Mahina with her Disney friends in Aulani

There were many things that Little Mahina enjoyed when we traveled to Aulani in February of 2014. This resort is heaven for everyone in the family. She loved the character breakfast at Makahiki, The Keiki Cove Splash Zone, her first time on a beach, but most of all, she loved calling the Disney Characters her neighbors.

Little Mahina with Donald

Getting a kiss from Donald

Hanging with Chip & Dale

Hanging with Chip & Dale

Two ladies chillin by the pond

Two ladies chilling by the pond

Taking a walk with Stitch

Taking a walk with Stitch

Dreaming of Goofy

Dreaming of Goofy

Altogether, she got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip & Dale and Stitch. Aulani would release a schedule everyday of where and when to meet the characters. Meeting the characters in Aulani felt a little different from meeting them in the parks. There was never a long line when we visited. The characters spent more time with us and interacted more. There was none of that pose for a picture and you’re off kinda thing.

Little Mahina would go for a Character Meet & Greet at least twice a day. There were a few times when she was last in line and the characters would hold her hand and take a little walk with her till they bid farewell to one another. That did it for her. She would smile from ear to ear when that happened.

Last Meet & Greet of our trip. Little Mahina wanted to say goodbye

Last Meet & Greet of our trip. Little Mahina wanted to say goodbye

Telling Mickey that she will be back

Telling Mickey that she will be back

Walking hand in hand with Mickey and Minnie

Walking hand in hand with Mickey and Minnie

See you again Aulani. We will be back soon

See you again Aulani. We will be back soon

Everyday was an adventure for Little Mahina. She would wake up in the morning and say, “Shoes.” Then she would grab our shoes and bring them to us. Next, she would call out a Disney Character’s name and say, “Go out.” I would wake up to that everyday in Aulani and I loved every moment of it. I will never forget that. Thank you Little Mahina for giving me such a precious memory. You are the fuel to Daddy’s dreams.

To read about Mahina’s adventure at Makahiki, Aulani, click here

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Aulani, Beach: Little Mahina’s first time on the beach

The beach. I love the beach. When I was living in Singapore, I would visit the beach at least once a month and when I was living in Phuket, Thailand, I visited the beach on a daily basis. Ahhhhhh, those were the days, I had an apartment within walking distance to Patong Beach. It was beautiful. Paradise.

Wife-chan loves the beach too. She used to surf on a regular basis. Our dream is to one day own a beach side villa. The beach is where we feel the most relaxed and inspired. Naturally, we were super excited to introduce this beautiful aspect of nature to Little Mahina.

Paradise

Paradise

It took a while for Mahina to get used to the texture of sand. At first, she was a little afraid and held on to Wife-chan, my better half, real tight. Naho took off Little Mahina’s shoes and stood her up on the beach. After walking around in the sand for a bit, she got used to it. Then, we sat down, tried building little sandcastles and shortly after, it was time for Mahina to get a feel of the sea.

Showing Little Mahina one of the many activities that can be done on the beach

Showing Little Mahina one of the many activities that can be done on the beach

Mahina planting her feet into seawater for the first time

Mahina planting her feet into seawater for the first time

Operation introduce Mahina to the wonders of the beach was a success. During our trip, we returned to the beach once more. This time, Mahina had no fear in her at all. She was running around the beach, playing with the sand and was not afraid to enter the water. She had been initiated into the family’s “Love for the beach” house and Aulani was the perfect setting for this initiation.

Operation "Introduce Mahina to the beach" a success

Operation “Introduce Mahina to the beach” a success

Setting for Little Mahina's initiation

Setting for Little Mahina’s initiation

KM has more on Aulani. To read about Mahina’s visit to the Keiki Cove Splash Zone, click here.

Keiki Cove Splash Zone: Mahina’s first visit to a pool

Before leaving for Hawaii, we bought Little Mahina her swimsuit. Prior to this trip, Mahina (18 months old at that time), had never been to the beach or even a pool. I was really excited about this. I’ve drawn up pictures in my head of my family and I heading to the water slides and enjoying great family time as we cruised down the lazy river. Mahina and I sharing a slide, laughing like a pack of hyenas, enjoying some father and daughter time.

We got Mahina her life vest. Put it on for her and wanted to get her acquainted to the wonders of a pool by taking her to the Munehune Bridge first. Shallow waters, fun little bridge, water splashing everywhere. I was super excited. My daughter was gonna run around and make so many friends. She’s gonna be so fun loving that all the kids will make her their leader and follow her around. Thoughts of the “Following the leader” scene in Peter Pan sprang to mind. GO MAHINA!!! Enjoy yourself. Be free!!!

Chillin by Munehune Bridge

Chillin by Munehune Bridge

See that picture above? That lasted for about 15 minutes. Mahina wouldn’t budge. She would just sit there and watch. There goes all my plans.

After we sat there for a bit, my wife and I decided to take her to the Keiki Cove Splash Zone. Seeing that the kids there are more of her age, we were thinking that she would be able to be herself there.

Mahina and her new friends

Mahina and her new friends

Mahina communicating with another child

Mahina communicating with another child

Being free

Being free

Getting wet at the Keiki Splash Zone

Getting wet at the Keiki Cove Splash Zone

Mahina loved the Keiki Cove Splash Zone. Did she try the other pool areas for the remainder of our trip? No. It was all Keiki Cove from that moment on.

A wise man once told me, “Hayatt, you got to have a goal and you have to be hungry. If you are hungry enough, that goal will be realized.” Did I get to go on the slides? No. Did I get to cruise the lazy river with my family? No.

Did I hit my goal of spending quality time with my daughter at the pool? You bet I did.  Seeing my daughter run around, making friends and being free got me all warm and fuzzy inside. For now, the slides and the lazy river will have to wait. I’m pretty sure that we will conquer those the next time we head over to Aulani.

 

Can`t get enough of Aulani? To read about Character Breakfast in Makahiki, click here.

 

 

Character Breakfast with Mahina in Makahiki, Aulani

Back in February of 2014, we took a 2 weeks vacation to beautiful Aulani using our DVC points. Yes, Aulani. The one in Hawaii. It has nothing to do with TDR, but I have fallen in love with Aulani, so I’m gonna write about it. END OF DISCUSSION YOUNG MAN OR LADY!!! (depending on what gender you are, you either pick the man or lady in the previous sentence for maximum effect. Thanks for your cooperation)

Aulani is simply stunning. Prior to staying in Aulani, my favorite Disney Resort Hotel to vacation in was Hotel Miracosta at TDS. Aulani battled it out with Hotel Miracosta in a 10 round bout and won in the end by unanimous decision. It was a close fight. Hotel Miracosta had the most beautiful Disney Theme Park at it’s doorsteps while Aulani had the facilities, amazing pool area and beautiful nature. Aulani has something for everyone.

Little Mahina enjoyed herself tremendously on this trip. Everyday was an adventure for her. One activity in which she had a lot of fun in was a visit to Makahiki for Character Breakfast. Recently, I reviewed Character Breakfast at Crystal Palace Restaurant in TDL. There’s no competition here. Unlike the battle between Aulani and Miracosta, if there was a fight between Crystal Palace’s Character Breakfast and Makahiki’s, it would be a waste of money to watch that fight because it would end in the first quarter of the first round. Lights out Crystal Palace!!! Makahiki was brilliant. It has great food, beautiful atmosphere, games for the kids to enjoy and of course, the characters.

Before showing us to our table, we took a family picture with Mickey

Before heading to our table, we took a family picture with Mickey

And of course, Little Mahina wanted to take a picture with Mickey by herself.

Little Mahina with Mickey by herself

Mahina participating in a game in Makahiki

Mahina participating in a game

Walking around with a fish on her hand

Walking around with a fish on her hand

Mahina performing with Minnie and Auntie for her friends

Performing with Minnie and friends

Listening to instructions

Listening to instructions

Showing off her musical talents

Showing off her musical talents

I’m showing you all these pictures not because I want to show the world that I have a really beautiful daughter. Wait, I lied. A part of me does want to show that, but my main reason is to show you guys that Mummy and Daddy are not in all the pictures except for the first one with Mickey. Why? Because Mummy and Daddy are busy stuffing their face with food and enjoying each others’ company while our daughter is in the safe hands of the Disney cast members, enjoying herself. It was a win, win, win situation. Mummy and Daddy got to enjoy the food while Little Mahina enjoyed the company of her new friends. There’s a strategy to this dining experience. I’ll tell you more later. For now, more characters.

Mahina and Goofy hugging

Mahina and Goofy hugging

Big smile

Big smile thanks to Goofy

Remember the strategy I was talking about earlier? Disney’s genius. Ok, here we go.

Mahina plays. We eat. Mahina gets hungry after playing. It’s super easy to feed her. After eating, she gets sleepy. We put her to bed and enjoy some cocktails at the balcony of our room. TADA!!!

Little Mahina got hungry after all that playing

Little Mahina got hungry after all that playing

Time for a nap

Time for a nap

All jokes aside, this visit to Makahiki was one of my favorite Disney dining experience. Mahina had a ball of a time too. Just remembering my daughter’s smile when she interacts with the characters and her new friends makes me want to do my best everyday to put that smile on her face again. I can’t wait for the next time to visit Aulani. Makahiki’s Character breakfast will be on the top of our to-do list when we visit again.

What’s your favorite Disney Character Dining Experience? KM would love to find out. Send us a comment to let us know.