Yep, I’m going to Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa …. NEXT MONTH!
I’m so excited to share I get to cross another Disney location off of my travel bucket list. Last month, after my husband learned his hiatus schedule, we decided to book our dream vacation in Hawaii. Neither of us have ever been and it has always been at the top of our must do vacations (along with Europe and Alaska which have already been ticked off the list, and if you’re keeping track my next dream locations are London and Paris so we’ll see what happens next … but I’m getting ahead of myself). We are spending a week at Disney’s Aulani, and then a week-long cruise through the Hawaiian islands on Norwegian Cruise Line.
When we first started discussing our Hawaii vacation I didn’t think Aulani would be in the cards for us. We both wanted to do the cruise since it seemed like the best way to see Hawaii if it turns out this will be our one and only trip. But obviously I was sad to travel all the way to Hawaii and not see Aulani. At first we thought we would stay at Aulani for just one night before our cruise, because luckily our cruise leaves from Oahu, the same island where Aulani is located. But when we realized how active the cruise itinerary is, we realized we wanted some more “down time” to relax in Hawaii. We started researching rates at Aulani and we found the nightly rate gets lower the more nights you stay (very clever, Disney … very clever). Considering we are both nearly 40 and it took us this long to get to Hawaii in the first place, we might as well YOLO and we booked six nights at Aulani before our cruise. We will have 13 glorious nights in Hawaii and I couldn’t be more excited.
Part of me still can’t believe I managed to convince Tim to stay at Aulani for so long, but we both spent a lot of time looking over the resort and determining that the “Disneyness” shouldn’t be too overwhelming for him. We booked an ocean view room with a balcony and I suspect we will spend a lot of time there, enjoying the ocean breeze and a glass of pineapple wine (which I just discovered is totally A THING). But in reality, he will probably spend a lot of time on the balcony while I search all over the resort for a picture op with Duffy and stare longingly at the Aulani Dooneys through the gift shop window. Hey – we’re both on vacation and we can each do the things we want to do.
“Bring me more pineapple wine, PLEEEEEASE!“
As I stated earlier, neither of us have ever been to Hawaii and we are so overwhelmed with all of the options. Beautiful scenery, adventurous hikes, this waterfall, that crater, this helicopter tour, that shrimp food truck. SO MUCH TO DO.
So this is where you come in. We have a basic idea of what we want to do and see thanks to suggestions from our friends. But I need your help with recommendations on what we absolutely must do in Hawaii. Here is where we will be and our tentative itinerary:
Aulani, Ko’Olina, Oahu for six days – We will likely spend one day in Honolulu/Waikiki and one day exploring the North Shore, and the rest of the time will be resort lounging by the pool with a tasty umbrella drink. Like I said before, YOLO.
Maui for two days – Road to Hana and Lahaina are already on our radar. Seems like there’s just too much to see in Maui for only two days.
Hilo for one day – Probably will visit Volcanoes National Park and other nearby sights.
Kona for one day – I have read the snorkling is good here but we may just use this as a rest day. I know there is coffee stuff but that don’t really interest us (someone tell me if the coffee farms are, like, AMAZING and we have to go).
Kauai for one and a half days – Maybe we will do some kind of helicopter tour here, otherwise we aren’t sure. This looks like a great island for hikes.
Any recommendations? Typically we prefer places that are not tourist traps and are a little bit off the beaten path. We are moderate hikers and enjoy long walks on the beach … no, really. We also love visiting amazing restaurants and trying new foods, but aside from the shrimp and pineapple and shaved ice, it seems like Hawaii is not a foodie’s paradise. But tell me if I’m wrong.
For those of you who have been to Hawaii and especially Aulani, tell me your favorite part of the trip! I have a feeling I might just stay on this lazy river forever.
All photos are from Aulani A Disney Resort and Spa official website.