Our “Adios Alaska, Aloha Aulani” Hawaii Trip Report – May 2017 - w/ pics - Updated 06/22

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by disneyfaninaz, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Day 4 - Saturday, May 28th, 2017 – Aulani

    We slept in a little this morning. I looked out our balcony and saw a cruise ship coming in for the day.

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    We then headed down to breakfast. It was delicious. Afterwards, DH went for a walk while DD caught up on her Netflix and I read. He walked down to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and took a photo of Waikiki and Diamond Head.

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    We met DH at the Honolulu Cookie Company store at 9:00 AM when it opened to purchase cookies and gifts for friends and family back home. Did I mention that the cookies are really good!

    With that job completed, we checked out of the Embassy Suites and checked our bags with bell services. We then got a taxi to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. This was a beautifully built museum showcasing many artifacts from the original royal family of Hawaii. If you are in Oahu, I highly recommend going to this museum.

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    Bishop was the husband of the last remaining member of the royal family, Bernice. She inherited all of the family artifacts and dreamed of building a museum like the ones she saw when she traveled through Europe. Unfortunately, she died rather young, so her husband had the museum built to her specifications. He actually sent Hawaiian hardwood from the hau plant to Minnesota woodcrafters to make up all of the wood bannisters, paneling etc., used in the museum. It was gorgeous. The museum has recently been refurbished to allow for more lighting to be added in the Hawaiian Hall. We spent a couple of hours there.

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    This is the actual cape made from feathers for King Kamehameha I. It is centuries old. The Hawaiians would take the yellow feathers from a now extinct black bird where there only a few yellow feathers on either side of its neck. They would not kill the bird, but trap it with a kind of glue and a treat on a tree branch. After they plucked the feathers, they would wash the bird’s feet and let it go. It is currently on loan from New Zealand, but the State of Hawaii is trying to get it back.

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    The Hawaiian Hall was full of interesting exhibits about the Hawaiian Gods and the Royal Family.

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    Then we went to the Kahili Room. This is where all of the feathered symbols of chiefly and royal rank are held. The taller the Kahili, the higher the rank.

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    We then went to the Science Adventure Center. They focused on volcanos here. Complete with interactive volcano crater.

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    After the museum, we called Charley’s Taxi to return to the Embassy Suites. We went again to the Beach Walk and had lunch at Giovanni’s Deli. DD and I had the most delicious Prime Rib French Dip. DH had corned beef. After lunch, we retrieved our bags and were going to arrange another Charley’s taxi to the Aulani for a flat fee of $89. Well, instead of a taxi, the bell hop arranged for us to take a limo that was just waiting there for a fare. They agreed to the same price as Charley’s Taxi to take us to Aulani. The only caveat was that they only accepted cash. Well, we didn’t need much cash at the resort, so we arrived at the Aulani in style!

    We started to see Aulani before we actually got there.

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    We arrived and immediately bell services welcomed us home and grabbed our bags. The first think I saw was a Menehune looking down from the porte cochere.

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    We were handed off to a hostess and given our leis of welcome. Our hostess took us to the desk to check-in.

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    I loved the rainbow of photos on the wall behind the desk.

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    We received special first time visitor buttons and the ‘Iwa for the day.

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    Our room wasn’t ready yet, but they would text us when it was. So, bags stowed, we started to explore the resort. Here’s a picture of the water side of the lobby.

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    It is beautiful when you first walk out on to the Lanai and overlook the valley below. Everything is so green and lush.

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    The first thing we did was run into Stitch. DD got her picture taken with him and we got our Photopass card. We explored around the pools and received our first wristband of the visit. The color of the day was purple.

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    To be continued. . .
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  2. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Day 4 Continued.

    After we walked around the valley, I received a text to return to the front desk. It turns out our cards did not work, so we had to get new ones made. We then headed to our room. We were in the Wai’anae Tower, room 836, a 2 Queen room with an ocean view.

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    They were not kidding. Our view was awesome!

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    The room was more spacious than I thought it would be with a huge balcony to enjoy the view. You have to love the little details that Disney puts in their rooms.

    The door.

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    The beds even at storage underneath near the end to store luggage! Genius!

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    The first thing we did was find our swim suits and head down to the beach. Of course, all of the lounges by the pool were taken for the day. But, there were plenty of lounges on the beach and we were able to snag 3 with an umbrella. Since the tide was so high, the surf was a little rougher than usual and the boogie boarders were having a great time.

    One slight mishap that day. We bought a Fuji Underwater camera specifically for this trip. I went back to tour bag to get it and brought it back to the water. DD had previously used it while she was swimming in the waterfall. Anyway, I was having troubles with it and went back to the lounge to figure it out. Somehow, I ended up deleting all of DD’s pictures. Doh! :mad: The camera as it turned it was working fine, it was just the operator who was broken. :rolleyes1 Anyway, I ended up putting a new card in for the rest of our trip and it worked great. When I got home, I downloaded some free recovery software and was able to get about 75% of the pictures back, Whew!

    We stayed in the water for a while and then headed back to our room to shower and change. We had reservations at Makahiki for dinner at 6:30 PM. On the way back, DD wanted to go down the Volcanic Vertical slide. We waited and waited for her to emerge from the tube, but she never did. A little while later, she came down saying that the line was too long.

    The buffet was wonderful. They were carving prime rib and ham. I had the prime rib, DH had the ham and said it was the best he had ever had. We also had shrimp and crab legs, complete with melted butter! Dessert was wonderful as well. I had tapioca pudding, a lava cake, cheesecake and a cookie. After dinner we walked down to the lagoon and over to the grassy outcropping to take pictures of the incredible sunset. We were too late for the Photopass photographers, but we would catch them later in our stay. It was a beautiful ending to our first day at Aulani.

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    After returning from the sunset, we left DD in the room to watch Netflix while DH and I went down to the Olelo room for our one and only outrageously priced drink of our stay. We both had a Mai Tai.

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    It was actually a very good Mai Tai, but at those prices, we couldn’t afford anymore. While we were enjoying our drink, we also enjoyed live music from Sonny Kapu. He was very good and his mother joined him. After a while we headed up to our room for the night, where we could still hear the performers.

    Next: Twisting by the pool.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
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  4. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    The ship you saw was the NCL Pride of America. It does 7-night sailings from Oahu to several other of the Hawaiian Islands. We did that a couple of years ago.
     
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  5. Mommyof3inVA

    Mommyof3inVA Mouseketeer

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    Loving your great trip report!! I love Honolulu Cookie Co. We had them shipped to Virginia for our wedding favors they are THAT good!! :love:
     
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  6. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Totally agree! :lovestruc
     
  7. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

    Joined:
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    Day 5 - Sunday, May 28, 2017 - Aulani

    This was going to be a lay-by-the-pool kind of day. I got up a bit after 6:30 AM. It was too early to get breakfast and DH and DD weren’t up. I got dressed for the day. At 7:00 AM I went down to the lobby to cancel an Ama Ama reservation I had for night and sign up for the “Ohana “Imi Loa Na Hoku, Explore the Stars” program. I had to go to the Pau Hana room (Community Room) to sign up. Once that was done, I went back up to the room where DH and DD were ready to go to breakfast. I had read on the DIS boards that you needed to reserve your chairs by 8:00 AM or they would be gone before you knew it. They weren’t lying folks. Granted, it was a holiday weekend, so the resort was probably busier than normal. But, all the lounges were gone by 8:30 AM.

    The first thing we did was have breakfast at the Ulu Café. The breakfast was surprisingly good. I had French toast with sausage and DH and DD had eggs and sausage. DD also bought her resort mug for free refills during our stay.

    Anyway, afterwards we found 3 lounges in front of the wristband/towel booths next to the Menehune Bridge (which was closed today) and the Waikolohe Stream (lazy river). Today's color was pink.

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    In fact, once we got our wristband and towels, we were the first ones in the river at 8:00 AM.

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    We enjoyed going around the stream and then DD and I tried the Tubestone Curl. The line was very short this early. We went down in a double tube. DD and I weigh about the same, but for some reason, I was in front and as we came through the slide into the pool, I got submerged as the tube flipped over me. After another trip around the stream, we came out for a while. DH and I headed to the Ulu café for malasadas and for me to buy a mug. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the one I wanted so we ended up going to The Lava Shack to get one. It was convenient because one of the free refill stations is right outside the store. We went back and shared our donuts and relaxed and I read for a while.

    The Daily ‘Iwa listed a Nature and Wildlife Of Aulani tour. I really wanted to go on it, but was so comfortable just lounging by the pool that I blew it off. I would regret it later in the week, as the tour was not repeated as I assumed it would be. Oh well.

    At lunch time, we went to Mama’s Snack Shack. I had a Chicken Caesar salad, DH had the Portuguese sausage. DD went back to The Ulu Café for a roast beef sandwich. Eventually we made our way over to the Ka Maka Grotto (the negative edge pool). The view from there was great! DH and I even sat in the hot tub for a little while.

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    After that we headed back to our seats. DD went and got herself a Mickey Head shaved ice! It looked good, but I haven’t heard of anybody yet that didn’t lose one of the ears! Unfortunately, one of DD’s hit the ground and was unsaveable.

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    Not long after she finished her shaved ice, Goofy came to visit the area. DD was thrilled to get her picture with Goofy while standing in the water.

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    Then we hit the stream again for another couple of rounds.

    DD then wanted to go snorkeling at Rainbow Reef. It was something she was really looking forward to trying. We got her snorkel gear rented and she was off. She was in their quite a while and loved it. By the time she got out of the reef, she had it all to herself. Cool!

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    Another Menehune.

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    Bubbles.

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    I took this opportunity to get treat myself to a Pineapple/Vanilla Soft Serve Swirl from Little Ophihi’s. It was so cold and delicious.

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    We ended up having dinner at Off the Hook. I had a really good burger. DD had the fish tacos and a Pineapple Ginger Splash that was very good.

    After dinner, we went back down to the beach and just kind of floated in the lagoon to watch the sunset. It was a very relaxing way to end the evening.

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    After the beach, we went to our rooms to shower and change.

    At about 7:45 PM we made out way to the Pau Hana room for our stargazing event. We were given a wristband and got to select bead bracelets that glowed in the dark. I was surprised to see so many people. Anyway, one of the CMs took us down to the terrace behind Little Opihi’s where he had two 11 inch telescopes set up. The guide was a local who lived in Ko Olina. From what I understand he worked for NASA. Anyway, he was very knowledgeable about the stars and pointed out constellations to us. He had his telescopes, guided by GPS, on the moon and the planet Jupiter. OMG, it was amazing to actually see the planet with 4 moons around it. It was a crescent moon, and you could look at the entire crescent. He then moved the telescopes to some baby stars and the Happy Star. He also showed us the Southern Cross, which you cannot see from the mainland. We took turns looking through the scopes for about 50 minutes before the next group came down. We all really enjoyed the presentation and seeing the stars from a different part of the world.

    Took some pictures of the resort at night.

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    We then went back to our room and called it a night.

    Next: Exploring the neighborhood.
     
  8. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Day 6 - Monday, May 29th, 2017 – Aulani

    With our package, we received a free character breakfast. I scheduled it for this morning. Our breakfast was at 8:45 AM. We got up and ready and went down to Makahiki. After checking in, we were directed to a line to wait and get our picture taken with Mickey Mouse. It went pretty quickly and then we were seated for breakfast. Aunty hosted the event while Minnie and Pluto made the rounds to the tables. Aunty invited kids to play coconut shells and other instruments and had them march through the restaurant. Our DD was a little too old for such fun.

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    Anyway, breakfast offered a fresh omelet station, meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, Loco Moco, pancakes and Mickey Waffles. It was very good. We were offered a choice of juices, including POG, or milk to drink. For dessert they offered yogurt and a banana cut to look like a dolphin and fresh fruit. Breakfast was very filling.

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    After breakfast we went to the Kalep’s Store and Hale Manu to shop for our souvenirs. I got a couple of shirts, a couple of pins, a magnet and an ornament. I had already purchased a photo album and frame from the Disney Store (on sale) so I didn’t have to carry it back home or ship it from the resort. On the way back to our room, we stopped and got our wristband for the day. Today’s color was red. We then changed and went out to go explore.

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    I had seen the directions to Paradise Cove on the DIS board, so with my directions in hand, we headed out. The cove was very easy to find. There were a few families there, but it wasn’t busy.

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    We didn’t come prepared to spend the day or go swimming, but DD walked along the tidal pools for a bit and admired the fish.

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    Unfortunately, we saw no turtles or monk seals, just signs.

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    We then headed towards the shopping center across the street from the resort. We had reservations for Monkey Pods that evening for dinner and wanted to scope it out.

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    We walked around a bit and went into Island Country Market, which is operated by ABC Stores and got some souvenir T-shirts and some water bottles. We then headed back to the resort.

    While I wasn’t planning on it today, DH wanted to go swimming. Well, as you can imagine, there were no lounge chairs, let alone any in the shade, to be had by the pools. DH was able to find us a couple of lounges on the beach with an umbrella. DD wanted to snorkel in the lagoon. So we got her some gear and away she went.

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    In the meantime, I had gone to the Ulu Café to refill my mug and get cookies for everybody. While I was gone, DH got a little upset with DD as she went way beyond where we could get to her quickly if her blood sugars suddenly went low, but except for a grumpy 16 year old, all was well and she enjoyed her adventure.

    We went back up to the room and showered and changed. From our balcony we saw that Duffy had come out, so I coaxed DD into going down and getting a picture with him. Not easy to do with a 16 year old.

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    We left DD in the room for a while and DH and I headed out to find some photopass photographers to get some pictures. We were successful. We went back up to our room and got dressed for dinner. We walked across the street to Monkey Pod. We were seated on the patio, but unfortunately had sun the entire time. I was looking forward to the pork, but it wasn’t on the menu. DH and I each had a burger instead, it was very good. DD ordered the gnocchi with pork sausage. She said it was very good as well. As it turns out, we are friends with grandfather of one of the owners so we were asking the waitress about her. The waitress asked the manager about her and then she talked to us as our food was being prepared. Anyway, she ended up giving a slice of their really good banana cream pie for dessert. Yum!

    After dinner we walked back to the resort and down to the lagoon for sunset photos. We had 3 different photographers take pictures of us. Unfortunately, there weren’t many clouds that night, so we didn’t get the same color as the previous 2 nights, but the lighting was still pretty.

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    I left DH and DD down at the lagoon, while I attended the 7:15 PM Art and Culture of Aulani tour. It turned out to just be myself and a mother and her 13 year old daughter from Atlanta. Kelana was our guide. She is a Hawaiian native and told us how as she was going to Grand Canyon University (which is near where I live) when she discovered the Disney College program. She applied and was accepted to work at Disneyland. She eventually got hired on as a CM at Aulani. The first thing she told us about were the Kahili’s (remember those from the Bishop museum) made by the CMs. All the colors reminded us of Mickey (black, yellow, red). She then proceeded to tell us about the main part of the hotel. How one end of the resort represents the water side, and the other, the mountain side. Typical of how Hawaiians tell directions. You’re either water side or mountain side. The windows on the water side were cool, blues and greens. The windows on the mountain side were warm, yellow and orange. She then told us how one tower (Wai’anae) represents the masculine side and the other tower (Ewa) represents the feminine side. She showed us the magic floor in the middle where you got out onto the great lanai. That was just a few very interesting things that she told us. It was a very pleasant tour.

    Meanwhile, DD wanted to go swimming so DH took her. After my tour, I get a text to meet them in the lobby that there was an “issue.” Great, what now? I had given my DD my room key for some reason that escapes me now, but she had lost it at the bottom of the lazy river. She was very upset, but it was no big deal. The front desk deactivated the old card and issued me a new one. Problem solved.

    We went back up to our room. DD and I decided to attend the fire pit storytelling at 9:00 PM. Uncle came and sang a couple of songs and began to tell the story of 2 star-crossed lovers, one royal, one common, who couldn’t be together. At the end of the story, the girl tore a flower in two and gave the boy half. They didn’t see each other again. Eventually, in this couples memory, the gods created a bush on the mountains that produced a 4 leaf flower blossom. They also created a bush that produced a 5 leaf flower blossom that grows near the coast. When the blossoms are put together they make one whole flower. It was a very sweet story and we enjoyed listening to it very much. Look for the 5 leaf flower when you’re there.

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    After that, it was time to go to bed.

    Next: More water fun.
     
  9. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Day 7 – Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 – Aulani

    We decided to spend another morning at the pools and have a late lunch at Ama Ama. Based on our experience of getting lounges over the weekend, we knew exactly where we wanted to be. Since the Menehune Bridge opened on Monday, we knew we didn’t want to sit near it. So, we opted for a group of loungers next to the Rainbow Reef and the Waikolohe Pool and got there before 8:00 AM. We took turns going to The Ulu Café and getting our breakfast so we didn’t just leave our stuff on the chairs. At 8:00 AM we went to get our wristbands and towels. Today’s color was green.

    DD headed out to go down the slide. I had gone back to my room to get my sunglasses. DH stayed at the lounges. Anyway, when I came back to the lounges, there was a major crisis. DD is a Type 1 diabetic and wears a Continuous Glucose Monitor device. She wears her pump and her receiver in a pouch around her waist. Every other time we went down to the pool, she left her devices in the room. Well, this morning she forgot. While her pump is water proof, her CGM receiver was not. Needless to say it was soaked, inside and out. DD started telling me I had to go get rice to put it in and save it. So, we went to the concierge and told them we had an unusual request. It turned out, that we were the third person that morning who needed rice. He directed us to Ama Ama and to see the hostess. As soon as I told her my DD’s medical device got wet, she said “You need rice.” “Yes, please.” Disney service never ceases to amaze me. She was so nice, and came back quickly with a gallon size zip lock bag full of rice. We went back to our room and tried to open the device, but there was no way. We let it sit in the rice. Long story short, the device was dead with no chance to revive it. We had to order a new one when we got home. Fortunately, she can do without it.

    After that excitement, we returned to our chairs. We had rain off and on all morning. We didn’t need the umbrellas for shade, just to stay dry during the downpours! Ha ha.

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    DD went back to swim in the family pool while DH and I went to the Grotto to enjoy the view for a while.

    Since we were planning a late lunch, at about 11:00 AM, we decided to get a bite to eat. We decided to order the Nachos from Off The Hook with Kalua Pork. OMG! It was really good. Thank goodness we had purchased the refillable mugs; they really came in handy and saved us a bit of money.

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    DH headed back to the room around noon. DD shortly after. I stopped by Ama Ama to see how late they served lunch. They stopped at 2:30 PM, so I made a reservation for 2:00 PM.

    We all showered and changed and headed out towards lunch. On the way, DD discovered that Daisy was out, so we had to stop and get a photo with Daisy.

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    Then DD wanted to stop and get her picture with the Stitch statue, as somebody had placed a lei on his head.

    We finally made to it a practically empty Ama Ama. However, we did get entertainment during lunch. A wedding was being held on the terrace right outside the restaurant. It was a very small affair, but we got to see Mickey and Minnie join the happy couple and cut the cake. It was a very cute ceremony.

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    Lunch was good. DD ordered the Strawberry Guava Island Cooler to drink. I ordered a half Roasted Chicken Salad sandwich and cup of Corn and Potato Chowder, while DH order the Lobster Roll and DD ordered the Steak and Blue Cheese Ciabatta Sandwich. All were delicious. DH and DD ordered sorbet for dessert. DD ordered the Guava sorbet.

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    We hung out in our rooms and started to pack a bit. The pools weren’t nearly as busy as the weekend.

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    DH and I went down at 4:15 to the Ulu Cafe to get something sweet before the 4:45 Fire Pit Storytelling. This lemon pastry was very good.

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    Ironically, the only other people there were the same mother and daughter I saw on the previous night’s tour. Uncle told us a story about the Menehune and Laka and building a canoe. It is said that the canoe that the Menehune built for Laka sits on top of the Menehune Bridge and that the chief Menehune sits in it.

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    At 6:00, we headed back down to the beach for some more sunset photos with the photopass photographers.

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    At about 8:00, we ordered a pizza from The Ulu Café and went to listen to the 9:00 PM Fire Pit Storytelling. There were a lot more people at this one. This time Uncle told us about the great demi-god Maui, Hawaii’s Superman. The story was about how he lassoed the sun, so his mother could enjoy longer days.

    After the storytelling, we went up to Kalepa’s Store and purchased the Photopass CD. I was able to 10% off with my Disney Visa.

    After that, we called it a night.

    Next: Time to head home
     

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