It was a miracle.
Back in late spring, while texting with friends, I casually threw out the idea of spending a few days in paradise- aka, Aulani, the Disney Hawaii Resort. I was sure I would be met with a chorus of "oh that would be fun!" but with no actual follow-through. I didn't have high hopes of this trip actually coming together. But then... we kept talking about it. And the four of us managed to find a week that worked in all of our schedules. And a plan began to form.
Spoiler alert: We made it to Aulani!
I want to preface this by saying if you're planning a trip to Aulani, or probably any Hawaii vacation in general, just make it for as long as you possibly can. I imagine any trip to paradise will never feel quite long enough, but our four nights just went way too quickly. We didn't get anywhere close to doing everything we wanted to do!
What we did manage to do, in a nutshell:
Eat a lot of treats
Character buffet breakfast AND dinner
Sunset photos on the beach
Sunrise yoga on the beach
Fitness class in the ocean on a paddleboard
Cookie decorating class
Drink out of a pineapple
Photo ops with basically everyone
Eat a lot of treats.
What we didn't manage to do:
Attend a luau (there were two while we we there, unfortunately the first one was canceled due to bad weather which resulted in the second one selling out!)
See any turtles
Any boat excursion
Horseback riding on the beach (it's on my bucket list!)
We still missed out on some treats.
But I guess we had to save something for next time, right??
Here is photographic evidence of the many treats we consumed.
Pineapple Dole Whip is a must, of course, but I enjoyed this seasonal pumpkin spice soft serve so much that I had to have it twice. It's not listed on the menu, so you have to ask for it! We were told it would be available through Thanksgiving.
There were so many delicious Halloween-themed treats, like the mini pumpkin pie, decadent chocolate cupcake, rich cookies & cream cupcake, and giant pumpkin macaron!
Mickey waffles were all we needed for the breakfast buffet to be a hit, but there were so many other delicious options too! There were two types of Mickey waffles, traditional and red velvet.
We learned how to decorate cookies, which was a blast. I took these home and enjoyed them later. Proud moment: I was told that out of all the classes, I was the only one to make an alien cookie!
You HAVE to have a Mickey-shaped spam musubi! And be sure to take home a couple of Mickey Mouse adorned chopsticks as a souvenir. Pro-tip: the part with Mickey's face snaps off, and serves as a chopsticks rest!
The Mickey ears are an extra $1, and totally needed... even if they fall off after you spend too much time taking your photos. Not that that happened to me. OK, it definitely happened to me. Condensed milk and ice cream in your shave ice is absolutely worth it, by the way.
Now listen up for this pro tip. If you forget everything else, you'll want to at least remember this if you're headed to Aulani. This delightful pastry is called a caramel pillow. It just might be the tastiest treat you'll ever eat. It's like a croissant but multiplied by a million, with a delicious caramelly center. You'll need to head to Ulu Cafe right when they open to get one- they don't have a lot, and they sell out quick! (And you want to eat it warm!)
The aforementioned drink in a pineapple. You can get any beverage- alcoholic or not- served in a pineapple for an extra charge!
My words and photos really don't do it justice. Between the food, the ocean, and the sunset hot tub soaks, nothing is more magical and relaxing than a vacation in Hawaii. Aulani is going to have to be an annual vacation now.
Can't wait to return!!