Day 1 - A long night of travel
February 10, 2017
|Everyone is excited to be on vacation!|
|Las Vegas when we arrived|
Frontier airlines was okay. We knew enough about the extra fees to be sure we were getting a good deal, but what I wasn't expecting was the uncomfortable seats. There is very little cushioning to the seats, they are just this sort of soft plastic. It's probably fine for a 2 hour flight, but not great for 4 hours! The space between the seats was significantly less than typical (even my knees were touching the seat in front of me). The seat backs were actually hollowed out to allow for an inch of space and the tray tables were little flip up/down things about the size of a paperback novel. We paid $5 extra per seat to have a seat assignment which we though was necessary given our traveling party. There are no complimentary snacks or drinks, but they are available for purchase. They do give cups of water at no additional charge.
Our kids really are good travelers, but I was surprised we didn't have to carry a sleeping Zach or Zoe off of the plane. The were amazing even as we collected our luggage, walked back and forth three times between the Uber pick up area and taxi station. Finally we got two Uber cars and made it to the hotel.
I was surprised that the line to check in was super long and slow and the Hard Rock Hotel. Who knew this was a popular check-in time?
The kids may have gotten close to 4 hours of sleep, I got maybe 2, and Marc was somewhere in the middle. Still we insisted on waking early enough to get a shower before the next flight.
Day 2 - Fly to Honolulu, Marriott Waikiki Beach, Bubba Gumps and pierced ears!
Morning came all too quickly, but everyone managed okay. We scrounged around the airport for breakfast and to find something to bring on the plane for lunch. We didn't have a lot of luck with that, but did well enough that everyone could at least snack on the plane until we got to Hawaii. Very little was open at the airport. Marc walked over to another terminal to find Starbucks for me. That made my day!
Allegient Airlines was mixed. Like Frontier they have cheap prices, but a lot of extra fees. The one thing we weren't expecting was the 40lb weight limit on the checked bags. Most other airlines have a 50lb limit. We had to do some rearranging, but we managed to get the bags pretty close to 40 and they were good enough to okay the couple extra pounds. I was impressed with the seating on the plane though. We had a lot of leg room and the seats were comfortable! It was like sitting in the premium economy seats on regular airlines. I was very happy about that. Again, we had to pay to reserve our seats, $15 each this time, and we were in the front of the plane, so I would guess the seats toward the back didn't have as much space. It was worth it for this 6 1/2 hour flight though for sure!
|Zach slept for a couple hours on the flight|
|Rainy arrival to Honolulu|
We stopped at Leonard's Bakery for some of their famous hot malasada's. They were delicious and a great way to start our visit to Hawaii.
|Arrival at the Marriott|
For dinner we ate at Bubba Gump's because we had a $25 discount from their birthday club. I told you we were sticking to a budget! Everyone was happy with it and we had a nice dinner. It is located in Ala Moana shopping center.
Day 3 - Disney's Aulani Resort
We haven't completely adapted to the time change yet, so we were up pretty early this morning. We went ahead and got everything packed back up and then headed to Wialana Coffee Shop for breakfast. They have tropical pancakes there, which are Kyrie's favorite. We found the restaurant to be okay, but a bit pricey.
|They don't look very tropical, but the Macadamia nuts are cooked in and the coconut syrup completes the package.|
The sun was out today. Very nice weather overall. Low 80's, light breeze.
After breakfast, we started driving to the Aulani Resort in Ko Olina. We stopped at Target to get some supplies for the next few days. We mostly bought breakfast and lunch stuff, and a few snacks and drinks. We arrived at Aulani by about 10am. We got checked in and they gave us a key to a lounge to get changed into swimsuits since our room wouldn't be ready until 4pm. We had a nice time swimming and going around the lazy river. Jacob and Max spent some time on the water slides.
After eating lunch by the pool, Ella, Zoe and Zach were ready to check out the kids club. The kid's club is called Aunty's Beach House and it is divided up into different rooms with different activities. Some of the room themes are arts and crafts, video games, movies, costumes, etc... Also there is a backyard area with some playground equipment and a bunch of room to run around. When I picked them up later, the kids all agreed that they liked this kids club, but not as much as the one on the Disney cruise ship. We'll see what they think after they spend some more time there. I'm guessing it will grow on them.
|Master bath (large tub and separate toilet room not shown|
|Second bedroom AKA kids' room|
|The view from our room: lazy river with the ocean in the distance|
I think we liked Longboards better last time because we ate there after eating at Aulani exclusively for several days. We were tired of Aulani's limited food choices and the prices in comparison are much less. It would cost the 7 of us close to $300 with tip to eat dinner at the buffet at Aulani. Plus the view is really perfect here. Yes, the music was better last time but overall it was a nice experience.
|The end of another perfect day (View from Longboards at the Marriott)|
After breakfast in our room, we headed down to the beach. A dead puffer fish was washed up on the beach - yuck, but still kind of cool, We chose some seats well away from the dead fish and the kids had fun playing in the sand. After awhile we headed up to the pool and spent the rest of the day there.
All the kids are enjoying the pools a lot and the younger kids went back to the kids club and made slime.
|Aulani Lobby at Night|
|Random Stitch sighting|
I wish we would have gotten some ics of Zach and characters. He does LOVE them!
|A really gorgeous man made snorkeling lagoon in the heart of Aulani Resort|
|View from our pool chairs facing the beach|
|Sister talk in the hot tub|
|Max liked finding hidden sculptures in the rocks around the pool|
|Jacob, a true Disney fanatic!|
This evening we cooked dinner for the kids and then dropped them off at the kids club before going out for a Valentine's Dinner at 'Ama 'Ama restaurant here at Aulani.
|Spaghitti, bread, and cupcakes!|
|Aunty's Beach House|
We had the best table in the restaurant, with a straight on ocean front view. Live music started right before sunset. The service was excellent and the food was too. It's nice to have an adult dinner occasionally. It was nice knowing the kids were close by, safe, and having fun too.
|The sun was seting during our nice Valentines dinner|
|Zoe made Valentines for us at Aunty's Bech House|
Poor Jacob had to make due playing Plants Vs. Zombies because they don't have Minecraft. Must have been a tough 90 minutes!
Day 6 - Pearl Harbor, Hyatt Waikiki Beach
After checking out of Aulani today, we went to Pearl Harbor. The little ones were a little bored, but the older kids got a lot out of it. The museum and the movie were very interesting and informative.
I definitely learned a lot even though I've been to Pearl Harbor before.
|A model of the USS Arizona|
|Explanation of what was happening prior to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor|
We checked into the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach this afternoon. Kyrie's conference is here over the next few days. The rooms are pretty nice with a partial view of the ocean. The location is excellent - right across from the "Duke" statue with plenty of shops and restaurants nearby and an easy walk across the street to the beach. I would say the rooms aren't quite as nice as they should be. The furniture and walls are a little beat up and our shower is broken (waiting for maintenance to come and fix it), but overall it's fine and nothing to really complain about as long as they get our shower fixed.
Marc's description is accurate, but I quite like the rooms. It's great that they connect, they feel pretty big, and I LOVE the view. One extra pleasant surprise is that they have the coco-mango shampoo and conditioner that I fell in love with at the Hyatt Regency in Maui years ago. I've even ordered them from the spa there and have had them shipped to me several times over the years. Even though we don't have any space/weight allowance in our luggage, I hoarded these to bring home.
|Not a bad "partial" ocean view|
|We could still see Waikiki beach a block away as we ate dinner on the patio.|
We walked along Waikiki Beach at sunset. We planned to just kind of check out the shops and stuff, but the kids couldn't resist the ocean. They had a lot of fun splashing their feet in the water and chasing the waves. Of course they ended up soaking wet now that we don't have a dryer to use! Anyway it's always good to see them enjoying some spontaneous fun. We ended the night by sharing a shave ice which they devoured.
Day 7 - Waikiki Beach, Tantalas Drive, Petroglyphs
I guess we've been busy because it took me 3 days to get around to writing about this day! We had a lot of fun today, starting at Waikiki Beach and then a beautiful scenic drive up a mountain and the seeing some petroglyphs along a stream with some waterfalls!
This is sunrise, I assume. Thankfully, I wasn't awake when this picture was taken.
It is however, my favorite thing, to watch the sunrise. Add a good cup of coffee to it and it's heaven.
|The early birds' breakfast on our balcony|
|Shopping at the Hyatt. Somehow there were 3 ABC Stores within this hotel!|
|Pineapple Iced Tea in the lobby- the kids couldn't resist!|
|It was fnu talking to the parrots! This one says, "Hi" and "Aloha."|
|PB&J lunch also enjoyed from our balcony|
|We were in awe to see the whole view of Diamond Head crater|
Unfortunately, we could only find one set. There are apparently over 40 of them in this area. It was a really nice walk though.
over a glass of wine?
|View of Waikiki Beach from the penthouse|
|The closest we got to seeing a spitting cave.|
Then we drove on to the Hanole Blowhole, but the tide was too low for that. I was starting to wonder if this was going to be another one of those days when I drive the kids around for hours and we end up seeing nothing. It wouldn't be the first time!
But then we traveled on to the tidepools at Makapu'u and they didn't disappoint. The kids liked seeing the huge waves crashing against the rocks and seeing the crabs and little fish darting around in the tidepools. I'm still hoping for better tidepools on the Big Island next week, but this was a good start.
We traveled across the island to the Dole Plantation. This is mainly a tourist attraction, although they do grow quite a few pineapples as well as a bunch of other tropical plants. We did the "World's Largest Maze" and also the train ride into the pineapple fields. It was a nice visit, but we were all pretty tired from our long day.
|Dole Whip and a Pineapple Float|
|Landing on the Bog Island of Hawaii|
|The "bad side" of the plane's view just before landing|
|I had to pick up the rental car from nearby Kona so Kyrie had to entertain the kids while they waited.|
|View of a distant Mauna Loa on our drive|
|None of us can believe the size of the avocados!|
I could! (Jacob)
|Living/Dining/Kitchen. Weird but useful storage door under stairs is open and so is front door.|
|Seond bedroom upstairs with two single beds with balcony and en suite bathroom|
|Sunset from our balcony|
|"A" Bay - Before our hike|
|Royal Fish Ponds|
|a mix of lava rock and coral|
|The kids had fun adding to this coral "castle"|
sad Joe's castle
|Weird seeing snow on a mountain while you're swimming at the beach!|
|Even after all that swimming the kids still had to check out the pool!|
|Sunset from our balcony|
|That white obelisk is the monument to Captain Cook. Technically on British soil (it's a long story).|
|The sand was washed away by a hurricane.|
|This one's just a little too big!|
|Zach loved that dog. Zach, "I'm sniffing him and he's sniffing me!"|
We arrived back at the airport extra early to ensure that we didn't have any further complications. Unfortunately, THIS flight was delayed (if only that happened yesterday!), so we spent quite a while at the airport. Anyway, we did eventually get home and we were very happy to be there. It was a great trip, but next time we'll be a lot more careful about the flights.