Usually, when someone mentions the holidays, we think of the parks, dressed up in all of the seasonal decorations with holiday overlays, parades, entertainment, and more. But what happens when many of the festivities are canceled for the upcoming season due to the disruption of COVID-19?
If the festive season with Disney is something you can't bear to miss, then don't let a few changes stop you from getting your holiday spirit pumping. But, if you are looking for a splash of Mickey in a new destination this season, now is the perfect time to discover Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.
Most of you know by now that O'ahu is where my heart is, it's my home away from home, one that I was supposed to be returning to in a week's time but now won't be, due to COVID. So, I am living vicariously through others and encouraging you all to discover this tropical paradise with its own Disney resort, at the best time of the year.
For months now, the Hawai'ian islands have been off-limits, between border closures and restrictions, not to mention Aulani closing its doors earlier in the year. But on the heels of the resort kicking off a gradual reopening beginning November 1st, this might just be the perfect year to get your Mickey on in the warm sunshine of O'ahu with a bit of Mele Kalikimaka cheer.
You might be wondering about the entry requirements to Hawai'i at the moment. Well, as someone who was desperately hoping to go, I have been keeping an eye on them and the Pre-Travel Testing Program launching in just a few days is going to make things much simpler!
The Pre-Travel Testing Program is scheduled to begin on October 15. The program requires passengers five and older to take a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory within 72 hours from the final leg of departure and produce a negative result in order to proceed without the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine. A trained professional must observe all tests. Only test results from trusted testing partners approved by the Hawaii Department of Health will be accepted. Click here for the news release.https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/covid-19-updates/
The Island of Hawai'i is not participating in the program, however, O'ahu, where Aulani is located, is.
If you have never spent your holidays enjoying the warm ocean breeze, sand, sun, and surf, then I highly recommend it. Down here in Australia, Christmas time equals the onset of summer, so we are used to enjoying seafood and swims on those special occasions with family. It's a much more comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere, one that with the help of Mickey and Friends, could end up being the trip of a lifetime.
Christmas dinner at the Aulani Signature Restaurant, 'AMA 'AMA, would be incredible, with great food and a fabulously relaxed, but elegant, atmosphere. Check out my breakfast review from our last visit here.
If you are wondering whether or not there is enough to do at Aulani to keep the family busy over the holidays, the answer is yes, and don't be afraid to explore the island a little as well with a few day trips here and there as well.
Thinking a split-stay might be in the cards to get the best of what O'ahu has to offer? Check out my Ultimate Split-Stay Guide here. Disney has just launched a new app to help you plan and experience all of the Aloha waiting for you in Ko Olina, but if you need a bit of extra help, don't forget to contact your Dreams Unlimited Travel agent for the pro tips.
Last but not least, if you are worried that the holidays won't feel the same if you are traveling and not able to keep those traditions of home, scroll through The Holidays at Disney: How to Keep the Magic of the Holidays While on Vacation. You would be surprised what you can achieve with a little forethought and careful planning.
Obviously, your ability to travel depends on your health and risk factors, just like any other time pre-pandemic, so make sure you are safe and careful at all times. I hope wherever your holiday plans take you, the fast-approaching holidays are safe, fun, and full of light & laughter for you all. If you do make it to Aulani, have a sip of something fruity by the pool for me!