AulaniAulani PicturesJason's Thoughts & Observations

Aulani 2024: Day 2 – Recap, Thoughts & Observations (2/19/24)

Aulani Day 2 – Monday, February 19, 2024

For president’s week 2024 we traveled to Hawaii and stayed at Disney’s Aulani Resort on Oahu.   Visit my 2024 Aulani Trip Summary page for links to all my picture posts, videos and more from this visit.

Daily Log:

Was up way too early thanks to the time change and my normal early morning schedule, it was still in the 3am hour.   It was in the 60s and felt cool so watched the reflection of the sunrise from my room and worked on some pictures then went for a stroll around the grounds once the sun was up.   Met the rest of my group around 9:30 and set off for breakfast then Pearl Harbor.  We spent a couple hours exploring the visitor center area and then had a 1:45pm boat tour followed by a 3:15 Ford Island bus tour to wrap up the visit.   Stopped for dinner on the way back to Aulani.   Dropped my bags in the room and went down to catch the 7:40pm Fire Pit Storytelling.   After the story back to the room to relax and call it a night.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • Thanks to the time change and me usually being up early I was up well before sunrise today. It was cool outside so did not venture out this morning instead opting to wait around for the sun to warm things up a bit.
  • Since we were heading to Pearl Harbor today the plan was to get breakfast on the way. Our first choice was very crowded and just did not seem worth the wait so we  ended up at McDonalds.  This was more entertaining than planned as we spotted a rooster walking through the drive through.
  • We arrived at Pearl Harbor earlier than expected, just after 11am. Parking was a challenge with the lots full and cars circling. Eventually we managed to find a parking spot.  The lot is now a text to park lot so we had to spend some time paying for our parking before setting off.
  • The visitor center area had a lot of people but did not feel over crowded. You could still walk through the exhibits at your own pace.   We spent time roaming around and taking in the sights as well as about an hour going through the museum areas.  We still had plenty of time before our 1:45pm boat to the memorial.
  • I goofed at this point and did not realize the film is no longer part of the boat tour.   So we relaxed and visited while waiting for the boat instead of taking in the film.
  • I have visited Pearl Harbor a number of times over the years on previous visits so none of this was new to me. The new adventure for me today was the bus tour to Ford Island.   While looking at the National Park Service Site I saw they now offer a bus to Ford Island so you can visit the Utah and Oklahoma memorials.   The tour is extremely limited.   It is offered three times a week and limited to 25 seats per day.  The cost is a $1 per person reservation fee only.  You have to book through the NPS website and the spaces go within seconds of being released.   (If you have dealt with Disney Parks Virtual queues you will be in good shape though).   Another wrinkle is you can only purchase 5 tickets at a time, which for us being a group of 6 added an extra layer of difficulty.
  • We met the park ranger and the rest of our group at the visitor center and then set out for our bus. Today was unique as they had a trolley instead of a regular bus.  This caused some chuckles from the park rangers as well as the military security to enter Ford Island.
  • The tour itself featured a stop at the USS Utah and then Oklahoma memorial. The park ranger shared stories of people who were there that day and tried to take you back to that day to feel what was going on.   This was a different way of sharing the history compared to the rest of the museum and I thought it engaged the audience.
  • If you have been to Pearl Harbor before and are looking for something different this tour was great. If you are a history buff or just want to see more of Pearl Harbor it is a great add on and way to end your visit.   The downside is how limited it is and that it is only offered in the late afternoon (3:15pm).
  • On the way back to Aulani we decided to stop for dinner. Outback sounded good so we pulled into that parking lot only to find it closed for renovation. So we were 0 for 2 in finding dining today. We ended up at a nearby Chili’s.
  • We made it back to Aulani after 7pm and I had just enough time to make it down to the 7:40pm Fire Pit storytelling. It was a full house with guests filling up all the seating and most of the standing and standby space.  Cast members kept trying to keep the walkways clear, but it was a struggle for them.

My posts from today:

One thought on “Aulani 2024: Day 2 – Recap, Thoughts & Observations (2/19/24)

  • Did you find out why the chicken cross the road? 🙂


Leave a Comment