If you follow me on Instagram then you might have noticed the Hollis family spent last week in Hawaii! More specifically, we went on a vacation to Aulani. If you’re not already familiar, Aulani is the Disney resort located on O’ahu about half an hour outside of Honolulu. Since my husband works for Disney, the resort had been on our radar ever since it opened but I was more than a little bit nervous about the idea of taking three boys on a five hour flight from LA. But then my sister-in-law and I got the idea that we should all take a group vacation to celebrate a little something we like to call, Birthdaypalooza… this is the fictional holiday to mark that fact that between our two families we celebrate five birthdays in January/February. Since we also have a combined five children under the age of seven the Aulani was the obvious choice for our vacation no matter how many hours away it was.
So we booked our trip and I packed special “airplane backpacks” for our boys and I felt like a total rockstar when I got everyone checked in and on the plane in time for takeoff. Our two year old was my biggest concern because he’s definitely into the “terrible” phase but he was really excited about takeoff and sat attentively while we left the ground. Unfortunately as soon as the captain tucked the wheels back inside the plane, Ford looked at me and said “I wanna get off now”… he would repeat this litany in cries and screams and whines for the next four and a half hours. Also, it’s important to note that while those airplane backpacks had snacks, books, puzzles and age-appropriate games, you know what they didn’t have? Diapers! That’s right, Dave and I got on a five our flight and accidentally checked the diaper bag with our luggage. That’s rockstar parenting right there folks! Oh, and the computers/iPads we brought to occupy the baby while we flew? None of the shows and movies were downloaded so there was nothing for him to watch other than a totally inappropriate in-flight film. So, let’s just say, after that flight I really needed a vacation!
Which works out well because I was now in Hawaii!! A ton of moms have been asking me about our trip and if I liked our Vacation to Aulani. In a word I’d call the experience, magical. I was a little nervous that it was going to be over-the-top Disney everywhere but instead, the hotel really emphasizes Hawaiian culture. From the food to the shows to the architecture and design of the space, every single part of the hotel speaks to Hawaiian history. I’m a huge history buff so I loved that they found a way to incorporate local culture in a way that taught every member of our family.
When it comes to the hotel itself the Aulani had the two things I care about most: nice rooms and great food! The room we stayed in had two separate bedrooms and a dining room/kitchen/living room in between. This was awesome because we stopped by Walmart on the way in and got a bunch of snacks, cereal, sandwich stuff etc to eat throughout the week. It also had a washer dryer unit… In. The. Room. People, I’m potty-training my two year old so you know that was a special kind of perk!
The kids loved the Character Breakfast and the poolside lunches. I absolutely adored the breakfast at a restaurant there called Ama Ama… I think I ate there almost every day! If you get the chance go there please order their Kalua Pork Eggs Benedict, it’s literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life! I also love the coconut shrimp from the Snack Shack, the Mai Tai’s with a dollop of Dole whip and the shave ice. Oh, also (sorry, can you tell I really liked the food?!) if you can get away for a little date, hit up The Olelo Room during happy hour. The food and drinks are great and they have really cool cover bands who sing everything from classic rock to your favorite song from Frozen. Oh shoot, one more food-thing! Across the street from the hotel is a restaurant called Monkeypod holy crud you guys, it’s SO good! Order the corn chowder, AND the burger and their homemade banana cream pie for dessert!
One of the reasons we chose the Aulani is because they had so many things for kids to do. From waterslides, pools, to the beach and Aunty’s Beach House our boys were active every hour of the day! We spent most of our time in the water, but Aunty’s was great for the afternoon when they wanted to get out of the sun. As for me and Dave we really wanted to get away for an adventure of our own so we booked a day off-site through Disney Excursions. We did the Kualoa Ranch Tour which was seriously, one of the most amazing days of our lives! It started on a private beach for paddle boarding, canoeing and lunch. Then we took a catamaran out in the water where we saw sea turtles and listened to Bob Marley. We finished with a two-hour horseback ride through Kualoa Ranch (which is where they shot Lost, Jurassic Park, etc) so it’s basically the most beautiful place on the planet.
I think it’s important to note, now that I’ve gone on and one about this hotel, that I’m not being paid to say this nor did I receive any part of this trip for free. I don’t want you to think that I’m gushing because they asked me to. The entire week was incredible and we’ll definitely visit again. As for the flight back… well, this time, we remembered the diapers. 😉 xo, Rachel