Hi folks, I’m back home!  Sorry it took me a couple days to write this; I didn’t have much to report from November 4th as I was just packing then traveling back home.  Yesterday was crammed with activity, so today was my first change to sit down at my computer.  I wanted to write a quick review of my time in Hawaii.

I really enjoyed my time at Aulani.  I interacted with many “cast members” including restaurant staff, housekeeping, bell service, gift shop, even the concierge. I found all of them willing to help and very friendly.  Interestingly the front desk was probably the least friendly cast member that I talked with.  Although, I don’t blame her at all; I was checking in at a very busy time and I think she was distracted by all the hubbub.

IwaThe hotel itself is a great mix of Hawaiian and Disney magic.  The Imagineers built in lots of little details that you would notice more and more of with each visit, so there is always more to discover.  For instance, I learned about the ‘iwa bird that was helpful for fisherman because in the morning it would fly out to ocean where the fish were and then at night would always return to shore, the fisherman used them as guides.  Disney named the schedule they put out each day “The Daily ‘Iwa” since it was your guide to the day.  Also, I began noticing that image of the birds set into the flooring pointing towards different landmarks.  And of course, there are hidden Mickeys.

While visiting I had a text conversation with my brother about how fun it would be to have the whole family come here one day.  It is a place that you want to come back to.

Disney has a way of making you forget the outside world.  And they have everything from shows, to ocean swimming, to water slide, to restaurants, to special events.  I believe that a family could come here and happily spend the whole vacation on property and be perfectly happy.  But don’t do it; Hawaii is amazing and should be seen!

Mountains and OceanOf all the things I did while there, I think riding the ATV’s through Kualoa Ranch was my favorite.  The views were astonishing and the ATV’s were just plain fun!  It’s also fun to see the spots where they filmed scenes from some of our favorite movies.

The Dole Plantation was fun, but I probably wouldn’t pay to take the train ride again.  The little train is fun for about 10 minutes, but once they had talked through the growing process there wasn’t a lot of information to fill the time. I think the garden tour might be the way to go, then you can move at your own pace still see a lot of the tropical plants that are also on the train ride. Although, it is the home of Dole Whip, so worth a visit.

Throne RoomThe ‘Iolani Palace was not only beautiful and interesting but it taught a lot about the Hawaiian history and made me want to learn more about the circumstances of what led to the abdication of the throne.  It also shows the pride that the Hawaiian people had in their country, and the pride they still have.

The way the Polynesian Cultural Center presents the information about the different islands is both entertaining and informative.  It does take a whole day to do it properly, so make sure you allow yourself enough time for it.

If you ever get a chance to visit the memorials of Pearl Harbor it should not be missed.  Taking the time to look back at our history can only serve to increase your understanding of where we are today.  As Martin Luther King Jr said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”

Red-Crested CardinalThe real star of a Hawaii vacation is its natural beauty. Every day that I drove around the island I was blown away by the sites, from the views from the mountain cliffs to the perfect beaches.  Not to mention just the joy of seeing a palm trees in their natural habitat, and the sound of the tropical birds.

I think that did quite a few things while I was there, but it still didn’t touch the number of things I want to do.  I came home wanting to go back and explore more, and I had only been to one island.  I can see why so many people make Hawaii their go to vacation.  I know I’m looking forward to visiting again!  Maybe try the cliff diving I heard about…

Categories: Blogs, Disney, Hawaii, Travel Diary

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