When I was growing up I had tons of friends that would go on vacation with their families but just hang out with their friends. They would hardly see their families at all on the whole trip. My brother and sister and I could never understand it. We loved hanging out as a family on our trips.
I am happy to say that my kids are growing up the same way. Last week we took the girls to Hawaii for their main Christmas present, staying at the Disney resort, Aulani. We had a beautiful room that had a king sized bedroom for Allen and I and the girls slept on a twin murphy bed and queen sized pullout couch in the living room/kitchen. We were all very comfortable and it was so nice to find a place that could accommodate a family of 5. (It is much harder than you think!)
Even though there were a ton of activities provided by Aulani we really didn’t take advantage of many of them. Like I said above, my girls would rather hang out with us then go to a teen social or attend ukelele lessons. We did, however, really enjoy the scavenger hunts. Disney offered iPad like devices with five different scavenger hunts around the resort. You would have to follow the map and then you would trigger all sorts of crazy things. Like a waterfall into the pool. (It took us a few days to figure out when that waterfall would go!) Or a tree that squirted riders in the lazy river. Or those big rocks in the pond? When you had that clue the rock would descend into the pond until it was just the tips sticking out. And those tips were actually the Hawaiian islands. Those Disney designers are so clever!
The resort has a huge lazy river, two water slides, multiple pools and a large beach and lagoon. We definitely had fun in the water there and the lazy river at night is a must do! (Oh, and I also saw Steve Young (former NFL quarterback) scooting around the river too. And no, I hadn’t had too many Mai Tai’s!)
On day two we walked two doors down to swim at a public lagoon that we heard had turtles. Did it ever! There was one big turtle sleeping right on the beach (His name was tripod because he was missing a flipper. The picture below was taken by Kate.) and two more turtles swimming with the fish in the lagoon. They loved Mr. Fun’s yellow Livestrong bracelet and they kept rubbing up against him. The girls spent hours snorkeling.
For Christmas my brilliant sister gave me a waterproof case for my iPhone. What an awesome gift! We had a great time taking underwater pictures. It is way harder than you would think. Apparently I am more buoyant than I thought because I couldn’t, for the life of me, stay down for any extended period of time. We had lots of laughs and took lots of goofy pictures.
The next day we rented a car. We wanted to find some waves because the calm Disney lagoon was perfect for little kids and snorkeling but no good for body surfing. We found a great beach about 20 minutes from the resort and spend the afternoon body surfing and swimming with Monk Seals. Okay, so we found out it wasn’t very smart to swim with those seals because they are 300 pounds and they bite. Oops!
Our last full day was Ellie’s birthday so we let her pick the activity…shopping. It was fun to poke around Waikiki and we had dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s restaurant. Yum. We ended the day with another night swim in the lazy river. Heaven!
This was a great trip and we learned a lot about the way we like to vacation as a family. We like access to water, want to set our own schedules, prefer to make our own breakfast and lunches and two of the five of us can’t sleep on a plane so red eye’s suck. Good to know!