Planning a trip to Aulani

So, not WDW, but I can’t pick Hawai’I as a category. We’ll be headed to Aulani in September and want to get any tips, tricks, or suggestions. Any room suggestions? Any tricky rooms that are coded as garden but still have views of the ocean (definitely wish there was a room finder for it! )

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Sorry, no specific info on Aulani, but I do have tips for Hawaii in general. Let me know if you are interested and I will share.

We’re going to Oahu/Aulani for about a week, then a quick drive around the Big Island, and then on to Kauai. We’ve been to Oahu before, but we have some friends there, so it’ll mostly be spending time with them. The Big Island will just be a quick overnight to see some lava and the national parks. Kauai is where I’m really in need of additional tips…do you have any for that island? (Or for the others that I may not have considered?)

when we were getting ready to go, I googled Aulani room views. I can’t remember the links, but I found some good info so give that a try. It might have been a thread on the disboard. But its definitely out there. Its a lovely resort. We stayed there once, and (almost) next door at the Marriot once. so if you have any more specific questions happy to try to answer. Have fun!

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We spent a week in Kauai in November - it is a fantastic place! The drive up Waimea canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) is not to be missed - make sure that you go all the way to then end, and if the visibility is poor then wait a few minutes and it will probably change. If you are thinking of doing a helicopter tour in Hawaii then Kauai is the place to do it - Jack Harter does tours in an open door Hughes 500 for maximum visibility.

I could go on and on with specific things to do, as we pretty much did everything there and loved all of it. I recommend the Kauai Revealed guidebook and its companion app - we found their information to be very reliable. What sort of things are you looking to do? General sightseeing, or do you have any specific activities in mind? Also where are you straying?

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I’ll be travelling with a 2 & 5 year old…so we probably won’t be doing any helicopter tours this trip (even if they allow them this young, I don’t think they’d remember enough to warrant the cost, plus they manage the wriggle out of any and every restraint, which wouldn’t combine well with an open door helicopter!)

Thanks for the reminder about the Revealed guidebooks, I’ve used them for the other islands, I wasn’t even thinking about Kauai…now to add that to my amazon shopping cart (as well as updates of the others). I’ll definitely take your advice on the Waimea canyon drive. Other than that, we’ll do some general site seeing and spend as much time at the beach as possible. We’ll be staying at the barking sands missile range cabins.

Thanks…I think I found the link you were referring to…

From looking at it, looks like the ocean is pretty distant from so many of the rooms! Bummer.

Looks like they have pretty pricey snorkel rentals there, any issue with bringing outside snorkel gear? Any activities that you liked there over others?

OK, I’ve made a Mai Tai, so I am in island mode and ready to add a few more things. :slight_smile:

So, you are staying at Barking Sands - cool! We could see it when we were taking a zodiac tour up to the Napali Coast, and it looked like a neat place to stay. You are within an easy drive of Waimea Canyon - lots of good stopping points there, so pack a lunch and eat while taking in the breathtaking scenery. I would also recommend driving all the way out to the end of Polihale State Park, but follow the directions in the guidebook very carefully, or else you will get stuck in the sand. It is really neat to go out there - the beach just ends and the Napali Coast cliffs start.

As this was the first kidless trip DW and I took in a long time, we did a lot of things that might not be a good idea to do with kiddos (like the open door helo ride!). However, there are a few things I can think of on the east coast that would appeal to a 2 & 5 year old. Lydgate State Park has a great beach with a lagoon that is protected with a rock wall - lots of fish to see and very easy for beginning snorkelers. Kayak Wailua does kayak tours up the Wailua river (duh!) that include an easy hike up to Uluwehi Waterfalls. Smith’s Motor Boat Services does cruises up the Wailua to the Fern Grotto - the Grotto is not what it used to be, but the ride is fun in a kitchy kind of way, with live entertainment. Finally, Kauai is truly “Old Hawaii”, very causal and laid back, so you can probably take the kiddos anywhere and no one will get upset about it.

Three places to eat spring to mind. Tahiti Nui in Hanalei is really neat - the bar scene in The Descendants was filmed there. (If you haven’t seen The Descendants, do it before you go!) JO2 in Kapa’a was amazing - the chef/owner is French, and it shows. There were people with little ones when we ate there, so don’t be afraid to go with your crew. And we really liked Monico’s Taqueria in Kapa’a - in fact, we went there twice.

I could go on and on, but as this is NDR I will stop here. Besides, my glass is empty now, so I need to make the next round. Feel free to PM me with questions. Aloha!

That looks like it. No issue with bringing outside snorkel gear for the ocean. I think they may require use of their gear at rainbow reef. That might be a fun thing for your kids. Its a good intro to snorkeling, although cold. we did the pass for our whole stay and kids did it multiple times. If want them in the kids club, have that tracked on your calendar to book early. the special excursions fill up. same thing for a cabana. Plenty of seating by the ocean for free. Or you can rent one of the ocean casabellas at a more reasonable price, but you have to get up day of to get done for the rental. We couldn’t get a brunch buffet reservation ahead of time (they said they were full), but I visited the restaurant on our day of arrival and pretty much had my pick of days and times. They must keep a lot of reservations out of the pre-book pool for guests, which was a really nice change from trying to book ADRs at disney world. Otherwise, it sounds like you know your way around the island so don’t need my tips on what we did. We tried to leave Aulani a fair amount. Its beautiful, but we preferred to see more of the island. And so many people don’t leave that it was a bit overcrowded for my preference.