Rainbow Reef and Coral Crater Adventure Park

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August 8th 2022
Published: August 9th 2022
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I got up at 2am. Although activities at Aulani start up fairly early in the day, they don't start up that early! I enjoy a bit of quiet time in the mornings, though, and get a chance to work on my puzzles. Joanna has been stirring around sunrise, so she and I have been sipping on our pineapple-orange-guava (POG) juice out on the balcony while watching the sunrise. We got a standard view but lucked out. Although we can see the air conditioning units off to one side of our balcony, we also see a bit of the gardens, the rolling hills, and the sunrise!

At 7:30, I went down to Rainbow Reef. I was first in line. By the time they opened at 8am, there was quite a line behind me that was at least 10 people long (it wrapped around a curve, so I'm not sure how long it got). I signed our family up for the 10:30am fish feeding (free activity) and the day pass for snorkeling at Rainbow Reef ($25/person for a day pass). At 8:30am, the kids went over to Aunty's Clubhouse, which is a free kids' club at Disney Aulani. You can sign kids ages 5-12 for 90 minute blocks, and they do little games and crafts and activities. Andrew and I moseyed over to the coffee bar and got some sort of frozen blended coffee with macadamia nut. I think it might have been called the Aulani special, and it was tasty (and surprisingly not too sweet!). The morning coffee got things, uh, moving, so we stopped at the restrooms by the beach at Aulani and each used the bathroom. A few minutes later, Andrew's phone rang. It was Aunty's. They told us there are usually more older kids in the group, but today's group is almost all little kids, and our kids are incredibly bored. They assured us our kids weren't being naughty but asked us if we'd like to come get them because they looked miserable. We said of course, we'd be there in a few minutes, and then I told Andrew, "Well, at least we got a few minutes to poop in peace for our anniversary." We got our kids and canceled their future Aunty's reservations. Honestly, I was (am) pretty bummed about it. One of the things that drew us to Aulani for this trip was that we could have a great time as a family, but also drop the kids off for bits of time to get some time to ourselves. We don't get time alone together very often. Andrew reassured me that they're getting old enough, though, where we can let them loose at the pool together, and he and I could do a beach walk or soak in the hot tub together. He's probably right, so we'll try that tomorrow! Besides, we are having a great time all together. It would just be nice to get a little one on one time for our anniversary. Oh well... it'll be easy to do in just a few years, I'm sure!

We went up to our room and got ready for snorkeling and fish feeding. We fed the fish at 10:30am, which was pretty neat (there were so many fish!). But one of the absolute highlights of the trip was snorkeling in Rainbow Reef. Disney has constructed their own little manmade lagoon, and it's filled with coral and tropical fish. The water is crystal clear, and there are so many brightly colored fish swimming in schools all around you! Fish swim in and out of little nooks. Snorkeling through there is just absolutely majestic. At one point, a scrape Oliver had from yesterday started to sting from the salt water, so he and Andrew got out. Joanna and I kept going. She was nervous, and so she wanted to hold my hand. We had little life jackets on, so we just floated on top of the lagoon with our faces in the water, holding hands, and pointing out various fish to each other. I loved it! Even after multiple Disney vacations, I'm sometimes still in awe of the magic they create.

After our Rainbow Reef adventure, we got cleaned up in our room for the first of two excursions we signed up for this trip. We opted to do a 3-line zipline tour at Coral Crater Adventure Park. It took about 10 minutes to get there, and they got us checked in right away. We were paired with one other family, and the father of that family ended up being terrified of heights. At one point, he was clinging to the center post of one of the towers we were on and was letting out a string of curses. I was doing my absolute best not to laugh at him, and I think his fears actually made me feel a bit braver. The guy who was afraid of heights was always first, poor bastard. We're always tethered to something, so when he would get across, he would be hooked on to the next thing so someone else could go, and then they'd be hooked on the next thing behind him. So, he was always first!

The first zipline was the shortest and easiest. When we got hooked onto the line to go across, all we'd have to do is kind of sit down on our harnesses, and we'd take off. We glided across the trees and over little pigs rummaging through the forest and ended up on the other side. It was awesome! The second tower swayed a little bit (hence the cursing man clinging to the center post). The second zipline was a lot longer, but the kids (and me) were a lot more confident by that point. We got across the second one with no issue and had a lot of fun. However, the fun stopped there for a bit. To get to the next zipline, we had to get down from the second tower. The way to get down was by getting attached to a pulley system, and then we each had to step off of the tower. Our family went after the first family, and we watched one by one as each person got up there and struggled to make that trust fall. One young woman (the couple's college aged daughter) had to tell her mother to just push her off. And that's exactly how she got down! The guide suggested that if we were afraid, we shouldn't look down, and we could step off backwards by kind of leaning back. I tried that when it was my turn. Every time I started to lean back, my body would instinctively hurl itself back forward again to stay on the tower. I was about to tell Andrew he was going to have to push me when I finally got myself off of that tower and was lowered down with no problem. Oliver was next and just calmly stepped off the tower, the bravest one of the group so far. Joanna was like most of the rest of us and couldn't get herself to step off the tower. She finally yelled something like, "I can!" and leapt off. I was so proud of her! The very last zipline we did was the longest, and it was a double. Two of us went at a time, next to each other on separate lines. I was with Oliver and got to the other side much faster than him. We had so much fun on our tour, and the kids were especially happy, but I was glad we stuck to the 3 zip tour and didn't do the 6. It was hot and sunny, and my arms were trembling from exhaustion. Although you don't have to hold yourself up on any of the ziplines, I must have clung to some of the ropes for dear life. In fact, later, I'd end up taking some ibuprofen to deal with some of the pain in my shoulder sockets! It was worth it, though, 100%.

Back at the resort, we decided to go swimming. We gave the kids a little freedom to test it out. They got separated from each other at one point, which made me nervous, but we quickly found them both. At 6pm we headed back to the room. I quickly rinsed off, threw on some pajamas, and fell asleep. I slept soundly until 2am... again. Oh, jetlag! I can't help but wonder how the luau will go in the evening...


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