May
19
2022

Day 12 – Lazing the day away at Aulani

I didn’t wake up until after 6am so I missed whatever sunrise there was (though we can’t see it much from our room anyway). I have the same routine here of starting a timelapse, taking meds and drinking tea while working on the previous days blog post.

I was a bit sore this morning so took a while to get moving. I had breakfast (bagels again) out on the verandah. Kevin had a morning nap. And late morning we headed out because Kevin wanted to check out the shops across the road and get a coffee. We stopped in via the DVC area to get a photo with the Mickey statue. We ended up chatting with one of the cast members there and she took the photo for us.

As we were walking across the road, stopping to taking to take lots of photos of the beautiful Aulani building and gardens, Christy face-timed us – or should I say Kenai face-timed us since he was the first one we saw :-). After finishing up our chat with Christy we went into the Country store, which is basically an ABC store, and picked up lunch for Kevin (there was nothing for me) and some fresh fruit. Kevin also got a frozen chai latte from the coffee shop which he really enjoyed.

Then it was back across the road to Aulani. We then got changed into our cozzies, packed up our lunch (Kevin cooked some dumplings for me) and snacks and headed down to the pool area.

Though the pool was pretty empty there were very few sun lounges free. We searched the pool for two in the shade, then down to the beach area, which was also busy. Back up at the pool area we eventually found two together under an umbrella.

I ate the vegan dumplings (which were very enjoyable) and Kevin had his Asian Chicken Salad.

Then it was time to float around the lazy river. I took photos today so you can see just how beautiful it is. I don’t think anyone does a lazy river quite like Disney does.

We were getting out of the river to go find a hot tub we’d just spotted yesterday when along came Goofy. So fun to get to meet him and have a photo taken. We are very lucky to have missed the whole no character hugs that occurred during the last 2 years. They only started again in the last month or so.

We then spent some time in this (new to us) hot tub, before hanging out on the sun lounges reading, and enjoyed some watermelon & berries, until we ended up in the sun and headed back to our room for a bit.

Tonight we planned to have drinks and dinners at the Oleo Room. It opened at 5pm so by the time we got there at 5.45pm there were no tables left. While we waited for one to be available we had a quick (daily) walk through the shops before sitting outside (the lobby) while we waited. It was lovely here enjoying the breeze.

We only waited about 15mins before getting a call that a table was ready for us. We were seated inside on high stools, which ended up being the perfect location for us as it was quieter. The decor of the bar area is wonderful with wood carvings depicting different Hawaiian words.

From our seats we looked out into the outdoor area and over to the live performers – who were singing songs in Hawaiian. And from what I could hear were explaining the meanings/stories behinds the songs.

We ordered some drinks to start. Kevin had a banana daquari and I had a strawberry guava mocktail. It was very different for me but I did enjoy it.

For our dinner we shared the vegan tacos and edamame. Both were delicious. And combined with our drinks was the perfect amount of food.

Kevin contemplated dessert (since they did sound good) but opted instead to go and check out the sunset. We had a nice stroll down the beach and found a spot to sit but sadly there were a lot of clouds on the horizon so, though pretty, it wasn’t much of a sunset. We strolled back to our room, thought about an evening swim but decided against it, and settled in for the night.

May
18
2022

Day 11 – Enjoying Aulani as DVC Members

I have to say it was a bit odd not hearing the roosters when I woke up. I missed them. I got up just before 6am and was surprised (and jealous) to see so many people already out and about. I’m hoping to wake up early enough one morning to be able to head out before the crowds. But even if it doesn’t happen (and it’s not likely) at least I can somewhat see and enjoy the morning from our verandah. We absolutely love having a pool view room (rather than the view we had last time) as it helps to feel part of the resort (we’ve noticed this at other places as well).

Kevin was so excited that there was a DVC Members event scheduled for our first morning. It was at 8am which is a bit too early for my fibro body but I managed to be dressed on time to leave. And luckily we didn’t have too far to go :-). I mean, we didn’t even need the car !

I wasn’t really keen to attend this since it was also to a dance party. But we did receive a nut lei upon arrival so that was nice (since you don’t get them at check in any longer). We were shown to some seats (arranged to promote some social distancing). The first part was all about top travel tips, with characters and volunteers from the audience. After two travel trips we realized this was going to go on for quite some time so we decided to leave. This might be fun for younger kids but I think they might get bored during this first part I don’t know. Mind you Kevin was annoyed when he later found out they gave extra goodies to those who had stayed for the whole thing. I wasn’t anything we needed but he still wants things that says DVC at this stage :-).

We went to get booked in for “make your own ears” which Kevin really wanted to do. We had to make all our choices then and there which I was not ready for. The ear choice was easy because they had special blue ones available for DVC members.

We had our daily wander through the shops, spying things we’d missed yesterday like this hair stick and buying some things I’d been thinking about overnight. Kevin really wanted to get a robe (he did buy one on the last trip that has since been donated, but this one is a different style and a whole lot cheaper) but sadly they didn’t have his size. Hopefully more might come in over the next few days.

I headed back to the room while Kevin went to hunt and gather his breakfast. I had mini bagels with vegan cheese while Kevin had a croissant with egg, bacon, cheese & tomato. We at outside on the verandah.

At 10.30 we were back to decorate our Mickey ears. It didn’t take very long as you basically just had to hot melt glue all your decorations onto the band.

They did turn out pretty good but unfortunately the bands aren’t the most comfy for me (I think I have a bigger head than average.

We went back to our room via the shops again as I convinced Kevin to buy the Stitch travel mug he had been wanting.

I didn’t realize quite how tropical or Hawaiian I looked until I saw this photo that Kevin had taken. But I did buy the dress especially for this trip so I guess it makes sense.

We had a bit of down time here. Kevin had a nap and I worked on editing a video.

Later I made some salads which we enjoyed out on the balcony.

About 2.30pm we headed down to the pool, stopping along the way for Kevin to pick up a free DVC gift – which was a lanyard and photo of the resort. We got to the pool just in time for it to start raining !!! I mean what are the chances?? Esp when no rain was forecast for today. We decided to just wait under the umbrellas and eat some popcorn until it eased up after about 30mins or so.

The water was a lovely temperature so it was easy to get straight in. Kevin went down a slide and then we did one & a half laps around the lazy river (it’s a long one). We filmed today for my vlog but I’ll take photos another today to show you just how beautifully landscaped the area is.

From here we headed down to the beach but once Kevin spotted the shop selling chocolate coated bananas we had to stop there. I decided to get a pineapple & watermelon swirl dole whip. It was nice but WAY too big. I only ate about half.

Kevin decided we needed to have these while in the water. Not sure why. Luckily the ocean water was not too cold (last time we were here it was December and it was a bit too chilly)

Lastly we went to the adults only hot tub. Such a magical spot overlooking the beach. It was busy when we arrived (I assume everyone headed here in the rain), but once the sun came out it emptied out.

We dried off on the sun loungers for a bit then went back to our room. Kevin had a bath & I had a shower. It was only around 5pm and our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8pm. Kevin had really wanted to eat at Monkey Pod which is across the road from Aulani. But at 7.30pm he realized that, like myself, he really didn’t want to have to get all dressed up and go out for dinner (at a time when we’re usually thinking about heading to bed).

He decided to cancel our booking and went to get a flatbread pizza from the Ulu Cafe. Luckily I’d gotten myself an extra frozen meal and had a Chick’n Teriyaki rice bowl for dinner. Kevin really enjoyed the flatbread. And he only had half so has another meal ready to go.

We watched some YouTube in bed before going to sleep.

May
17
2022

Day 10 – Oahu : Checking into Aulani

My last sunrise on Kauai was a lovely one and I will definitely miss seeing this every morning. After working on my blog post it was time to complete our packing. Luckily it was pretty easy and straight-forward and we had a time for a relax before leaving at 10am.

We had a couple of hours till our flight to Oahu so we headed to a nearby Starbucks. Of course, I got my usual Dragon Drink and Kevin enjoyed his Iced Chai Latte and a Blueberry Muffin (which he said was really good). We sat to enjoy them for a bit before taking a quick wander through Macy’s.

We then headed to the airport where we dropped off the car at Thrifty. I was just about to sit down at the transfer waiting area when the bus turned up.

A few mins later and we were at the airport and greeted with hoards of people outside the terminal. We made our way over to the check in area – since my online attempts had failed. We then had to drop off our bags and get in the long, long line for security. My (fibro) body was definitely not impressed with an almost 2 hour wait to reach the scanning area. As you can see no-one was staying one cow apart.

Thankfully during this time Christy sent through some lovely puppy photos which definitely cheered us up.

Of course, with such a delay getting through security we missed our flight to Oahu at 12.35pm. But luckily for us there is a flight every half hour or so, so once we got to our gate (which was the furthest one !!) we were able to get booked onto the next flight at 1.35pm. Luckily we were right by that gate and once scanned on they actually closed the doors behind us. So yet again we were last onboard the plane. What is it with us and being last onto Hawaii planes??!!

Though I was in a bit of pain and rather hungry it was a relief to be onboard for the short flight to Oahu. .

Once again we departed, were served a nice refreshing juice, and then started our descent into Honolulu. As you can see there is quite a bit of rain around. But I believe rain is only forecast for today. Not going to complain after the amazing weather we had on Kauai.

The good thing about catching a later flight than expected is that once we made our way to baggage claim our luggage was already there and waiting for us (since it had caught our original flight). We then made our way to the parking garage to find the car we had booked through Turo (which is kinda like airbnb but for cars) that we are trying out for the first time. At least Kevin should feel at home driving a Prius – even if it is from a different side of the car.

Thankfully, being Sunday, traffic was flowing really well out of Honolulu and it was a quick 20 min trip out the Ko’Olina area. But being almost 3pm I was pretty hungry (remember I didn’t have a proper breakfast and no lunch) so first stop was Aloha Salad. So glad I knew about this place (from my research online). They had a whole plant based menu and Kevin and I decided to share the Vegan Aloha Pineapple Wrap. Boy was this delicious. We ate as we walked back to Target.

I was super impressed to see a whole Pride section at the front of the store to celebrate Pride Month. This is a much bigger store than the one on Kauai and I found things I wanted to purchase in addition to our groceries.

When we came out of Target it was raining, but not too heavy. We put the groceries into the car and then finally it was time to head to Aulani. A quick 5 mins later and we were pulling up to the check in area.

I was surprised when they take your car away close by and then bring it back when you’re ready. But I guess they know check in here isn’t as quick as at other hotel, esp. if you haven’t been here before and have to stop and take in the incredible lobby area.

We actually got to sit for our check in with the lovely Jennifer. Kevin was super excited when she said “welcome home” which is the greeting you get as a DVD member.

After our check in we had a little more look around the lobby and the outdoor area. Funnily enough our room is actually in this photo. Feels so good to be back.

We then drove our car to self parking (which is free for DVC members) and went to find our room. And oh boy !!! I’d seen photos and videos but they don’t do it justice. The room/s are just stunning and so much bigger than I expected. It’s a lot of room for the 2 of us (you can sleep 5) but it’s great to have a full kitchen and a separate lounge area. And a bath !!

And you just have to love the view from our balconies – yes we have two !! And even though we have a pool/garden view, we can actually see the beach and some ocean.

I got unpacked and sat with my feet up to recover/rest from our day. Then about 6.30pm we headed to explore the resort and check out the shops. We didn’t buy anything yet but there are a few things I’m considering – no not the ears Kevin put on my head !!

We then wandered around outside, catching part of a show by the pool.

Back in the room we had a late frozen dinner. My vegan lasange was really good. I then had a nice bath before heading to bed.

May
16
2022

Kauai Day 9 – Best of both worlds garden tour

I am going to miss these magical starts to the day. Today we had a very relaxed morning, as the tour we were doing had been pushed back until 12pm, which meant we didn’t leave until 11am.

On the way we passed by this protest. Seems such a giant step backwards that Americans have to protest the right to have an abortion (again). I do hope things work out for them.

We are arrived at the visitors center for the gardens and got checked in for the Best of Both Worlds tour.

Of course I had to take some photos while waiting for tour. Hope you like plants because you’re about to see a whole lot of them :-).

After meeting our guide – who was so energetic and funny and full of knowledge, we headed off to the McBryde Gardens. The drive was incredible – such a stunning area in this coastal location. All the beaches in Hawaii are accessible to the public but you have to trespass to reach this one (though it sounds like it’s okay as long as you park correctly).

Once we reached the McBryde Gardens we got off the bus to have a walk around. Sadly I can’t begin to tell you what anything is. This garden is a “veritable botanical ark of tropical flora and home to the largest ex situ collection of native Hawaiian flora in existence. Our extensive collections of palms, flowering trees, rubiaceae, heliconias, orchids, and many others have been wild-collected by botanists and biologists from throughout tropical regions around the world and transported to McBryde Garden to research, cultivate and thrive“. One thing I did learn (and remember) is that orchids grow on trees.

We stopped at a waterfall for some photos.

Then it was back on the bus to drive over to the Allerton Gardens. There was a chance to use the restrooms and refill water bottles before the next walking section. I had been worried the 2.5 hour tour would be too much for me (with fibromyalgia) but it really very manageable.

The Allerton Gardens “is a paradise transformed through time by the hands of a Hawaiian Queen, a sugar plantation magnate, and most significantly by an artist and architect. Tour the garden to see towering rainforest trees with tall curving roots that grow near bronze mermaids, a grove of swaying golden bamboo, a cut-flower garden, and tropical fruit trees. Here the focus is on landscape design, but among the plantings are botanically important species of the tropics, including varieties of palms, ki (ti), heliconias, and gingers”.

I do think this was my favourite of the two gardens. Partially because of the meandering walking paths and garden “rooms” that were created and partly because there were a lot more flowering plants.

There is also the Jurassic Park trees which are actually Moreton Bay Figs from Australia that are 50 years old (apparently they grow a lot fast here than they do in Australia).

Such a lovely area to sit and enjoy while our guide took photos for everyone. It’s kinda hard to believe that these awesome, impressive, huge trees are only as old as I am !!

The last place we visited was the mermaid room. The fountain is designed to pulse water down the channel to sound like a low pulse rate and relax and calm the visitor.

I highly recommend this tour and if I ever come back to Kauai I will do the more in depth tour of Allerton Gardens. I’m also keen to read a book about the Allertons (a queer couple who in public – back in 1920s – became family by living as father and son).

A few more flower photos before we leave. we even got to try the yellow flower from the bottom photo. It was pretty tasty and is often added to salads. After the bus ride back to the visitors center we had a quick look through the gift shop. I was disappointed since I find gift shops like this usually have some great finds (at least in Australia).

We stopped at the Koloa food trucks on the way home, just in time for final orders since it was almost 3pm. Kevin had fish tacos and I had modified vegetarian tacos. I thoroughly enjoyed mine and Kevin described his as alright.

We headed back to our accommodation. Again, I wanted to have a swim but by the time we’d gotten up the stairs, carrying quite a bit of stuff this time, I just wanted to sit and put my feet up. Plus having to deal with packing a still wet cozzy wasn’t appealing. I spent some time reading and we opted to just have a snack instead a proper dinner since lunch had been so late.

Later we face-timed with the kids and it was great to catch up. Oh, I can’t remember if I updated you about Koda’s leg (not sure I even mentioned his leg) but it turns out he’s ruptured his cruciate ligament and needs to have surgery. At this stage it’s planned for the 25th May but we may get it pushed back till when we are home – since he’ll need a lot of supervision during his recovery.

We watched a little YouTube and I did some packing/sorting before heading to bed. There was a full moon tonight and a lovely reflection on the water. Such a beautiful ending to our wonderful time on Kauai.