First Time in Hawaii, Aulani & Pearl Harbor

Old Jan 16th, 2012, 06:31 AM
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First Time in Hawaii, Aulani & Pearl Harbor

Well, fodor's travelers helped me plan a perfect trip to Africa a couple of years ago so now I am once again leaning on fellow fodor's members for my trip to Hawaii. We (a party of six, including two 16 year olds) have reservations at Disney's Aulani for June 27-July 4. Since we are checking out on a Wednesday, we would like to take the boys to the Pearl Harbor area for a few days. So here are some of my questions:

1. Are there any hotels near Pearl Harbor that you recommend? If we stay near Pearl Harbor will we be staying near the water or inland (looked at a map & expedia and everything seemed to be inland).

2. If you have been to Aulani, do you recommend getting a rental car at the airport?

3. Is Koala Ranch worth visiting. We were thinking about doing the full day tour/activities?

4. Is the Go Oahu Card worth getting?

5. PLEASE. Any other advice (on Aulani or Oahu in general) or activity must do's?

Thanks,
Erin A.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:01 AM
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Most people go to Pearl Harbor just for the day (or part of it) to view the USS Arizona and the Pearl Harbor Memorial. You would probably be staying in a hotel nearby but I don't think you'd need to make a two day stay in Pearl Harbor. Others who live in Oahu maybe able to weigh in with better information.

I have been to Oahu a number of times and recommend visiting some historic places such as the Iolani Palace, Bishops Museum, or driving up to the North Shore to visit the famous surfing spots like Sunset Beach or Waimea. Or just a day walking around Waikiki and lounging on the beach there.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:03 AM
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Meant to add, I would stay in or around Waikiki which gives you access to all the tourist areas including Pearl Harbor. Have fun. Aloha!
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:44 AM
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You don't need to stay near Pearl Harbor - as it's only about 20 minutes from Waikiki, and while I haven't been out there lately - don't think there are very many hotels close by. Get there early - 7 am? - before the crowds come - and try to take the first Navy Boats. They are free - and the only ones that go to the actual ship. Think you have to go through the Museum first - which is also worth it.

see: http://www.pearl-harbor.com/arizona/arizona.html
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:47 AM
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Also - rent a car and drive up to the North Shore and around the island to Kailua and check out the lookout from the Kooalau mountains, where the King Kamameamea threw Oahu warriors off the cliffs.

And rent snorkel gear (Snorkel Bob's or others - check out the many free tour magazines/coupons) and go to Hanamaua Bay - the best place to snorkel in the islands. Go early there too -when it's the least crowded and the best visibility.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Oh - you are staying out at/by Ke Olani? (sp) On the West side? Still only about 20 minutes to Pearl Harbor.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 07:56 AM
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And not sure what the card/packages are you ask about - but google away ahead of time and check out what you think you want to do, and price it online and then see what these package deals show.

And the Kualoa Ranch - looks like the old Crouching Lion Inn - one of our favorite places. You could go there "directly" - through the tunnels in the mountains - or drive up the middle of the isle to Haleiwa/North Shore - and then continue around - Turtle Bay, etc and down the east side. A wonderful, beautiful drive - and while it's not cheap - the Polynesian Culture Center is also good.

And check out taking the family to a Luau/Hawaiian Dancing show. The one at the Polynesian Culture Center was fun - years ago - but think it has gotten waaaaaay expensive.

http://www.to-hawaii.com/oahu/attrac...ualoaranch.php
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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nanabee & Tomsd, Thank you so much for the info. I had no idea that Waikiki was that close to Pearl Harbor. I will start looking for hotels in that area to finish out the stay. Also glad to hear that kualoa ranch is a great place to visit. It sounds like there will be lots of activities for all of us there. I can definitely start planning better with this info. I really like the idea of snorkeling Hanamaua Bay.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 10:24 AM
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Ko Olina is the same distance from Pearl Harbor as Waikiki is, but in the other direction. Why not just extend your stay at Aulani. Nothing is so far that you can't do it as a day trip. We stayed at the Marriott Ko Olina, and did Diamond Head, Waikiki, Kailua, and the North Shore as day trips (we'd been to Pearl Harbor several times previously).
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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Chiming in, in agreement, for your Pearl Harbor part you just want to stay in Waikiki. That's close to the airport as well at the end of your trip. It is where you will find the largest selection of hotels to choose from. Yes I'm pretty sure you'd want to rent your car right at the airport for staying at Aulani.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 04:12 PM
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Hanamaua Bay is wonderful but like Tom has mentioned GET THERE EARLY!! Very early. We arrived a 9:00 and the lines were out of sight - we'd have been in line the entire day so we opted out. I think you can also get tickets on-line? Not sure but that might help. I would arrive the MINUTE they open if not before.

http://www.hawaiiweb.com/html/hanauma_bay_beach.html
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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adkinsek you have to do a trip report on your stay at Disney Aulani! I saw a segment on the Today Show awhile back and it looked great!
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 08:51 PM
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If you prepare the night before - you could grab your early coffee and have a breakfast snack on the way to Hanamaua Bay - and even take a little post snorkel snack with you if you like. We used to pick up Sushi and fruit and beverages (in the shopping center on the left before you go up the hill - Hawaii Kai is it?) - and have a little picnic on the beach.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 08:56 PM
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I think this is the shopping center (Koko Marina?) and they have everything from a large grocery store - to a sushi shop -even dive shops - and hey - even at McDonalds in Hawaii - they have a pretty fair Ramen/noodle soup.

http://kokomarinacenter.com/
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 10:27 AM
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nanabee - I will definately do a trip report on Aulani. It looks beautiful.

sf7307 & Suze - That is exactly what we were thinking. Heading closer to the airport for those last few days and hopfully save a little $$$$ by not extending our stay at the Disney property.

Tomsd - thanks for the info on the shopping center; I'm sure we will be needing it and it sounds convenient.
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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>>

It's not closer to the airport. The airport is 1/2 way between Ko Olina and Waikiki, so if you move to Waikiki, you'll be the same distance east of the airport that you were west of the airport at the Aulani.
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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Waikiki should have some lodging "bargains" and it will offer a chance of scenery/more variety for all, and walking over toward Diamond Head/past the park is fun.
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Old Jun 6th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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Oahu Go Card Not worth it-especially since it only gives you PCC admission only , and not the luau or show. Get a Car-then you can go into town to eat at alternative restaraunts, Aulani is expensive! Plus you can zip up to North Shore, and do Hanuama Bay. (agree with posters-go early)- remember they are closed Tuesday. I would not switch hotels. IT is a huge pain checking in and out, and you lose about 4+ hours of your trip. Waikiki hotels same distance to HNL airport, with more traffic anyway. If you do-the Doubletree is reasonable and closer to the main drag. I'm going to the Aulani September, will report also!
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