Character Dining at Disney’s Aulani Makahiki

October 19, 2016 by  
Filed under daily life, featured, hawaii, my family

This past weekend we celebrated Kaila’s 7th Birthday at Disney’s Aulani Makahiki Character Breakfast. We have always been big fans of Disney’s Character Breakfasts so we were excited at securing our reservations.

When we first checked-in, we received a card with our names on it and were then escorted outside to take family photos with Hawaiian Mickey Mouse. He was so cute in his Aloha Shirt and throwing shakas at everyone. The line went by quickly and I really appreciated that they had chairs available all along the wait line. The cast member working there was so friendly and approachable. She kept telling everyone how happy she would be to take as many photos as we wanted with our own personal cameras.

We were seated at an outdoor table surrounded by lush greenery which really made us feel like we were on vacation. The only downside was that it was a pretty windy morning so we had to make sure our linen napkins and other items didn’t go blowing away.

The breakfast buffet held the usual items . . . eggs, bacon, fruits, pastries . . . as well as some local favorites like mahi mahi, loco moco, and coconut syrup for those adorable Mickey waffles.

There were only 2 characters that circulated the tables . . . Minnie and Goofy . . . as well as periodic Hawaiian shows by “Aunty” where kids could get up and participate by dancing, singing, and playing Hawaiian musical instruments.

 

My thoughts . . .

I loved how everything had such a wonderful Hawaiian feel. From the decor to the cast member uniforms to the characters’ outfits . . . I really felt like I was on a Hawaiian vacation. Everybody that worked there was super friendly and more than accommodating. They really added to the overall experience.

What I was a little disappointed in was that there were only 2 characters available at the buffet. I guess we’re just used to seeing more of them when we go to the breakfasts at Disneyland.

Once breakfast was over we decided to walk off all those calories by exploring the Disney property. Here are a few photos that we took along the way . . .

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Ichiran Ramen

October 11, 2016 by  
Filed under daily life, featured, flight attendant stories

I love ramen. And since I’m in Japan pretty much once a week I probably consume more of these delicious noodles than the average person. I’ve tried a variety of types at numerous establishments but my favorite by far is Ichiran Ramen.

When you first enter Ichiran Ramen you will find yourself faced with an ordering machine. There aren’t many choices to make since they offer only one basic tonkotsu broth and one size of noodle serving (790 yen) but here you’re able to add a few other items like egg, seaweed and extra pork. If you’re really hungry you can get additional noodles (kae-dame) to add to your broth later on. And yes . . . they sell beer, as well. You pay at the machine and you’ll receive tickets for each of the items you ordered.

Then you wait for a spot to become available. In the meantime, you’re handed a ‘preference sheet”. Here’s where things get a little more interesting. This sheet allows you to customize your ramen in terms of flavor strength, richness, garlic, green onions, pork, spicy red sauce and noodle texture . . . all at no extra charge.

When you enter the eating area you’ll notice something a little bit different than you’re used to. Everyone sits in their own partitioned- off cubicle. However, the dividers can be folded back half-way to allow you to interact with the person next to you.

Now it’s time to get your bowl of ramen. You place your ‘preference sheet’ and all of your tickets (except for kae-dama unless you want it immediately) in front of you. The staff will collect everything and deliver your perfect bowl of ramen pretty instantly. The great thing is that if you change your mind and would like to get anything extra including more noodles you can order it even after being seated.

Ichiran Ramen is so good that I often travel at least 30-40 minutes by train just to satisfy my craving. The tonkotsu broth is so delicious that it takes a lot of effort on my part not to just drink it directly . . . although I do see many who do. However, what I like best are the noodles. I’m not sure what makes it so different from other places but their thin flour-based noodles just appeals to the carb-loving person in me. The perfect bowl of ramen.

 

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Owl Village in Harajuku Japan

October 3, 2016 by  
Filed under daily life, featured, flight attendant stories

 

When I first heard about the Owl Village my first reaction was . . . “Oh, those poor owls.” However, the more I read about the animal cafes that have become very popular in Japan my curiosity won out. So on a recent layover in Japan I decided to head to Harajuku and check it out.

Owl Village is open from 11:00am – 7:00pm with reservations being taken in 1 hour blocks. There is a limited amount of slots for each time period so make sure you get there early to sign up or you can make an online reservation ahead of time. Children must be 6 years or older.

When we visited Owl Village there were 3 packages to choose from . . .

We chose the Special Course (2000 yen) and received a drink and Macha Green Tea Shaved Ice dessert along with 2 owl souveniers.

Our package allowed us 35 minutes to spend interacting with the 8 owls. When your time comes, your small group enters a glass aviary where the owls are housed. First, the staff describes (in English) the various owl species, their specific personality traits and the best way to approach them. You can also purchase food (500 yen) to feed them.

Then they allow you to handle the owls including having them sit on your arm if you wish. Of course, because of their sharp talons you are required to wear a heavy duty glove that covers most of your forearm. Some of them will even fly to you and land on your arm.

My personal thoughts . . .

I really wasn’t sure what to expect but it did seem like the owls were being treated well with lots of downtime between the small groups of people visiting. I enjoyed petting them and found that they were a lot softer than they look. Some of them also close their eyes and start to purr when you rub their necks.

Most of the staff spoke English and were very friendly and accommodating . . . especially when we wanted to take photos with the owls. They went out of their way to get the owl’s attention so we could get the perfect photo.

This is Bob. He played Hedwig in the Harry Potter movie.

I wasn’t a big fan of owls beforehand but I have to say that I have gained a newfound love for them. How could anyone resist this adorable face?

Owl Village
4F HARAJUKU-ATM Building
21-15, Jingumae 1 Chome
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
harajuku@owlvillage.jp

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Over The Years . . .

October 1, 2016 by  
Filed under daily life

Every once in a while I find myself thinking back to my good ‘ole blogging days. I remember the downside of it . . . days where I would be constantly on and off the computer from the moment I woke up until the time I went to bed, missing meals because I just couldn’t stop my train of thought, the pressure of meeting deadlines. But I also remember how rewarding it could be . . . connecting with people from all over the world, being able to try out some of the hottest products on the market, sharing this beautiful island paradise with my readers . . . but most of all making some genuine lifelong friendships.

A lot has changed over the years . . . my girls are growing into independent and beautiful young women. You probably remember them like this . . .

And here they are today . . . Kacie (14) . . . Kaila (6) . . . Kiana (10)

I’m still a flight attendant and traveling all over the world, however, my main route is between Hawaii and Japan. I still can’t believe how blessed I am to have a job that provides me a flexible work schedule, a never-boring work environment and the most amazing life experiences . . . not to mention all the exotic food!

Sushi Midori in Shibuya, Japan

My goal is to slowly get back into blogging although (hopefully) not be as obsessed as I used to be.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that balance is a good thing. And at the very least, I’ve been having a great time going through my archived posts and reliving all those special and sometimes embarrassing moments that I had conveniently forgotten about. :-)

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