An early flight with Hawaiian Airlines gets me into onolulu in the morning to enjoy a full day at Disney's new Aulani Resort a short 20 minute drive from the airport.
The commanding facade breaks through the palm trees and I crane my neck to see the thatched roofs just ahead of me.
Welcomed with an "Aloha" I am introduced to RJ who presents me with a fragrant flower lei before guiding me through the expansive lobby to the balcony where I am greeted by a landscped tropical paradise.
RJ guides me through the resort facilities (including such exciting amenities as a lazy river and man made snorkelling lagoon) before I am escorted to my room by Jeff who encourages me to refrain from catching glimpses of the amazing view until I get to my room.
Dark wood and rustic features truly encapsulate the Hawaiian ethos and I understand why Jeff was so keen for me to experience the view firsthand from my fifteenth floor balcony...the word breathtaking doesn't even give it justice.
The Disney eye for detail is everywhere. From high beds to accommodate your suitcases beneath them to fly screens so that you can enjoy fresh air rather than constant air conditioning, the rooms even have recycling bins and blu ray players for those nights in watching movies you can rent from the Pau Hana Room.
If you want to plug your computer or camera into the television there's a media player for that or if you want to peruse the many activities available both day and night, why not read 'The Daily Iwa' on your balcony!
I choose to grab a spot of lunch at the 'Ama'Ama restaurant on the beach where I devour an Angus chuck burger and Maui chips (otherwise known as sweet potato fries) and a coconut smoothie.
Relatively reasonably priced for a resort, the meal sets me back $28 with gratuities and tax.
The beach calls my name and I enjoy some time out in the cool waters and soft sand...
With iced water stations nearby and Papalua Shave Ice available in a vast array of flavours, you really want for nothing at Aulani.
Free wifi throughout the resort means I can Skype family back home directly from the beach which is exciting for me but makes them a tad jealous seeing my beautiful outlook compared to the dreary Sydney weather they've been experiencing!
My camera gets a work out when Donald Duck makes an appearance back by the main pool and I'm smitten when he kisses me hand for a photo opportunity.
I receive my Photo Pass which allows me to view all photos taken by the professional photographer on the interactive television back in my room before purchasing those extra special ones at Kalepa's store.
When I was told before arriving, that Aulani pays homage to Hawaii with a taste of that Disney magic, I was skeptical. The resort does just that though...
Glimpses of Disney are evident but the resort truly does honour true Hawaiian tradition and culture...even down to the beautiful music that plays throughout the property both day and night.
As the sun sets I head to the Makaloa Garden for the Aulani Starlit Hui to experience the legend of the hula with ¡®Uncle¡¯.
Local artisans gather and keiki are given hula lessons before the festivities begin and the band takes to the stage.
Sitting on grass mats we enjoy the tales of Hawai¡¯i before the Disney characters gather and guide us in modern line dances including my favourites the ¡®Cha Cha Slide¡¯ and ¡®Cupid Shuffle¡¯. Whilst I love doing these dances any time of the day, there certainly is something special about shuffling with Goofy under the stars.
Just the perfect dose of Disney magic before I head back to my room for sweet dreams of swaying palm trees...
Friday, May 18, 2012
Aulani: a return to Hawaii
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A
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