Disney Hawaiian Style

I know this blog is titled, WDW4Adults….. but I have something to share that I’m really, really excited about! It’s Disney’s resort in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu called Aulani.

There were some great specials announced just recently for this winter that can make this trip even more affordable than you can imagine. Be sure to finish reading to the end for more details guaranteed to make you smile!

But first let me tell you about Patti’s and mine trip to celebrate a special anniversary.

We are both in our second (and last) marriage and we met through divine intervention. We lived about 150 miles apart but we met for the first time the same day I moved to Rochester, New York back in July, 2000. I won’t get into all the details, but trust me….. God definitely had a hand in our meeting.

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we decided to visit Hawaii and we made our plans. We decided to try Disney’s Aulani shortly after it opened to the public and it was worth every penny it cost us to get there.

Living in the northeast part of the US, getting to Hawaii takes time. Lots of it. You are going to spend some time in the air no matter the route you take. Our choice was to fly Rochester to Atlanta and then to change planes and fly nonstop from Atlanta to Honolulu via Delta Airlines. And our plan worked to perfection. Both flights were extremely comfortable.

Upon arrival we claimed our luggage and boarded a shuttle bus to our rental car company. Then we loaded up and headed west towards the Ko Olina Resort and Marina where Aulani is located. Depending on arrival time it can take anywhere’s from 30 minutes to an hour to drive to, but it is easy to find.

Can I tell you how much I miss the Magical Express Bus service that Disney does not use at Aulani!

As you pull up to the gate at the Ko Olina Resort and Marina, you give them your name and where you are staying and they let you right through. You are only minutes away.

When you pull into Aulani, they welcome you with open arms and smiles. They even greet you by name and present the ladies with a single strand orchid lei and the guys get Kukui nut leis. They also have the most refreshing fruit infused water I have ever had right at the door and they present you with a glass to enjoy as they show you around the resort.

Our room was ready and waiting and our guide or Cast Member if you prefer took us to our room and had our luggage delivered from our car. We were in awe of this resort and yes…… we are making plans to return.

Our villa was a pool view studio villa right on the same level as the pool. From our patio we could watch the kids enjoy playing around the Menehune Bridge. We even saw some parents playing too which I thought was special.

There are so many things to do and see at the resort that we just walked around the resort for the first hour and enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells. We also enjoyed our first of many Hawaiian Shave Ice from the little booth in the pool area!

But we were tired from our travel and it was getting late by our body time even though the clock said it was only 7:00 PM. To us it felt like midnight so we got into bed and slept like babies in the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in at the hotel!

Morning came early for us but we felt refreshed and ready to see more. We fixed our coffee and sat out on our patio and watched the resort come to life. We had purchased some groceries on our way from the airport and we also ate breakfast on our patio.

While finishing our coffee and getting ready to hit the shower, we even saw Goofy walk by our patio. I said, “good morning Goofy” and he waved to us. What a treat to see Disney characters without even leaving your room . Something like that has never happened to us at Walt Disney World!

Goofy as he walked by our room.
Goofy as he walked by our room.

While staying at Aulani we also visited Diamond Head and enjoyed the hike to the top. The view is spectacular and totally worth the effort to get to the top.219

The view from the top of Diamond Head was worth the hike!
The view from the top of Diamond Head was worth the hike!

From Wikipedia®……. “Diamond Head is a defining feature of the view known to residents and tourists of Waikiki, and also a U.S. National Natural Monument. The volcanic tuff cone is a United States State Monument. While part of it is closed to the public and serves as a platform for antennas used by the U.S. government, the crater’s proximity to Honolulu’s resort hotels and beaches makes the rest of it a popular destination.

A 0.75-mile (1.1-km) hike leads to the edge of the crater’s rim. Signs at the trailhead say that the hike takes 1.5–2 hours round-trip, and recommends that hikers bring water. Although not difficult, the signs also say that the hike is not a casual one: the mostly unpaved trail winds over uneven rock, ascends 74 steps, then through a tunnel and up another steep 99 steps. Next is a small lighted tunnel to a narrow spiral staircase (43 steps) inside a coastal artillery observation platform built in 1908. From the summit above the observation platform both Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean can be seen in detail. It is a short but steep hike – it is a 560 ft. elevation gain for a total elevation of 762 ft. There is a water fountain near the bathrooms at the foot of the trail in case you want to hydrate before the hike or fill an empty bottle. The park closes at 6pm and you are not allowed to head up the trail after 4:30pm.”

We also visited the famed North Shore to watch the surfers ride the waves. The waves were very small on this day but we enjoyed watching just the same.

Here I am getting up on the board on my very first try! Just kidding. It wasn't me.
Here I am on the right getting up on the board on my very first try! Just kidding. It wasn’t me.

While there we also found Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck that we’ve seen so many times on the Food Network.

Patti loved eating here.
Patti loved eating here.

Patti enjoyed her food there but I’m not fish lover so I found a few little skewers of pork and chicken to enjoy at a booth not far away.

We were driving right past the Dole Plantation so we decided to stop and walked around seeing how pineapples are grown and enjoyed a Dole Whip while we were there! All in all….. a great day exploring.

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On another day we drove into Pearl Harbor and paid our respects to our fallen sailors and soldiers as we toured the area. It was an extremely emotional visit for both of us. But I had to do it…. and I’m glad we did it….. but I will never stop at Pearl Harbor again.

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Here is the memorial listing the names of all our fallen sailors, soldiers and airmen that lost their life during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Here is the memorial listing the names of all our fallen sailors, soldiers and airmen that lost their life during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

While we were in the area…. kind of…. we decided to visit Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville at the Beach Comber and have lunch. And of course you can’t stop there and not have a “Who’s to Blame” margarita!

On one evening we walked to Paradise Cove and experienced a Luau. I had reserved what I thought was the best package for the Luau, the Royal Box because this was to be our official anniversary dinner. While the experience was good overall, the food was marginal at best. And after spending almost $300 for our package, they wanted to charge extra for a diet coke to go with my meal!

We did get a private hula dancer in the Royal Box.
We did get a private hula dancer in the Royal Box.

But it was close enough to walk to and Patti was as beautiful as ever that night.

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While I’e mentioned how much we did away from Aulani, I want you to know that we enjoyed every minute being at Aulani and the fabulous pools there. We really enjoyed the lagoon and the beach’s are second to none that we’ve ever been too.

The sunsets are the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen and we couldn’t wait to see each one while we were there!

Sunsets are extremely beautiful at Aulani!
Sunsets are extremely beautiful at Aulani!
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Wouldn’t you love to this for yourself in person?
My favorite photo I've ever taken. We were walking on the beach at sunset when these canoes came racing along the shore line.
My favorite photo I’ve ever taken. We were walking on the beach at sunset when these canoes came racing along the shore line.

As you can see…. there’s a lot to do while at Aulani. Do you want to learn more? I am pleased to share this with you……. You can save 30% on stays of 5 nights or more, or 25% on 4-night stays when they book by Feb. 8, 2016 for stays most nights Jan. 4 – March 17, 2016.*

And, if you book between Aug. 10 – Sept. 28, 2015, you will receive a free meal at Ulu Cafe per person each day of their stay.**

Offer Details: Broad Booking Window: Aug. 10, 2015 – Feb. 8, 2016 Early Booking Offer Window: Aug. 10 – Sept. 28, 2015 Travel Window: Jan. 4 – March 17, 2016

There are some restrictions…..

*Stays must be consecutive nights. Savings based on the non-discounted rate for same room. The number of rooms allocated for this offer may be limited. Savings excludes Resort fees. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation. Excludes suites and 3- bedroom Grand Villas. Additional charges may apply if more than two (2) adults per room. Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. Advance reservations required. **Stays must be consecutive nights. Savings based on the non-discounted rate for same room. The number of rooms allocated for this offer may be limited. Package includes one (1) daily meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) for all Guests (ages 3+) booked per room, per night of your package stay. Meal is only redeemable at Ulu Cafe during normal operating hours and includes one (1) entree and one (1) nonspecialty beverage. Meal entitlements may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part, sold separately, transferred or refunded. All entitlements will expire at midnight on package departure date. Savings excludes Resort fees. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation. Excludes suites and 3- bedroom Grand Villas. Additional charges may apply if more than two (2) adults per room. Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. Advance reservations required.

In addition to some of my personal photos of our trip, I thought I’d share a brochure that I made especially for you. After all….. Disney is better telling stories than I am.

To learn more……………… Just click the link…… http://disneybrochures.com/j6bk

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