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.
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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