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“Loved it, already planning our return” 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
Plano, Texas
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Loved it, already planning our return”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

We had a blast at this resort. First of all, lets get the nitty gritty out of the way. This is a
It was 2 40 year old parents , a 12 year old and a 3 year old.

Disney owned property, so the rooms are not cheap. But in my opinion, it was more like staying at a nice Starwood rather than Disney. Yes It is Disney, but it was NOT over run by Disney stuff. The only time you saw the characters was when they came out a couple times a day and made a walk through or went to the character breakfast.

Im sure that most of the specifics have been covered in previous reviews so I will just touch on some of our learnings.

The food in the restaurants was not bad. Not the best, but pretty good. For lunch you could get pool side service served very quickly for about $12 a person. Not bad really. Or there were a couple casual options as well around the same price. For dinner you could eat at the buffet (or ala cart) which was expensive but not over the top. If you walk across the street, there are some great places to eat. Pizza was excellent at the NY pizza, we also ate at Monkeypod, which was pretty good as well. The drinks at Monkeypod were very strong.

We loved how Disney created almost like a mini water park inside the hotel. So in the morning, I would hit the fitness facility, then go down to the casual breakfast place where you could get bagels and coffee or pastries, cereal or sandwiches to go, and the rest of the family would come join me. Then we would get our wristbands for the day, our towels and grab some chairs. You have to stay or return to your chairs at least once an hour or they assume you abandoned your chair and they let someone else sit there. Loved that. The pool side service for drinks or what not was very nice as well. They also have a very nice man made beach that was so clean it was incredible. If you are at the man made beach, you can also order food as well.

We bought and brought our own snorkling gear and had a car so we left the resort to do some snorkeling and loved it. Also, there is a HUGE Luau right next door to Aulani. We actually made the mistake of staying at the hyatt a couple days and driving to the Luau, not realizing that the Luau was actually right next to Aulani.

The rooms were very clean and the beds were very comfortable. We had a ocean view on the 11th floor. The sheets were clean and comfortable. The bell men were very nice. At one point I tried to tip one of them and he would not accept my tip. Wow.

The other nice thing is the water amenities stay open til i think 8 pm or 10 pm so the kids could play later in the evening after dinner if they wanted to.

The only negative thing with us that we discussed with the manager with (and never heard back on) is the fact that the giant water slide shares the same rafts as the lazy river. People were grabbing the rafts away from the kids who were standing in an orderly line waiting for the rafts to come down. The lifeguards even told us that this was a problem. Its a Disney resort, you would think they would have figured out by now a method to get people the rafts as they came down the slide so the lifeguards could watch the kids. This needs to be addressed.

Other than that, we loved it, would go back , will go back, stayed 4 days and wished it could be longer. Our kids played for HOURS in the water area and the adults got to relax the entire time and not worry about a thing.

Room Tip: ask for a room in the main buiding so you can walk right out to the water area.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
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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 (836)
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English first
Santa Clara, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

Loved that its not very Disney! We did not stay here but walked through and had a lovely breakfast brunch. As adults, I loved the garden areas and the pools were lovely. Some Disney characters walked around. Great beach activities available. Fantastic breakfast brunch. Location is still being developed so there's not a ton of stuff right outside the hotel, which is a pro or con based on what you're looking for.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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NJ
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

We love Disneyworld and waited for Aulani to be finished before going to Oahu. The resort is nice, typical Disney, very tropical, Hawaian music playing etc. Rooms are nice, nothing special.Our safe did not work so the first two hours of our stay were not pleasant. We did get $50 credit for this inconvenience.
The pool is great but hard to find a chair. The beach is a man made lagoon attached and roped off from the ocean. The beach is crowded and very difficult to find an umbrella. Ko'Olina is in the middle of nowhere. It will take at least an hour to reach the North Shore or East. We stayed in Waikiki a few days to see Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head , do a few waterfall hikes and kayak the Mokes. Didn't like the city but it was much more convenient. Food is expensive at Aulani restaurants and snack bars. Recommend going off property to eat if you can.
We liked the Monkeypod across the street. (Happy hour half price appetizers) We did enjoy the character breakfast. Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy are always a good way to start the day. DVC people get many perks including food discounts, free parking, washers and dryers, suites. I know they paid for this but the rest of us seem to pay more than we should. Be prepared to pay at least $100 a night more than room price for acivites fee( good luck with the chairs and umbrellas), parking ( even self is $30 day), and of course taxes. We probably won't go to Aulani again or even Oahu for that matter. There are better islands and places to stay in Hawaii. One more thing we did like the morning exercise classes and night time story telling hour. The astronomy activity at $40 each was not worth the money.

Room Tip: Our mountain view included a beautiful view of mountains and the Pacific. Others may not have been...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Albany, New York, United States
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

My husband and I love to stay on Disney properties, because you can always count on Disney for perfection. Aulani was no exception - it was truly perfect for us. We stayed in an oceanview studio on the 14th Floor of the Wai'anae Tower. The view was gorgeous, the room was very comfortable, and large. There is plenty to do (fun slides, nice pools, beach complete with provided chairs and umbrellas, poolside and beach food and drink service, storytelling, live music, and so much more)... and there is a Starbucks in the J.W. Marriott right next door. :-) The manmade lagoon makes for safe ocean swimming, and is clean and beautiful. The property is stunning.

The food is pricey, but that is to be expected. My only complaint is that the only beverages made readily available, except at the restaurants, are sodas and high-sugar drinks - no iced tea. The food is great at the restaurants - the counter-service is typical counter-service fare (e.g., chicken fingers). We would highly recommend the Olelo Room for its good appetizers and live music nightly. The buffet restaurant had an a la carte menu available if you preferred to have the buffet, which was much appreciated.

Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. The location was easy to get to, and is very close to Kapolei, where you can easily find additional (and cheaper) food options. Even just within the Ko 'Olina resort area, there are additional options, as well as an ABC Store - and the Ko 'Olina shopping center is directly across the street, walkable from Aulani. (Of course, the additional food options in Ko 'Olina are equally as expensive as Aulani).

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simi Valley
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

Reading everyones reviews really helped make our stay even better. A lot of what I am going to say is a repeat of what is said by others but it was so helpful for us. We had an amazing time, Disney does keep to its reputation for great service, except beachside service, not the best.
Check in On line before you arrive, this saved us having to wait in lines. Bring the print out and hand it to the greeter when you first walk in.

Parking is $35 a night, self park or valet is the same price

Get a photo pass from one of the photographers right away, you can start viewing you photos from your room. Take as many photos as you can through out your stay. Before you leave it is on $99 to get them all burned on to a CD. Note: It doesn't include the character breakfast unless you buy the prints at breakfast.

They have a soda souvenir cup for $18.99. You can use the soda stations to fill up so there is no waiting in line, plus coffee in the morning. If you are a water person like me bring your favorite water bottle with you and the have fresh ice cold water stations all over the resort. No Charge, they even have cups available for use but they are small. Note: They won't fill them up in the restaurants, so bring them filled.

There are a lot of resort activities. We didn't do a lot of them, but enjoyed all of the ones that we did do. The Disney Movie under the stars was fun and they give you a mat to sit on, but still bring a pillow or towel rolled up for comfort. The Menehune Adventure Trail is so much fun, it is a scavenger hunt that makes the resort come to life. There are no charge for either of those activities. The kids wanted to go to the story telling by the fire pit, but we never made it.

Pool or Beach chairs, yes, they do fill up. One of us got down there at 8am each day we stayed at the resort to save our seats and didn't have any problems. But beware, they have a one hour policy which states if you are not there for one hour they will take your stuff and put it at the front desk. How do they know it has been an hour? They walk around and fold your towels. We didn't have any problems, but one of us was there most of the time.

Across from the resort is a shopping mall with a lot of restaurants and an ABC market with Deli. Pizza place is okay, Mexican place is good, the Hawaiian take out is just like an L&L (Yummy). The sushi place and the Monkey Pod are both good, but pricey. We didn't have time to try the Deli because we didn't find out about it until the end of our stay. The food looked really good and the prices were great.

Best Sunset, first night enjoy from the lagoon to get all of the palm trees in the photo, second night, walk over past the JW Marriott from the beach. Go past the first area where everyone stands, you will see some tide pools and have a great view.

Costco is just two off ramps away from the resort, you pass it when you are going to the resort from the airpot. There is also a Target in the same area. Gas is cheaper at Costco than the regular stations, so bring your Costco card.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

We were comprehensive when we swap our DVC points for this place because it's not located on Waikiki Beach. After arriving, we were happily surprised at the array of services and entertainments Disney provide at the resort. We had stayed at Royal Hawaiian the last time we visited Oahu. Compared to RH, Aulani definitely is a superior choice - much larger room (we had 1 bedroom suite) with kitchen, excellent water entertainment area with lazy river, water slides, snorkeling tank, and a man made cove that you can swim without worry about strong waves hitting you. There is also a path where people can walk or jog Within along the shore (about 3 miles round trip). Within 5 minutes driving from the resort right off the HW, there is Costco, shops, restaurants to choose from. We ate at Kazoku sushi which was pretty good - only many empty plates to show off. Disney also has free Luau show twice a week and it was really good - with this you don't have to spend additional money or energy trying to look for a luau show. Every night there was different bands performing at the courtyard. You can just sit there sipping your drink and enjoy the sunset and music. It's worthwhile to buy the $15 refillable mug for your entire stay if you drink coffee or other soft drinks. We also used the gym which is well equipped and spacious. The only warning is the drive to Waikiki was not pleasant as the traffic is always bad. So next time, I'd rather stay at Aulani the entire trip and go north instead. There are plenty of nice beaches in the north shore and west shore for surfing, snorkeling, and swimming. The one day that we went to Waikiki because our kids wanted to surf there was a disappointment. The water was so filthy and the beach was so crowded that after 1 hour of surfing, my kids had enough. We went to beach on the west side and north - less crowd, much cleaner. Our family will definitely come back to Aulani again!

Room Tip: We had ocean view room 10th floor. It was great.
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  • Stayed August 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

We are big Disney fans but we love Hawaii even more. What we like best about Aulani is Disney's attention to details. They really got it right designing the interior of the resort as well as the gardens. The only thing that reminds you of Disney are the characters rooming around, but only from time to time... but we love them! So it is the best of both worlds. From the moment you enter the lobby, you see the history and spirit of Hawaii all around in all the frescos on the ceiling and the decoration reflecting all the colors of Hawaii. Right away as you enter, you see the ocean blue and the amazing gardens and you only want to do one thing, grab your bathing suit and relax! DVC members are greater by a warm "Welcome Home!" and even if you are not DVC... this is home. I wish I could live there year-round!

Service all over the resort is off course excellent, everything we expect from Disney. But it is all the little touches that get you and make this the perfect vacation. From the various activities offered throughout the day (lei making, hukulele, story telling...) to the kids program (our kids had too much fun there, like on the Mickey Boat!), everything is meant for each family member to have a great vacation. So what did the adult do while the kids were having a blast?... The Spa! And what a spa... Just thinking about it, it gets me all relaxed again. It is the gift that keeps on giving! We had the couple massage and spent 3 hours there without even realizing. There are several outdoor pools and sprays surrounded by beautiful gardens and a resting area with great lounge chairs, lemon water and light snacks. The staff is top notch and even though it may be a little pricey, it is well worth it. You will not regret it! You can also buy a day pass and enjoy the facility without having a treatment.

Our room was really great. We had a one bedroom mountain view with a great view of Diamond Head. Like all Disney accommodations, the room was spacious with all the little extra decorative touches we expect in the Disney property but without taking away from the Hawaiian character. Now not all rooms are made equal at Aulani. We are pretty sure we would not have enjoyed a parking lot view as much... I would not cut corner there. You already spend quite a bit to fly to Hawaii, a nice view is well worth it. It will make you vacation much more enjoyable.

We ate at the hotel a few times, and enjoyed the counter service of outside bar area the most. One paddle two paddle counter service had a great fish taco and the bar menu had a lot of nice options for both kids and adults. We ate at Ama-Ama once without the kids. It was nice but for some reasons it felt a little rushed for us. We had an early dinner reservation. The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived, but still had to wait 15 minutes to be seated. Once we got seated, that's when the service started feeling a bit rushed. We were not planning on spending hours lingering at the restaurant so we just went for a walk on the beach afterwards. The food was delicious. My husband and I both got mahi-mahi but prepared different ways. Mine had delicious mushrooms while my husband has a spicy tomato sauce. For more food option, there is a little market place across the street from Aulani and a few casual restaurants. For better (and cheaper) dining options, it is best to take a car and drive a few miles. If you stay in a one bedroom with a kitchen, there is a Costco nearby where you can get Hawaiian dishes for pretty cheap.

We really enjoyed the beach and pool area. It does get quite crowded (everybody loves Disney...). I wish Disney had gotten more land to build a bigger resort! We enjoyed strolling along the beach and wandering around the other hotels as well. If you go towards the Luau (right side from the pool), you may even see turtles swim around. The shoreline gets a little more raggedy and rocky which makes it a great spot to explore with kids. On the other side (left from the pool toward the chapel) is a nice walk along the beach and away from the crowd. Great spot to watch the sunset too on an evening stroll too. In the evening, Disney is also there to keep the entire family have a good time. Whether it is watching an outdoor movie, participating in a star gazing adventure with a great local guide or listening to amazing stories around the fire with Uncle, there is always something for everyone. And who could not have a good time at the hui or the luau nearby. But the best for the kids was still to be able to swim their way around under the stars. Aulani is a great place for a relaxing family vacation. For us, because we love Hawaii so much, we split our time between Aulani and other islands to be able to explore and be close to nature. But next time... I'm staying a full week!!!

Room Tip: A nice view makes all the difference. It helps to have a car as there is not much around in terms of...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
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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