Enjoy Hawaii!

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Three Unique Things To Do on Each of Hawaii’s Islands to Help You Enjoy Hawaii!

Enjoy Hawaii
Hawaii’s 6 Islands

Hawaii is a tropical paradise tucked away in the Pacific Ocean. It is made up of 6 islands, and each one has plenty to do if you choose to visit. Here are three things to do on each of Hawaii’s islands, and they are sure to help you enjoy Hawaii!

The Big Island: Hawaii

Enjoy Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is home to the world’s most active volcanoes, but don’t let this keep you from visiting! They have warnings for these sorts of things. In fact, the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea, has been actively erupting since 1983! So what is there to do on the Big Island?

  1. Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, though it is closed on most holidays, so it’s best to check before you go! And you can purchase a pass online that will be valid for 7 days from purchase. Enjoy day hiking, back country hiking, the Crater Rim Drive tour, the Chain of Craters Road Tour, the Kahuku Unit, and visit two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. To truly take in the most of this natural beauty, you should plan to spend at least one day exploring the park.
  2. Akaka Falls State Park. Here, you can see two gorgeous waterfalls on one short, .4-mile hike uphill through a lush rainforest filled with wild orchids, bamboo groves, and draping ferns.
  3. Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi that last erupted approximately 4000 years ago. At 13,796 feet above sea level and over 33,000 feet from the bottom of the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest sea mountain in the world. In the Hawaiian religion, the peaks of Mauna Kea are sacred. Stop by the Visitor Information Station, the best amateur observation site on Earth! Also, the Onizuka Center holds free nightly stargazing sessions from 6-10 pm. And on weekends, guests can take part in Mauna Kea summit tours!

The Valley Isle: Maui

Enjoy Hawaii - Maui

Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. And Maui has been voted “Best Island in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler readers for more than 20 years!

  1. The Road to Hana Tour. This tour has something for everyone, including the INCREDIBLE beauty of Hawaii! You will be able to catch a roadside waterfall, or enjoy an off-the-beaten path hiking trail. Also, some of the best banana bread stops in the state! Guests can either drive themselves or take any number of guided tours.
  2. Haleakala National Park Maui. Towering over the island of Maui, 10,023 feet above sea level, in fact, the Haleakala Crater is a dormant volcano with breathtaking views. Haleakala means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, and legend goes that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer. (You’re welcome.) Catch the sunrise, or the sunset, and learn about how Haleakala contributes to the fragile ecosystem of Maui.
  3. Ka’anapali Beach. Three miles of white sand beach and crystal clear waters: the literal definition of paradise. And, of course, the ideal way to enjoy Hawaii! Here, you can take in one of the world class golf courses, or zip line above the breathtaking coastline and see the incredible beauty of the beach for yourself. Each night, a cliff diver lights the torches of the cliffs known as Puu Kekaa, diving off Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili.

The Gathering Place: Oahu

Chinaman's Hat - Oahu

Chances are, everything you know about Hawaii is on Oahu. Beacause Oahu is the most populous island in Hawaii, the home of Waikiki and Pearl Harbor.

  1. Kailua Beach Park. The main park here is 35 acres of green space and sand dunes and, since Kailua Beach is less developed than Waikiki, it has more natural beauty. Enjoy the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters as you enjoy Hawaii in this amazing paradise.
  2. Pearl Harbor. There is a TON to see and do, as well as learn, at Pearl Harbor. It is certainly more than just the USS Arizona, though that is the most important part.
  3. Diamond Head State Monument. Created about 300,000 years ago by a violent volcanic eruption, the Diamond Head crater has become Oahu’s most recognized landmark!

The Garden Isle: Kauai

Enjoy Hawaii - Coast of Kauai

Kauai, the oldest island of the Hawaiian Islands, is a place where worries vanish in the trade winds, warm saltwater laps the golden sands of Kauai’s Beaches and the rain-forests of Koke’e host earth’s rarest plants and birds. While here, you will experience the secrets of The Garden Island as you dive into the beauty Kauai has to offer. There is truly no place like the Garden Isle of Kauai.

  1. Waimea Canyon. Waimea Canyon State Park is the largest canyon in the Pacific. Here, you will find several Insta-worthy photo spots and overlooks to capture the breathtaking sights. Surrounding the Waimea Canyon is the Koke’e State Park, which occupies 4,345 acres of land. Norfolk pines, Koa hardwoods, native plants and wildlife are just a small fraction of what you will see here. State operated cabins and hiking by permit is available year-round with advance reservations.
  2. Na Pali Coast. This rugged coastline stretches along the Northwest side of Kauai, and is absolutely GORGEOUS! Here, you can take in the high cliffs, sea caves, cascading waterfalls, and lush green valleys of the coast. During your visit, you can go snorkeling, take a catamaran tour, helicopter tours, and more!
  3. Hanalei. This idyllic town, located on Kauai’s north shore, is home to everything from historic places to contemporary art galleries. Here, you will find the Waioli Mission House, where you can learn more about the history of beautiful Kauai. Or maybe you would like to see a ukulele concert at the Hanalei Community Center. Also, you can take in the breathtaking beauty of the misty green mountains and try to figure out words to describe their beauty. Fans of the musical South Pacific may recognize the Hanalei Pier, which was featured in the movie version.

The Friendly Isle: Moloka’i

© Avichai Ben Tzur 
Moloka'i Hawaii

Moloka’i is the fifth largest Hawaiian island. So this island is TINY! In fact, it is only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide. And it has some of the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest continuous fringing reef. It is said that Moloka’i is the most urban and most “Hawaiian” of all the islands. It is also quite rugged, so it is not for the faint of heart!

  1. Kaluapapa National Historical Park. In order to even access Kaluapapa National Historical Park, you have to take a 3-mile mule ride. Like I said, Moloka’i is NOT for the faint of heart! Here, you will find the highest sea cliffs in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This serene park is a breathtakingly beautiful place of preservation and education.
  2. Papohaku Beach. Known as “Three Mile Beach,” this three mile stretch of white sand beach is home to, well, nobody. You will enjoy the “Friendly Island” vibe while taking in the amazing sands, without all the foot traffic. There are campsites, indoor and outdoor shower facilities, restroom facilities, and picnic grounds. And you can take in the incredible views of Oahu from the serenity of the beach!
  3. Moloka’i’s Seacliffs. The absolute best way to take in the beauty of the Moloka’i Seacliffs is to take a helicopter tour from Maui. What an awe-inspiring way to enjoy Hawaii!

The Pineapple Island: Lanai

Enjoy Hawaii

Once a pineapple plantation, Lanai is now owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, and he is turning it into a playground for the super rich. This is the smallest Hawaiian island that tourists are allowed to visit.

  1. Munro Trail. This rugged 12.8 mile trail can only be hiked or biked, you cannot drive. It was named after the New Zealand Naturalist, George Munro, who arrived in 1890. Munro introduced the Cook Pine Trees that you’ll find along the trail.
  2. Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods). The rock towers, spires, and formations formed by centuries of erosion are at their most enchanting at dusk. But know that the area is only accessible via four-wheel drive vehicle or mountain bike. The area actually used to be part of a native dryland forest, parts of which have survived today. As the sun sets, it casts a warm orange glow on the rocks illuminating them in brilliant reds and purples. And on a clear day, visitors can see the islands of Molokai and Oahu from these high elevations. 
  3. The Cathedrals. For SCUBA divers, the Cathedrals offer an underwater wonderland full of rock formations, coral, and native sea species.

How You Can Visit and Enjoy Hawaii

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Disney’s Aulani: A Hawaiian Vacation

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Disney’s Aulani Gives you the Beauty of Hawaii with the Magic of Disney

Disney's Aulani - a Disney Resort and Spa

Disney’s Aulani is a Disney-owned resort, located in Hawaii. It provides the beauty and breathtaking scenery of Hawaii, without the immense crowds of popular hotspots around the islands. And this is what makes it the perfect place for families to visit Hawaii.

Opening in 2011, Disney’s Aulani spans 21 acres, containing about 359 hotel rooms and 460 villas. Most of the rooms overlook the island, pools, and ocean. The resort is located on the island of Oahu, the home of the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu. My all-time favorite Imagineer, Joe Rohde, who is also a Hawaii native, designed Aulani, to reflect the culture and spirit of the Hawaiian people. Disney even consulted with Hawaiian natives to ensure the culture was properly presented.

Disney’s Aulani Room Categories

Disney's Aulani - Deluxe Studio

Disney’s Aulani has every type of room imaginable, from Standard Hotel rooms to 3-Bedroom Villas. The type of room you stay in is entirely up to your budget and preferences, but if there is one thing every room MUST have: OCEAN VIEW.

PICTURE THIS: Hawaii. 2022. You wake up in the morning, make your morning coffee, step out onto the Lanai, and BAM! The Pacific Ocean is right there, staring at you, staring at it. No matter what type of room you choose, make sure you opt for the Oceanview Room!

Disney’s Aulani: Pools

Disney's Aulani - Goofy at the Pool
Photo: Disney

There are 8 pool/water areas at Aulani, and 7 of them are included in your resort stay. Not included in your stay, is Rainbow Reef, which offers snorkeling. There is an additional charge. All other pools are included in your stay! The Waikolohe Pool is the largest pool, and you can easily spend an entire day just taking in all there is to see and do at this pool!

Waikolohe pool
Disney's Aulani

The Waikolohe Pool is 8,200 square feet with zero-depth entry. Waikolohe means “Mischievous Water” in Hawaiian. Your chances of hanging out with Mickey, Minnie, and Friends at this pool are pretty high! There are teen-only, tween-only, and all-ages pool parties that will be announced every day in the resort schedules.

Waikolohe stream
Disney's Aulani - Waikolohe Stream

The Waikolohe Stream offers a lazy river, 2 rapids experiences, and 2 waterslides, sure to provide something for everyone.

In the Lazy River, find your tube and let the gentle current carry you through the Waikolohe Valley. Designed with rock formations and natural details inspired by Oʻahu, the course features caverns and fountain springs that offer bursts of cooling refreshment.

From atop Pu‘u Kilo—a craggy peak overlooking Waikolohe Valley—take off on 2 awesome adventures! The Volcanic Vertical, an enclosed, extreme body slide that empties out into the pool. The Tubestone Curl, a open-air tube slide that twists and turns until it drops you into the Waikolohe Stream. Go solo or in pairs.

Ka Maka Grotto

At Ka Maka Landing, you will find this family-themed pool area. Ka Maka Grotto has an infinity pool overlooking Ko Olina Beach, a misty grotto, and an amazing nighttime experience featuring thousands of glittering lights!

You will also find a family whirlpool spa overlooking the beach and Keiki Cove Splash Zone, a water play area designed for guests 5 and under, though open to any age. Here, you will find images of aquatic creatures that decorate the pool floor, rainbow water jets, and more!

Menehune Bridge
Disney's Aulani
Photo: Disney’s Aulani

This 2,100 square foot water play area, for guests 48 inches and under, has 2 water slides, interactive water elements, play fixtures, and the Menehune—the legendary “little people” responsible for mysterious happenings on the islands.

adults-only pool areas

Adults can head to the Wailana Pool for some peace and quiet. There is also 4 whirlpool spas, and the Laniwai Spa, where, for a fee, guests can schedule a number of spa services.

Aulani – Dining

There is a vast array of dining opportunities at Aulani. For a “fancier” experience, there are two table-service restaurants and one high-end bar, serving lunch and bites, and 5 quick-service restaurants available. And you will NOT want to miss the Luau! The Luau is INCREDIBLY popular, so you’ll want to get your reservations as soon as possible!

Beach Activities

Disney's Aulani Beach Activities

The Beach at Aulani Resort features the breathtaking Ko Olina Lagoon. The stunning cove allows guests to swim, paddleboard, and snorkel.  Hotel guests can rent snorkel equipment and stand up paddleboards from Makiki Joe’s. Boogie boards, sand toys, and life jackets are complimentary for Aulani Resort Guests.

Disney’s Aulani is an amazing way to experience Hawaii as a family, or as adults that just can’t get enough of Mickey on their vacations! For more information, click here and then contact me to book YOUR Aulani Vacation!

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Disney with Food Allergies

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How to Navigate Disney with Food Allergies

If you or someone you love lives with food allergies, dining out can be an anxiety-inducing event. Some food allergies are mild, sure, but there are so many that are incredibly serious, even fatal. Disney Destinations, including the theme parks, cruise line, and more, are fantastic with food allergies! Here is my best advice for navigating Disney with food allergies!

Disney with Food Allergies
Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet – Ohana, Walt Disney World

Families can feel safe traveling to Disney Destinations! I have celiac, and I can honestly say I have never had any kind of reaction from food while visiting any Disney Destination. And my favorite part of traveling is definitely the eating! So what do you do if you’re traveling with Disney and you have a food allergy? Let’s talk about it!

Do Your Research!

First and foremost, the internet is your friend. Spend time perusing all the menus you can. You can find menus for nearly every restaurant, table service, quick service, snacks, etc, at both Disney World and Disneyland, and many of them also list allergy menus.

Disney with Food Allergies
Allergy Menu – Storybook Dining, Walt Disney World

If the menu item says “For Egg,” etc, then it is safe to order. Simple as that. But what do you do if you want, say, french fries instead of mashed potatoes with your pork shank? Always ask to speak with a chef. Disney chefs are fantastic with food allergies, and will gladly talk with you about your allergies and what you want to eat. In many instances, you will find that menu items can easily be adjusted to suit your allergy needs just by asking. The chef will prepare the meal and it will be brought out to you separately, and clearly marked. IF YOU EVER GET YOUR FOOD AND THE ALLERGY MARKER IS MISSING, DO NOT EAT IT!!

Special Menus

Disney with Food Allergies

Again, it is incredibly important to speak to a chef or manager about your food allergies, especially if you are anaphylactic. Not only for safety reasons, but for SECRET MENUS! Like I said, many times the chefs are able to accommodate what you want, and there are actually many things available that may not be on the menu. For example, at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian, they serve the amazing Tonga Toast. But it is not on the allergy menu.

By speaking to the chef, I was able to actually order gluten free Tonga Toast. And it was absolutely delicious! They will actually just take gluten free dinner rolls from either Kona or across the hall at Ohana, and make the Tonga Toast from those! It never ever hurts to ask!

Make Sure to CLEARLY Communicate ALL of Your Allergies

But, gluten allergy is fairly easy to accommodate. What do you do if you have an allergy outside the main 8, like mango, or you have multiple allergies, like egg, wheat, and tree nuts?

  1. Mark your allergy when making your table service reservation. When making your reservation, you should see “Add a food allergy request.”
  2. Ask to speak to a chef or manager when you arrive (or when you go to order at a quick service restaurant)
  3. If you have 4 or more allergies, have 4 or more people with allergies, have allergies outside of the top 8, or have special dietary needs (including diabetes, gastric bypass, vegan/vegetarian, PKU/dysphagia, metabolic disorders, etc), you should contact special diets AT LEAST 14 days in advance of your trip. special.diets@disneyworld.com or special.diets@disneyland.com
Marking food allergies when making a dining reservation

You Can Even Pre-Order!!

Occasionally, you can email special diets, and special order something that isn’t available on the regular allergy menu, like fried chicken at 50s Prime Time Cafe at Walt Disney World or, pictured here, the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans at Disneyland. Again, it does not hurt to ask! And there are many things that are simple to make substitutions, they just need advanced notice to actually make it!

In this case, let’s say you have a reservation for Cafe Orleans on your next trip to Disneyland, and you KNOW you want to have the Monte Cristo for lunch when your family dines in the restaurant. With your reservation number, send an email to Special Diets at Disneyland, give them your name, the date and time of your reservation, and the confirmation number from your email. Tell them you want to order a gluten free Monte Cristo. And make sure you do this at least 14 days in advance. Special Diets will get back to you about whether or not they will grant your request, and, if approved, when you show up for lunch, your sandwich will be ready for you!

You can also use this same process to order Kosher and Halal meals, should you require them. Disney is fantastic with food allergies. Contact me today for your free, no obligation vacation quote, and then ask me about dining with food allergies!

Let Me Help with YOUR Vacation Planning!

If you’re ready to book your next Disney vacation, I am available to help with the planning, and my services are 100% FREE to you! Let’s talk!!!

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