Vow Renewal Brunch at ‘AMA ‘AMA!

Eventually it was time to knock off and go to the brunch reservation our planner had made us at ‘AMA ‘AMA. I’d decided that Patrick and I should change outfits for brunch when I was at a vintage clothing show a few months earlier and stumbled on this amazing dress…

I mean, look at this thing! It’s like Hawaii in dress form! You got your blue ocean, your sandy shore, green jungles—even red-hot lava! And that of course necessitated an all-new coordinating outfit for Patrick…


“Are you getting this? It’s Hawaii on a DRESS!”

Because Aulani was designed by story-happy modern-day Imagineers, there is an unnecessarily elaborate backstory to the restaurant, something about a fishing hut being turned into a restaurant and then expanded with a modern addition when the resort was built next door. This is the “original” section…

And here’s one of the other wedding ceremony venues (which was being renovated while we were there):

‘AMA ‘AMA Patio

We’d asked for the latest possible reservation at ‘AMA ‘AMA so we’d have plenty of time for photos. It worked out really well because we practically had the place to ourselves, and they gave us a primo table.


As you can see by the fact that it is black and white, this photo was taken back during the early days of ‘AMA ‘AMA, when it was just a glorified fishing hut run by the humble, hardworking family who developed golf courses and lived in a penthouse at the Ihilani Resort & Spa.

Nate had the special, a breakfast sandwich…

Patrick had the “Traditional Loco Moco Breakfast: Hamburger Patty on Top of White Rice and Two Eggs, Served with Onion Gravy at the UNHEARD OF Price of $17 (and Yes, the Locals Are Snickering at You).”

Jensey and I both got the “Chocolate Milk-dipped Haupia Bread French Toast Stuffed with Bananas and Peanut Butter,” and I think we both got it sans bananas…

Jensey liked it! I was expecting something way more rich and gooey—I couldn’t detect any chocolate-milk-dipping, and there was barely enough peanut butter to hold the bread together. It did come with sides of peanut butter sauce and chocolate sauce, but the latter was straight-up Hershey’s…. harrumph!


It was a wonderful brunch, though. It was so nice to have a leisurely meal with the Roots in a gorgeous setting, and I tried to actively appreciate that instead of my usual flashing forward to what was next. I was still bowled over by the fact that they’d traveled all this way to share our anniversary, and that all our planning had culminated in these blissful moments of camaraderie in paradise. …Many, MANY moments, as it turned out. After a while of enjoying our unhurried meal, I began to wonder if they’d actually forgotten about us—or, more specifically, our anniversary cake! It tested the limits of my newfound serenity not to fling my hand into the air and begin hollering “Honey? Honey?!!” à la Grandma Hayward…

We’ve had so many Disney anniversary cakes, that I had trouble deciding what style to get for this extra-special anniversary. I tried to think of something that would tie back to our wedding without being a variation on that cake (since our first anniversary cake was pretty much un-toppable). So eventually I decided to ask if Aulani could replicate our wedding china pattern.

Kate Spade Gwinnet Lane


Originally the pattern was going to be created out of fondant pieces, but at the last minute they had to paint it on instead. The result was breathtaking!

Yeah… I pretty much couldn’t take my eyes off the cake…

Our server very gamely attempted to use the Roots’ Canon EOS 5D Mark II to get a shot of us. I’m terrified of that thing! It’s like holding an automatic weapon that could go off in your hands at any minute!

In keeping with the tropical theme, I’d asked for coconut cake with coconut buttercream. Unfortunately, what we got tasted like dish sponges layered with butter. It was possibly the worst-tasting cake I’ve ever had, and certainly the worst Disney cake I’ve ever had. The cake was dry, dry, DRY, with nary a hint of coconut flavor. The frosting was like straight unsalted butter—no sweetness, no coconuttiness, no texture. You’re not going to believe this, but the best-tasting part was the fondant—at least it had sugar in it!

But so, SO pretty…


“Congrats! Here’s a box in case you want to save the leftovers for wiping down counters!”

Patrick thought maybe he could pawn the rest off on an unsuspecting Menehune…

Before we released the poor overworked Roots, we asked for a few shots in our new duds.




I can never resist spinning in a spinny dress, no matter how much dry cake and peanut butter-stuffed French toast may be in my tummy…

My eyes are up here, Patrick!

While we were shooting in what appeared to be broad daylight, it started raining!

I had this idea that the Makahiki Buffet, with its colorful murals, would make a great backdrop for photos—completely forgetting that I already looked like a Crayola explosion…

We spotted two dumb birds that had gotten trapped inside the closed restaurant. This probably happens every day, perhaps even multiple times per day, but we were convinced we needed to rescue them by coaxing them outside…


“Geez, I was just trying to find the Kodak Photo Spot…”

It was touch-and-go for a while there, but eventually the birds figured it out just to get away from the two gargantuan beasts lumbering after them hollering, “Be free, my feathered friends!”


Last shot!

Up Next: Splashing Around Laniwai Spa & Sitting Up Front at the Starlit Hui!

24 Responses
  • Elizabeth
    June 25, 2013

    At first I was all…”oooh looook….Stitch!” and then I was all [spittake] “T-Rex photobomb!”

    Also probably enjoyed the “my eyes are up here” commentary a little too much.

    • Carrie
      June 26, 2013

      Heh heh heh…. 😉

  • Allison
    April 24, 2013

    The T-rex photobomber is the best! Your pictures are beautiful, even if your cake was lame–sad!

    • Carrie
      April 24, 2013

      Yeah, until the perfect Taste-o-Vision on the Web, all that matters is how that cake looks in photos!

  • Claire (Chilly)
    April 24, 2013

    I love to spin myself. Oh no bad cake but oh so pretty. My husband is slacking and has not yet brought me the cake I asked for so think i’ll have to get it myself, its a few days old so will probably be dry as well.

    • Carrie
      April 24, 2013

      Nothing a little ice cream can’t fix! Say, wait a minute… why didn’t I think of that while we were still in Hawaii???

      • Claire/Chilly
        April 25, 2013

        Cake was still good 🙂

        • Carrie
          April 25, 2013


  • Pigletyyz
    April 24, 2013

    You so rocked the “That Girl” dress and looked spectacular!! I must say that was the prettiest cake sponge ever:-)

    • Carrie
      April 24, 2013

      LOL! Gee, maybe I *should* have saved it for wiping down the counters… it probably woulda been one of our most durable souvenirs!

  • Eileen
    April 23, 2013

    I LOVE your outfits!!!

    • Carrie
      April 24, 2013

      Thanks, Moma!

  • Erin Elizabeth
    April 23, 2013

    Your vow renewal was beautiful. Very tasteful and classy. Also, love the vintage dress!!

    • Carrie
      April 24, 2013

      Hey, thanks!

  • Hope
    April 23, 2013

    I’m glad that T-Rex came back for some more pictures. 😉 Did you give him the rest of your cake? It looked pretty dry so maybe it was fresh back when he first hatched? 😉 It did look so pretty though! That’s such a shame. I love fondant (well, Disney fondant) so it is pretty sad when that’s the best feature of the cake. I think it was really cool to have the design match your China (so fancy Carrie – you actually have wedding China!) 🙂

    I was going to say that I had wished you stayed in your wedding dress, BUT then I saw your other dress and I don’t blame you for changing. It looked so great in your pictures. I really appreciate the way you and Patrick coordinate your outfits. The best we do is wearing matching t-shirts once in a blue moon. lol I guess we each have our own styles and just like to do our own thing, but I think it’s so cute to look like a “set” every now and again. 😀

    Don’t they say that rain is good luck? I think it’s sort of romantic that you got caught in the rain on your VR (cue “Isn’t It a Lovely Day To Get Caught in The Rain”). 🙂

    What’s this about Sprinkles Ice Cream? 😉

    P.S. I’m not sure I would’ve chosen Patrick’s brunch plate. I’m not sure what it means in Hawaiian, but in Spanish, “Loco Moco” is “Crazy Booger”: not very enticing! lol

    • Carrie
      April 23, 2013

      Oh MY! Good thing Patrick can’t remember any of his high school Spanish! Also, you are totally invited to our Sprinkles Ice Cream strategy meeting. And I wish I’d thought to give the cake to the T-Rex… woulda kept me from mindlessly picking at it the rest of the trip!

  • Katelyn
    April 23, 2013

    Awwwwwwww, I’m sorry to hear that the cake was so bad! It’s a sad day indeed when the fondant is the best part. Your “reception dress” is so stunning! And I’m jealous that you have a man who will wear purple. I’m lucky to get my husband out of gray!

    • Carrie
      April 23, 2013

      That’s so funny! He used to be a bit touchy about purple back when he had to wear a purple Swazzle bowling shirt to do library puppet shows all summer, but there’s enough distance now that he seems to be up for anything.

      • Katelyn
        April 24, 2013

        Geoff and I both LOVE puppets and puppet shows. I’ve seriously been thinking about stalking Swazzle’s library schedules and trying to come down to CA to see one! We also have an agreement that when we buy a house I get a puppet building workshop room. 🙂

        • Carrie
          April 24, 2013

          That’s awesome! Patrick and his brother started in their garage, you know…

  • ATG
    April 23, 2013

    I thought there was NO WAY you could top your TOT dress and you did it with the vow renewal dress. I thought THAT dress would take the (dry) cake but you wowed me AGAIN with your embodiment of Hawaii dress! Gorgeous photos. Sorry about the cake.

    Also, I think we need to pool our resources and take Nate and Jensey out someplace nice and get them spruced up for photos of their OWN! They’re a gorgeous couple and I want to see swanky photos of the two of them all gussied up!

    • Carrie
      April 23, 2013

      That is an excellent idea… I think you and I need to meet at Sprinkles Ice Cream to begin plotting!

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