Opposites attract. That old adage can’t be farther from the truth when describing me and my husband. Early on in our relationship, I have noticed we were interested in different things. His idea of vacation usually involved the beach and was especially fascinated with Asia. On the other hand, I liked shopping and museums or sitting for endless hours in a cafe. And I was in love with Europe. Although he’s Caucasian, it was rather peculiar that he knew a lot about Asian food (way more than me) but knew nothing about European food. He introduced me to sushi and Vietnamese food and I, in turn, introduced him to olives, prosciutto, and French macarons. When I first brought him to the Philippines, he ventured out of Manila and went to Palawan and Cebu (where you’d find some of the most beautiful beaches in the country). I stayed behind in Manila because I preferred the hustle and bustle of the city.
Now that we are married and older, his dauntless spirit is gone, choosing safe over adventure. I, too, can feel the changes in me lately. The places that once captivated me were no longer fascinating. I now prefer solitude and nature over bustling, overcrowded cities and skyscrapers.
But if there is one thing that we both have in common, that is our love for Disney. We have been to all the Disney properties in the United States and its international parks in Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Our endearment for Disney has been passed on to our boys. When my son was getting his chemo treatments, he mentioned that once he’s better, he wants to go back to Epcot Center at Walt Disney World (he loved the food at Les Chefs de France). My older son’s childhood crush was Mulan and had an awesome picture with her last time we were there.
When we first heard about the opening of Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii, we were very excited about it. We vowed that if we were ever to go back to Hawaii, we would definitely visit the property. Last spring break, that became a reality and lucky for us, my cousin’s friend works for Disney and gave us a discount for an overnight stay.
We were greeted with pukka shell necklaces (for the boys) and an orchid lei (for me) once we pulled our car up to the valet. They also had refreshing water infused with fruits waiting for the guests before entering the hotel. Each of us were given a key with our names on it after checking in. The boys loved this idea and felt important.
The whole resort’s theme is Polynesian, with only subtle hints of Disney.
There were no cast members walking around the property, except for the meet and greet breakfast with Mickey. The grounds include an 8,200 square feet (760 m2) pool complex that includes two slides, a lazy river, and an artificial snorkeling lagoon.
They also had their own private beach and with the free wifi, I was able to write some of my blogs on our Hawaiian vacation while laying on one of the lounge chairs and watching the boys swim in the beach.
We were also excited to see a shaved ice stand and even better, pineapple Dole whip was served inside the gift shop by the pool.
My husband and my younger son rented gears to snorkel at the artificial snorkeling lagoon. There was a window from the side of the lagoon where we can watch them snorkel and take their photos.
The next morning we had breakfast at a restaurant facing the beach. The hostess was awful and wouldn’t allow us to sit ourselves without the whole party present even when we insisted the rest were coming in a few minutes. It really didn’t make sense and of course there were arguments between us initially but I’m not even going to waste my time writing about it.
My overall impression of Disney Aulani Resort was good but it was not overly impressive. With the discount, we still paid $400 for a night. I honestly didn’t think it was worth the price but we’re still glad we got to experience Disney in Hawaii. In fact, I’m glad it was only for a night because the property was a 40 minute drive (or more depending on the traffic) from Waikiki and there’s not much to do or see in Ko Olina other than the resorts. Will I come back again? Probably not. But at least I can say “I’ve been there!”