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Old 03-23-2013, 07:23 PM   #1
Allie444
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Aulani itinerary opinions

Let me preface this by telling you a little about us. We are Disneyland annual pass holders and our house sits on a hill overlooking the Disneyland fireworks, we live 5 miles from Disneyland.

Our vacations for the last 3 years have been to Disney World. Animal Kingdom Lodge (love) and Caribbean Beach (underwelmed) the first trip. Beautiful waterview room at the Beach Club the second trip and Animal Club concierge level and the All Star Sports ( just not good at all but my 7 year old loved it) the last trip. Every trip was a wonderful dream and the disappointments didn't make a dent in the wonderfulness at all.

This year we are headed to Aulani. Ocean view studio April 8th through the 16th. We are late in life parents and our fantastic DS is the love of our lives. He is 7 and my husband and I are both 47 and only in so so physical shape but still both very adventuress.

I would love opinions on my tentative itinerary and here it is:


Mon 4-8 arrive at noon and check in hotel about 2:00 pool Aulani and cheap walk to dinner at resort or across street.

Tues 4-9 check in and register Dave (DS7) at kids club, pool and snorkel at Aulani and Luau 4pm to 10pm at Paradise Cove- walking distance.

Wed 4-10 North shore, turtle beach... nice dinner at resort or Roy's and Dave at kids club for dinner

Thurs 4-11 Starlite Luau and other Aulani things and Poly Cultural if decide to go.....

Fri 4-12 Pearl Harbor and Waikiki all day till evening-

Sat 4-13 Aulani and hike at either Waima or Manoa falls hang out and dinner at Aulani or Roys

Sun 4-14 Catamaran cruise or Kualoa plantation or Poly Cultural center

Mon 4-15 character breakfast and hang at Aulani

Tues 4-16 leave Aulani at 9am

Thank you in advance and I promise a good trip report.

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Old 03-23-2013, 11:05 PM   #2
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My wife, 13 year old daughter & I thoroughly enjoyed our Hawaiian vacation at Aulani in January.

We found the Paradise Cove experience to be, in your own words, underwhelming. The food was less than stellar. While the dancers were quite talented, the presentation was only OK. We found the luau at the Polynesian resort in Disney World to be a much more tasteful experience and certainly more respectful of Hawaiian culture. Paradise Cove seemed more about collecting tips at the "free" activities & up selling the "free" drinks.

In our estimation, the Starlit Hui would be more than sufficient. We would take the money saved from not going to Paradise Cove & enjoy another fabulous dinner at AMA AMA.

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Old 03-23-2013, 11:44 PM   #3
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Sounds like you're pacing yourself to a degree which is good...you don't want to over schedule yourselves. Other than your last day I don't see a whole lot of days that are JUST Aulani tho and I hope you don't regret that - everybody says it's such a great resort it's hard to leave it.

We will be going to Aulani for the first time this August but it's my 5th trip to Hawaii (DH's 4th and DS's 2nd). I am trying hard not to over schedule us. I went to the PCC on my first trip (WAAAY back in like 1990). No desire to do it again. But that's me. (It's a LONG day.) You have it mentioned as "ifs" on 2 different days. Personally I wouldn't kill myself to get there. We would enjoy a catamaran cruise as much as anything else - especially if it includes snorkeling. I have never read glowing reviews of any of the luau's on Oahu. Dunno why. But so if we do them we do them on another island (but we also island hop too). Therefore I can't really comment on the one you have chosen. They are usually really big productions - not intimate for the most part and in my experience they are more about the show than the food since they're so mass produced. They are not cheap so just go knowing that most of what you're paying for is not the food it's for the show. But I understand wanting to go to one.

Pearl Harbor is the ONE THING we always do on every trip - everything else is optional. I think for the most part your plan sounds pretty good. Have fun!!
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:50 PM   #4
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Manoa falls hike is MUCH tougher than the Waimea Valley falls hike. So your 7 yr old may tire easily goin to manoa. At Waimea, there's a pool of water that you're allowed to swim in at the base of the waterfall and they have trams taking hikers back and forth for a small charge.
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Manoa falls hike is MUCH tougher than the Waimea Valley falls hike. So your 7 yr old may tire easily goin to manoa. At Waimea, there's a pool of water that you're allowed to swim in at the base of the waterfall and they have trams taking hikers back and forth for a small charge.
If it is one of the private guided hikes at Waimea Valley, the minimum age is 9 years.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:14 AM   #6
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Just some food for thought based on what we experienced while at Aulani- I am a total planner and had all these grand ideas of the things we were going to do and see. Pearl Harbor was a must so I planned that for the first day since it would not be as hard to get up super early. We did the north shore the next day and it was amazing.

I would recommend scheduling your off property excursions for as early in the week as possible and then plan for more "just hang at Aulani” time for later in the week. We found that "Island Time" just took over and we wanted to just hang and relax at the resort. So I let my to do list go and figured the things we did not get done early in that week are just gonna have to wait till our next trip.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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If it is one of the private guided hikes at Waimea Valley, the minimum age is 9 years.
I would never pay the guided tour price when admission into Waimea Valley is about $15 a person.

We took our 4yr old daughter on the hike (mostly paved road) and into the pool of water under the waterfall back in October. They usually have lifeguards on duty and require the use of either a life vest or floaties.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:19 AM   #8
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:32 AM   #9
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I agree with a couple PPs to schedule lots of down time. My DS was 6 last year and spent hours every day in the pool or at the beach. We did Rainbow Reef 3x, Menehune trail probably 10 times. He also did both Stichs Space Goo and the Volcano activity at the Kids club and he loved it.

I would do a couple excursions early. I really think it is a shame to go all the way and not spend that much time at the resort. We also ate probably 90% of the time in our room. We were so content at the pool that no one wanted to get all showered and dressed to leave.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dsneygirl View Post
I agree with a couple PPs to schedule lots of down time. My DS was 6 last year and spent hours every day in the pool or at the beach. We did Rainbow Reef 3x, Menehune trail probably 10 times. He also did both Stichs Space Goo and the Volcano activity at the Kids club and he loved it.

I would do a couple excursions early. I really think it is a shame to go all the way and not spend that much time at the resort. We also ate probably 90% of the time in our room. We were so content at the pool that no one wanted to get all showered and dressed to leave.
I would at most spend a couple of half days away from Aulani. Unless you are going to snorkel or swim at the beaches on the north shore, you won't really need to stay up there all day. You are spending a lot of points for Aulani and it is well worth staying around the resort as there is plenty to do. Or you might learn to relax and enjoy the lazy river.

My DSIL when to Paradise Cove in June 2012 and said it was a waste of money. However, their girls ages 8 and 12 still talk about learning to hula there. But my DSIL didn't even remember they had a Starlit Hui at Aulani so she couldn't compare the two, the girls could have learned to hula at the Hui.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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I would at most spend a couple of half days away from Aulani. Unless you are going to snorkel or swim at the beaches on the north shore, you won't really need to stay up there all day. You are spending a lot of points for Aulani and it is well worth staying around the resort as there is plenty to do. Or you might learn to relax and enjoy the lazy river.

My DSIL when to Paradise Cove in June 2012 and said it was a waste of money. However, their girls ages 8 and 12 still talk about learning to hula there. But my DSIL didn't even remember they had a Starlit Hui at Aulani so she couldn't compare the two, the girls could have learned to hula at the Hui.

I'm pretty sure Hula classes are also among the activities offered at the resort and the kids club.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:57 PM   #12
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Hula class is on the daily schedule for today. And if you get to the starlight hui early, they teach the kids a dance.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Hula class is on the daily schedule for today. And if you get to the starlight hui early, they teach the kids a dance.
All Aulani guests are welcome to learn the dances at the Starlit Hui, not just the children.

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Old 03-28-2013, 08:24 PM   #14
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We spent 7 nights at Aulani in November. Had a car for the entire week, and ended up only leaving for about 2 half days. We spent 2 full days just hanging out at the resort. Third day we did Pearl Harbor, swap meet, and a bit of Waikiki. Back before dinner. Next day Dole plantation, North Shore, back way before dinner. And never left the resort again. We found the Starlit Hui to be wonderful, and had to sit each night for all of Uncle's storytelling. It was hard to leave! My personal opinion is that you have way too much planned, but I don't know if you will go back anytime soon. We will go back next summer and see a little more. Have fun...it is an awesome resort.

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Old 03-28-2013, 11:37 PM   #15
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Thank you, thank you for all of these great replies... seems like the common thread is I just have a little to much planned. Are the activities at Aulani fun? So many are free and if my son has a great time that is what really counts.... Is the pool just so wonderful that we won't want to leave?
Is the Starlit Luau enough I would love to hear that the answer is yes and save 300.00. So no to the Paradise Cove Luau, right?
Anything I missed?
and thank you again to all for the wonderful advice.
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