We arrived at Aulani A Beachfront Disney Resort & Spa on the island of O?ahu on the 17th. We were promptly greeted with pineapple-infused ice-water (so refreshing) and leis. JD got a special Menehune necklace. Keep reading to see the pic.
Upon check-in, we were overwhelmed and inspired by a collage of bright, breathtaking artwork. Disney invited local students to create an image of what Hawaii meant to them. Then a contest was held to select the winning pieces that would decorate the welcome wall behind the front desk. Look how gorgeous! As a writer, huge supporter of the arts and graduate of The University of the Arts, this really kicked our trip off.
Next, we scoped out our room. Disney left us a goody bag of beach towels, hats, travel coffee mugs and JD’s favorite snacks: Pretzels, Goldfish and organic carrots (so kind!) Uncle Carlo traveled with us, so there were two marshmallow-soft queen beds, a flat screen TV with access to the Disney Channel and a much-needed mini-fridge. When traveling with JD I always need access to milk, cheese sticks, yogurt drinks and fruit. The bathroom was also private friendly. For example, the toilet was sectioned off with a door and the sinks/shower had a private section too. I was traveling with my brother and kid, so being able to maintain privacy when 3 people needed to share a bathroom was huge. Overall, the room was warm, inviting and cozy—another perk when traveling with a 4-year-old who occasionally needed some downtime to relax. When JD needed a nap or to just chill and watch a cartoon, I relaxed on the balcony with a book, my iPod…OK, a cocktail (hee hee) and enjoyed this view. WOW!
After settling in our room and changing into our swimwear we went exploring! On the way JD discovered something VERY COOL: Rainbow Reef— The only private snorkeling lagoon on O?ahu that offers an up-close look at aquatic life. Snorkel among Angel Fish, ButterflyFish and Tangs. Or, stay dry and behold the beautiful aquaculture through glass (JD did this. He wasn’t quite ready to dive in and I didn’t want to push him). Next we discovered the pools! Waikolohe Stream provides tubing adventures (more from Uncle Carlo and JD on that!) via a lazy river. The Waikolohe Pool is 8,200-square-foot and zero-entry, meaning it’s fashioned like the ocean (sans waves!) and you gradually walk in. JD LOVED playing in this pool (me too—made watching him and keeping cool super easy!) This pool also features a Volcanic Vertical tunnel body slide. As for JD’s FAVORITE pool experience: The Menehune Bridge—it features 3 small play slides, bridges to climb and a 1 inch pool to run around in. Did I mention the dump bucket and sprinklers?
After playing in the pool, we all needed a cocktail! Uncle Carlo and I had Mai Tai cocktails (and, OK, fine, Blue Hawaiians) from Off the Hook (poolside dining/bar) and JD enjoyed a rainbow shave icee that he got to art-direct. We relaxed and had some yummy dinner/lunch (I loved the fish tacos and taro chips. JD gives the kiddy cuisine a thumbs up: Chicken fingers with a side of tropical fruit + lemonade.) We walked around the resort, gazed at the beach and made friends with a Disney cast member who played JD a song on his guitar. Then we called it a night! A lot of traveling and sun really did us all in. Needed some ZZZZzzzzzzzS.
Tune in tomorrow to read about the character breakfast, Aunty’s Beach House and my media tour of Aulani A Disney Resort & Spa. Sneak preview: The word Kapa pronounced Coppa (our last name!) is a big deal at Aulani.
Who is your child's favorite Disney character?