Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hawaii Trip Report Part 4: Tuesday in Hawaii (Girls Version)

Trip Report so far:

Vacation Video
Part 1: Getting There
Part 2: Hiking Diamond Head Crater
Part 3: First Day at Aulani

When I started gathering photos for Tuesday, I realized that we did way too much to fit in one blog post. So Tuesday will be split between the girls' activities and the boys' activities (later).

Part 4: Tuesday in Hawaii (Girls Version)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Alyssa woke up at 3:30 a.m. We  could hear her babbling in the other room. We managed to hush the kids until 5 a.m., and then we gave up. The kids were starving, so I fed them pop-tarts that I brought from home. The Ulu Cafe (where we had a free breakfast all week) didn't open until 6 a.m. At 6, Brian and Nathan fetched breakfast for all of us. The breakfast included an entree and a drink. There wasn't a huge selection, but we could choose from french toast, egg/bacon platter, oatmeal, malasadas, fruit/yogurt platter, breakfast wrap, etc.

Aulani publishes a schedule of activities each day called "the daily 'IWA." It's similar to the personal nagivators on Disney Cruise Line. Except it isn't delivered to your room each night, you have to pick up a copy in the lobby after 7 p.m. or so. I had picked one up the prior night before bed. Here is an example of the daily 'IWA:

It lists family activities, keiki (kid) activities and teen activities. There are so many things I wanted to do at Aulani that I never found time to the art tour and the architecture/wildlife tour.

Our plans for Tuesday included: surfing lessons for the boys, a spa appointment for me, a romantic dinner for Brian and me and the Starlit Hui (Aulani's Hawaiian a luau but without the food). I needed to take Alyssa to Aunty's Beach House while I was at my spa appointment because Brian would be taking the boys to surfing lessons. I saw in the 'IWA that there were hula lessons happening at Aunty's, so I decided to sign Alyssa up for that.

While Aunty's Beach House was modeled after the kids' clubs on Disney Cruise Line, it operates a little differently. It has 2 premium activities--Surf's Up with Chip and Dale and Fish Are Friends--that cost additional money. It has many organized classes--like hula lessons, science experiments, etc.--that don't cost extra, but you have to sign up in advance (unlike on a Disney Cruise, where the kids just show up and there's no limit). And it also has free-play areas with dress-up, video games, regular games, etc.

The night prior, the staff at Aunty's recommended showing up for activity registration the next morning around 7:45 a.m. Aunty's opens at 8:00 a.m. for activity registration and an open house for parents and kids until 9:30 a.m.. From 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Aunty's has secure programming for drop-offs. Kids must be between the ages of 3 and 12 and potty-trained to be dropped off at Aunty's.

On Tuesday morning, I left my room around 7:30 a.m. and made it to Aunty's about 3 minutes later. And this was the parent line outside of Aunty's to sign up for the free organized activities. There was about 25-30 parents in front of me in line already.

And a few minutes later, the line behind me wrapped around the building...there had to be at least 100 people total in line.

But the good news is, at 8:00 a.m. the cast members started distributing tickets to the various free classes that day. They went down the line and asked what classes we wanted. All classes still had space by the time it was my turn. I just had to fill out my kids' names on the back of the class tickets and turn them in. I ended up signing up Alyssa for the hula class, the boys for a science class with Stitch, and all 3 kids for a Hawaiian musical instrument class in the evening. If I had only been signing up for the classes, the whole process would have taken about 30 minutes from the time I lined up.

The part that took longer was signing up Alyssa to eat lunch in the club, since I would be at my spa appointment during lunch time. Lunch and dinner only cost around $8 per child, but we had to wait in line to pay for that in advance. So that took longer (and the rest of the week, we fed the kids in our room before sending to the club while we went out to dinner).

After I finished signing up the kids for classes and paid for Alyssa's lunch, I walked into Aunty's Beach House during the open house time and snapped some photos (pictures are not allowed during any other time).

Two rooms had dress-up costumes:
There were some performances and classes on this stage:

Science/arts & crafts area:
Interactive video game tables:
The outside area was huge with different games available:

The "garage" of the house...lots of art supplies:
More video games and crafts:
This was the coolest room in the whole house, the movie room. The windows had special screens on them that would look like a storm outside or other views:
More dress-up stuff:
I returned from Aunty's around 8:30 a.m. and showered. We hung out in the room for a little while:
At 9:30, Brian left with the boys for their surfing lesson. Alyssa was upset that she wasn't going with them...but in reality, she can't swim and would not have agreed to go in the water anyway. So I took her to Aunty's where she would have time to do free-play as well as lunch and a hula lesson.

At 10:00, I arrived at the Laniwai Spa at Aulani for my 11:00 Kilikili appointment. The spa recommends coming 1 hour prior to the appointment time to enjoy the outside hydrotherapy garden.

I only took a few photos at the spa because I didn't think it would be appropriate to take them in most areas. First, I was escorted to this area where I could choose a stone. Each stone had a word in Hawaiian on it that we were supposed to reflect on during our spa visit. The stone I randomly picked had the word "harmony" on it in Hawaiian, which was ironic since the fighting and bickering from our kids made it hard to achieve harmony.
The hallway leading to the changing rooms had very tranquil purple lighting:
My attendant showed me to the dressing room and invited me to enjoy the water features outside until my appointment time. I soaked in one of the soaking pools, sat in a hot tub and tried out a few outdoor showers. I was going to go back inside to one of the steam rooms, but my hour had already passed. It went by very quickly!

I had scheduled an 80-minute Kilikili treatment with birthday money I had received last year. I picked the Kilikili treatment because it was different from anything I've had before. It's basically a massage done partly with shower heads. The treatment room was in a room that was like a large shower room with a drain on the floor. The massage table was wooden with a cushion in the middle. The first part of the Kilikili involved a body scrub, and the second part was a massage. The entire time there was a long, moveable arm with about 6 shower heads that were adjusted over various parts of my body. It was so different, and so great!

Here is another blog that has more photos of the spa. The Laniwai spa is the biggest spa in the state of Hawaii. I'm unable to find any photos of the Kilikili treatment room.

After my spa treatment, I was allowed to stay in the spa area for the rest of the day. But I didn't really have time for that, since I promised Alyssa we would go to the beach after her time at Aunty's Beach House.

I left the spa and ate in the room before picking up Alyssa after her hula lesson. She said she had a great time, and Minnie Mouse showed up to hula with the class!
She brought home this diagram of body parts in the Hawaiian language, which she learned during the hula class:
The boys were just returning home from surfing lessons at this point and wanted to rest in the room, so Alyssa and I headed to the beach by ourselves. Aulani sits on a calm beach in a lagoon, so the waves are not over-powering.

It was a beautiful afternoon for the beach!
After a few hours, we started walking back to the room just as the pool party was happening. Goofy was dancing with everyone:
We also ran into Minnie again on the way to our room. The entire time we were at Aulani we never went to any official character meet-ups, but we saw them enough at Aunty's and in the pool area.

Next: What the boys did on Tuesday, and Ama Ama and the Starlit Hui

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