There is no doubt that when you have young kids, a Disney vacation is ideal. First, location. For us, after 5 days in Waikiki, Aulani was the perfect balance of relaxation and retreat to end our vacation. Nothing was crowded about Aulani (we went pre-spring break)...no lines for meals, pools were comfortable and not overcrowded, beach was tranquil and not overpopulated, and plenty of privacy in the hotel room hallways as the resort was only half full, not to mention free upgrades! Secondly, the variety of pools and water activities was excellent. We easily spent 5 hours under the sun moving from lazy river, to water bridge, to pool, to beach, to slides, to Rainbow Reef! We loved the reef because our son had never snorkeled before until then. The Rainbow Reef was a perfect and safer environment for him to get his first taste. Variety of fish was OK, not superb, but it is rare that you'd get a whole "tank" to yourself anywhere else! We loved it!
Third, rooms. The rooms were fine-- clean, nicely decorated, but not luxurious. Perhaps it's because we just came from the Trump Waikiki (see that review) and they pretty much had set a new standard for luxury and service in Oahu. The balcony was not spacious but you definitely can still enjoy the gorgeous Ko'Olina view. They don't provide too many amenities (only soap, lotion, shampoo, robe) so bring your own.
Fourth, service. We liked being greeted with water and lei/shell necklaces. We also liked the immediate early check-in which allowed us into our room at 9:30am. Valet, bell hop, front desk, servers were all wonderful. Pool staff, on the other hand, can learn a few lessons from Mickey and smile a little. Also, no need to yell at unknowing parents who happened to step on the water bridge in order to help their little ones from slipping. Geez!
Finally, food. That has to be the weakest category. Very limited and expensive options. If you are there for character dining, I'd suggest do it at Goofy's Kitchen in Disneyland instead! We only saw 3 total characters at Aulani: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. Your kids will be so disappointed if they came expecting more. What happened?? Where was Stitch? Donald? Chip? Dale? This is our 3rd character dining experience overall, although first at Aulani, so my son didn't mind as much and it was easy to give him an excuse why the others didn't make it in. The breakfast and dinner buffets were mediocre at best. There was variety, yes, but quality was lacking. Considering we paid $48 per adult, it was certainly a rip-off. However, on the very bright side, Disney, like they always do, accommodated my son's wheat allergies. We appreciated that the chef came out to speak with us and prepared dishes that met our needs. Thank you, Disney!
We didn't use the child care services but one of the Aunties came out during brunch and played with the children. It was a blast seeing them sing and dance together!
Overall, I'd recommend it highly to families with children under 10. It will keep everyone entertained! Even during off-season it is very pricey but well worth it when everyone is happy!
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- Also Known As:
- Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
- Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
- Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Hawaii/Oahu