Hawai'i Vacation Part 1

Several months ago, we began thinking about taking a vacation somewhere, sometime this year. We were thinking maybe sometime in the fall so we could have plenty of time to plan and look around for good deals, etc. Well, come to find out we found a GREAT deal on airfare- to HAWAII -  in May, so we took the plunge and bought tickets! We had just about 4 weeks to book our hotels, car rental, and plan activities. It was quite the whirlwind - but, since it's just the two of us, we were able to pretty much pick up and go!

We left the morning of May 21 - and by morning, I mean like 4am. We had 6am flight to Vegas, then connected to Los Angeles, where we had our final connection to Honolulu! My husband is not the type who likes to spend hours in an airport waiting, so he gave us a generous hour between our landing in LA and our flight to Hawaii. Before we left I had looked up the airport map for LAX, and told Loren we had to switch terminals for our Hawaii flight, but they were right next to each other, so no big deal. It always makes me a little nervous to have several connecting flights, because you never know anymore when a flight can be delayed for no good reason. Thankfully, our flight to Vegas and Los Angeles were on time.

However, when we arrived in Los Angeles, we could not find ANY signs directing us to Terminal 2! We knew we didn't really have time to waste, so we asked some security guards where to go, and their answer was something like, "Go down the stairs, through the elevator, outside and then go to the right..." Uhh...outside?? As soon as we heard that we both realized that we were going to have to go through security again...
in the international flights terminal....
at one of the busiest airports in the country...
on a Monday morning...
and we had less than 40 minutes!

I think I ran faster than I've ever been able to in my life (where is that adrenaline shot when I'm on the treadmill? There is no Hawaiian vacation at stake at the gym!) to the next terminal. 

And then, we saw the line. 

Yikes. Not my most filled-with-the-Holy-Spirit moment in my life. But all we could do was wait. And curse the foreign-language barrier that prevented us from politely asking people if we could cut in front of them because we were about to MISS our FLIGHT! 

And then, literally moments after I prayed and asked God to please, please help us not to miss our flight, a little Hawaiian woman appeared at the top of the stairs above our line, and said "Anyone here for Hawaiian?" I think I yelled, "YES!! WE are!!" And then she whisked us through every single security line and even at one point told me not to worry about Loren, just to hurry up! Even in the moment of craziness, I remember thinking, Well, I'm sure not going without him! 

We got through security and I'm sure we got to cut in front of probably 100 people, if not more. Once I got the all clear and got my stuff together, I literally sprinted all the way to our gate and arrived a hot, sweaty mess just in the nick of time! We were so SO thankful for that sweet Hawaiian lady who came to rescue us - otherwise there is no way we would have made it on time. But - we made it! 

We arrived in Honolulu a little after noon, got our rental car, and 

headed to Target to get some sunscreen, bottled water, and some breakfast/snack food so we wouldn't be completely at the mercy of restaurants and over-priced ABC convenience stores (which are everywhere) all week. We thought it was so cute that the Target looked 
so "beachy" with the palm tree out front, so I took a picture! 

Nearby the Target was the brand new Disney Aulani resort, which was one of the most expensive resorts on the island when we were researching hotels, so we had to stop in and take a look. 

There was a wedding going on and they were taking pictures by the beach!

After our Target pit-stop, we stopped by a Subway to grab a sandwich (our body clocks were all screwed up because we had been traveling all day!), and then headed into Waikiki to check in to our first hotel. We had used Priceline's Name-Your-Own-Price feature to look for a nice hotel in Waikiki, but didn't want to spend a fortune. We also looked for one featuring free breakfast (more on that later), and with really close proximity to the beach. We were "rewarded" with an upgrade to a four-star resort - the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Walk! 
This was the view from the Hyatt Regency lobby - Waikiki beach! 

We got settled in to our room, and we were super exhausted from traveling all day, so we decided to take a nap for about an hour and then go grab a light dinner a little bit later. 

Big mistake when you're jet-lagged. I set an alarm, but we were both so out of it when it went off that I turned it off without even thinking and we woke up a little after 8:30pm! This was one of those moments that I think we will laugh about and tell this story for the rest of our lives: I was NOT about to waste an entire evening of our vacation sleeping, even if we were tired! Loren was quite content to continue sleeping, but I was not going to have it. Poor thing - I dragged our exhausted selves ALL over Waikiki that night making sure we at least saw all the "important stuff" on the main stretch of Waikiki Beach. 

I'll tell about Tuesday - Saturday of our trip in Part 2!