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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Disney's Aulani Resort on Oahu - Not Just for Little People

A big happy birthday to my wonderful
husband!  We took him to Hawaii to
celebrate and are staying at the
Disney Aulani Resort
on Oahu.


The Aulani Resort is only a little over a year old
and done up in Disney style 


with all of the amazing details you expect from Disney.


The architecture of course if stunning and grand.




We were able to find a special on a two bedroom suite. 
This is the master bedroom


and the secondary bedroom.  both were beautifully appointed.


The master bath had a huge shower and a garden tub
and the secondary bath even had a rain head and a
hand held shower in the bath.  Such nice accommodations.


The living area had a pull out couch and a pull out chair
so the suite could accommodate nine.


The kitchenette was really nice, although we didn't end
up doing any cooking in it, but it was nice to have a
fridge.


This resort is on the leeward side of Oahu and doesn't have
natural beeches so they created lagoons with fabulous
white sand beaches.

There are four lagoons, the other three serve other resorts.

Everything is so spread out here that you don't feel
the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, but an amazing
sense of peace and relaxation.


You can see at the back of this picture where the rock
has been opened up and dug out to create the lagoon.


The lagoon features all kinds of fun ocean activities and
the water is so pristine.  It was really warm this time of year.



This is one of the hot tubs on property.  It is a two level
hot tub and one of the nicest hot tubs I have ever
seen.


You are looking over the zero edge of the hot tub and seeing
into the lower hot tub here.


I am sure it gets a lot busier during the holiday season and
the summer but in October, it was not crowded and there
was plenty of space. 


It definitely wasn't just for families with children as we 
saw many, many couples just like ourselves enjoying
the amenities.


There is the birthday boy on the right with your friends,
James and Rachel Williams.  James is an architect
and he is working on the Polynesian Cultural Center
on the north side of Oahu so that is why we came
along.  It was his suggestion that we stay at the
Aulani as he had walked through the property before.
James is the architect that 
I posted about before that created Pirate's Cove.


As you would expect, the pools are amazing and a big part of the
amenities here.  This is the mountain in the middle of the pool
which has two great water slides and is surrounded by a
lazy river.


It is very lazy, but it seems to go on and on.


There are waterfalls all through the lazy river.


There is even a snorkeling area where others can watch you 
snorkeling or just watch the fish.
You know me, I just couldn't stop thinking how much
my kids and grandkids would love this place!


While there are still hidden Mickeys to look for throughout
the property, there are more Menehunes to hunt for.
Menehunes are mythical creatures who love to create 
mischief.  You might find one peeking from the rafters
in the restaurant, or hidden in the plants, or even
hiding up in the corner of the elevator.




The Menehune dominate the water park for kids.  


Doesn't this look fabulous for kids?







Of course you are going to see the famous Disney characters
throughout the day.  Actually they are a lot easier 
to find here than they are at Disneyland or Disneyworld.
Here Goofey actually was dancing in the water
with the kids.


Minnie preferred not to get wet, but she was there
at the pool entertaining and posing for pictures too.


We were thrilled with the quality of food and for Hawaii resort
food, we thought the prices were very reasonable.
This was a fruit crepe for breakfast at the oceanside
Ama Ama restaurant.


How about a Mexican take on eggs benedict?


Or maybe you would rather have french toast stuffed
with chocolate, peanut butter and bananas and served
with chocolate and peanut butter sauces.


What about this banana bread pudding topped with creme anglaise
served in a coconut shell and topped with a macadamia nut
cookie as a lid.  This is all served alongside a scoop of
macadamia nut ice cream sitting on a bed of chopped
macadamia nuts.


The problem is definitely going to be fitting into 
my swim suit!


There is fun and delicious food everywhere and for
us, that is part of the Disney magic.


One day they even brought frozen pops around
the pool and handed them out!
Of course they have wonderful shaved ice at
the pool and lots of other goodies.


I love the presentation of the poolside food.


Since we were in a suite, I decided to have a little
fun and create a 
Disney Aulani Tablescape
using all of their kitchen items.
I just love this fun banquet seating with the two little stools.
We actually found the stools to be really comfortable.


Can you spot the hidden Mickey in the fun upholstery
on the back of the banquet?


A Hawaiin Mickey lamp becomes the centerpiece 
with the kukui nut lei the men receive upon arriving
at the resort.


Wine glasses and regular glasses are stocked in the kitchenette.


There is an ample supply of white dinnerware


which got dressed up a little with orchids that are left in your
room daily.  They also have bowls of orchids around
the property and you are encouraged to take
as many as you like.



The fun aqua accents are so pretty against the dark wood
and I love the carpet with its highly textured
tropical leaf pattern.



The flatware was surprisingly heavy and elegant for such a use
as this.


We had to laugh wondering what the maid thought
as she saw the table set up.



In my opinion, Mickey always makes for a great party.



And speaking of a great party, we traveled to the
north side of the island to see all of the work
James Williams has been doing on the
Polynesian Cultural Center.  

This is the beautifully remodeled dining facility
that he has been working on.


It is extremely impressive and grand with a fabulous mural
that circles the building telling Hawaii's history.  


This is one of the massive double doors that you 
enter the dining facility through


I just loved the lights on the gigantic lodge poles.  The
quality and detail reminds me of Disney-like
construction.  


The current project they are working on there is 
a remodel of the IMAX  theater that is
being recreated into a volcano.  We
were able to go behind the scenes and
see this work in progress.


While we were there we also attended their famous
Haunted Lagoon Ride.

Although I couldn't take any pictures on the ride,
it was a fabulous and thrilling ride in 
large canoes with about 25 people in
each canoe.  Each canoe has a driver who operates
it with a pole.  The spooky story is told with
actors and lighting and sound effects along eac
side of the canoe as you travel the lagoon and
under bridges....
BUT
the real thrill is when characters jump into the
water and come after the canoe, or characters -
swamp people - come up out of the water and 
lean on your side of the boat. 

 It takes about 45 
minutes and is a lot of fun.

It is wildly popular so expect a long wait in line,
but you can spend some extra money and get
a fast pass, which is what we did.  They also 
do a keiki ride (little children ride) at the
beginning of the evening where the characters
and actors just wave at the kids.



The birthday boy and his wife (that's me) got a special 
birthday treat by an afternoon in the Laniwai spa
at the Aulani resort.


I think this was the most wonderful spa experience
we have had because of the marvelous staff
who were so warm and friendly and
really explained how to best use the facility.

Our favorite part was using the facilities out in the
private garden both before and after our treatment.



There were multiple hot tubs with varying 
temperatures and a cold plunge.


There was also a circular structure made of stone that had
six or more different showers that were heated to 95 degrees.

We enjoyed the garden for an hour before our massage
and then were encouraged to go back out and
enjoy it.  I think our friends thought we were 
never returning!


Alas, sunsets come too early and a wonderful vacation
like thisends too early too.


But with sunsets come beautiful views


and great memories of a wonderful
Hawaiian experience done with Disney style!


Have a little Disney Magic.

Poor Beaulah got all dressed up with a shell
lei and a flower in her hat and even posed in front
of a palm tree, but alas, she had to stay home -
she would have taken up too much room 
in my suitcase!

I will be posting this with


13 comments:

Entertaining Women said...

Disney always does it right. Lovely resort. Happy Birthday to your husband. Cherry Kay

Karen said...

FABULOUS!

Mimi said...

HI!!!
OH THANK YOU for shatring your pics and your trip....on our Radar to go there soon....just returned from a 7 day Disney Cruise aboard there NEW ship the Fantasy.....then 4 more days of Disneyworld!!!Our 2nd daughter is a Manager at Disneyworld...so we are a big Disney family!!!!
I have heard the resort is stunning in every way!!!!!
Cannot wait to go!!!
hugs,
jamie

Sarah said...

Happy Birthday to your husband. This looks like a grand way to celebrate. What a fun adventure!

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Jacqueline, This resort sounds and looks FABULOUS!!! We love Disney too and like to stay in the Wilderness Lodge and the Beach and Yacht, which I think you mentioned your friend had also designed. He is so talented! The food looks delicious! I guess this is a resort but no theme park? Sounds like a wonderful escape for the adults. I will put it on our list of "someday" places. Happy birthday to your hubby! It was my bday a few days ago too, but no trip this year--I am living vicariously through your fantastic pictures. Thank you for this post. Have a wonderful day. Linda

Val said...

Wow - this is such a beautiful post.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Wow, lucky hubby and you :) It looks beautiful! Disney destinations are Magical :) Happy birthday to your husband!

Sue said...

So pretty! I miss Oahu! My son and daughter-in-law both graduated from BYUH and we visited many times:)

Joy Tilton said...

Happy Birthday to your husband, what a fun way to celebrate! I love all the detail and would have totally soaked up all the perks of that suite! Thanks for taking us along on your wonderful getaway!

kitty said...

What's a fabulous birthday celebration for your hubby that luckily, you got to enjoy, too!! It looks like you had a wonderful time.

Edy said...

Jackie, Lynn and I wish we could have met up with you and birthday Kirk while you were here. We have greeted many people in front of the gorgeous new Gateway Restaurant at the Polynesian Cultural Center. I guess we should inquire if James is still here. We have met several people working with the construction here.
Love love love your blog.
mine is quite boring but if you have time to visit: http://pehrsonsmission.blogspot.com/

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I have reread this post 3 times! :)

My hubby and I are planning a get away with Sweet Boy and this sound perfect!

Red Couch Recipes said...

What a fab resort -- I loved the lobby area. I guess once you are a tablescaper, you even tablescape on vacation! It looked well stocked. The Haunted Canoe ride looks fab as well as all the pools. What a great getaway! Joni

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