My First Trip to Aulani

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

It was Christmas 2017. My family was debating what to do for the holidays. I was finishing up the first semester of my final year at Santa Monica College. We hadn't been to Hawaii since I was in high school, and had never been to Aulani. There was an upcoming conference there my dad could attend. So, we thought, why not?


We flew out on a Monday morning right after my last final. We arrived at Aulani around noon and were welcomed with leis and drinks. After dropping our things off and freshening up, we had a delicious lunch of chili cheese fries by the pool. I was surprised at how good they were! Later in the evening, we stopped by the Pau Hana community room and picked up a DVD - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales". This was our first time watching it, so we enjoyed some pizza and the movie.


The next day, I headed out to the pool bright and early to catch some rays and get my hair done. After getting my hair done, I ran into a familiar face.



Pluto was hanging out by the koi pond! He looked very festive in his Santa hat.


By calling the "Character Hotline" (a number given to you to find out about character meets), I found Goofy near the wave pool.



He's always fun to hang ten with!


Mickey and Minnie were meeting together, which was nice!



They looked very festive too, especially with Minnie's poinsettia accents!


Chip and Dale were around, causing mischief by the pool too.



Duffy and ShellieMay meet here too, but it's not always a guarantee. I'd met Duffy before, back in 2011, but this was my first time seeing him in a long time. I got lucky and saw him walking around!



Neither he nor ShellieMay sign autographs at Aulani.


Next up, I saw fashion ICON Daisy!



Doesn't she always have the best outfits?!


My last character meet of the day was Stitch. He loved my shirt, of course, since it had him on it!



After lounging around by the pool a bit longer, I headed back to the room and got ready for dinner at 'AMA'AMA. Before dinner, we stopped by the fire pit storytelling session, which was a lot of fun!


'AMA'AMA was beautiful, and the surf and turf I had was absolutely delicious.



Our table had a perfect view of the ocean. Despite the rain, it was still a lovely evening. However, the only stargazing session during our stay was cancelled, which was a bummer.


The next day, I had a different adventure planned - a sailing canoe adventure! I booked this at the hotel. I got to go out on a way finding boat, similar to Moana's! After a morning of sleeping in and a late brunch, it was time to set sail.



It was such an awesome experience. I'd highly recommend it to any ocean-lovers visiting the resort! The water was clear and calm. I had the time of my life!


By the time I came back, it was almost time for dinner. We had the Makahiki character dinner booked.


Donald greeted us as we waited for our table.



The food was pretty decent - they had an array of American, Hawaiian, and Japanese foods. Pretty solid overall. We had 3 visitors stop by our table.


First up was Dale!



Then came Stitch.



He was happy to be featured on my shirt again.


Our last visitor was Chip.



We went out and walked around the beach since it was quite pleasant outside. Then, we rented "Frozen" and headed back to the room.


We had a character breakfast at Makahiki the next morning. Our greeter was the one, the only Mickey!



The breakfast spread was just as good as the dinner one and was basically a typical character breakfast with a Hawaiian flair.


We only had two friends stop by the table. The first was Goofy.



Minnie came by next.



I will say the lighting isn't terrific inside Makahiki, so be prepared.


I hung out by the pool for most of the day, and also participated in the Meneheune Scavenger Hunt, which was pretty fun! I did a few water slides, which were pretty rad. However, the highlight of my day was...



Meeting ShellieMay for the first time! She's not a guaranteed meet, so I was ecstatic that she came out during my visit.


After meeting ShellieMay, we went across the street to check out the souvenir store to buy coffee and macadamia nuts, a tradition for us in Hawaii. We also got some delicious soft serve ice cream!


When we came back to the hotel, I decided to take a photo with this adorable wooden Stitch figure.



Aulani manages to be both Disney and authentically Hawaiian.


The next day was spent, mainly, paddle boarding, lazing around on the private beach, and snorkeling.


I got to participate in the daily fish feeding, which was super cool.



And, I took this really nice picture with the resort as a picturesque background.



After a day of water slides, the lazy river, paddle boarding, beach yoga, and more, it was nice to settle down in the evening to watch "Spider-man: Homecoming". I didn't fall for Tom Holland until almost two years later, though.


Our final day at Aulani was Christmas Eve. I spent our last few hours there dressed up for Christmas and meeting a few characters. I got lucky and met my favorites! First up was ShellieMay!



This is one of my all-time favorite photos.


Next was my #1, Donald!



Mickey's line was a bit chaotic, as we were first in line, then they moved it and we got shifted to the end.



Duffy was next!



I can't even with how cute he is.


The last item of business was to meet Minnie before heading to the airport.



This trip was absolutely unforgettable. I'd love to go back around October to see all the Halloween outfits, especially Daisy, Duffy, and ShellieMay's!

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