Sunday, 30 September 2018

Outlet Shopping

Today was designated outlet shopping day. An easy 20 minute drive had us at Waikele Premium Outlets. In comparison to other outlets in the States, it was small but it did the job! I won't bore you with the shopping details but did want to highlight our snack stop.

Leonard's Bakery had a mobile cart just across from the outlets. They bake malasadas (portuguese doughtnuts with no hole essentially!) and the ones we had were amazing! One was filled with warm custard and the other dusted with li hing (also known as chinese dried plum!) sugar. If you ever do visit the outlets, they are worth trying :)

The rest of the evening went by pretty smoothly with a quick swim before consuming our pre-bought Costco poke bowls. A DVD from the community room and then bed time!

The boys enjoying their breakfast from the balcony

Leonard's mobile store

Custard and lihing sugar

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Aloha Hawaii!

After what was seemingly a long 9 months after our last overseas trip, it was finally time for us to fly to Hawaii! It was a first for the children catching the train to the airport and it was an easy ride and cheaper than a cab or uber. Surprisingly, Sydney airport was empty. Everyone else in the city must have already left on Friday! There was no line for Qantas' self serve check in kiosks. There was no line for bag drop. Wait for this....there was no line for immigration and security!!!! What!!!! As a result, we literally walked straight through everything and found ourselves with plenty of time to kill...As luck would have it, we wanted to visit the AMEX lounge and try the Qantas business lounge. After letting Elliot have 4 helpings at the AMEX lounge (again with only 1 other couple in the lounge with us), we thought we'd resettle ourselves at the Qantas lounge. With barista coffee and pastry in hand I was content. With a power point for their devices and ice-cream, the children were content. We waited for our flight to be called and before long we were off!

The flight was thankfully relatively painless. The plane was old though, with parts of the plane seemingly falling apart and the children were astounded that there was no USB charger onboard. Sigh first world problems! Fortunately for us, the pillows provided were quite comfy and our pre-ordered meals were served to us a good 30 minutes before the general meal service began so we could use the bathrooms and go to sleep earlier as well. Arrival was also reasonably easy. After waiting to get to the self serve immigration kiosks (the line kept moving despite being long), we were fortunate to get a friendly immigration officer. By the time we got to the luggage carousel, our luggage was already there and lined up neatly. Super! Nanna and Grandpa were already waiting for us when we exited the arrivals hall.
Hello Honolulu!
Our rental car was from Thrifty, which needed a shuttle to get to. Once there, we had to wait for a while to be served. However, the staff were friendly and soon enough we had our Dodge Grand Caravan loaded up ready to go. We finally encountered our first minor hiccup! The GPS DID NOT WORK!!! We had to use our back up offline google maps. However, it was almost like a choose your adventure story. It seemed like we kept choosing the wrong turn off, making a loop, just to choose another wrong option, making yet another loop...After about 4 loops, we finally tried the last option we had NOT tried and finally made it to the right highway! Woohoo!! We would be serious contenders for the Amaxing race. However, amazingly, we were still all talking to each other in the car after the event! With the stress of having to drive a left hand drive car that was bigger than expected, on the wrong side of the road, with very little sleep, I was VERY relieved to arrive at Disney's Aulani in one piece and hear those words "Welcome home!"

The car was bigger than I expected!!

We gladly accepted our beautiful, fragrant leis and refreshingly ice, cold water and were whisked to check-in. We deposited our bags and headed out to nearby Costco for much needed supplies and a quick and cheap lunch. Upon our return, I could not hold the children back any longer from the pools. We jumped in for a quick swim and a walk to the beach front prior to dinner back in our studios. The sushi from Costco were surprising quite tasty! We took advantage of the DVC only meet and greet for a photo with Donald but were too tired to stay for the other characters. I was exhausted and needed some rest for outlet shopping stamina tomorrow.
PS I would have talked about the studio villas we were in but I wasn't quick enough with my camera and the rooms looked like a disaster relief site with minutes...When we move into a 2 bedroom villa in 2 days hopefully I can share some photos then as well as the varying offerings available at Aulani for both general guests as well as DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members.

The gorgeous leis and our first visit pins! Okay so Mal wasn't here but he got one anyway!

Welcome home!

Even nanna and grandpa swam!

Our sushi platter from Costco

The view from pool view studio

Hi Donald!!!