Aulani in October

DisneyStarWisher

Love My DVC!!!
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
We are planning a trip to Aulani next October, and I have many questions. Hoping you can help!
1. Is the first week of October a good time to visit? We have never been to Hawaii. I think weather will be good, but what about crowds?
2. We are thinking 4-5 nights at Aulani following a 7-night cruise on NCL. Is this enough time for Aulani?
3. If anyone has done an NCL cruise, what are the best shore excursions to do?

ETA: I am not an owner, so I would be trying for a studio at 7 months out. I'm really wanting a pool view (could do that for 5 nights), but could go with an ocean view (would probably do only 4 nights). Is this possible?
 
Last edited:

nkereina

Last chance to lose your keys.
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
We are planning a trip to Aulani next October, and I have many questions. Hoping you can help!
1. Is the first week of October a good time to visit? We have never been to Hawaii. I think weather will be good, but what about crowds?
2. We are thinking 4-5 nights at Aulani following a 7-night cruise on NCL. Is this enough time for Aulani?
3. If anyone has done an NCL cruise, what are the best shore excursions to do?

ETA: I am not an owner, so I would be trying for a studio at 7 months out. I'm really wanting a pool view (could do that for 5 nights), but could go with an ocean view (would probably do only 4 nights). Is this possible?
1. I would say its a good time to visit. We were there mid-late September and the weather was perfect with low crowds. In October, I would avoid the week of Columbus Day. I believe Hawaii schools are off the full week, and Aulani draws a lot of locals over weekends and holidays.

2. Will you be doing Oahu sightseeing during your 4-5 days at Aulani? IMO, 4-5 days is plenty of time to experience everything at Aulani if you don't plan to leave the resort. We had 2.5 resort days and 2 sightseeing days during our time there, but we had also spent 3 nights in Waikiki prior to that where we experienced Waikiki, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor. If we didn't stay in Waikiki, I would think 5 days at Aulani is good - 3 for sightseeting, 2 for resort-only. Also keep in mind that the area of Ko Olina is a planned gated tourist community with not much in walking distance. You see nothing of true Hawaii until you leave that area.

3. I can't speak to the cruise itself, but during your Kauai stop, I would highly recommend a tour of the Na Pali Coast if time permits. We saw it from a sunset dinner cruise and also from a helicopter. The cruise was my favorite thing we did our whole trip and I preferred that over the helicopter.

As for DVC, if you stay flexible with your dates and room type, it's doable. We were able to locate an owner on the DVC Rent/Trade forum here and secured our rental around 10 months out. We got a standard studio but ocean view was still available at the time, not sure about other views.
 

cgattis

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
We did the NCL cruise, and the last Kauai day is a slow cruise up and down the Na’apali coast. Now, a helicopter tour would be spectacular, but if that’s not in the budget, you’ll still have a great view.

We didn’t do any organized excursions from the cruise. We rented a Jeep in every port and did our own thing. On Maui, if you purchase something from the shopping center right across from the port, and leave your receipt on your dash, you won’t be ticketed. (We hit up Longs for tons of Mac nuts for snacks and souvenirs LOL) I highly recommend Enterprise; their customer service was awesome. The one rental from Avis (on Kauai) was a cluster.
 
  • DisneyStarWisher

    Love My DVC!!!
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2008
    1. I would say its a good time to visit. We were there mid-late September and the weather was perfect with low crowds. In October, I would avoid the week of Columbus Day. I believe Hawaii schools are off the full week, and Aulani draws a lot of locals over weekends and holidays.

    2. Will you be doing Oahu sightseeing during your 4-5 days at Aulani? IMO, 4-5 days is plenty of time to experience everything at Aulani if you don't plan to leave the resort. We had 2.5 resort days and 2 sightseeing days during our time there, but we had also spent 3 nights in Waikiki prior to that where we experienced Waikiki, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor. If we didn't stay in Waikiki, I would think 5 days at Aulani is good - 3 for sightseeting, 2 for resort-only. Also keep in mind that the area of Ko Olina is a planned gated tourist community with not much in walking distance. You see nothing of true Hawaii until you leave that area.

    3. I can't speak to the cruise itself, but during your Kauai stop, I would highly recommend a tour of the Na Pali Coast if time permits. We saw it from a sunset dinner cruise and also from a helicopter. The cruise was my favorite thing we did our whole trip and I preferred that over the helicopter.

    As for DVC, if you stay flexible with your dates and room type, it's doable. We were able to locate an owner on the DVC Rent/Trade forum here and secured our rental around 10 months out. We got a standard studio but ocean view was still available at the time, not sure about other views.
    We would be avoiding Columbus Day (leaving the Thursday before). The plan is to fly in on Friday, getting there around lunch. Have the rest of the day at Waikiki. Maybe do Diamond Head the next morning??? Cruise leaves at 7 p.m. that night and returns the following Saturday at 7 a.m. Maybe do Pearl Harbor that day before checking in at the resort? At some point, I would like to do Dole Plantation and North Shore, but that may be the only sightseeing I would be interested in on Oahu. At Aulani, I would really prefer to relax and enjoy the resort, especially after a whirlwind of sightseeing on the cruise. So would checking in on Saturday afternoon and leaving Wednesday afternoon be enough time for some relaxation and doing the Dole Plantation and North Shore?

    The thing about being flexible with the dates is that I probably won't be able to be since the cruise's dates are set. We also farm and will have farm obligations before the trip, and then I will be starting a part-time job (after retirement) the week we come back. So dates aren't flexible, but I am flexible with the room type and number of days. Would walking the reservation be the best way to secure exact dates?
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    We would be avoiding Columbus Day (leaving the Thursday before). The plan is to fly in on Friday, getting there around lunch. Have the rest of the day at Waikiki. Maybe do Diamond Head the next morning??? Cruise leaves at 7 p.m. that night and returns the following Saturday at 7 a.m. Maybe do Pearl Harbor that day before checking in at the resort? At some point, I would like to do Dole Plantation and North Shore, but that may be the only sightseeing I would be interested in on Oahu. At Aulani, I would really prefer to relax and enjoy the resort, especially after a whirlwind of sightseeing on the cruise. So would checking in on Saturday afternoon and leaving Wednesday afternoon be enough time for some relaxation and doing the Dole Plantation and North Shore?
    Yes, I think that would be more than enough time to enjoy the resort. I would recommend time at the Laniwai spa at Aulani too - the nicest one I've ever been to, and we didn't find the pricing to be too astronomical for a high end spa. If you're arriving at Aulani on a Saturday, I might suggest doing the Dole Plantation and North Shore on Sunday. Usually, the weekends are busiest at Aulani so you'll notice it become less busy on Monday, which is better for enjoying the resort. You'll also have less traffic to contend with on a Sunday on the route to the North Shore. I would also recommend getting to Dole right at opening. The later you go, the longer the lines for the attractions become and parking can be a challenge. We only did the train ride, browsed the store, and got a Dole Whip and we were there for about 2 and a half hours. It was a one and done for us, but makes a good stop for souvenirs for people back home at least!

    Diamond Head was another one and done for us. The views were beautiful but the trail is in direct sun and can get very crowded. It was more physically challenging than I was expecting, and I say that as an average build 31 year old female. I think your plan of going in the morning is the best bet - we were there early before the sun was too intense and before the trail was really crowded. Parking is also easier early on. Are you staying in Waikiki? We actually did a bus tour to Diamond Head that picked us up at our hotel in Waikiki, and they dropped us off right at the start of the trail. Worked out well.

    Pearl Harbor is tricky if you don't plan to get there early. People line up for tour tickets quite early. The later you go, the longer you have to wait around for your tour time. I believe its open until 5pm. You can also try securing advance tickets for a tour time exactly 60 days in advance online, but I've heard it can be tough to do because they only allow so many. We did Pearl Harbor as a tour from our Waikiki hotel also and they facilitated getting the tour tickets for us, which was great.

    The thing about being flexible with the dates is that I probably won't be able to be since the cruise's dates are set. We also farm and will have farm obligations before the trip, and then I will be starting a part-time job (after retirement) the week we come back. So dates aren't flexible, but I am flexible with the room type and number of days. Would walking the reservation be the best way to secure exact dates?
    What do you mean by walking the reservation? I think if you're flexible with room type and number of days, your chances are good. Hopefully someone with October experience can opine. Are you using your own DVC points?
     

    rocketriter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 14, 2003
    We've had good luck scoring decent tickets to Pearl Harbor only a few days in advance. Check their website for current application rules. As for Dole Plantation, well, they don't grow pineapples there any more except for demonstration, so it's a little train ride and a big souvenir shop. Everyone has their own preferences, but thinking of my own family's experiences I'd recommend either an all day exploratory drive along the North Shore with stops at anything interesting that comes up, or a trip in town to visit the beautiful and informative exhibits at the Bishop Museum. The problem (not really a problem) is that once you go to Hawaii, you will want to return.
    :daisy:
     

    DisneyStarWisher

    Love My DVC!!!
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2008
    Yes, I think that would be more than enough time to enjoy the resort. I would recommend time at the Laniwai spa at Aulani too - the nicest one I've ever been to, and we didn't find the pricing to be too astronomical for a high end spa. If you're arriving at Aulani on a Saturday, I might suggest doing the Dole Plantation and North Shore on Sunday. Usually, the weekends are busiest at Aulani so you'll notice it become less busy on Monday, which is better for enjoying the resort. You'll also have less traffic to contend with on a Sunday on the route to the North Shore. I would also recommend getting to Dole right at opening. The later you go, the longer the lines for the attractions become and parking can be a challenge. We only did the train ride, browsed the store, and got a Dole Whip and we were there for about 2 and a half hours. It was a one and done for us, but makes a good stop for souvenirs for people back home at least!

    Diamond Head was another one and done for us. The views were beautiful but the trail is in direct sun and can get very crowded. It was more physically challenging than I was expecting, and I say that as an average build 31 year old female. I think your plan of going in the morning is the best bet - we were there early before the sun was too intense and before the trail was really crowded. Parking is also easier early on. Are you staying in Waikiki? We actually did a bus tour to Diamond Head that picked us up at our hotel in Waikiki, and they dropped us off right at the start of the trail. Worked out well.

    Pearl Harbor is tricky if you don't plan to get there early. People line up for tour tickets quite early. The later you go, the longer you have to wait around for your tour time. I believe its open until 5pm. You can also try securing advance tickets for a tour time exactly 60 days in advance online, but I've heard it can be tough to do because they only allow so many. We did Pearl Harbor as a tour from our Waikiki hotel also and they facilitated getting the tour tickets for us, which was great.


    What do you mean by walking the reservation? I think if you're flexible with room type and number of days, your chances are good. Hopefully someone with October experience can opine. Are you using your own DVC points?
    Thanks for all of the information! Walking the reservation is trying to get a reservation for two weeks before you want to go, and then modifying it until you secure the dates you actually want. Yes, I will be using my own points--a combination of AKV and HHI points.
     
  • nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    I'd recommend either an all day exploratory drive along the North Shore with stops at anything interesting that comes up
    Agree with this. You can also drive along the North Shore around to the windward side of the island, which has some really unique beauty. The beaches on that side are amazing and Kailua is a quaint and laidback town.
     

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