Kawaii to Hawaii: Universal Japan, ABD Japan, Tokyo Disneyland, Club Med Hokkaido, & Aulani - A Trip Report

Where: Japan & Hawaii with a heavy Disney focus between TDR, ABD & Aulani and a cherry on top of Univeral Japan (plus a stop at Club Med Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island)

When: July 20 - Aug 11 (Yes, it will be hot but it’s currently over 100 every day here in Texas soooooo). We had to make this work with kiddo’s school schedule so summertime it is.

Who: DM(other), DF(ather), DMIL, DH, DD16 and me (three active seniors, two 40-somethings and a teenager)

Why: DM grew up in Japan as her father played professional baseball there. She hasn’t been back since she was a little girl (9yo I believe?). So over 50 years. Hearing all the stories from her and my grandparents has always made Japan a bucket-list item for me. Then adding in they have a Disneyland, well it’s a no-brainer why this was toward the top of my list. It was also DM’s idea to popover in Hawaii on the way home as she used to in the late 50s and 60s when she lived there, and planes couldn’t go so far in one go.

Also, here is gramps winning a motorcycle for being most valuable player in the all-star game in Hiroshima:

High Level Summary
July 20-21 Flying High from Austin, TX to Osaka (KIX) via SFO (San Fran) on United, booked with points, but paid for premium economy upgrade for the overseas flight.
July 21-23 Park Front Hotel in Osaka for a day at Universal, a street food tour, and a nostalgic drive thru Ashiya aka the city of my mother’s youth
July 23-Aug 1 Adventures By Disney Japan with stays in Kyoto, Takayama (Japanese Alps) and Tokyo
Aug 1-Aug4 Tokyo Disneyland Resort with a stay at DisneySea MiraCosta Hotel
Aug 4-Aug 7 Club Med Hokkaido
Aug 7-Aug 10 Aulani, Hawaii (rented points in a 2-bedroom ocean view suite)
Aug 10-Aug 11 Flying Home overnight on Hawaiin Airlines direct (and mama got herself a lie-down seat and left everyone else in economy!)

:sunny:22 DAYS :plate_with_cutlery:58 MEALS :japanese_castle:46 SITES


:hotel: ACCOMMODATIONS links:

Park Front Hotel

Hyatt Regency Kyoto

Hotel Associa Takayama Resort

The Peninsula Tokyo

Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta

Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa


I was my own TA so if you have any questions about the difficulty/logistics of the booking process, shoot 'em my way. :wink:


This is fantastic! Can’t wait to follow along.


Can’t wait to follow along! Especially the ABD part… I don’t think I’ve seen an ABD trip report for Japan ever!


So excited for your super long trip! Envious, too! Looking forward to following along.

I’m happy to see that you got DD’s passport business all sorted out! :pleading_face: :weary: :grimacing: :grin:


ACCURATE depiction of my face over the last month or so!


Flare bag all set with pins from ABD (and the mermaid pin is just a constant). I’ve got some more locking backs for my purchases at TDR.

How many pins will I acquire on this trip?
  • 0-3
  • 4-6
  • 7-9
  • 10+

0 voters


Oooohhhh 6 days!!!


I love when I get to change the word. I had it at months, then weeks and now DAYS!!!


I would love to hear your perspective on the minimum age you would expect for this trip! It is at the top of the short list for my next sabbatical!


I will. The flight alone from Austin is something else. I didn’t take my kids half way around the world until 6th grade (so 11/12) each for their first time. DS we did a 15 hour flight bookended by shorter flights to NZ:

and DD was China. Don’t have a photo of her sleeping but I’m sure she did on that one. they both did well. I don’t think I would have taken them before then. I once had issues trying long travels with DS when he was 8 but he does have anxiety.

My brother pictured above did take his infant/toddler son back and forth from NZ to USA so it can be done!

I’ll let you know about the experiences though and how much I see kids enjoying them. It is very much a family/kid friendly trip since I have the teen and it’s a lot of Disney! and Club Med is absolutely wonderful for children if you’ve never been. They do so many activities. My daughter did trapeze at the one we stayed at in China and she just loved it. When I told her they had one in Japan she was quick to say YUP!


My kids are soon to be 5 and 8 and have so far done fine with the ~8 hour flights to Europe. It’s the 15+ ones that make even me nervous! (I honeymooned in Hawaii and we flew direct from NYC and I have no idea how we did it.) They will be 10 and 13 when I think this trip would happen so hopefully it will be doable. So exciting!


Yeah, I would think so at that age. Mine were 11 their first big trip and they did fine.


Looks amazing! How will you be getting around in Japan? Is it all by train?

Excited to read more once you get to the trip reporting part!!!



Some train, some plane (cuz Hokkaido is another island), some buses and some car (hired a driver with car).

*Maybe some taxis and some walking!


Hats off to you for all that variety! That sounds like quite the undertaking to plan.

That’s what I saw on the map that made me want to ask. I went ‘hmm no mention of flight or boat or how to get to this other island. I must know’

Tokyo Disney is on our list eventually but DH wants to do all the Asia parks (Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo) all in one giant international trip, probably like a month-long endeavor. But not until the youngest is MUCH older.


All of that makes sense. I thought about stopping at TDR when we did China in 2018 (which included Hong Kong and Shanghai) but I just couldn’t give up anything in the three weeks we did in China for it. So I made it a separate go round. But it’s such a long trip (as in the flight) it makes sense to invest in it like that.


Yea, DH’s parents are from Vietnam and will go back every few years or so. When they go 3 weeks is a short trip, usually it’s more like 4-5 weeks. He’s been with them once as a teen and he definitely wants to do that flight as few times as possible.