Archives for March 2013

Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa

preschoolears: Aulani review and info

Aloha! No, I’m not in Hawaii, but rather I am dreaming of beautiful Hawaii while the snow is melting at my house!

About a year and a half ago, Disney Aulani Resort & Spa opened on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii. This inclusive family-friendly resort has many amazing features and experiences for everyone, as well as beautiful pools and beaches. Our family hasn’t had the opportunity to visit this resort, but recently one of Preschoolears’ Parent Panel members and her family stayed at Aulani. I had the pleasure of interviewing her about their trip and she shared with me her thoughts as well as some wonderful photos for you to enjoy. Preschoolears also has a new page devoted to the Disney beach resorts including new ratings and reviews on Aulani, for families to plan their own trip to Hawaii Disney-style!

preschoolears: Aulani

Rhonda G. is a Preschoolears Parent Panel member, and also an avid Disney fan! Her family visits Disney World at least once a year, and they are also members of the Disney Vacation Club. She has two kiddos age 9 and 5, who keep her very busy!

preschoolears: Aulani Mickey

PS Ears: When did your family visit Disney’s Aulani resort?
Rhonda: We were at Aulani in July of 2012.

PS Ears: On this trip, you were able to stay in a DVC 1-bedroom villa at Aulani. What did you like or dislike about the hotel and the room?
Rhonda: We were amazed at the accommodations! It was very nice and clean. The kitchen was all stainless steel appliances and we were thrilled with how big it was. It was also fun to find the hidden mickeys in all of the decorations around the room.

PS Ears: What was one of the things your family enjoyed together?
Rhonda: The Water Park!! The slides were a big hit! We also enjoyed the snow cones at Papalua Shave Ice.

PS Ears: What was one of your kid’s favorite things they got to do?
Rhonda: Water slides! and Aunty’s Beach House was terrific!

PS Ears: What age of kids would you recommend to best enjoy the Aulani resort?
Rhonda: Our kids were ages 4 and 8 and they had a blast. They are always asking when can we go back. I would say there is something there for all ages but to get the most out of the resort, I would make sure that your child is old enough to stay at Aunty’s Beach House, which is for ages 3-12.

PS Ears: For families thinking about or planning to book a trip to Disney’s Aulani, what advice would you give them?
Rhonda: Stay in the 1 or 2 Bedroom Villas where there is a kitchen. Rent a rental car. Disney lets you park for free if you’re a DVC member but otherwise there is a parking fee. Go buy groceries at the local grocery store (We went to Safeway). Stock up on enough groceries to eat lunch a few days during your stay. You will save a ton of money, but still enjoy all of the great restaurants that Aulani has to offer. We even took our sandwiches out on the lawn chairs and ate by the pool one day.

Thanks Rhonda for sharing your insights and experiences at Aulani!

preschoolears: Aulani viewpreschoolears: Aulani Sunset

For those interested in Disney’s Aulani or just curious what it has to offer, here is a quick summary of some of the activities and amenities the resort has to offer.

Included with your stay:

  • Waikolohe Valley swimming area with pools and stream
    preschoolears: AulaniSplashPool
  • Whirlpool spas
  • Wailana Pool for relaxing
  • Beach of Ko Olina that include complimentary beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and sand toys
    preschoolears: Aulani Beach
  • Beach activities including sand sculpturing, beach games and toddler splash time
    preschoolears: Beach Art
  • Starlit Hui celebration
    preschoolears: Aulani Hula
  • Menehune Adventure Trail
  • Fireside Mo’Olelo
  • ‘Ohana Disney Movie Nights on the lawn
  • Aunty’s Beach House childcare that includes movies, games, arts & crafts, dress-up and play areas as well as special activities like:
      • Aloha Party
      • Once Upon an Island storytelling
      • Disney Junior Aloha
      • Eruption Disruption Volcanic Science
      • Stitch’s Space Goo
      • And much more!

preschoolears: MenehuneBridge

preschoolears: Aulani Beach

Additional expenses and experiences:

  • Rainbow Reef snorkeling
  • Pool side cabanas
  • Beach activities like sailing canoes, kayaking and snorkeling
    preschoolears: Aulani Canoe
  • Premium experiences at Aunty’s including Fish Are Friends and Surf’s Up with Chip & Dale
    preschoolears: Fish
  • Golfing at Ko Olina Golf Club
  • Excursions
  • Spa Treatments
  • Dining

preschoolears: Aulani Mamas

The accommodations at Aulani are divided into two sections: Hotel rooms and DVC villas. Hotel rooms can sleep anywhere from 4 to 6 people, depending on whether you are in a standard room or a suite. Suites include additional baths and partial kitchens. Some suites can accommodate custom catering. DVC Villas can sleep anywhere from 4 to 12 people. Studios include a wet bar and all other villas include a full kitchen.

preschoolears: Aulani2preschoolears: Aulani3

If you would like to see reviews and ratings of the Aulani resort, please visit the Preschoolears website.

We hope you enjoyed this look at Disney’s Aulani.
Aloha!

Easter crafts and printables

This Sunday is Easter and it is fast approaching! For those parents who would like a few simple ideas for some easy Easter kid activities to do on Sunday, I’ve collected a few printable sheets from Spoonful.com as well as on the web. Please feel free to download and print these out for your little ones to color and create on Easter. Click on the pictures below for the download.

activitypage Easter-Pooh-Maze_0 mickey_minnie_egg_ring-1

I also found this site that has some cute Disney Easter coloring pages to print out.

If your looking for some last minute Easter crafts, I hope this helps!

ToysRUs

Shutterfly

Crazy8

Disney World Mickey Ears Giveaway!

MickeyEars

If you are planning a Disney World trip or will be soon, I know that all the details and information can be daunting, trust me! Even for a seasoned “pro” like myself, it is overwhelming for us every trip we take, and we’ve done it many times. One way to help you plan your trip is to use a travel agent who knows quite a bit about Disney travel and planning for families. Preschoolears has just begun a partnership with Destinations in Florida Travel Agency to help promote their travel planning services. Jennifer Greene is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and is one of the best at putting together a dream trip to Disney World or Universal Studios Orlando! Some of the great perks you get FREE when you book your vacation through her are:

  • Free Itinerary Planning (Valued at $149)
  • Free Dining Suggestions & Reservations Planning (Valued at $69)
  • Free MousePerks – Magic in your In Box!
  • Free Disney Theme Park Guide Maps
  • Free Orlando Magicard (Hundreds of dollars in additional Orlando travel savings)
  • Free Mickey Mouse autograph pictures for the kids in your family
  • Free Discount Watching (We will watch for future discounts that may save you money, even after you booked your package)
  • Free Welcome package with goodies for the kids

If you are interested in their travel planning services, please click on the link below and start planning your family’s dream trip to Orlando!

To celebrate this new partnership, Destinations in Florida would like to give one of our readers a FREE Disney parks Mickey Ears hat! So much fun! And what a great savings if you will be visiting the parks anytime soon or even next year. If you would like to enter, click the Rafflecopter entry below and start entering. You just need to enter a blog comment about your next Disney World vacation to enter and then there are additional opportunities for more entries. Giveaway ends Friday, March 29th at midnight. If you know someone who would love to win Mickey Ears, please share this post so they can enter too!

(If you are reading this from an email, you may have to visit the blog post online to enter)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Disneyland: Grand Californian DVC Villas

Our last visit to the Disneyland resort, we had the pleasure of staying at the Grand Californian in the DVC villas. DVC is short for Disney Vacation Club. We are members of the DVC, but non-members can stay at these resorts as well. This was our first time staying in a 1-bedroom villa at the Grand, and we loved it. First, I am a big fan of the Grand Californian resort. The lobby is beautiful with the craftsman style woodwork and natural elements. It is a great spot to sit, rest and enjoy the scenery. The Grand also has it’s own entrance into California Adventure park which is an amazing convenience for families. The only downside to the entrance is that they only have one security search so entrance in the mornings can be slow with crowds.

Grand Californian lobby

Grand Californian lobby

Grand Californian lobby doors with beautiful stained glass

Grand Californian lobby doors with beautiful stained glass

We stayed in a 1-bedroom villa which included a full kitchen, eating area, living room, balcony, laundry room, master bedroom and bath, and a second bathroom.

1-bedroom villa

1-bedroom villa

The kitchen is very spacious although it lacks a little bit of storage space if you have groceries delivered. It is fully equip with dishes, silverware, pots and pans, and cooking utensils. Kitchen includes a full fridge, oven, microwave, toaster, coffee maker and dishwasher. Kitchen sink has cleaning supplies and paper towel. The eat-in area has a great bench seat that kids love and plenty of seating for easy meals.

1-bedroom villa at Grand Californian

1-bedroom villa at Grand Californian

Eat-in area by kitchen with dining table

Eat-in area by kitchen with dining table

The living room consists of a sleeper sofa, a chair and table, and a murphy bed/entertainment center with TV. This room can sleep three comfortably.

1-bedroom living room

1-bedroom living room

View of kitchen from living room

View of kitchen from living room

Sleeper sofa with two kids

Sleeper sofa with two kids

Murphy bed with single twin folded out

Murphy bed with single twin folded out

The master bedroom has a king bed plus an entertainment center with TV as well as a desk and chair. There is a large dresser which we used for everyone’s clothes along with two nightstands with drawers as well. Inside the master bedroom is a good size closet if you have clothes to hang. Rooms are equip with a pack-n-play for toddlers to sleep. We recommend bringing your own sheets as it doesn’t come with any.

1-bedroom master bedroom

1-bedroom master bedroom

The master bath is very spacious and decorated beautifully with granite and wood. The large soaking tub is great for kid’s baths with the sliding wall for them to watch a Disney movie while in the tub. There is quite a bit of storage under the sink to store ditty bags or extra towels. The master bath is quite luxurious with lots of space.

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Master bathroom shower

Master bathroom shower

The second bathroom, which is located near the kitchen, we used for the kids. It had a great shower that our older kids loved. The sink area is a pedestal sink which doesn’t provide a lot of storage except for the small shelf above the sink which we only used for toothbrushes.

Second bathroom near kitchen

Second bathroom near kitchen

Second bathroom sink

Second bathroom sink

EarsMiniLogo2
PS Ears Tip: Bring liquid soap dispensers for kids to wash their hands instead of trying to use the bar soap the hotel provides.

Our favorite part of the villa was definitely the view! The DVC villas are located on the far end of the resort and sit across from Paradise Pier, so our views were awesome of Mickey’s Fun Wheel and California Screamin. We could also see Goofy’s Sky School really close!

Views from our room

Views from our room

View2

And the views at night were spectacular! The kids loved just staring out the window and watching all the lights!

Nighttime views from our room

Nighttime views from our room

If you aren’t a DVC member, there are still ways to stay at DVC resorts. At the Grand Californian, there are a very small amount of rooms so getting a reservation can be tricky. Rooms available are Deluxe Studios (sleeps up to 4), 1-Bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 5), 2-bedroom Villa (sleeps up to 9) and a 3-bedroom Grand Villa (sleeps up to 12). You can book rooms through Disney directly or you can rent points from DVC members.

If you can’t stay in a DVC Villa at the Grand Californian, the regular rooms are amazing too with beautiful craftsmen woodwork and wonderful amenities. They also have the option of bunk beds for kids which can be lots of fun!

I hope you enjoyed this look at the Grand Californian villas!

Epcot at Night

At Walt Disney World, my favorite spot in the evenings is Epcot, and more specifically the World Showcase. The low lights and the beautiful architecture make this part of Epcot lovely to stroll through and enjoy the atmosphere. I’ve collected some of my favorite pictures here for you to just simply enjoy. And I highly recommend evening strolls through the World Showcase!

JapanArc

View from Japan to Spaceship Earth

Japan2

Japan Pavilion

Japan

Japan Pavilion with dining and shops

Morocco

Morocco pavilion

UnitedKingdom

United Kingdom pavilion with shops

Mexico

Mexico pavilion

LesChefs

Les Chefs de France in the France pavilion

ChinaArch

Archway at China pavilion

China2

One of my favorite pictures at the China pavilion

China1

China pavilion with dining and shops

My favorite picture of Canada pavilion

My favorite picture of Canada pavilion

View of Spaceship Earth

View of Spaceship Earth

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures of Epcot at night. What is your favorite pavilion in the evening? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...