The first full week of December, Cameron, his mom, my parents, the girls and I headed for Hawaii to celebrate an early Christmas! Cameron and all the parents involved had surprised me with this trip for my birthday back in May, so it had been a much-anticipated and long-awaited vacation, not to mention a much-needed one. Work leading up to the trip was crazy busy. By the time we left, all I wanted to do was sit and drink Pina Coladas.
We would be spending a week on Oahu, staying at Disney's Aulani resort. This location was mainly picked because I have wanted to stay there, with the girls, ever since the resort opened. By the end of the vacation, every one agreed it was a fantastic resort for kids and adults alike.
Our flight out was early in the morning, and since it was Christmas time, our Scout Elves surprised the girls in the car ride over to the airport with a little Aloha sign in the car while listening to the Lava Lava song, a Pixar short we saw at the beginning of Inside Out. The girls love this song, and we listened to it more and more as the trip drew near. They were tickled pink.
On a side note, yes we participate in Elf on the Shelf, not so much to keep the girls on the nice list throughout the holiday season but to add a little more magic to the holiday season. Sydney got her own Scout elf this year, who she named Minnie. She didn't quite grasp the complete concept of waking up and looking for Minnie each morning but she definitely understood she couldn't touch the elf. This was London's third year with Snowie and she loved getting up and looking for him. I actually had to wake her up early on school days just to give her that extra time to find him!
Back to the trip - We flew Hawaiian Airlines and while I can't say flying with a 3-year-old is easy, or that enjoyable, the service we received on the flight helped. I treated myself to a champagne split with some orange juice, which resulted in about 3 mimosas. And included with the flight was a warm breakfast at no additional fee. Hawaiian actually advertises that they are the last airline to offer in-flight complimentary meals for domestic flights. And they capped the flight off with a final complimentary beverage service that included some Hawaiian Rum Punch. It was strong but oh so delicious!
Cameron arranged it so that we would receive Leis as soon as we got off the plane. These would be the first of many leis we received throughout the trip, that I now have hanging to dry throughout our house!
While waiting for our luggage, the girls were introduced to something I haven't seen myself in ages - a payphone! I couldn't resist, and made them stand in front of the phone booths to take a picture - who knows if they will ever see another again.
We had a nice shuttle ride arranged for the trip to the resort. There was another family on the shuttle as well, who had just returned from visiting Disneyland Tokyo, so the drive was a little longer than expected. That didn't bother us too much as we knew check-in was not until 4 PM and Sydney conked out as soon as we started driving. After the other family was dropped off at their home, we actually asked the driver to stop at a 7-11 so we could grab some caffeinated beverages for ourselves and juice for the girls.
We were once again greeted with Leis upon our arrival to the resort - Cameron, Vicki and I opted for Kakui nut leis over flowers this time and the girls got Menehune necklaces instead. I was already wearing everyone's flower leis and must have been quite a sight with the collar of flowers around my neck. I was told by many people working at the hotel that having so many leis on means I am well loved!
At the curb we were told that our room was ready so we didn't grab anything to take with us, not even a change of clothes or swimsuit. Turns out, our room wasn't ready and soon we learned our room was near a construction site. Cameron negotiated a nice upgrade, but that meant we needed to wait a little longer.
While we waited, we headed to Aunty's Beach House. This is basically a Disney-version of childcare. I had pre-registered the girls and they were already scheduled for activities throughout the week, but we had to get them checked in and banded with the special check-in band.
On the way over there we were surprised by Minnie Mouse herself! I was carrying Sydney and London was up ahead holding hands with Cameron. Suddenly I saw something out of the corner of my eye and before I knew it, Minnie was tapping London on the shoulder to say hello. London was beyond surprised and excited. Sydney was excited to see Minnie but while we were waiting to complete our registration at Aunty's, Chip & Dale came in for a visit. Sydney ducked down and under some of the benches and squeezed herself into the smallest little space possible to avoid detection by the Chipmunks! It was hilarious.
After checking in at Aunty's, we headed to one of the onsite restaurants to grab something to calm our rumbling tummies. It was 2 or 3 PM by this time and I knew once my parents got it we would likely go grab some dinner so we kept the food light. I did enjoy a nice coconut mojito.
Our room was ready just before my parents arrived. It was perfect. It was a two-room villa with a full kitchen, including full-size refrigerator and dishwasher, a washer and dryer, and a living room in between the bedrooms. It also had two porches with chairs and tables and since we were on the bottom floor the porch had a gate that led to a path right to the pools. We could actually see the lazy river from our rooms. This turned out to be a perfect location for us for the week.
Once everyone was settled, we headed across the street from the resort to see about other dining options and see what sort of shopping the place had. We quickly discovered some cute shops and the ABC Market - a Hawaiian mainstay! We grabbed some essentials, from milk and orange juice for the girls to Whiskey, Malibu Rum and wine for the adults. They also had a nice selection of pre-made salads and wraps, as well as fresh fruit mixes - all of which proved to be better options than the food we got at the Hawaiian BBQ for dinner. Only my dad's teriyaki chicken was worth eating from there.
Please stay tuned for more! Or at least bear with me while I get this amazing vacation documented for my family and self.