Today was an early morning. Basically because we are used to the time being 6 hours later than it is in Hawaii. 😉 At 5am, I got up to use the bathroom and found what I thought was a stick bug in our bathroom. I woke Mike up, telling him I would catch and release him on the balcony but I wanted to take its picture first (strangely enough- growing up with 2 brothers, bugs don’t usually bother me). Well, I grab my phone, crouch down, and this creature turned its head, looked at me, and rubbed its front legs!
I screamed. Mike jumps up, laughing and says he will catch him- and it wasn’t easy- these guys are fast! And on cue, as I open our balcony doors- an ambulance passes with its alarms blaring… yes, it is 5am. But I must say, the rooms are incredibly sound proof because we didn’t hear it until I opened the doors.
Now, we are awake. The kids aren’t as much as we are (Mikey is in our bedroom with us and the girls are in the living room on the pullout couch and chair). Mike and I decide to take a walk as sunrise is approaching, the kids decide to try and sleep a bit more. They missed some beautiful sights!
Once back,we decided to grab everyone and head to Ulu Cafe for breakfast. This is a quick service restaurant at Aulani (new with the recent renovations) and where we picked up our refillable mugs for the week too.
Mike and I ordered Croissant sandwiches, Jacqueline (our 14 year old) ordered french toast, Katie (our almost 12 year old) ordered the breakfast platter, and Mikey (our 7 year old) grabbed a bagel from the pastry section. It was all good- nothing to brag about though. Within a few minutes the rest of our group joined us and it was a really nice first breakfast on our first full day in Hawaii.
After breakfast Aunt Nancy, Uncle Jim, and I head to Costco. Mike takes the kids to the pools and my Parents In Law handle the check out, check in process.
Tip One: Costco is maybe a 10-15 minute drive from Aulani and is super close. If you are a member and you have access to a car, it is worth the drive! Yes, in hindsight we overbought. However, a half gallon of milk at Aulani was $7, a gallon at Costco was $5. Basically, we picked up alcohol, breakfast items, some toiletries (shampoo, etc), and snacks. Most items were about the same price as what they are at home, the dairy was a bit higher- but nothing crazy. Keep in mind, we are a group of 15 once everyone arrives!
Once we arrive back at Aulani, I had gotten a phone call from my In Laws who were having a problem at the front desk and my 12 noon site inspection of Aulani was actually at 11:30- so I needed to meet my guide quickly in the lobby and explain I had to help my family first and would be with her ASAP (Joanne was incredibly understanding).
At the front desk my Mother In Law explained they wanted to put us in a totally different tower than where our family was and she didn’t like that idea at all (neither did I). However, they were working on it. When a Cast Member approached me she apologized and told the 3 of us we were assigned to 1008 (exactly 2 floors above our family in 808) but it would be a few hours before we could check in to that room (I assume that room in the other tower is ready immediately, but if we have to wait a bit to be closer to family we would prefer to do that). Tragedy averted.
I walked back over to Joanne who stared our site inspection/tour of Aulani. This included a quick walk of all of the outside grounds, the spa, restaurants, plus a standard resort room, 2 bedroom villa (whose second bedroom was a studio villa- different from the dedicated 2 bedroom villas we had whose second bedroom is identical to a standard resort room), and the 3 bedroom grand villa (whose 2 bedrooms are very similar to standard resort rooms). I would have liked to see one of the suites- but at nearly 100% capacity they were full.
A standard resort room:
After the tour, I popped in to the gift shop only to find my husband, Aunt Nancy, my children, and my nieces who had just arrived with Mike’s sister, her husband, and Mike’s God Son. We divert the children out of the gift shop and into the lobby where the rest of the family is. We all head up to 808 for a drink and separation of the groceries. Once we are done, we get the call our room is ready and our group of 7 makes the transition to room 1008. And the view has improved….
We take some time to get settled, shower, and get ready for dinner. We have a reservation for Monkey Pod, just across the street, for dinner tonight.
Monkey Pod (hugely popular, very highly rated and recommended) is packed- our group has to be separated into 2 tables, understandable because we are a group of 15. However one table is downstairs and one is upstairs. The 5 kids plus Mike’s cousins head upstairs and the parents eat downstairs. Another tragedy averted. Once seated, we ordered drinks, Garlic Truffle Oil Fries, and 2 Raw Bar Mixed Plates (sesame ahi poke and organic big island macadamia nuts, shrimp ceviche, tako poke) for the table. Mike ordered a Big Island Cheese Burger and I ordered a Margherita pizza. We both really enjoyed our dinner and the prices weren’t anything we weren’t used to paying in Manhattan.
After dinner we walk back to Aulani- the kids head up to our villas and the parents head to the Olelo Room for a drink and to hear Tony Conjugacion playing.
Tip Two: The Olelo Room has an amazing drink and appetizer menu! They also have nightly entertainment until 10pm most nights.
It was a gorgeous night and we were able to sit outside under the stars. Mike and I were quickly snapped back to reality when our daughters called telling us Mikey threw up. We said goodnight and headed back to our villa.
It wasn’t much, the girls had it cleaned up before we arrived. He seems OK- but it is now late and we hope it is just the heat and time change getting to him. He isn’t upset- just tired. We tell Mikey the next day he gets to sleep in and relax until he feels better…
Today’s Daily IWA…