Book Review and Giveaway coming soon!!

Today I received a mysterious package in the mail. I get a lot of mail, so this wasn’t too surprising and I could tell it was a book. Again, not a surprise. Thinking it was likely something for Vance, I opened it anyway – it had my name on it after all. To my complete surprise, I was one of the first bloggers to respond to a book review for Jen Hatmaker!

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I received an email about it, which went to my spam folder, while we had family visiting and to be honest, I completely forgot about trying to see if I’d been selected. My island location being the reason the hard copy book just arrived. Perfect timing as I was scrolling through my kindle last night looking for a new book, but never settled on anything.

Coming soon, will be my blog review and giveaway. Time to read this bad boy! If you’ve heard of it before and are interested in purchasing your own copy, here is a link with a 20% off. Unfortunately, due to my delayed receipt, you have to act fast; it expires on July 31st!!

Aulani Admission

Water structure

The play structure where the kids had a great time on their own. We heard the chairs get snapped up early, but we had no trouble finding some both days. The resort staff watches chairs and clears them if people have not returned in an hour. They will also help you locate chairs if you can’t find them on your own. Just look for the staff dressed in white shirts and blue shorts.

Within the first month of moving to Oahu, we heard of the wonders of Disney’s Aulani Resort. We also erroneously heard Kama’aina (locals) could obtain a day pass and we set out to frolic at Aulani for the day. I had the distinct feeling we were being watched, but wrote it off as my “rule following” self being paranoid. I found out, almost a year later, when visiting my childhood friend Javonna staying at Aulani, that Disney has a system of colored bracelets, which registered guests receive each morning marking them as such and allowing them to cruise through the resort. Ignorance is bliss.

Checking out the room

Upon arrival, you are greeted with leis, necklaces for the children and a refreshing fruit water. The guys were granted an hour parking pass to come and see us to the room.

With the arrival of family a couple weeks ago, came an opportunity to stay at Aulani on the house, courtesy of some family connections of theirs. Christie generously included Brendon and myself in the mix and off we went for an official stay at the resort. Here are our insider tips:

Three flowers

You can arrive at 8am on the morning of your stay, even if your room is not ready until 4pm. Enjoy the pools, slides and lazy river all day. Even check your children (3yrs+ & potty trained) into Aunty’s Beach House for FREE care at any point during the day. You can stay until 10:30pm the following day, even with an 11am check out time and again use all the facilities. Not too bad, when you consider their military/Kama’ania rates at almost $400/night minimum.

At the pool

I ran into two friends, also staying at Aulani. Stacey, one BAMR, was sitting in the row in front of us at the pool for at least an hour before we realized it and only after I posted the photo of our adult capri-suns to Facebook. Social media does bring people together!

For scheduled activities at Aunty’s, such as science experiments, meals or surf lessons, the parents line up mighty early to get a spot for their children. Most come with an additional fee and really Brendon was fine playing the video games and doing crafts that he didn’t need the extra events. Maybe if we had stayed for a week. Children on the fringe of potty training are subject to a three strikes policy and after the third accident are not allowed to stay at Aunty’s any longer. Even Disney has their limits.

Characters

To John’s dismay, we did not see Minnie, his favorite. Goofy was a real mother hugger. Seriously, mothers you are warned!

And here’s the best piece of insider knowledge we gained: Children 2yrs and under can have an all day pass to the water park even if they aren’t staying overnight as a registered guest. John who had just turned 3 and is on the petite side was granted a 2yr pass and enjoyed the second day with us, while the dads tried their luck at surfing. This probably is the one way for a family of five to stay in one room, bucking the four persons to a room policy.

meals

Brendon loaded up on these PB&J sammies while John was not with us; the small pleasures in life. The game changing lego meal kit.

The food was priced well for Oahu at the grab and go locations and pool side restaurants. I have my suspicions you can eat there even if you are a local outside at the beach lagoon and want to come in for a quick bite. I’ve heard rave reviews of the Character Breakfast and despite the sticker shock we made our reservations only to oversleep in the morning! Best to save something for next time anyhow.

The water slide

This was one of the small watersides at the play structure. The kiddos loved it; all three coming down like dominos in this photo. John took to the large tube slide the best of the three, yelling “Me do dat Again!!” when we got to the bottom. Brendon was able to ride his own tube down the second day and Scarlett enjoyed it, despite her initial forced ride.

A huge Mahalo!!! to everyone who gave me input on the staying at Aulani. It made our stay that much more enjoyable.