Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hawaii was Beautiful, but...

My family spent a week in Hawaii recently, and it was a pleasant experience.  We stayed at the Aulani Disney Resort on Oahu, in the Ko'Olina area.

The resort was opened in October of 2011, and while all the recreational areas were open, not all the rooms have been completed.  As a result, I think things were less crowded than they will be once construction of everything is finished -- a nice, if not sustainable, feature.  Even saying that, we still had some difficulty locating shady places to sit in the afternoon -- woe to those who follow when the resort is more crowded.

The resort featured plenty of water fun -- two slides, a "lazy river", a saltwater "reef" complete with tropical fish, a stingray pool (extra fee required -- more on this later), a huge pool, multiple spas two of which had terrific views of the lagoon, and a semi-private beach on a constructed cove.  We spent most of our time taking advantage of the water, and only briefly experienced some of the "other" features of the resort (not counting eating and drinking, of course).  There were several dining choices at the resort, all of which served tasty food -- our favorite was 'Ama 'Ama, situated near the beach.  The resort is located only half a mile away was Paradise Cove, which had a nightly luau for you and 700 of your closest friends.

We spent one day on an excursion to the "Big Island" to visit a waterfall, Mona Loa Nut Farm, and Volcano National Park -- a wonderful, though exhausting, experience.

So what were the "buts?"

Hawaii's a long way away.  Duh.  I knew that already, but the point was emphasized over and over by the three small children with us on the flights.

The ocean is cold.  I suppose some would say 75 degrees isn't all that cold, but I wore a shorty wetsuit to snorkel, and would have been out of the ocean in twenty minutes without it.

The sun, on the other hand, is intense.  Even our three little kids (who are from Ethiopia, for those who don't know) were sunburned.

Traffic is terrible in Honolulu.  We didn't have to deal with it much, but every activity that required driving had lots and lots (way too much, in most cases) of padding in the schedule.

Everything was expensive.  I realize it's Hawaii, and it's a resort, but $16 for a cheeseburger?  Really?

All things considered, however, we had a good trip, and I would recommend the quality of the Disney Aulani resort -- at least while the crowds stay manageable.

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