Our family Hawaiian escapade ended 26 days ago, yet, here I am having Hawaii withdrawals. I don’t think the withdrawal symptoms of yearning for: beachside views, the smell of sunscreen, the sound of pidgin being spoken nearby, the taste of local food, and the worry free state of mind hit me until I was editing the latter part of our trip’s vlogs.
Watch our Hawaii vacation playlist here:
Our 12 days in Hawaii began on the beautiful island of Maui. Our close friends got married that weekend, so it was nice to have a lot of our friends there at the same time. Aside from the beautiful wedding shenanigans, we really did try to make the most of our 5 days there. The resort accommodations at our hotel alone was enough for us to fall in love with Maui.
We stayed where the wedding reception was held; The beautiful Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali. This being our first big family vacay in a long time, hubby got us a great ocean view. My kids dubbed this hotel their favorite because… get this… there were penguins there. It was a morning, afternoon, and evening ritual to watch these animals and greet them with glee on the daily. Flamingos, exotic birds that were different every day, cranes, swans, koi fishes, were just among some of the beautiful animals there.
The hotel had a really nice kids pool area, where we spent our mornings before any other daily activity. The whole Kaanapali resort strip, in fact, was just plain beautiful. You really don’t need to exit the premise to enjoy your vacation. However, if you are foodies like us, then yes.. explore the island.
We did go to a couple beaches with our friends. It’s great because all of our kids were able to play together as well as the adults. It truly is a ton of fun to be on vacation with not only your family, but with a large group of friends. The memories created with everyone is not only briefly showcased in our vlogs, but also embedded in our minds.
We took everyone’s advice on holding off on the infamous Road of Hana tour. According to locals, blogs, and friends who’ve experience Maui alike have all recommended we not take the kids on that exhibit. Scratched it off our list in a quickness because their testimonials had me at windy narrow roads. My kids do not mesh well with windy roads. Almost always, they will get dizzy and vomit. That is something we will save for when they are a little older or when me and hubs can go out there alone someday.
On to the next one. Alas, our time at Maui was short but sweet. More excitement came over instead of sadness to leave the island, because a whole week in Oahu was ahead of us. BTW, my kids love plane rides. The boys have fought about who will sit window during each flight. Luckily, we were able to grant both windows with he inter-island flights. They loved every moment of it.
Oahu is just a favorite place of mine. Maybe my love for it is just a little homage because I’ve lived there for 6 months many years ago, I having family there, and it has been our main Hawaii vacation destination in the past. Even as a kid. Something about Oahu is just very comforting.
We stayed at the Ilikai hotel in Waikiki again. This is where we stayed in 2008 and we just remembered loving it. After this stay, I’d have to say, it’s one of our favorite hotel rooms. All the rooms are suite style and very up to date and modern. The premises are clean and the staff’s very friendly. It doesn’t have a great pool area in comparison to Hyatt Regency Maui, but the beach and lagoon is within walking distance.
Again, my husband got us such a sweet view. Waikiki is the heart of Hawaii’s tourism. You see all the tropical views and images you see and hear about on TV, yes. It really is beautiful, yes. But, honestly, it is very crowded and some parts of it just looks like the ‘hood now. Maybe because it’s adjacent to the Waikiki park where so many homeless now reside. It’s sad how Hawaii can’t have a better system for this.
Ala Moana mall is just down the street. I can’t believe how much it has grown since the last time we were there. I recall saying this back in 2008 too. That mall is monstrous, yet beautiful. Waikiki also has a great shopping strip. Sorta reminds me of the Rodeo Drive of Hawaii. Nevertheless, my kids loved being beach bums in Waikiki. From the beautiful lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian village to the beautiful, albeit crowded, beach out there.
Food is everywhere. Just be mindful, that the popular spots might have long waits. We always made sure to give the kids some snacks prior to heading out to eat. We didn’t mind traveling for food. We drove some distance and waited some hours in many of our food ventures out there. Some of my favorites were but not limited to Yogurstory and Boots and Kimos, of course. Boots and Kimos was a place we fell in love with back in 2008. We waited 7 years to have it again, what’s another 2 hour wait right?
We explored the island in our Jeep Wrangler car rental. The kids thought it was fun to drive around with part of the hard top off. Beginning our adventure in Oahu at the Polynesian Cultural Center where my kids found it the most fun. They participated in so many activities. Maybe because Isaiah and Karson are in an age where they’re able to participate in these activities, but I don’t remember 2 year old Isaiah back in ’08 loving PCC as much as now.
I always knew I wanted a waterfall sight this Hawaii trip. We were limited to days we were able to have alone without the kids. Mind you, my parents were in Oahu too, but they were staying with my Aunt. Of all the waterfalls I’ve researched, Waimea Falls was the best option. We were able to bring the boys while we left Kaleah with my mom. It was also nice to have the accompaniment of some locals, my cousin and his girlfriend. It was a less than 2 mile mini hike in the midst of beautiful jungle botanical views. We reached the waterfall, and the boys were ecstatic to find out they were going to be swimming in it.
Other great activities we accomplished were visiting the Dole Plantation and having a date night at a Luau. Did you guys know the McDonald’s in Hawaii serve Spam and eggs for brekkie? Just a tip, if you are in a time crunch and need something fast. Especially for the kiddos, go to McD’s. We rarely go to McD’s at home anymore, but it was an experience to have their hawaiian style breakfast.
Finally, the last few days on the island was spent at the gorgeous Disney Resort AULANI. Though a pretty penny it may be, it was worth every cent. Right babe? As a Disney fanatic fam, we were totally geeked out at this hotel. Seeing Minnie, Mickey and the gang in their hawaiian attire. Finding hidden Mickey’s in an islander setting. This place truly gives off that vacation vibe. You are seriously flipped on 100 percent vacay mode at this resort.
My amazing man, of course, surprised us with another beautiful Ocean and resort view. So many activities and accommodations at Aulani. You definitely have to have the breakfast with Mickey and Friends. It’s something we do when we go to Disneyland, it was definitely a must here at Aulani. Especially for Kaleah and Jerald’s birthday, which was perfectly spent there.
From the wonderful variety of pools and water recreations, to the food, the snorkeling on the resort itself, and to the beautiful beach lagoon just within walking distance. I highly, HIGHLY, suggest this place for your family. Your kids will absolutely love it here. I’d have to dub this place, MY FAVORITE hotel EVER!
In conclusion of our Hawaii trip, I’d like to give a big thanks to my husband. He especially deserved this vacation. He works so hard for this family, always putting the kids first over himself. Thanks boots. We love and appreciate you. Isaiah may remember the memories we shared here more than his younger siblings, but the moments for even the younger kids were all worth this trip. I’m pretty happy we have our vlogs to look back to as a reminder of all the fun we had here until our next vacay. Remember, it’s not about how much you’ll spend rather how much quality time you spend. Always collect memories over collecting material things.
Don’t forget to catch our vlogs on YouTube at IJKfamTV. Link above to view Hawaii Vacay playlist. xoxo -KAT