Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
- What's Included
I think this resort is ideal for kids 5 & up. At this age, they can make full use of Aunties house as well as ride the water slides. We went with a 4 & 2 year old and spent most of our time in the lazy river and on the splash structure. We had a room on bottom floor near the pool entrance. While we didn't have any view from our balcony/patio area, it make access to the resort very easy. The food options are little limited, and are quite pricey. If anything, you should pay up for the character breakfast. My kids really enjoyed that. If you're there on a weekend, be prepared to line up to take pictures with Moana or Stitch. The characters are only out for short periods, so be on the lookout. One thing i really like is that they had a laundry room. We had a few spills and accidents and it was nice to run a load of laundry while the kids were sleeping and have clean clothes ready to go for the next day. Pool: one downside to this popular resort is that there is very limited seating for the large number of guests. If you don't grab a few chairs by 9am, you most likely won't get a seat until the afternoon.
Our family just returned from our third stay at the Aulani Disney resort, and had as nice a stay as our previous two visits. The Aulani resort is on the west side of Oahu, about 20 minutes by car from the airport in Honolulu. It is very easy to get to, just get on H1 west from the airport, and follow it until you reach the Ko'olina exit. Take the exit, and follow the road past the stop light, you find the Aulani resort on your right, you can't miss it. If you are renting a car (as we did), you can choose valet parking or self parking. The price for either is the same, so we chose the valet parking. The bell service and valet service are attentive and fast, and can quickly retrieve your car, or help you carry your bags or groceries to your room. When you arrive, the staff at the main entrance will present you with leis for your family, and get a head start on your check in. If you arrive after 2pm, the check-in counter can be a little busy. If you arrive a little early, they may be able to prepare a room for you, if not, you can use the guest lounge to relax and take a shower while your room is being prepared. Unlike other hotels, room upgrades at Aulani are not available for a more reasonable rate. I inquired about getting a room with an extra bedroom, but was told that the charge would be an additional $480 per night, a room on a higher floor would be about $100 per night. As it turned out, our room was adequate, and I don't regret not upgrading. As with other hotels, the different parts of the hotel have different views. The rooms with ocean views, or views of the pool area command a premium price. Some of the "ocean view" rooms do not have much of an ocean view, though some have a good view of the Four Seasons resort next door which blocks most of the ocean. Our room was clean, spacious, and contained all a family would need for a good stay. The kitchen is fully equipped (though the cutlery is worn dull, and difficult to use for cutting meats or vegetables). There is a full-size fridge, dishwasher, oven, and microwave. Our room was also equipped with a washer and dryer, which was put to hard use during our stay. The bedroom is large, but the bed very high. If you have younger children, take care that they don't fall off. The bathroom is divided into two sections, one with a large, whirlpool bath and vanity, the other half with it's own vanity, a large shower with soapstone tiles, and the toilet. The living room is spacious, with a large sofa which can be folded out into a bed, and there is a hidden bed concealed in the console below the entertainment center. A large balcony was large enough for 4 people to enjoy breakfast on. Our view was of the meeting hall area, which is probably the worst view the hotel has to offer, but as we didn't spend much time in our room, it was not a problem. Though the resort is not that old, it is starting to show it's age. The metal finish in the elevators has been worn away, showing the brass beneath. The elevator nearest the hallway in our wing was missing the "down" button, so we had to use one of the other elevators. It took about a week for the button to be repaired. The glass window and door in the shower was opaque from uncleaned hard water deposits, the water pressure in the shower was very low. Most Disney hotels (and we have stayed a many) have more amenities in the bathroom. Our bathrooms at Aulani didn't include things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, brushes, combs, or disposable razors. Included was soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and a hair dryer. The closet contained a vacuum cleaner, broom, and an iron and full size ironing board. Our room was mostly quiet, but we could hear the children in the next room playing. The toilets in the hotel flush with a bang and a roar, and these are loud enough that you can hear the sounds of the plumbing through the walls clearly. The windows are soundproofed, so the rooms are otherwise quiet when the windows are shut. The best part of the Aulani resort is not the rooms, but the pools and beach. There are several pools, a large and shallow pool which is perfect for small children who are just getting used to swimming or playing the water. There is a large infinity pool, which has a great view of the beach, this one is a little deeper, but has steps and such for children to stand or sit on. There is a small infinity pool for adults, which is a bit removed from the other pools, and there is a larger adult pool on the Four Seasons side of the resort. For babies and toddlers, the "Keiki Cove" area is a perfect place for them to play in the water safely. There are small fountains which rise and fall, the water is only a couple of inches deep, and once the little ones get used to it, they have a lot of fun. One of the better attractions is the "Lazy River" which winds it's way around the middle of the resort. Getting a tube or raft can be hard on the weekends, but not too hard, and drifting around the Lazy River is a good way to relax and cool off. It takes 10 or so minutes to complete the circuit, and there are fountains and a couple of waterfalls to keep it interesting, or to wake you up if you fall asleep. There is a large snorkeling pool, which is well-stocked with tropical fish. Those who are too young for snorkeling can watch the fish through large windows on one side of the pool. Fans of Nemo and Dori will have a lot of fun here. The beach in front of the Aulani resort is sheltered from the waves, and is very safe for swimming, snorkeling, or paddling around. You can borrow boogie boards or sand toys for free (supplies permitting), you can rent snorkeling gear or a paddle board for a fee. The paddle board is a fun experience, and it is easy to get the hang of paddling. The sand on the beach is good for kids to play on, but as the beach is man-made, sea shell hunters won't have much luck finding anything interesting. The restaurants at the hotel are not bad, but are not really a good value. If you have kids, the character breakfast at Makahiki restaurant is a must. The breakfast buffet is all-you-can-eat, the food is tasty and filling, and there is a lot of it. Minnie Mouse, Chip and Dale, and other characters will visit you table, and you can pose for photos with them. The outdoor seats are best, you can enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and the smell of the plants and flowers. Near the pool area is the Ulu Cafe, which carries pizza, sandwiches, candy, chips, pastries, and drinks. If you get the munchies or become thirsty while sitting by the pool, Ulu Cafe is the best place to satisfy yourself. As Aulani is a Disney resort, it is expensive. The gift shop/convenience store is well-stocked with everything you might need, but expect to pay double what you would pay outside the resort. For some reason, the wifi at the Aulani resort is no longer as good as it used to be. Connection speeds in the rooms are so-so, but painfully slow in other parts of the resort. You won't get much of a signal (if any at all) near the pools. If you are like I am, and working even when you are trying to play, the poor wifi can be very annoying. Across the road from Aulani is a small shopping area. The shopping area has a coffee shop, ice cream stand, a few restaurants, gift shops, and a large ABC store. If you are looking for beer, wine, or the hard stuff, ABC will have it, and for a better price than Aulani. The ABC mart also has a very good deli, with lots of prepared foods. They also carry steaks and other barbecue items. Aulani has four barbecues on site, but there are usually more barbecuers than barbecues, if you want to use the barbecue, you had best arrive early. If you have a car, there is a Target store less than 10 minutes away, and besides all the stuff you might need for your family, they have a large grocery section as well. About 15 minutes away by car is the Waikele Premium Outlet mall. This mall has several kids stores, as well as high-end stores like Vera Bradley, Barneys of New York, etc. As I am from Tokyo, where prices for these goods are ludicrous, I always stock up on clothes and shoes at the outlet mall. A word of advice, there are only three toilets at the outlet mall, and there is always a line in front of them, make sure to the toilet before you leave the hotel, and go easy on the drinks while you are shopping. The bathroom with the shortest line is the one near Saks Off Fifth. One thing anyone visiting Aulani must know is that lounge chairs by the pools go very quickly. If you come down to the pool after 9 am, you are probably not going to be able of find lounge chairs. The best chairs are usually gone by 7 am, if you want good chairs for yourself and your family, you had best get them early. The best chairs are those on the left side of the infinity pool, overlooking the beach. These are shaded by trees and umbrellas, and have the best view. You are not permitted to hold chairs by leaving personal items on them while you are away. Be sure to put towels on the chairs you select, if the chairs are left unattended for a while, the staff will fold up the towels and hang them over the end of the chairs. If you don't return within thirty minutes or so after this (the time limit is not fixed), the towels and your belongings will be removed, and your chairs given to someone else. If you see the towels folded up, immediately unfold them and lay them down as they were, and the staff will leave you alone for awhile. My only complaints about Aulani is the difficulty in getting lounge chairs, and the fact that renovations and other things are not mentioned when you book your room. During our stay, the children's water play area was closed down for renovations, and the luau was moved from the lawn to the conference hall. We had wanted to enjoy the luau, but as it was being held indoors, many of the normal attractions, like the fire dancing, were omitted. Despite being a smaller show with less to enjoy, Disney of course still charges full price tickets. We decided not to waste out time, and used the money saved to rent a car and spend the day on the North Shore. I have seldom had a perfect stay at any hotel in any country, so despite a few problems, I still recommend the Aulani resort to people looking for a place to enjoy Hawaii with their family. Aulani's room rates are rather high, but you get a lot of activities for what you pay, and from that perspective, it is a good value. We are now looking forward to our next stay at Aulani.
We had a great couple of days at the Aulani. We stayed in a partial ocean view room which was perfect for my family of 5. We had a king size bed and a pull out couch for the older two and a pack and play for the baby. When we first arrived we were greeted with lei's and necklaces for the kids. We were told to get there early and utilize the water park and facilities. We arrived around noon and our room was ready but it wasn't the layout we needed. We called the front desk and while our new room wasn't ready for a few hours they more than made up for it with an upgraded room. We had our bags stored at the front desk and brought up when we got into our room. The water park had two really fun slides. One you go down without a float but was a bit too much for my 3 year old, however, I really liked it. The other slide you go down on the tube and end up in the lazy river which is perfect for a relaxing ride around. The kid splash section was under construction but looks really cool too. There are so many pools and hot tubs around that we never had a problem with a crowded pool. It was difficult to find a chair though. Also, we didn't realize that they fold the towel on the chair when they see it is unattended and if you don't take it down they move your belongings to the towel place. We didn't realize this and thought they were just straightening up and they moved our things and we lost our seats which was very frustrating but once we discovered the towel trick we were fine. The beach is very calm and good to swim in but I wouldn't recommend snorkeling because there really isn't much to see. You can snorkel for a small fee on the property which looks really cool but we didn't get around to doing that. There is a community room where you can rent an ipad to go on a scavenger hunt which was really really fun. You can go through the garden or inside. We did the garden and the kids had a great time making the "menehune" work their magic. Breakfast with the characters and buffet was amazing! There was so much food and we never ran out of drinks. Even this mama was treated to endless refills of chocolate milk. We had a great time and recommend it!
If you have read any of the other reviews I have written on TripAdvisor.com, I have said before that I will not give a 5 Rating to any hotel where I have to move furniture to get to electrical outlets to charge my iPhone or other devices bedside. Unfortunately, Aulani is just an old enough Disney Resort that it has not received the updated outlets and USB ports of several of the Florida Disney Resorts I have seen or stayed at in the past year or so. (I'm sure that update is coming soon, just not in time for my stay.) Also stopping me from giving the Resort a 5 Rating was that the Resort's WiFi was so over-taxed as to provide speeds at less than 0.5 Mbps upstream and downstream causing me to use a lot more of my cellular data than I would have liked. Other than that, this was, beyond a doubt, the nicest Disney Resort I have ever stayed at (and I have stayed at many as both a hotel guest and Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Member/timeshare owner) and in my personal top three hotels of any brand world-wide. No question, I will be back!For those that don't know, the Resort is roughly half traditional resort hotel and half DVC villa-style accommodations. I stayed in a One Bedroom DVC villa with an ocean view for 6 nights and 7 days at the end of April 2017. From the greeting in the driveway by the front desk staff, through the open-air lobby overlooking the Disney-created volcano (water slide), lazy river, pools and landscaping all the way out to the lagoon leading to the Pacific Ocean, and up to my room and its balcony overlooking the same area plus more, I was thoroughly impressed. From the moment I stepped out on the balcony I decided I will be back sooner rather than later. By sunset of my first night, I was hooked!DVC offers four types of accommodations at Aulani in the tower of villas: Studio, One Bedroom, Two Bedroom (which, often, is a One Bedroom plus an otherwise locked-off Studio), and Three Bedroom Grand Villa. I mention this because, while I primarily visited the Resort solo, on one night of the trip, I booked a Studio room for family to visit for a night. I had asked that their room be located near mine but DVC and Aulani did one better - they placed my family in the Studio attached to my One Bedroom giving us the Two Bedroom Villa with a central living area for the night my relatives joined me! It was fantastic.Beyond Disney's imagineering team's dedication to Hawaiian culture in the design of the property, and the Disney touches throughout (including the cultural and nature tours of the property), the Ko Olina location was outstanding and away from the commercialized bustle of Honolulu (but not inconveniently so). With a rental car, Oahu is easily drivable, though, like the Mainland, it suffers from some traffic issues -- for example, while the drive time from the airport to the resort varied because of traffic by time of day from 20 to 45 minutes during my stay, it was not significantly inconvenient in that respect. Nevertheless, I visited Pearl Harbor on two different days to take in all of the World War II sites and memorials there (USS Arizona, USS Missouri, USS Oklahoma, USS Bowfin), I visited Waikiki Beach a couple of times, some of the parks around Diamond Head, and the Waimea Valley on Oahu's north shore.The dining choices at Aulani are not the sort of thing that I usually visit as a solo traveler and they are not intended to be. I did visit the quick serve location and had a couple of tasty meals there. As a DVC location, though, my room also had a full kitchen and I stocked some breakfast foods and snacks from a Walmart located less than a fifteen minute drive away. I also ate several times at three of the restaurants across the street from Aulani: Monkeypod Kitchen, Just Tacos Mexican Grill, and Pizza Corner.To a person, every cast member (the Disney term for staff), was of the highest quality I have encountered - even when compared with other Disney Resorts I have visited in the U.S. and France. Kudos to them.As a visitor staying on timeshare points, I cannot speak to the resort's cost. In the points used by DVC, it was comparable to points I have used to stay in other DVC accommodations of similar size with preferred views or Disney hotel (non-DVC) rooms. Unkindly, Hawaii is the only place that charges an additional "transient" (tourist) tax on using points to stay at Aulani (and, I assume the other timeshares that operate on the islands), but, at least for now, it was a nominal fee. I mention it because folks that are used to using their timeshares (for which they pay their "home" resort's property taxes) do not usually pay additional taxes on rooms.
Rooms are nice and clean. You can request ocean view rooms too but some rooms do have extra charge. Staff is very accommodating, helpful and very "Disney" oriented. Caters to kids. Amenities are great. Every water activity has a lifeguard and they do not charge for things like life vests, towels (unlimited-you just drop them at the towel drop and get another), water activity equipment unlike other places where they charge to "borrow" boards. Disney characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Moana) spend time with you (stops at every table) if you go to the character breakfast, lunch or dinner. Unlike in Disneyland and other places, you have to get in line to get a picture. They authograph your book (if you ask) as well. They also have a show at the main pool. Kids love it. Wifi is free all over the place. They have activities for the kids at Auntie's Beach House. They have arts and crafts for kids while the parents take a break and get a massage or just relax.
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- 856 Rooms
- 2 pools
- Saltwater snorkel lagoon and lazy river
- Kids pool
- 4 whirlpools
- 4 restaurants
- Character dining
- Quick service
- Room service
- 2 lounges
- Pool bar for drinks and snacks
- Fitness centre
- 18,000 sq ft Spa (fee)
- Salon (fee)
- Kids club (fee)
- Game room
- Gift shop
- Early check-in/late check-out lounge
- Laundry facilities (fee)
- Wedding facilities (fee)
- Self-parking (fee)
- Valet parking (fee)
- Smoke-free resort
- Ceiling fan
- Flat screen TV
- Pack 'n Play playard available upon request
- DVD player
- 24-hour room service
- Daily housekeeping
- Hair dryer
- Alarm clock with MP3 capability
- Iron/ironing board
- In-room safe
- Full bathroom
- Private balcony/patio
- All rooms non-smoking
- Babysitting or child care service (fee)
- Supervised kids activities
- Arts & crafts
- Wildlife/nature programs
- Menehune Bridge & Trail - interactive water play area
- Pool parties
- Fire pit storytelling
- Character meet 'n' greets
- Community Hall games room
- Movies Under The Stars
- Hula lessons
- Treasure hunts
Resort Location Map
Aulani, A Disney Resort & SpaHonolulu,United States
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-4434
Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.
Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.
Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.
Special requests are subject to availability upon check-in. Special requests cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges upon check-in to fulfil.
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