Hawaii was a bittersweet trip for me.
I had been planning to take my grandma to Hawaii for sometime but, unfortunately, she was called home before we got to make the trip together. I had been her caregiver for almost six months and I knew I needed a trip to wind down and process everything that had happened.
I thought and prayed about where to go and then Aulani on Oahu popped into my head.
It seemed perfect! I would bring her ashes with me and we would make the trip together, if in a very different way than we had planned.
The state of Hawaii reopened to outside travelers on Oct 15.
Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa opened up on Nov 1, and I arrived on Nov 6.
There was preparation that had to be done before I could fly. Hawaii requires several steps including a negative COVID test to enter the state.
These steps are evolving and changing almost daily, so always check with your travel advisor as they will have all the information.
I arrived at 5:15 pm. I set up a ride with Sunshine Shuttle Hawaii. They were awesome! Great communication and prompt arrival at the airport.
The trip to Aulani is a little over 30 minutes. It got dark during the ride, but the island was still so beautiful.
Upon arrival at Aulani I checked into my room and went to bed. That flight is long and I wanted to be well rested for the next day.
I had not intended to do any excursions, however, many have or are getting ready to open up.
The Dole Plantation opened back up while I was on the island.
My intention was to rest, relax and renew. I did just that. I spent my days either on the beach or in one of the many pools or hot tubs on property.
The beach is in its own cove so you are protected from the rough water of the Pacific Ocean. They share the beach with the Marriott next door. It was beautiful, clean and peaceful.
Masks are required while getting to the beach, but not in the water. I was never asked to put my mask on as I laid in the sun either.
There are many pools. Currently the adult-only pool is open to all guests, and the only adult-only area is one hot tub. It was great because I could go there and read and relax in the shade.
Aulani has so many activities!
Auntie’s Beach House for kids was closed, but they had other activities, such as making Mickey Ears available for children. The slides were open, as was the kids play area.
You are required to get a wristband each day to allow you to use the pools.
They check your room number to be certain you are a guest of the resort. You are given towels at the same place you get the wristband. Once you have your towels, you are free to find a chair at the pool or the beach.
The water in the pools and the beach was cool and refreshing. The beach was clear out to about 5 feet in depth. I loved that I could see the little fish in the water.
Dining was limited at Aulani because they had just reopened, however they had Off the Hook and Ule’ Café both open
You could get sandwiches, salads, pizza and Dole Whip.
The Dole Whip was a little let down as I was looking forward to Pineapple. They vary the Dole Whip flavors by season, so these were Pumpkin flavored.
The Hawaiian Pizza was very good. A large pizza has ten slices, more than enough to feed a family.
Mickey Ice Cream sandwiches were also available.
Shopping reopened as well.
Aulani only had one store open in the beginning and then the other store opened for limited hours or by request. You were able to buy dry goods and drinks, as well as some awesome clothing and other souvenirs.
If you are a Duffy FAN, which I am a Huge Duffy Fan, then Aulani is the place to be!
This is the only US location where he is still available. Duffy even has friends here, a turtle and a dog. Both are very popular. Of course Lilo and Stitch are very popular here too. That also made me very happy.
If you cannot find something you are looking for in the way of food or even a souvenir, there is a market less than a 5-minute walk from the resort.
It was a quick walk, and in that shopping area was several eateries as well as a Starbucks. The little market had all types of quick meals, groceries and souvenirs.
I purchased a Mandarin Salad for lunch and it was incredible. I also picked up some non-Disney souvenirs for family and friends.
I spent so much time at the pool and the beach and talking to my grandma as if she were here.
This trip was healing and magical for me.
I would go back to Aulani or anywhere in Hawaii. You have to be aware of COVID restrictions, and masks are required everywhere, but if you go with an open heart and patience to understand it will be a modified trip, you can have a magical time!
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Thanks to Embrace the Journey Travel Planner, Angel Waite, for writing this blog post for us. You can learn more about Angel here.