Hawaii Vacation 2016 – Aulani

We don’t often fly to vacations. In most cases we prefer to have a road trip. When traveling with kids, we’ve got used to like the flexibility of road trips: take whatever you want, have your own schedule, stop whenever you want. But on the other hand, road trips are more exhausting, require a lot of preparation. So to have a rest from road trips, we try to fly for a “lazy” vacation at least once a year. As we skipped vacation last year, we went big this time.

Getting there

The hardest part of the trip was air flight. 5 hours on a plane with 2 kids (4.5 years and 9 months) is a challenge. The older kid wants to play with other kids or watch cartoons all the time. The younger kid doesn’t understand much but want to practice walking and crawling instead of sitting on the lap.

A small tip for families flying with kids: if you kid suffers from pressure changes during take off and landing, you can give him a lollipop. The saliva flow and suction/swallowing motions help equalize the pressure inside and outside the eardrum. Babies are ok with periodical drinking.

The taxies at Honolulu airport are mostly min-vans. It was of a perfect size to fit all our luggage and stroller. The ride from airport will cost between $55 and $85 dollars.

Staying there

We’ve stayed at Aulani Disney resort. But you don’t feel like you’re in Disneyland. It’s more like a hidden Disney. You can find a Mikey mouse silhouette here or there and have breakfast or dinner with Disney characters. Other than that, it’s a regular hotel with plenty of pools and some water slides. They also have 18+ only pools, so that people with no kids can have some rest from the screaming and fun.

Aulani Hotel Ocean View Room

Aulani Hotel Ocean View Room

Staying there is not cheap. But room fee is just the beginning. Our room did not have kitchen (they have options with kitchen too). Breakfast with Disney characters for 2 adults and one kid will cost you about $100. Parking –  $37 per night. Cheapest lunch or dinner on the resort will be about $40-$50 in a cafe. Beer in the bar will cost $7, cocktail – $13, cocktail in pineapple – $22.

Hawaii Aulani Pineapple Cocktail

Hawaii Aulani Pineapple Cocktail

But, you can also walk out of the resort and in about 5 minutes get to nearby restaurants and stores.

Aulani also has 4 nice gas grills on the territory that you are free to use after 4pm.

Sunset sky

Sunset sky

Having fun

They have a kids club (Aunty’s beach house). You can drop your kid there at any time after 9.30am. I believe they close at 9.30 pm. And it’s included with your stay (free). There’s also a schedule of activities for kids every day. Most of them require reservation and some of them require extra payment. If you want to sign up your kid to one of activities, you better be near Aunty’s beach house at 7.30am to secure a spot.

Stitch actually bites...

Stitch actually bites…

Throughout the day we’ve been rotating between different pools, splash pad and playground, beach, water slides and lazy river. Every day you need to get a new color arm band that gives you pool access. Towel and band stations open at 8am.

Breakfast with Minnie Mouse

Breakfast with Minnie Mouse

So our schedule looked like:

  • 6.30am – Wake up
  • 7am – Breakfast
  • 7.30am – Signing up for kids activities
  • 8 am – Towel station and bands
  • 8am – Most pools are open
  • 9am – Splash playground is open
  • 9-12 – Rotation across different pools and beach
  • 12pm – lunch and nap time
  • 3pm – 6pm – more pool/beach time

 

Kate enjoying volcano water slide

Kate enjoying volcano water slide

Mark at splash pad

Mark at splash pad

Some gymnastics for Mark

Some gymnastics for Mark

Getting around

You don’t have to rent a car at the airport and pay crazy parking fees at Aulani. Instead, they have a car rental on site, so if you want to drive around day or two, you can better rent a car there. Their rental fee is higher than average, but it did not feel ridiculous. We’ve got a Chrysler c300 for about $90 for one day.

Oahu, Sunset Beach

Oahu, Sunset Beach

Kaena Point Trail

Kaena Point Trail

 

We all had a lot of fun there. I’m still trying to understand, whether I’d like to visit Aulani again or not. I might also research the Disney Vacation Club program.

Our arm band collection at the end of the stay

Our arm band collection at the end of the stay

 

Bey-bey Aulani

Bye-bye Aulani

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section.