Save Money And Stay Off Property In A Condo

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kona Cafe Dinner Review

We had a wonderful dinner at the Polynesian Resort's Kona Café. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and wanted to eat somewhere special. We really love the Polynesian Resort and try to eat there each time we go to Disney World. When we arrived at our dinner reservations we were given a pager and waited just about five minutes to be seated.

The children were given crayons and a children's menu to color. We were immediately served warm delicious bread with honey butter (it was gone before I could take a picture). I just love the bread at Kona! I ordered the long awaited Lapu Lapu drink (I had been reading reviews about this drink for months!). The Lapu Lapu is served IN a pineapple! The drink consists of Bacardi 151, Myers rum and tropical juices. I did ask the server to ask the bartender to leave out the 151 because I did not want the drink to be too strong!
Read more at http://disneyworldonabudget.blogspot.com/2013_05_01_archive.html#h3xiO22zkO6KmBjs.99
We had a wonderful dinner at the Polynesian Resort's Kona Café. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary and wanted to eat somewhere special. We really love the Polynesian Resort and try to eat there each time we go to Disney World. When we arrived at our dinner reservations we were given a pager and waited just about five minutes to be seated.

The children were given crayons and a children's menu to color. We were immediately served warm delicious bread with honey butter (it was gone before I could take a picture). I just love the bread at Kona! I ordered the long awaited Lapu Lapu drink (I had been reading reviews about this drink for months!). The Lapu Lapu is served IN a pineapple! The drink consists of Bacardi 151, Myers rum and tropical juices. I did ask the server to ask the bartender to leave out the 151 because I did not want the drink to be too strong!

Lapu Lapu served IN a pineapple
 
this is me enjoying every sip :)
 
My husband ordered the Kona Coffee Rubbed Pork Chop with mashed sweet potatoes and seasonal veggies. He enjoyed his meal very much and said he would highly recommend it. I ordered the Teriyaki Style New York Strip topped with diced pineapple and served with stir fry broccolini and sticky rice. The sticky rice was somewhat bland in my opinion and I wished that I had substituted the rice for the mashed potatoes. The steak was amazing and the flavor really was perfect. I would definetly order the New York strip again!
 
Kona Coffee Rubbed Pork Chop

delicious mashed sweet potatoes
 
my daughter enjoyed the chicken tenders and fries :)

Teriyaki Marinated Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Broccolini
 
The children's meal came with this cute dessert-make your own ice cream sundae! Complete with m&m's, Mickey shaped sprinkles and chocolate syrup and a cherry on top.
 
Complimentary chocolate and vanilla cupcakes from our serve to celebrate our anniversary!
 
 
Overall this meal was wonderful and I would highly recommend Kona Café to anyone who wants a nice sit down dinner in a wonderful atmosphere. The meal cost $98 before the tip and we would love to go back again!
 
 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Time Flies By Giveaway!

A new year means a new calendar! Enter to win a Disney themed 2014-2015 calendar!

 
Time Flies By Giveaway will run December 26 - December 30th. Open to US residents 18+. Enter below using the Rafflecopter:
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 FREE Things To Do At Disney

Top 10 FREE Things To Do!

We have covered eating at Disney on a budget and choosing your accomodations. This week we are going to discuss the FREE things to do on your Disney vacation! There are so many great free things to do and many people do not even realize they exist.

1.   Take a FREE boat ride from Downtown Disney-this can be fun in the evenings.

2.    Check out Celebration Florida-Located just 10 minutes from Disney World this small town is the perfect place to relax. Celebration was originally created by the Walt Disney Company. There is a farmers market with fresh produc open every Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm. What a beautiful little town complete with restaurants and shops to check out. There is also a really nice interactive water fountain area for children of all ages. There are many nice playgrounds located throughout the town. My favorite playground is in the Commons area along with picnic tables and volleyball courts.

3.   Explore Downtown Disney-Let your children spalsh at the water fountain located near Once Upon A Toy. The Lego imagination center is a great place to let your children take a break and get creative with Lego's. You can get a FREE piece of chocolate at Ghiradelli. And don't forget the huge Disney store. My children love to spends hours exploring the store.

4.   Walk the Boardwalk-in the evenings there are street performers, fire eaters, jugglers and jazz music not to mention lots of yummy snacks to try.

5.   Campfire with ChipN'Dale at the Fort Wilderness Lodge. This FREE campfire begins at 7:30 pm and you can purchase a marshmallow roasting kit for less than $10 which will feed about 4 people. There is a singalong followed by a Disney movie under the stars.

6.   Visit the butterfly garden located at the Contemporary Resort.

7.   Visit Tricircle D Ranch at the Fort Wilderness Lodge. There is not free, I must add, but it is only $5. There are pony rides for children ages 2-8 years old (must weigh less than 80 lbs). Children must wear closed toe shoes to ride the ponies. There is also a petting farm at the Ranch.

8.   Ride the monorail and check out the resorts-I really enjoy visiting the beautiful Grand Floridian. The lobby is so beautiful and there are also many nice shops located throughout the resorts. Splurge and purchase a few yummy cupcakes at the Contempo Cafe in the Contemporary Resort or have a Dole Whip at Captain Cook's located in the Polynesian Resort.

9.   Enjoy the pools! If your hotel has an outdoor pool then I highly recommend that you plan to take a day to just relax enjoy the pool! Children need a break from the sensory overload of the theme parks and with the Florida heat you cant beat a pool day.

10.   Take lots of pictures. This is a great way to remember your vacation. Spend time looking for the perfect photo spot. I recommend the beach at the Polynesian Resort with the Magic Kingdom in the background.

Read more at http://disneyworldonabudget.blogspot.com/2013/03/top-10-free-things-to-do.html#rwoXPd45iwGKKqo1.99
Each week we have covered ways to save money on food, snacks and accommodations at Disney. This week I am going to share with you the top 10 FREE things to do at or nearby to Disney.

  1. Take a free boat ride from Downtown Disney For schedules visit the guest services page. Most run on 15-30 minute intervals.

     2.   Visit Celebration Florida located just ten minutes from Disney. This cute town is a great           escape from the hustle and bustle of Disney. There is a great farmers market that is open every Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm. There is also a great interactive water fountain play area for children of all ages.

      3.   Explore Downtown Disney-listen to live music, let your kids play at the Lego store or simply relax by the water. You can also sample chocolate at Ghiradelli. My children's favorite thing to do at Downtown Disney is explore the largest Disney Store in the world!

     4.   Walk the Boardwalk-The evenings are a great time to walk along the Boardwalk. There are street performers, jugglers, fire eater's, etc. Be sure to grab a yummy snack at the Boardwalk Bakery.

     5.   Campfire with ChipnDale at Wilderness Lodge. This FREE campfire event begins at 7:30 pm and you can purchase a smores kit for less than $10. There is a singalong and a movie under the stars afterwards.

     6.   Ride the monorail and visit each resort on the monorail. Hop off at the Grand Floridian and explore the beautiful lobby. Be sure to look for the Teddy Bear lady. Grab a dole whip at the Polynesian Resort at Captain Cooks. Window shop at the Polynesian's fun tropical themed shops. Have a cupcake at the Contempo Café at the Contemporary Resort.

    7.   Take lots of pictures! There are so many wonderful photo opportunities at Disney World. You don't even have to enter the theme parks to get great photo's. Visit the beach at the Polynesian Resort and take some pictures with the Magic Kingdom in the background.

    8.  Visit Tri-Circle-D Ranch at the Fort Wilderness Resort. It is free to visit the ranch and see the horses. They offer pony rides, trail rides and wagon and carriage rides. Guests age 9 and up can enjoy a 45 minute horseback trail ride for $45 each. A historic 45 minute wagon ride will only cost you $8 each. Wagon rides depart daily at 6 and 8:30 pm in front of Pioneer Hall.

   9.   Enjoy your resort pool! Take a day off from the theme parks and just relax. Sleep in and relax by the pool. Your children will be happy and you will get a nice break.

10.  Watch the Electrical Water Pageant. A great viewing spot is on the beach at the Polynesian Resort. The water pageant begins every night at 9 pm.

*Tip--visit the various Disney resorts during the day when most people are at the theme parks, you can enjoy the lobby, shops and grab a snack. You never know who you might run into.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Disney On A Budget: Part 3

This week our topic is Disney snacks! Snacks at Disney are not your typical snacks let me tell you. There are so many amazingly delicious snacks available. But snacking can add up quickly. You might find yourself wanting to try everything and spending well over $100 per day just on snacks! Magic Kingdom is my personal favorite when it comes to snacks. The dole whip is on my 'must have' list along with the warm cinnamon bun. I also love the Mickey ice cream bar, such a classic choice but yet so yummy. The nutella waffle sandwiches look delicious and I hope to try one soon.

I suggest to anyone who has not been to Disney World to pick 1 snack per day that you want to try. Budget out money each day for your whole family for snacking. I think that a fair snack budget would be $20 per day for the whole family to have 1 snack. The kids can split a snack (unless it is a popsicle...could get messy splitting that!) and each parent could have 1 snack. Do you have a favorite Disney snack? Comment below and let me know!

Read more at http://disneyworldonabudget.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#mpeZRt63RbCk7WEc.99
This week our topic is Disney snacks! Snacks at Disney are not your typical snacks let me tell you. There are so many amazingly delicious snacks available. But snacking can add up quickly. You might find yourself wanting to try everything and spending well over $100 per day just on snacks! Magic Kingdom is my personal favorite when it comes to snacks. The dole whip is on my 'must have' list along with the warm cinnamon bun. I also love the Mickey ice cream bar, such a classic choice but yet so yummy. The nutella waffle sandwiches look delicious and I hope to try one soon.

I suggest to anyone who has not been to Disney World to pick 1 snack per day that you want to try. Budget out money each day for your whole family for snacking. I think that a fair snack budget would be $20 per day for the whole family to have 1 snack. The kids can split a snack (unless it is a popsicle...could get messy splitting that!) and each parent could have 1 snack. Do you have a favorite Disney snack? Comment below and let me know!

Read more at http://disneyworldonabudget.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#mpeZRt63RbCk7WEc.99
This week our topic is Disney snacks! Snacks at Disney are not your typical snacks let me tell you. There are so many amazingly delicious snacks available. But snacking can add up quickly. You might find yourself wanting to try everything and spending well over $100 per day just on snacks! Magic Kingdom is my personal favorite when it comes to snacks. The dole whip is on my 'must have' list along with the warm cinnamon bun. I also love the Mickey ice cream bar, such a classic choice but yet so yummy. The nutella waffle sandwiches look delicious and I hope to try one soon.

I suggest to anyone who has not been to Disney World to pick 1 snack per day that you want to try. Budget out money each day for your whole family for snacking. I think that a fair snack budget would be $20 per day for the whole family to have 1 snack. The kids can split a snack (unless it is a popsicle...could get messy splitting that!) and each parent could have 1 snack. Do you have a favorite Disney snack? Comment below and let me know!

Read more at http://disneyworldonabudget.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#mpeZRt63RbCk7WEc.99
This week our topic is Disney snacks! Snacks at Disney are not your typical snacks let me tell you. There are so many amazingly delicious snacks available. But snacking can add up quickly. You might find yourself wanting to try everything and spending well over $100 per day just on snacks! Magic Kingdom is my personal favorite when it comes to snacks. The dole whip is on my 'must have' list along with the warm cinnamon bun. I also love the Mickey ice cream bar, such a classic choice but yet so yummy. The nutella waffle sandwiches look delicious and I hope to try one soon.

I suggest to anyone who has not been to Disney World to pick 1 snack per day that you want to try. Budget out money each day for your whole family for snacking. I think that a fair snack budget would be $20 per day for the whole family to have 1 snack. The kids can split a snack (unless it is a popsicle...could get messy splitting that!) and each parent could have 1 snack. Do you have a favorite Disney snack? Comment below and let me know!

Read more at http://disneyworldonabudget.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#mpeZRt63RbCk7WEc.99
There are so many amazing must try snacks at Disney World. They range in price but once each person in the family purchases one snack per day this can quickly add up. I recommend packing your own food and snacks each day but you can't go to Disney World and miss out on these amazing snacks! Try to share a snack with your family to save money. You could also reward your children for good behavior and no melt downs :)  My children split a cupcake because they are so big. I just ask for a knife and fork and cut it in half. My must have snacks include:

  • Dole Whip
  • Mickey Ice Cream Bar
  • Mickey Pretzel
  • Cupcakes
  • Ice Cream from Ghiradelli

Mickey Pretzel
 
Dole Whip Float
 
 
Ghiradelli at Downtown Disney is a must for my family-We love sharing the build your own sundae.
 
Tip--Be sure to budget each day for snacks.
 
Tip--I let my children know ahead of time that each day they will either be able to have a souvinir or a special snack for good behavior.  Throwing a fit in long lines, having a melt down, hitting their sibling, etc will result in loss of the special snack.
 
 

This week our topic is Disney snacks! Snacks at Disney are not your typical snacks let me tell you. There are so many amazingly delicious snacks available. But snacking can add up quickly. You might find yourself wanting to try everything and spending well over $100 per day just on snacks! Magic Kingdom is my personal favorite when it comes to snacks. The dole whip is on my 'must have' list along with the warm cinnamon bun. I also love the Mickey ice cream bar, such a classic choice but yet so yummy. The nutella waffle sandwiches look delicious and I hope to try one soon.

I suggest to anyone who has not been to Disney World to pick 1 snack per day that you want to try. Budget out money each day for your whole family for snacking. I think that a fair snack budget would be $20 per day for the whole family to have 1 snack. The kids can split a snack (unless it is a popsicle...could get messy splitting that!) and each parent could have 1 snack. Do you have a favorite Disney snack? Comment below and let me know!
Read more at http://disneyworldonabudget.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#79JXttyq2jgWidxy.99

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Disney New Years Resolutions



Welcome to those of you joining me from Disney On Wheels and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our Magical Blogorail. This week we are talking about the things we want to experience at Disney in 2014. I have actually been making this list ever since our last Disney vacation ended :) The first thing on my list is a visit to Animal Kingdom! Believe it or not we have yet to visit Animal Kingdom! My children love animals and we visit the DC Zoo occasionally (which is free) but we have not gone to Animal Kingdom because we have always been crunched for time on every vacation. I have had to choose which parks really are more geared towards the younger aged children. This year we are making it a priority to visit Animal Kingdom.

Disney New Years Resolutions
 
  • Visit Animal Kingdom
  • Eat Zebra domes at Animal Kingdom
  • Eat at Rainforest Café
  • Talk my 6 1/2 year old into riding Space Mountain
  • Eat at Be Our Guest
  • Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe'
  • Snack around the world--Epcot that is :) On our last visit to Epcot it started raining and we were unable to stay as long as we had hoped so we didn't really sample as much as I would have liked to
  • Surprise my children with a Pirate Makeover at Magic Kingdom
  • Wishes dessert party at Magic Kingdom
  • I'd really love to just ride the monorail to each resort and check out the gift shops and stop at one restaurant at each resort for a snack--Contempo Café at the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Café at Grand Floridian for lunch and Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian for a drink
 
 
Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Orange this month. Our next loop will be in January with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.
 
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
 
1st Stop ~ Disney On Wheels
2nd Stop ~ I Am A Disney Nerd
Final Stop ~ Disney with Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Disney On A Budget-Part 2

This week we are going to learn ways to save on dining at Disney World. Disney is one of the few theme parks that allows guests to bring food, drinks and even coolers into the parks! They do not allow any alcohol, glass containers (glass baby food is allowed) or hard sided coolers. Coolers must be a certain size, nothing bigger than  24"L x 15"W x 18"H is allowed. To save money on dining at Disney I recommend that you pack your own cooler, complete with lunch, snacks and drinks for your children for those hot Florida days. So what should you pack in your cooler?

  • Juice Boxes (I usually pack at least 2 per child)
  • Gatorade for Mom & Dad
  • Bottle Water
  • Fruit Cups
  • Yummi Pouches filled with just about anything-applesauce is my kids favorite
  • Fresh fruit
  • String Cheese makes a great snack
  • Sandwiches
  • Lunchables
  • Gold Fishies

Yummi Pouches are a must have for any vacation especially WDW


If you are traveling with a baby you can use the microwaves located in the Baby Care Centers to heat up food. Another great way to save money on dining is to eat in your room before you go to the parks. If you are in a hurry and don't want to waste any time doing that then I recommend making your own 'breakfasts to go' bag. You can make these ahead of time at home. Include items that are easy for your children to eat on their own, mess free and that do not require refrigeration. Poptarts, cereal bars, etc also include napkin, sippy cup or orange juice box.

My family usually returns to our hotel after lunch time for a mid afternoon break. We relax, the children nap and this allows for us to be able to prepare a quick dinner before heading back to the park. If you do not have a kitchen you can order a pizza to be delivered to your room. Or if you have a microwave you can heat up some easy mac for your children or hot dogs. Eating dinner before returning to the park will save a significant amount of money.

If you do not have a car to get to the grocery store or you simply do not want to have to go to the grocery store (when I'm on vacation grocery shopping is the last thing I want to do) you can have groceries delivered!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Favorite Disney Holiday Movies and TV Shows



Welcome to those of you joining me from Your First Visit and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail. My children love watching Disney Christmas movies. It has become a tradition each Christmas to watch at least one (sometimes two or three!) Disney Christmas movie per weekend. My children are two, four and six and a half years old. Christmas in our home is quite busy but fun! It is nice to relax in our pj's and watch a movie as family. Our "must see" Disney movies each Christmas include:

  • Santa Buddies
  • Santa Paws 1 and 2
  • Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey Saves Santa
  • The Polar Express (not a Disney movie but it is on our must see list!)
  • Beauty and the Beast The Enchanted Christmas
My children's absolute #1 favorite Disney holiday movie is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey Saves Santa. We have already watched it twice! This is an adorable dvd complete with 4 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes.

photo credit Disney Store


Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Teal this month. Our next loop will be in January with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have tomake a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ The Disney Kids
2nd Stop~ Capturing Magical Memories
3rd Stop ~  Your First Visit
Final Stop ~  Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Friday, December 6, 2013

Disney On A Budget-Part 1

Over the next few weeks I am going to have a series of posts titled Disney On A Budget. These will include various money saving tips, advice and links to specific accommodations, restaurants, etc.

I am a stay at home Mom of three children. My family tries to save money as much as possible but when you have three children it can be hard to save money for a vacation. That being said I love a good deal. I love planning a vacation on a budget, well don't get me wrong, I would really love to be able to afford to stay at the Grand Floridian or Polynesian on the monorail, however my family truly is on a budget. I have spent a lot of time researching the best places to stay for the money.

Being that this is Part 1 of the budget series it only makes sense that we discuss your accommodations. When planning a Disney vacation you should first set your family budget and choose your hotel, resort or rental home. There are SO many options in Orlando Florida. The prices range from as low as $36 per night, yes you read correct, The Knights Inn has been known to charge a whopping $36 per night all the way up to $1,000+ per night for a 2 or 3 bedroom villa on Disney property.

Here are some great options for those wanting to save money on their accommodations. You can rent a condo, townhome or home close to Disney at Windsor Hills. To learn more about renting a home at Windsor Hills check out this website. Some of the homes even have super cute Disney themed bedrooms, private pools, baby equipment, fireworks views, etc. It is about a 10 minute drive to Magic Kingdom from the neighborhood. You will have use of the community pool, complete with water slide and beach entry pool. Like them on Facebook for current specials.

Gated entrance to Windsor Hills

Splash Area and Water Slide at Windsor Hills
 
Adorably Decorated Bedrooms at the condo's at Windsor Hills
 


 Another great option is to rent from a Timeshare owner at the luxurious Wyndham Bonnet Creek. Be sure to rent from either www.VRBO.com (directly renting from the owners will save you a lot of money). Bonnet Creek is literally inside the gates of Disney World. The later you wait to book the more you save. This may seem too good to be true, but if you wait until 60 days or less until your vacation you can get up to a 40% discount on your stay. The 2 bedroom deluxe condo with a balcony view of Epcot (and you can even see the fireworks!) goes for only $120/night! The resort has a 250 ft lazy river, pool bars, pirate themed pool slide, beach entry pool, splash park for little children, restaurants on property, gated entrance, etc.

Wyndham Bonnet Creek
Children's Splash Area at W.B.C

Padded Children's Playground at W.B.C
 


 Next week on Disney On A Budget Part 2 I will be covering money saving tips for dining at Disney World.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Personalized Vinyl Mouse Ears

Who doesn't love to personalize everything? I love love love these adorable custom made mouse ears that my friend Donna created. They are available in many different colors and designs. The possibilities are endless for what you can personalize, I chose to personalize my laptop. Next up is my van :) You can purchase your own vinyl mouse ears at Donna's Etsy shop and be sure to like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MagicalCreationsandCelebrations
 
 
To purchase your own custom made mouse ears visit http://www.etsy.com/shop/CreateCelebrateMagic


How cute is this?
 
 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Disney's Aulani Review

Today we have a very special guest writer, my friend Sean at Disney Day By Day. Sean recently was lucky enough to visit Disney's Aulani Resort located in Oahu, Hawaii. He has written a review of the many amazing amenities for families with young children. Come along as we journey to the stress free paradise that is Disney's Aulani. To watch actual video's that Sean recorded while at Aulani visit his youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/disneydaybyday




There is no doubt that Disney’s Aulani is a relaxing resort perfect for adults and couples looking to get away from the hustle of everyday life, but don’t let the romantic ambience and five-star like atmosphere fool you. As with anything done by Disney, Aulani is catered toward the family. And children (or keiki as the locals call them) will find plenty to keep them busy. Pools, waterslides, a lazy river, a beach, and snorkeling are just a few of the things ready and waiting for your family.

Lazy River

Water, water, water! By far our son’s favorite place to be was the Waikolohe Stream, and when you get a look at the lazy river you’ll be just as eager to jump in. Relax on a double or single tube while the water gently pushes you along. Heck, you don’t even need a tube, you can swim with the current. Of course there has to be a little bit of excitement, it’s not all relaxation! Watch out for the occasional dancing water, and be prepared to dodge the leaky roof when you enter the cavern!  


 
Waterslides

The lazy river not exciting enough for you? Then climb the volcano to head down one of two amazing slides! On the Tubestone Curl slide you can climb aboard a single tube, or go with a friend in one of the double tubes, ending up near the lazy river. Don’t want a tube? Then go down the Volcanic Vertical slide where you’ll be dumped unceremoniously into the Waikolohe pool. Although far from intense, these are not delicate and easy slides, and you may end up going underwater at the end.   Life vests are available all around the pool areas for children to use for both their and your comfort.  

Pools

Inevitably your children will end up in the pool for most of their stay and Aulani does not disappoint where water activities are concerned. Both family pools are zero entry which makes sitting and splashing easy for children of all ages. If your child can’t swim well, not only are there lifeguards constantly surveying the outdoor areas, but free life jackets are provided as well.

Aulani’s main pool is called Waikolohe and this large pool is hard to miss! Can’t find it? Just head to where the music is playing and the children are splashing! Not only is where most of the children’s parties and activities happen, but it’s also where you might run into a Disney character or two. 

Ka Maka Grotto, Aulani’s newest addition, is a gorgeous infinity edge pool that looks out onto Aulani’s private beach and bay. Although there are no slides or parties around this quieter pool, children still love the infinity edge that makes them feel as if they will slide right off into the ocean. Even cooler are the underwater speakers that send out the occasional sound of shrieking whales, dolphins, and even submarines! Make sure to encourage your children to duck their heads underwater to count how many different sounds they hear.

Wailana Pool, for guests 18 and up, is where Mom and Dad get to relax (yes, there is a bar nearby) while the kids are having a blast at Aunty’s Beach house.

All Aulani pools and water areas require a wrist band.   These are free to guests; be sure to stop at Kāwele Korner and present your room key to get your towels and wrist band.  Make a game of it! See how many wrist bands your children can collect and take a guess at which color might come next.

 

Aunty’s Beach House

What is Aunty’s Beach house, you might be wondering? The perfect place for your children to have fun…without you! You might feel guilty over leaving your kids at Aunty’s at first, but when they start begging you to go you’ll realize it’s the perfect time to relax while someone else watches your child. Everyone has fun, no guilt needed! Aunty’s Beach house is for those potty-trained kids ages 3-12. Children can play video games, watch T.V., play outside in a fenced-in yard, or do activities with the staff. They might even get a visit from a Disney character! Most activities don’t cost extra, and parents must fill out safety forms, so come prepared. While at Aunty’s your child will be cared for by trained Disney staff. And to put your mind at ease, all children wear a censored wrist-band and can only leave with an adult and password.

 

The Beach  

Aulani isn’t just about pools and Aunty’s beach house. There’s a reason why people visit Hawaii…the beaches! Aulani has the perfect beach! It’s clean and rather well protected. You can rent gear to snorkel, splash in the waves or rent kayaks and paddle around the bay area. The only complaint is that it’s so protected that if you rent snorkeling gear be prepared to see very little fish and lots of sand. If you want to actually see fish during your snorkeling experience, then pay the extra fee and try out Rainbow Reef. Be warned…the water in Rainbow Reef is cold, but the fish are beautiful!

Splash Zones

If your children aren’t quite ready for the pool or beach, don’t fret, there are two splash areas for young ones. Menehune Bridge is an amazing combination of platforms, bridges and slides, all while water shoots from tubes and dumps from buckets! You’ll be wishing you were short enough to play!  And the new Keiki Cove Splash Area is for children of all ages to enjoy the jumping water and small fountains.   No one will leave the area dry.   

 

Evening Activities

When the evening has grown cooler and your kids are tired of the pool, fear not, there’s still plenty to do! Children can head into the lounge and pick up a scavenger hunt called the Menehune Adventure Trail.  Or just walk around the pool area and check out the volcano, are those animals carved into the rock, just like the Tree at Animal Kingdom? Why yes, I do believe that’s a hermit crab! Count how many animals you can find! That’s not the only thing they can count. Check out all of the Menehune, the legendary little people hiding all over Aulani! You’ll see hundreds of these little statues inside and outside of the Aulani building.

Every night Aulani offers night shows on the North lawn, Disney Movie nights and story-telling near the fire pit. In particular the Starlight Hui on the north lawn is an amazing show offering traditional dancing and story-telling, while interacting with the children in the audience.

 

Food

One of the main complaints about Aulani when it first opened was the lack of inexpensive food. But with the opening of Mama’s Snack Shop and Ulu Café, families can pick from a variety of meals. Even your picky eaters will be sure to find something.  Yes, you will even find chicken fingers and fries.  If you’re not interested in sitting down to eat, head to the Lava Shack for grab and go style sandwiches and snacks that are easy to throw in your bag for the beach. And make sure to try a shaved ice!  They are not your standard shaved ice; these come 4 different ways and you get to pick your three favorite flavors of over 12 to select from.  If you want a sit-down meal Aulani also offers meals with the Disney Characters!

 

Planning

For those of you who like to plan, don’t be afraid you’ll miss something. Every night you’ll find a newsletter in your room at turn-down time. This newsletter will tell you what is going on, what time it is happening, and if it costs extra for the next day. Many of the events at Aunty’s Beach House require sign up so get there early in the morning if there is anything your children would like to do.

Accommodations

It’s plain to see that Disney does an amazing job catering to families, and that doesn’t stop with activities.   Each guest room at Aulani has a portable crib/playpen, bedding and mini refrigerator to store those must needed snacks.  If you forget something at home there is also a great selection of baby care products at the Kalepa Store, including disposable diapers, baby wipes, formula and more.   Aulani also has a selection of items that can be checked out with a deposit for the length of your stay, such as: bed rails, bottle warmers, outlet covers, booster seats, and high chairs.  And, don’t try to get that beach bucket into your luggage, Aulani supplies sand toys that can be used at the beach, you just have to return them when you’re done.

 

This is just a sample of the things you can do at Disney’s Aulani, but there is so much more! We heard more than one visitor say that a family could stay at the resort the entire week and never get bored. As with anything Disney the staff is there to make sure your stay is wonderful, and they go out of their way to make Aulani a truly magical experience. Just send an email, or give Aulani a call before your visit to make sure they have what you need!



Thanks Sean for this wonderful review of Aulani! I hope to be lucky enough to visit one day myself. Visit Sean's website at http://disneydaybyday.com/ and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DisneyDayByDaySite