Allie was still resistant to water and pools, but could be convinced to stay in if you keep things fun and lively every time she starts to whine about wanting to get out. One of the ways I did this was by bringing one of her favorite things into the water — throwing her about.

In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s a swimdress. Yes, the fabric does fine in the water and doesn’t weigh me down (much), probably because it’s designed by swim giant Speedo. And yes, I’m that self-conscious (but fashionable, cuz swimdresses are “in” right now!).

We even got to float around the water in the long lazy river loop (“Waikalohe Stream,” pictured above). I’ve had more than a couple of people ask me whether the Aulani was overrun with kids and therefore not a great “adult” place to be. I had the same concern, which is why I never had interest in Disney cruises, despite others’ claims that Disney vacations are “first-class.” I just picture dirty sticky kid-worn facilities and screaming kids all over the place. However, in this experience, at least, everyone else was right. I think Disney has the money to keep the kids’ places fun, clean, and surprisingly technologically advanced, right next to the first-class adult facilities, and if you don’t want to hear kids and deal with kids, you don’t have to. For example, just a few steps away from the main pool, full of gleeful kids, is an adult-only oasis of a two-tiered infinity spa, where you can sit on the lower level in warm water, gaze out over the beach and the palm trees swaying in the setting sun, while a hot waterfall pours down over your back from the higher level, and you’d never see nor hear the kids from the main pool. If you know much about Disneyland’s design, this is the architectural illusionist magic that Disney is known for. (When you enter Disneyland and go under the Disneyland Railway bridge to step onto Main Street, USA, you are steps from the busy freeways and entryways, but when you look back, you’d see none of the “real life” city of Anaheim based on strategic placement of the railway bridge. You’re fully emerged in Disney’s land. And when you look forward toward the center of Dland from that spot, the iconic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is made to scale smaller to make it look as if it were far away in Fantasyland and give the illusion that Dland’s bigger than it is, but if you were to turn around and walk toward the exit as if leaving, the stores around you on Main Street are designed with a slight tilt and sizing increase to give the illusion that the exit is very near, so people would feel less in a rush to get out and feel like there’s enough time to linger and browse.)
Here’s a photo of me in the adult-only heated infinity spa I described above, taken from behind the waterfall, giving you the famous view of “The Backside of Water” (famous line from Disney’s “The Jungleboat Cruise” ride).

In much the same way as the layout of the hotel’s larger features, here is the hotel lobby’s restroom with the little keke sink (kids’ sink) juxtaposed with the adult sinks.

If you want to seek out kids’ stuff, of course they’re readily available, but not intrusive. After Allie’s nap on day 5, she walked out on our balcony and peeked down in the courtyard. Next thing I knew, “Oh! It’s Chip and Dale! I wanna go see Chip and Dale!” We rushed her shoes on, rushed down the elevator, rushed outside…just as Chip and Dale were leaving. Allie called out, “Don’t go, don’t go! Wait for meeee! Don’t go!” The two chipmunks stopped, and opened their arms to Allie, who flew into them. And that’s how we got this photo op.

At the same time, we saw a generic looking bear farther down the lawn. We were told this is Duffy, whom we’d never heard of. Duffy was very nice, and invited us in for a photo, as well.

We later learned that Duffy (hugely popular in Japan’s Disneyland) is a teddy bear that Minnie Mouse made of Mickey Mouse as a traveling companion for his tours around the world. A mouse making a bear as a gift for another mouse is just…funny to me. But with Disney Magic, I guess anything is possible. Anyhow, ever since then, Allie has spotted Duffy everywhere in Dland and would say in glee, “Duffy!”
Good night, Oahu, Day 5. Yes, that is Allie sitting there with her new friend, whom she still talks about. “I was sitting next to the little girl. I showed her the sunset! Little girl was in a towel.”

I ran through the sand so hard to get in place for the above shot, btw, that “Baywatch” flashed through my head.

Day 6 was a Sunday. I learned a little something about myself that day during the ample beach time we had…

…I learned that I SUCK at sandcastle architecture. I can’t even get the sand out of the bucket in one piece. It really didn’t look that hard — you mix sand with water to make a paste and then it should just stick to itself, right? I’ll just say it was very obvious that playing in the sand or going to the beach was not a big part of my childhood. However, it’s a pretty big part of Allie’s recreation and she did fine without me.

The resort rents out Nexus tablets to the kids (free) and on it is a scavenger hunt game, where you follow clues given out in video clips of a woman who needs your help around the resort to save baby turtles, find lost hikers, uncover magical artifacts. You learn a lot about Hawaiian culture and history, and as you find the areas around the resort, you can make special effects happen. We got a kick out of people stopping and staring when we made islands emerge from the koi pond, the volcano erupt with fire and lava, water spray at lazy river riders from a hidden nozzle in an overhanging tree. Here is Allie and Dada standing in front of one such scavenger hunt spot. The story behind this one is that a young lady’s video of her late mother’s aborigine dancing was lost and she wanted to know the rhythm of the native dance, and the map led us to these decorative-looking drums. Once we found it and activated it, the drums lit up and played the rhythm of the dance.

That afternoon, we followed through on hubby’s idea of walking to the food/shopping plaza across the street from the resort to a New York pizza joint (giant New York-style pizzas with a Hawaiian flare, with toppings such as Kahlua pork) and getting a pizza, garlic bread knots, and a salad to take back to the resort, so we could mix East Coast with a Western sunset. Here’s Allie dancing to a Taylor Swift song blasting through the speakers outside the pizza place after Dada kicked us out for being “too active.”

The hotel was packed to 80-90% capacity, but you’d never know based on how easily seats were available at our favorite sunset spot, which is basically an outdoor lounge overlooking the beach.

New York Pizza + Hawaiian Sunset = bliss.