. This was a 2 BR, 1 BR might be easier, but if booking this time of year at 7 months I'd try to book a couple of weeks before the planned dates and walk it.

Monday morning we got up early and headed to Diamond Head. I had expected 45-60 min of traffic, but due to an accident it took us 1 hr and 15 min to get there. We arrived at 8.15, and the parking lot was full, but we were the only car waiting for a spot. It only took a few minutes before someone left.

There's a restroom by the visitors center, but none on the trail up. I did not time how long it took us to get up to the top, but would guesstimate 30-40 min for me, DD8 and DD21. DD18 and Niece17 made it up first. DW and MIL last. I'm in decent shape and could have made it up quicker on my own. DD21 does not do any physical activities, and she made up up just fine with a short break right after the steep stairs. I would recommend getting there early though. There were already a lot of people when we got there, and it was already getting crowded on the trail and at the top. Also, because it's inside the crater, it gets hot as there's little wind.

Views from the top:

Diamond Head

Diamond Head2

After getting back down we purchased refresments (shaved ice, slushies, coconuts etc) and then drove along the coast toward Kailua. We drove by Hanuama Bay, but had not planned to stop, which was good as the parking lot was full. It was around 10.30 at this time. We made a quick stop by the Lanai lookout along the way, and the plan was to do the Makapuu Lighthouse trail, but we were running a bit behind and decided to skip it.

Lanai Lookout

We reached Kailua and headed to Uahi Island Grill for lunch. I had researched lunch options for us beforehand, picked three in the area and let the others decide which one we should go to. With seven people I figured that would save us a bit of time. I had printed menu's for all options. Uahi Island Grill was great. Delicious food (I had the Kalua pork sandwich). There were few people and a public parking garage right next to it (coin meters only). After lunch we went to park at Kailua Beach park (several spots available) and headed down to the beach.

This is the most beautiful beach I've ever seen, and not crowded at all. We hung around for little less than an hour.

DD21, DD18, DD8

Kailua Beach

After leaving Kailua we headed towards the Nu'uanu Pali lookout. Due to road work it took us a little longer to get there. It's $3 to park. It was super windy by the look out, so hold on the hats and glasses. Beautiful view of Kailua and the valley though.

Nu’Uani lookout

After the lookout we headed back to Aulani and arrived mid afternoon. We then hit the pool/beach. I expected the resort to be busy, and it was, but not to the point where I found it excessive. The only day where we could not find a couple of chairs somewhere by the pools were Saturday. If you plan a resort day I strongly recommend it not being Saturday. I suspect people checking out stayed at the pools during the day, and people checking in doing the same. Add locals and you get a packed resort. Traffic around Honolulu is also much lighter on weekends so it's a good day to be out and about.

We had dinner in the villa. Salad and some pre-made noodle dinner from Costco, which was not very good, but we had fruits and plenty of bread as well.
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:45 PM   #9
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following along, will be there for the first time in a few weeks...can't wait!
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:15 PM   #10
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Wow, beautiful views from your room!

Following along...
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