Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

We went on the Pearl Harbor tour through Disney and left from our hotel, Aulani, at 6:30 am on a trolley.  We finished up around lunch.  There was a short film prior to taking the boat ride over to the memorial.  The tour was very informative and seeing the USS Arizona underwater was breathtaking and everyone there was speechless.  There are no words needed.  The pictures do all the talking.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hawaii Vacation, Day 4, Aulani

Day 4 was spent mostly at the resort.  We enjoyed the pool, slides and ocean the first half of the day and then we went across the street from Aulani to do some shopping.  There was an ABC store among other souvenir, art and fast food places.  One store we really liked is owned by a couple of local firemen and is called Hawaiian Fire.  The store is a cool design.  We bought some hats, T-shirts and souvenirs.

The resort has a Starlit Hui twice per week that features Hawaiian dancers, entertainers, ukulele players and Disney characters.  We headed back to the resort after shopping and eating a light dinner  to watch the show.  The show was okay but they did want everyone to sit on grass mats.  We arrived right before the show started so we were at the back and people kept standing up and leaving/moving blocking our view.  I didn't time the show but it was not long at probably 30 minutes.  It is not a typical luau with food but the entertainment was pretty good.  The Disney characters came out at the end and danced on the stage.  After the Hui, we went to watch and listen to fireside stories on the beach.  We enjoyed this with the exception of too many people.  We had a great seat and arrived early but some people came and stood right in front of us and blocked our view right when he began telling stories and we had to move.  It was irritating at best.

We then headed upstairs for the night because we had a very early rise scheduled the next morning at 6:30 am to go visit Pearl Harbor.  Now Pearl Harbor is something everyone should visit if at all possible at least once.  I will share that next time.

MS Southern Mom

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hawaii Vacation, Aulani Day 3, Paradise

The third day we woke up to this view......

With this weather, we decided to spend the majority of the day at the resort.  We enjoyed the water slides and lazy river multiple times.  I could float around that thing for days.  It is relaxing and fun.  There is a volcano/rock that you climb up with your inner tube in hand and then it launches you into the lazy river below.  The lazy river has a current to keep you floating around so you don't have to paddle yourself.  You can kick back and enjoy the breeze.

Here is a picture of me relaxing on the beach.  I wish I was there now.

They have a snorkeling area inside the resort but we didn't try it while we were there.  Here is a good shot of it from our hotel room.

After a full day at the resort, we headed into Honolulu/Waikiki to shop.  While waiting for the car to be pulled around, I enjoyed the lemon/lime water they serve at the entrance to the resort.  They keep 2 lovely ladies stationed here to greet everyone upon entrance or exit (in my case).  Very nice!

The Ala Moana Center is an excellent mall where you can find every store imaginable from the mid to upscale range.  On the way over we drove by the Aloha Stadium.  

Here is a pic just before arriving at Ala Moana.

The Ala Moana has beautiful views from the top level and a fountain with huge fish.

While we were there I did stop in at some shops I don't have access to where I live.  It was nice actually seeing items in person I can only see on TV or the internet.  It was our 20th anniversary so my husband bought me some pretty items to enjoy for a lifetime.

After shopping and eating we went to a LATE movie at Ward Stadium next to Dave and Busters.  It was a large 16 theatre with stadium seating right down from the Ala Moana.  After the movie we simply had to drive by Da Kine Bail Bonds.  We love Dog and Beth.  It was very late so no one was there but I did get a picture of the store front.  Dog the Bounty Hunter!

It was a great way to end another excellent day in Hawaii.

MS Southern Mom

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Best Summer Vacation, Hawaii Aulani, Day 2

On day 2 I started off the morning with a massage and manicure from the Laniwai Spa in Aulani.

When I arrived I was greeted by an assistant and she presented me a basket of pebbles and asked me to select one.  Each one had a word inscribed on it.  I selected "Dream".  That was to be my word for the day.  The fountain in the picture below is where you release the pebble back into the water.  This causes a ripple effect that can be seen down the water line suspending the bulb.  It was really interesting to watch as you released the pebble into the water.  Next she gave me a tour of the entire facility which had inside and outside areas.  There was a beautiful shower area and hot tub outside along with a sea salt scrub buffet bar where I selected a mixture of aromatic sea salt oils that the assistant mixed together for me to use after my massage.  I used this throughout my stay at Aulani.  I really liked it.  After the tour she led me to a changing area and then a tranquility room and I relaxed on a lounge chair awaiting my massage.  I am relaxing thinking about it now.  They had different tea available to select from and cookies and sweets to enjoy as you waited.

My massage was the Lomi Lomi.  It is similar to a Swedish massage with aroma therapy included.  It was one of the better massages I have had.  After my massage I had some time to relax and enjoy the spa facilities before my manicure.  The result of my manicure is below.  I thought it turned out so cute.  I had a pineapple and palm tree with jewels on each added to my ring fingers.  Appropriate for Hawaii right?

 After the spa treatments I met back up with my boys and we headed down to the beach and pools for a swim.  Before we headed down, I enjoyed this unusual soda, Waialua.  I found it to be one of my favorites on the trip.  I had it more than once before going home.

We had dinner reservations at AMA AMA for 7:00 PM, so we played until we had to run back up to the room to shower and dress for dinner.  I have some pictures of us enjoying our day.

I think this photo captures it all.  Joel taking selfies and Jake chillaxin.  

After all that fun we headed to dinner at AMA AMA.  This is the unusual fountain and awesome view you see when you walk in the restaurant.  We had reservations so there was no wait.

Our view from our table can be seen in the picture of Jake above.  Totally breathtaking.  We splurged on desserts after dinner.  The Happy Anniversary cake was a gift from the resort and restaurant.  We were celebrating 20 years on this trip.  All of it was so delicious.

I will leave you with the sunset we enjoyed while we ate dinner at AMA AMA.  No words needed.  Enjoy.

MS Southern Mom

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paradise on Earth-- Hawaii, Aulani Vacation--Day 1

We are back from a vacation where we spent 7 days in Hawaii and 5 days in San Francisco.  All I can say about Hawaii is WOW.  It is paradise on earth.  This is our first time to visit Hawaii and I think it is the most beautiful place on earth.  I have been to multiple places in Europe and all over the US and Hawaii is by far my favorite.  We stayed at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on Oahu.  We rented a one bedroom villa which had plenty of room for the 4 of us.  The resort itself is gorgeous and the staff were extremely nice.  Upon arrival you are greeted by someone from the staff that places leis on each guest and provides you a small tour of the resort including walking you to the check in area.   We arrived at sunset so all the torches that illuminate the entrance were lit as well as the ones inside which makes the place even more breathtaking.  Our room had a postcard view, not much more to ask for.....

The room had a kitchen, living room, jacuzzi tub, walk in rain shower, washer and dryer.  The TV had a wall bed underneath that was perfect for our teenager.  For the most part the hotel and room were Hawaiian themed, Disney is not everywhere.  I did love the Mickey Mouse lamp.  We really didn't even notice we were at Disney except for the normal quality, cleanliness and treatment we expect from them.  We didn't do any of the character breakfasts because my kids aren't into that.  My 8 year old did say he high 5'd Goofy which I didn't even see.  I never saw Mickey or Minnie except for at the evening show.

The trip over was LONG.  We had 2 connections with 2 hour layovers.  We traveled 19 hours.  We left our house at 4 am and arrived in Honolulu at 11pm our time.  It was exhausting but well worth the trip.

The first full day we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) and on our way to the PCC we toured the North Shore.  The waves were not huge that day but the view was spectacular.

We splurged and booked the Super Ambassador VIP package at PCC.  I think it was worth every penny.  

We had a private guide named Kirby that escorted us to all events throughout the center and reserved us front row seats for all the shows.  You can see a glimpse of Kirby in the picture below.  He is showing us how to make fire.  Kirby is the one in the pink shirt and palm hat.  We went to at least 2 shows in the Polynesian villages, toured the Fiji Chief's house and learned about all their traditions and beliefs  We watched the canoe pageant where each Polynesian island was represented by beautiful costumes and dance.  My favorite was the Tahitian canoe....

Some other activities we did included making fire by hand, going on a canoe ride, receiving temporary tribal tattoos (mine stood for "Queen", ha ha) and participating in a spear throwing competition (my hubby won!).  We learned the husband and wife settled their disputes in Tonga this way.  Whomever threw their spear the farthest would win the argument.  We also went to an IMAX showing of Hawaii in 4D, attended a luau and topped off the night with the Ha Breath of Life show.  We arrived at a little after 1:00 pm and did not leave until 10:30 pm.  We didn't stop all day and did not do everything there.  It was jam packed fun and entertainment.

The luau had entertainment throughout.  I have video of some of the dancing, just beautiful.

The food was buffet style with a variety of fruit, vegetables and meat.  One thing I enjoyed watching was the unveiling of the pig from the pit where it had cooked all day.  My favorite was the Pineapple drink, delicious.

The Ha Breath of Life show did not allow any photography during the show but we received a behind the scenes tour before the show started.  I captured a picture (shown above) of the guys practicing a pyramid and the stage (shown above, top center to the right).  I also have a video of them rehearsing.

We had an excellent day at the PCC and I would recommend it to everyone especially if it is your first time in Hawaii.  I want to give a special thanks to Kirby our tour guide for the day.  He did a great job!!!  We had a blast and will have memories of this place for a lifetime.

I'll leave you with one last video from one of the shows.

I'll be sharing more details soon.

MS Southern Mom.