So, how do you plan for a vacation that you have always dreamed about? I am going to try and start here…
I have wanted to go to Hawaii for forever. 😉 It was an option for our honeymoon nearly 16 years ago, but we chose a once in a lifetime Mediterranean cruise (no hard ship there) assuming one day we would be able to take our future children to Hawaii. And now the time has come!
How? Well, my husband’s aunt has been wanting to take this trip for quite some time as well. She actually bought into the Disney Vacation Club with this very trip in mind. Then, life gets in the way. Kids need money and time for sports, college, mortgages and food. In the meantime, my parents in law also bought into the Disney Vacation Club. At a family function, a few years ago, they decided to bank a few years of points so we all can go together (My parents in law, sister in law and her family of 4, my aunt in law and her family of 5, and my family of 5). In January, two 2 bedroom ocean view villas were booked for our dream trip this coming summer!
Now, this booking wasn’t easy. Yes- I co-own a travel agency that specializes in Disney travel, but I cannot touch a DVC reservation. There is no way around that at all. Aulani is HUGELY popular, and the rooms allotted for DVC members are limited. Even though I would see rooms available on line, the DVC availability was very different. My Mother In Law and Aunt In Law had to call EXACTLY on the day it was EXACTLY 8 months prior to our trip and then book the rooms that were available (which, thank goodness, were the rooms we wanted. Had we wanted a different view- it would have been another story). If we wanted to pay cash for the rooms and book through Castle Dreams Travel, several different types of rooms were ready and available to be reserved without a problem.
In February, I was able to book dining reservations for us. We chose the character breakfast buffet on Monday morning (most of us arrive on Friday afternoon) and a dinner at AMA AMA on our last night, Thursday. Availability wasn’t an issue at 7 months prior- but we are a group of 16 and I wanted to be sure we got something special for all of us during our stay.
Then we went to book our flights- 5 round trip tickets to Honolulu from NY wasn’t going to be easy on our wallets, but we got creative. NY has 2 airports we can fly to Honolulu on and if we chose to fly out of one and back in to another- we saved quite a bit on United Airlines! Yes, we stop once each way, but the savings vs a nonstop flight was something we could not pass up.
Now we are looking at excursions. Several in our group want to go to Pearl Harbor. The kids want to go surfing. I want to check out the giant swap meet (yes, a swap meet!) in Aloha Stadium. My oldest daughter has said she would like to try and see the Iolani Palace she learned about in school. Snorkeling is always a family favorite (and we can do that right at Aulani) and we are really looking forward to just relaxing at Aulani in their Waikolohe Stream…
Have you been to Aulani? What would you plan to do on your dream Hawaiian vacation?