Day 15 – Fun at Kualoa Ranch

Even though I woke up after 6am and after the sunrise, I was still able to enjoy some of it from the lanai. Then I went back inside to sit in front of the fan and write up a blog post.

The water was potentially going to be off in our apartment between 8am and 5pm so we made sure to shower before 8am. Kevin had some pots of yoghurt for breakfast which he really enjoyed and I had pita bread with vegan mayo, cheese and red cabbage & butter lettuce – it was so good. Of course, I am still using my Aulani cup even though this place actually has reasonably sized mugs. I also packed a second pita bread for my lunch.

Around 9.30am we headed off on the short (about 12min) drive to Kualoa Ranch. We visited here back in 2017 and loved it so much we wanted to come back. However, we hadn’t counted on the fact that we’ve now seen the Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon, so while it is still beautiful here, it’s not as impressive as it was the last time.

We got checked in for our first tour of the day – Ocean Voyages. We did this last time and I really enjoyed the short trip out on the water. Of course, it had started sprinkling when we arrived but we were hopeful to avoid the rain.

Finally it was time to board the bus for the short ride over to our first boat trip – across the old Hawaiian fish pond (the wall of which is 800 years old).

Though we did manage to avoid the rain, there was no escaping the grey skies or the clouds on the mountains – though that did add its own magical beauty. It was still a nice little trip out and on the way back we spotted a couple of turtles.

While Kevin went to buy his lunch I found us a table outside (the same one we sat at last time) and made friends with one of the local zebra doves.

Kevin got some teriyaki chicken which he said was really good, but too big of a serve for him to eat. I enjoyed my packed lunch. Not sure what vegan options there would have been but I was glad I didn’t have to have a hot lunch as I thought it was too hot for that. Kevin tried to be nice by getting me some hot chips (fries).

I had a few, as did he, and we fed a few to local birds.

And you have a photo with the ranch sign.

At 12.30pm we headed over for our next tour on the ATV Raptors. This was new to us since last time we did the Movie Tour.

We got given our helmets and gators (since it was dusty) and then headed out. Kevin enjoyed driving and I was happy taking vidoes and photos. It was a lot of fun.

There were a few photo stops and stories/info given to us but I was really glad we’d done the movie tour first – definitely do that tour if you want to see more the movie making side of the ranch.

We did get to go to back of the ranch on this tour which was cool. But I did find I got dust in my eyes (even wearing my sunglasses) which wasn’t the most fun.

Now I knew I was a bit dusty but it wasn’t until I took my helmet and glasses off that I discovered just how dirty I was !!! And Kevin let me walk around like this.! I would have used the washing up area if I’d known – though there are no towels post pandemic so it may not have worked out well. No wonder I could feel dirt in my eyes.

Before leaving the ranch we picked up a nice little treat to enjoy on the way home. But instead we ended up having these while facetiming the puppies (and Christy) in the car. My frozen mango was just perfect on this hot (and dusty) afternoon. We went home via Foodland – which is past our accommodation – so Kevin could get some more yoghurts. Then it was time for a nice shower and to wash my hair for the second time today !! Ah, that feels so much better.

By now it had started to rain and it was nice listening to it along with the waves crashing onto the beach.

Later Kevin made us some Kite Hill pasta (which is vegan) with a vodka pasta sauce. It was so good !!! Afterwards I enjoyed the second half of the vegan carrot cake I got from Down to Earth. Kevin wasn’t keen so I got to have his piece. I loved it !!!

Day 13 – Fun in the “no-sun” at Aulani

After nearly two weeks in Hawaii I finally managed to capture an awesome sunrise – and I could only see a little of it since the main event was behind the other building. Hope I get to see a couple more like this before we go home.

With it being our last full day in Aulani and rain forecast for the afternoon we decided to head down to the pool area just after 9am. I packed my breakfast with me. As you can see Kevin has been practicing his Mickey drawing skills on my back !!

We found a spot to sit (there were a lot more choices today since it was early and also overcast instead of sunny) this time facing the beach. Kevin went off to buy some breakfast from the Ulu Cafe and came back with a breakfast bagel (minus the sausage) which had eggs & avo (since no sausage). He said it was very nice. I had my usual vegan cheese on mini bagel (which I had packed in my new stasher bags) and a cup of tea.

After breakfast we headed down to the beach but Kevin deemed it too cold. So we trudged back up to the lazy river. This time we tried out the double float. We did one go around on the float and then decided we should do one lap in the float. That turned out to be a much faster lap thanks to Kevin’s leg power.

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been on a waterslide. We did the raft slide together first which was a lot of fun – even though I tipped out face first at the end :-). We then did the solo slide in the dark. You lie down for this one and torpedo out at the end. I’ve decided I’m definitely more into sitting up for slides. The first one really was so fun and I’d loved to have been fitter so I could have gone on again.

We then headed back down to the beach where the water seemed so much warmer this time :-). We enjoyed a swim in the ocean. Such a shame it was a cloudy day as the backdrop would be that much nicer with some blue skies. Still at least it’s not raining yet. Kevin swam out to the buoy, which marks the end of the safe area to swim before you reach the reef.

We left the beach area and Kevin was sad to find the chocolate banana stand was not yet open. We then washed the sand off our feet and headed towards the adult hot tub. I grabbed my tea on the way as we were seated close by. We took in this view for probably the last time and after all the walking around and up the steps to the waterslide, the hot water was so nice.

I dried off looking up at the palm trees and feeling so very relaxed.

We went over to Off The Hook to have a punctual lunch but missed out on the last available table. Luckily we only had to wait about 5 min until one was ready. However, when Kevin realized he couldn’t have the bento box that he wanted (it was only available in the evening) and there weren’t many options for me, we decided to leave and have lunch back in our room. It does look a nice place to eat though so hopefully next trip. Kevin checked out the Ulu Cafe for lunch options but nothing appealed to him and we got a refill of popcorn on the way back to our room.

I’d finally gotten into the book I was reading so did that back in our room, while enjoying the popcorn. Eventually Kevin fell asleep so went ended up with another late lunch when he woke up about 2.30pm. I made another salad but this time added some of the leftover pizza from Kevin’s dinner the other night.

About 4pm the rain finally started, which meant the end of our plans to have a spa while enjoying the sunset. I spent some time working on the next vlog.

Later we went to visit the shops again to take photos for the kids in case they wanted anything. I also snapped a few more photos and we found Maui’s hook – not sure how we missed it before. There is just much to see and find in the resort. I guess we’ll keep making discoveries on each trip.

Kevin ordered a doordash from Aloha Salads for dinner. Unfortunately mine came with real chicken instead of the plant based chicken that I’d ordered. Luckily it was all on top so I was able to pick it off. The rest was amazing. Definitely a very good find for a place to eat. Later I enjoyed the last two vegan chocolate mochi. Again I can’t say enough how good these are !!!

We ended the day watching some YouTube and Kevin had organised to give our popcorn bucket to someone who wanted one to take home for their nephew. There is a really good facebook group for leaving unwanted goods/food when you are checking out. The only thing we had to offer was the popcorn bucket. The little bit of food we have left we’ll be taking with us to our next accommodation. But I love the whole idea as throwing out perfectly good food at the end of the trip is just horrible for many reasons.

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.

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.