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“A Very Happy Anniversary Vacation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707   |  
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Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kapolei
Spokane, Washington
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“A Very Happy Anniversary Vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

Disney exceeded even my very high expectations with Aulani. We were celebrating a couple of milestones in our lives and Aulani took great care of us. The vibe is so wonderful: clean, refreshing, beautiful, relaxing. There’s plenty of activities to participate in, but if you just want to sit there are plenty of quiet corners. It has just enough Mickey Mouse to smile but not grow tired of it.

The entire property down to the most obscure corner and detail is of excellent quality and maintained as new. The art everywhere is engaging and beautiful. The grounds are flawless. The amount of expensive building materials used is amazing. I sat in the lobby for hours just soaking it in. Service is gracious but not overbearing, even the outdoor maintenance personnel were friendly. At many resorts the workers are students from other countries there to travel; I think what makes this resort so pleasurable is that almost all the workers are locals who want Aulani to succeed and are so proud of it. I think any local Hawaiian who is worried about “Disneyfying” their culture needs to visit Aulani because no resort in the Islands does more to faithfully perpetuate Hawaiian culture.

The room was so nice that hanging out there was fun. We got a two-bedroom suite with kitchen & washer/dryer, and slept 7 comfortably. Bathrooms were huge and beautiful. Balcony porch had great views and was lovely to just sit on. We were on the 8th floor right above the restaurant but the nightly music until 10PM was almost muted with the heavy sliding doors shut.

A good gym is important to me and Aulani’s is as nicely equipped as any hotel I’ve stayed at.

My four year old daughter loved Aulani so much she wept when it was time to leave. She looked forward to a few hours at Auntie’s Beach House each day; attendants were sweet and fun (yes kids must be potty-trained and I was glad for that). She loved all the pools & water structures and the tame cove beach. She loved the “Toddler Beach Games” organized activity and that was a great way to make new acquaintences. She was enraptured by the whole “Minahune” deal (little statues that get to work after all are asleep). The Minahune Trail (where you used an touchpad device to make things light up or move) was magical for her. Character breakfast was obviously a hit. The Monday/Thursday evening dance/music show was exceptional, it made the “best luau on the Island” at Paradise Cove look tired; kids got to run up and participate at several spots. Every night she slept like a stone.

I read most of the previous reviews on Aulani and was interested in how they would compare with my experience. Previous reports complained a lot about the price and availability of food. Regarding availability, I believe Disney listened because the informal places (like One Paddle Two Paddle) now have salads and other healthy alternatives on their menus. Regarding price complaints, I thought prices were on target for a high-end resort especially on Oahu where everything is 50% higher than in Kansas. We paid no more for a nice dinner at Ama Ama than we would in Washington DC. We paid much less than we did at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. If someone walks away feeling gouged I think they had unrealistic expectations; you aren’t paying just for the cost of groceries. We did get a room with a kitchen because we did not want every smack/meal from a restaurant, but by the time you rent a car and go buy groceries, cost-wise it’s a wash. Like other Trip Advisor raters, we found the restaurants across the street tasty and a nice break. The ABC store (walking distance) really did have surprisingly reasonable prices too. The “bottomless cup” was also a great purchase.

Another complaint I saw on Trip Adviser was the lack of chaises at the pool. After being there this is clearly the fault of guests “reserving” and hoarding chairs they had no intention of using for hours. I saw people sitting by the pool while they had other chairs reserved overlooking the beach. I was sitting in a chair one morning at dawn and a lady actually asked me since I was “just sitting there” if she could put a towel on it to reserve it! The pool attendants have a system where they try to remove items left for hours but can only enforce this in the most heinous cases. If people only used chairs when they were sitting or actually swimming in the pool there would be more than enough.

Special thanks: night shift attendant Jeremy who hooked up my jet-lagged self with coffee waaaay before 0600 opening (before I figured out the excellent in-room coffee). Hostess Auntie Pomai who happily gave me a personal art and culture tour even though I was the only participant that time. Bell guy Chris who cheerfully helped us get our piles of groceries up to the room, making an otherwise awkward and timeconsuming task easy.

Bottom line: Disney’s Aulani costs more but you are guaranteed a superior product. If you’re like me and vacations like this are far and few between, it was worth every penny.

Room Tip: You can see the ocean from almost any room so it is probably not worth booking the higher price, but...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (838)
Date | Rating
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English first
St Augustine Beach, Florida, United States
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

Amazing hospitality from the moment we arrived in the valet area. Friendly greater met out family with refreshments, leis, beads and a gift for our daughter. Accommodations were quality, clean and spacious. The most comfortable rooms on the island. My 12 year old son even purchased a robe for himself at the end of our stay.

The pools are great, even with a large crowd at the resort over spring break. Never a wait at the restaurants either. The food was good at the quick service windows. Food was great at all the restaurants at the resort. Prices were fair considering the location.

We will be back!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

As my review title says, that was our main concern. As DVC members we are used to go to the resorts in Florida and as these are built right there at the parks you have a lot to do and see but in Hawaii, with nothing similar around, would that work?
The answer is a resounding YES.
First of all this is a great, well maintained property. Disney was able to capture the local culture and incorporate it into the resort. The attention to details is simply amazing. It is worth a visit just to see what they have achieved.
There is a lot to do (i.e. the Menehune Trail - fun for all ages), your own little water park with slides, kid's play area, four hot tubs (two overlooking the beach), etc.
They even have a little community center where you can go to learn things like playing the little guitar (sorry no idea what the correct word is for that), Hawaiian traditions, watch movies, rent DVDs/BluRays, etc).
Kids also get Aunty's House, a kids club. So yes, you will definitely keep the kids entertained easily.
The beach is also a big plus and it is indeed nice. There is always something going on at the resort (story telling, movie night, luau, you name it) and the fact it is not in a theme park did not play a big role at all. It is actually way more relaxing that way as you are never in a hurry to hop into the next ride, attraction, etc.
Regarding food: it is expensive onsite for breakfast ($32 per person)/dinner ($43 per person). For a quick bite in the pool it is actually not bad at all. Quality wise the food is great (read my review on their restaurants). But again, not cheap.
As you are only a 5 minute drive from Safeway, Target, etc you can easily load it up on the food on your way, what will reduce your expenses while at the resort considerably. That is what we did.
That leads us to another point: there are things around but you definitely need a car if you want to be able to go out to grab stuff like groceries. Also Waikiki is a good 25-30 miles drive and depending on what time you want to go there traffic is simply unbelievable (morning/evening rush hours). Out of the rush hour you can be at the airport in 30 minutes easily, If rush hour, make it 1:15h at least. Yep major pain.
One warning regarding the rooms: unless you do need an accessible room (for handicapped guests) do NOT take one if offered or if they say it is the only room available. I asked about the differences between a regular and an accessible room and was told the bed was lower and the bathroom had rails in the walls. COMPLETELY WRONG.
The accessible rooms have NO tub (big deal with small kids), everything is much lower (i.e. stove) what poses another problem and POTENTIAL HAZARD with small kids (my 18 month old could turn on the stove - yes, that dangerous) and overall the room seems smaller.
Once I voiced my concerns they decided to move me to a regular room with a better view at no additional points/costs (it is not my fault if all they have available is accessible rooms). So be aware of that.
Other than this minor thing (that is just a matter of being aware of) the property is great, entertaining and relaxing.
If you can make it to Hawaii, definitely worth staying at Aulani, even if you plan to go to Waikiki a couple times.

Room Tip: Make sure you do NOT get an accessible room unless you need one.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

Our family vacation at the Aulani resort was simply amazing and we can't wait to go back! The staff, atmosphere and entertainment are simply the best. Our kids loved all that the resort had to offer including the waterslides, lazy river run, Disney Character breakfast, lei making, learning to Hula and the beautiful protected ocean. Our best family vacation ever! Thank you Aulani!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

This was our second time to Oahu, and 4 time to Hawaii overall. This was by far the BEST resort we have been too! The rooms and grounds are amazing! The staff is incredible. The kids didn't want to leave the resort. The onsite luau was great! I loved all of the activities for the kids. The poolside staff kept me happy too... free drinks from some of the staff! The spa is out of this world! I had the heated stone massage...it was DEVINE! I was on cloud 9 the rest of the week! I just cannot say enough about this resort. We will be back! As for the food, I thought it was great! The prices were expensive, but that's to be expected for Hawaii. LOVE LOVE LOVE this place!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Beautiful setting, everything was up to Disney standards and then some. We are DVC members so have stayed at many of their properties and this one was amazing. The only annoyances we felt were from fellow guests i.e. taking way too many pool towels then leaving them around instead of placing them in the receptacles when done with them--how lazy can you be? The hot tub area is two levels, infinity edge...unattended kids would lay on the edge then fall outstretched into the lower level--not a good idea, saw very young (6 months old) children staying in the hot tub for quite a long time and that water was hot! What are their parents thinking? We did the Pearl Harbor tour through Disney and it was phenomenal--leave from the resort and return to the resort. None of the other tour companies would come out to Aulani for pick-up. We felt the tour was extremely well done and very fairly priced (Bill was our tour guide--thanks, Bill!). We did online check-in but that wasn't ready when we arrived so we had to wait until they figured out the problem, received keys, didn't work, had a new room assignment. Minor issue. Best to have a car so you can see the rest of Oahu as there is so much to see and do. We wouldn't hesitate to return to Aulani

Room Tip: Room 1679 was great--partial ocean views and lawn area so could enjoy the evening entertainment from...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

I loved everything about this hotel. It was a great family vacation and not to over the top Disney. The daycare was awesome. My 8 and 3 year old begged to go and that gave us some adult time. The spa is really cool. Everything had great Disney touches but you never felt like you were at a Disney resort. Very luxurious. The place is so well kept and clean. The only complaint I would have is the food choices are not that great and VERY expensive ($20.00 for an omelet $50.00 for the not so great buffet) but I was already warned before going by reading other posts so I was prepared. Besides filling my suit case with tons of snacks, juice boxes etc. all tightly zipped in zip locks I also visited the ABC store in the morning (a 5 minute walk across the street) and grabbed really good sandwiches for lunch ($7.00 but they are huge) and kept them in the fridge in the room. In the morning we all had yogurt, cereal and fruit (yogurt and fruit is available at the ABC store too). Note that we were in one of the standard rooms without a kitchen. 80% of the resort are time shares with kitchen and they will occassionaly rent them out so that may be a good option for some who want to cook. They wanted to get straight to the pool so it was great. Never had to visit a restaurant for breakfast or lunch. Dinners were low key for a few nights. Just Tacos is pretty inexpensive and that is also across the street. But for the most part we would call the daycare in the morning, reserve a dinner for the kids (must reserve in the morning or it will sell out)at $10.00 each. It is buffet style, mostly healthy and kids had fun while WE grown ups would enjoy a more elegant evening. The Ama Ama just steps from the kids daycare has fabulous beachfront views and good food. The JW resort is just steps away and have some good eats too! Or you can take the shuttle to the golf course and have dinner there. Actually, the valet will put you on a golf cart and drive you over for a little tip money. Since parking was $35.00 a day we opted not to get a car (free if you stay in a timeshare). Instead we took Charlies taxi $55.00 flat fee to and from the airport. Then one day we rented a car to drive around the island for $75.00. Since we are AAA we went to Hertz next door at the JW marriot. Alamo is at the Aulani. Definatley go to their luau show which is free. Or if you want the actual luau food - paradise cove is down the street. We did not do it cause are kids are still to young to appreciate the $80.00 per person it costs. The beach is wonderful. Bring your own snorkel. Such a great vacation. Disney has it dialed in.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Address: 92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kapolei
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 819
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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

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