Exploring Disney’s Aulani Resort Grounds, Part 2 (Oahu, Hawaii)

After arriving at the Disney Aulani resort in Oahu, Hawaii, and being greeted by an army of waitstaff at the door, we were not given much direction on where to go, specifically as non-staying guests. We were at Aulani just to take in the resort, and really say we just saw it. With that in mind, we were not really too sure how much of the property we would really be given access.

120625 Disney's Aulani Pools 1

120625 Disney's Aulani Water Stand

120625 Disney's Aulani View From Above of Lazy River

We were not completely sure how the Disney staff would treat us non-registered guests on the property. We did notice everyone was wearing wrist bands of various colors, obviously depicting that they were paying guests, but who knew how strict they would actually be with the policy.

So as we got settled in, Mrs. InACents and the boys went into one of the pools while I continued lotioning up. However, almost immediately one of the staff came over asking if we were registered guests, and told us we could not use the pools. Totally disappointing. However, the real beauty came by way of the little lagoon and beach that was public property.

120625 Disney's Aulani Tools Exhibit

120625 Disney's Aulani The Lava Shack

120625 Disney's Aulani The Lava Shack Deco

120625 Disney's Aulani Surf Board Exhibit

120625 Disney's Aulani Southeast Tower 5

120625 Disney's Aulani Southeast Tower 4

120625 Disney's Aulani Southeast Tower 3

120625 Disney's Aulani Southeast Tower 2

120625 Disney's Aulani Southeast Tower 1

120625 Disney's Aulani Rock Lizard

120625 Disney's Aulani Pools 3

120625 Disney's Aulani Pools 2

The wonderful thing about Hawaii is that no matter how exclusive your property, you can not lay claim to the shoreline. That being said, the Disney Aulani resort backs up to a wonderful little nook that provides for terrific beach access and calm waters.

120625 Disney's Aulani Public Beach Panoramic

120625 Disney's Aulani Public Beach 4

120625 Disney's Aulani Public Beach 3

120625 Disney's Aulani Public Beach 2

120625 Disney's Aulani Public Beach 1

Overall, what did I think of Aulani? Honestly, after coming off a 2.5 week trip to both Disneyland and now Hawaii, Aulani was just rather lackluster to me. After seeing the resort, I would have been extremely disappointed to have dropped a ton of money on a room at Aulani, as I would have felt there just was not enough there to get my money’s worth.

I think the illusion of having to stay in a Disney resort, specifically when visiting Disney World, but also sister sites such as Disneyland or Aulani is way over rated. I have said it many times before. Our family is all about Disney, not spending time in hotel rooms. I just do not see the value in spending extra money on a Disney room, when we would much rather use our savings from a cheaper location to create better experiences.

Grant it, when you pay for Aulani, you are also getting access to their pools and outdoor experiences, but is it worth the extra cost when the free beach is right outside your door?

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Source: InACents

Pirate Tales at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park

One fine day on the Big Island of Hawaii, a pirate crew set out an uncharted journey for what else, treasure. Come along on their exploration to find out what happened to the traveling legends.

120620 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (1)

The adventurers set out to find the undiscovered in hopes of bringing home the loot for their brethren at a far away land. Their ship (mini-van) was well equipped for the adventure this fine Hawaiian day, with adequate supplies (towels, pale, and shovels). Nestled behind a marina was Ala Kahakai in Kalaoa, Hawaii. After docking their ship, and a short hike, they stumbled upon a rather desolate beach.

120620 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (2)

By the looks of these photos found at the scene, they were not the first to explore this uncharted territory as evident of the thatched roof structure on the beach shore. However, there was no remaining supplies left by the natives to ward off the summer heat. The pirate crew had no expectations for this adventure, and did not even fully even know what lied beyond the residential remains. However, during the exploration of the site, it was really refreshing to find untapped coastline with very few humans around, as there surely would have been fear of an attack by the natives.

120620 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (3)

120620 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (4)

Fortunately, a little further down the beach was a nice little alcove to get out to the water, since the area was scattered with lava rocks, which would have been detrimental to ships. The secluded beach area, with palms to shield the sun, was a perfect spot for our hearty little crew to settle in. Many of the shipmates headed out for a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean, while the Captain (myself), as well as the oldest Powder Monkey (age 3) decided to get out their finest gear (the most expensive crab shaped bucket and shovel on the islands) and search for shallow, buried treasure.

120620 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (5)

120620 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (6)

120620 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (7)

As the crew played in the sand, and as any sea-legged kid would do, the tale goes that they started to dig a small home to fill their bucket. As they rummaged through the particles looking for gold, they were approached by a native (Park Ranger/Maintenance Person), sailing onto the scene on his quadruped (golf cart) and told the pirates they were not allowed to scavenge in the sand.

Is a beach not meant for digging? How do you tell a Powder Monkey (kid) that they are not allowed to dig in the sand? Strange. Were they afraid the pirates might excavate historic remains? Seemed like a strange request considering there was no signage or anything heeding the warning.

Did these pirates dig their own shallow grave? We may never know.

That, my friends, is a tale of the famous InACents pirate clan, and how they spent one of their final days amid the palm trees and sand at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park. Heed the warning, “do not dig in the sand at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park on the Big Island of Hawaii,” or otherwise dead men have no tale to tell.

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Dining for Breakfast at Makahiki Inside Disney’s Aulani (Oahu, Hawaii)

We arrived rather early by most families standards to visit Disney’s Aulani Resort, so rather than diving right into the property, we elected to enjoy a morning breakfast at Makahiki and catch up with my college friend. The restaurant serves a buffet as well as an assortment of dishes from the menu. We had hopes of being able to enjoy a character meal during our stay, but unfortunately, those are only available on select days.

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Door

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Mural

Since the breakfast buffet was nearing the end of its allotted time, we chose to have the sit down menu. Before it got packed up though, we thought the Keiki (kids) area of the buffet was a nice, added touch. The Keiki area was situated lower to the ground, and featured child favorites such as Mickey waffles, bacon, pancakes, eggs, and tater tots.

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Buffett

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Keiki Buffett

If you never step foot inside Makahiki, I suggest you do so just to see the light fixture adorning the main dining area. The fixture features wonderful glass leaving, with an assortment of gorgeous glass fruit hanging from the center.

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Food Lighting

Once seated, I elected to enjoy the chocolate milk-dipped Haupia bread French toast, stuffed with bananas and peanut butter. Who knew dipping French toast in chocolate milk could be so much better than using syrup? The dish was fantastic, and I did not mind paying the $15 charge because the parking fee for up to 4 hours is waived after spending $35 or more at Aulani dining venues or at Laniwai Spa during a single visit.

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Menu

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki French Toast

The boys both had some cute Mickey waffles, complete with some fresh fruit ($8 each), and Mrs. InACents and my friend selected the three egg omelets with Aulani potatoes ($14 each).

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Mickey Waffles

120625 Disney's Aulani Makahiki Omelet

In typical Disney fashion, the food was top notch, which should be expected with the high prices for a breakfast meal. With our bellies full, we were now properly equipped to spend some time exploring the Aulani property outdoors.

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