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“Hawaiian Paradise”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 18, 2012

We travelled here in an off peak time, mid November, and the resort was pretty quiet. There was also some refurbishments going on, so part of the resort accomodations were closed, making for fewer guests. We are DVC members and enjoy the more relaxed feel of a Disney property, rather than the hustle and bustle of the parks. In saying that, the weekends did get busier with more locals staying for a night or two. The beach and lagoon is about 10 steps in front of this property and there are chairs for guests to use and beach rentals for the lagoon and beach. You must have a wrist band on to identify yourself as a resort guest or they ask you to leave and you cannot purchase food or drinks or rentals if you are not a resort guest. There are many activities for kids, most are complimentary like fish feeding and a pool party with characters and some have a small equipment cost like tie dying or surfing lessons. There is an exclusive teen area and spa, as well as an adult spa with every service you could imagine, but with a cost. If you have a one or two bedroom suite with a full kitchen and washer and dryer, there is a costco only 10 minutes via cab ($18 one way) where you can purchase cheap food and booze if you are a Costco member.... Or there is a small ABC market across the street that also sells groceries and Hawaiian souvenirs at a good discounted cost as compared to the resort. Near the ABC market are 2 casual dining restaurants... one called Just Tacos and another called Hawaiian B-B-Q. If eating out, this is a nice change from the Disney resort. Disney has 2 high end restaurants ($40ish dollar entrees for supper) and a couple quick service eateries ($10-$14 for a quick service lunch/supper). I believe there may be another alternate restaurant coming. The pool area is amazing with a fast water slide and a tube ride and a nice lazy river. Often you will see Goofy lazing in the river waiting for photo ops and [pushing you along. There also is a nice water play structure for young children, sized 48" and less. All in all a nice relaxing, great holiday.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank buller_6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,077 - 4,083 of 5,513 reviews

Reviewed November 15, 2012

I was very impressed with Aulani resort. Every detail, sculpture, wall hanging, music, and the childrens activities honor the culture. It is a beautiful place to explore and stay. The employees speak very highly of working there. Most of all, that Disney doesn't put their name first like all other Disney Resorts. Pono 'Aina. They respect the land. The one thing I would recommend to Aulani is to include some local flavors of food on their cafe menu instead of the usual fast food faire. It wouldn't be difficult to include lomi lomi salmon, kalua pig, etc. It's easy to make and it's good as long as it's fresh. I understand they're catering to the mainland kiddies and parents, but it would benefit the travelers to have the choice. And NOT to make it $35 a plate!
All in all, I would have to say that the Aulani is an incredible place to stay. The Locals who work there exude pride, and 65% of travelers to Aulani stay on-site because there is so much to enjoy. From the Ocean to the pools, to the infinity hot tub, to Ama Ama restaurant, to the lazy river. Clean, and well cared for. If you can go, you should.

Room Tip: Don't rent a car if you plan on staying at Aulani. $35.00 per day parking fee. Just get a cab or...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank KoloheSanJose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2012

The resort is wonderful from the time you arrive to lei greetings to when you depart with an Aloha.The setting is beautiful and peaceful. There is something for everyone to do. The spa has wonderful cast mambers. The pool and lazy river are a blast. The cast members are always helpful and willing to answer questions. A few things that they don't let you know are that inorder to get pool towels you need to show your room key and get a bracelet everyday. Anothe thing is that if you are staying a in studio style room and you want to do laundry you need tokens from the desk or there are machines in the laundry rooms.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Frances D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2012

My wife and I recently returned from our honeymoon in Hawaii. The first leg of our trip we spent at the Aulani. We normally wouldn't of chosen a resort like this, but it was given to us as a present for our wedding. That being said, the Aulani is an amazing resort, just not meant for honeymooners.

From the moment we arrived at the Ko Olina gate we were treated extremely well. It was noted on all of our paperwork that we were travelling on our HM and we were congratulated by everyone. The concierge/front desk were extremely welcoming (Leis, Beverages, etc). The give you a brief history and explanation of the details of the hotel which is extremely interesting. Disney incorporated a lot of Hawaiian tradition into the property.

We stayed in a Studio overlooking the "Garden Side" of the Hotel. The view is not nearly as nice as the pool/ocean view, but if you are like us you are never in your room anyway. The room was equipped with Toaster, Tea Kettle, Coffee Maker (and Coffee which was actually good), plates, etc. Tip: Stop at the Target in Kapolei and stock the fridge (Soda, Juice, Wine/Beer). We even made drinks to take down to the beach to avoid the high beverage prices during the day!

The Pool and Beach (which is an extremely calm cove) are great. You will read reviews about construction, and it is quite annoying. But we were there during the low season which is the best time for them to do the construction so we understood. It definitely tainted our time on the beach (where it was most noisy) but it is what it is. I would recommend calling before to see if there is construction going on. With that said, the beach is great. Super relaxing and absolutely beautiful. Perfect for both Adults and kids - plenty of toys, water mats, etc. The pool is absolutely fantastic as well. The water slides are a blast. It is a must do at any age - they will make you feel 10 years old again!

All in all - we had an great experience at the Aulani and I would definitely recommend it to people with Kids. If you are looking to travel on a more low key and romantic getaway, you might want to look someplace else!

***Take a walk past the JW Marriott onto the rocks and watch a sunset. It is absolutely beautiful.

**Get a massage at the Spa - I got their signature with the hot rocks. it was possibly the best massage I have ever had. My Wife had the same massage and felt the same way! Ask for Katie - she is great!

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Room Tip: Higher the Floor the better. If you don't plan on being in your room often, don't pay for th...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PancakeNation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

Stayed at Disneys new Aulani.

It was one of the better stays we have been at. The pool area was astounding & the rooms were new, modern, clean. Service from staff is among some of the top we have experienced, for being a relatively "cheaper" priced hotel.

Only issue, we found the food left something to be desired. The food sits "pre-cooked". I get it, it is a family based resort. So having kids wait for food impatiently when they want to go to the pool can be an issue.. So they have all lunch items sitting under hot food lamps. We ordered 2 lunches during our 5 days here. Both were extremely disappointing. The Buffet, for the price was what you expect from an average 3 star hotel.

Eat across the street. You're in Hawaii for crying out loud. Hit up some nice restaurants!
Roy's across the street in the golf course is nice.

Aside from the food, this place is awesome.

I have travelled a lot, so I know how staying in stationary in one place is less than ideal. My recommendation is as follows if staying here as a couple.

1st day - relax, orientate, grocery shop at Safeway
2nd day - take that rental car and explore the area
3rd day - excursion, return and relax
4th day - pool day & walk up the beach
5th day - pool day

*Make a plan. You're not going to stay on this resort and not want to do anything.
*Safeway is nearby. We stocked up on water, drinks, snacks, pastries, fruit etc.
*Golf if you can, it's right there!


This side of Hawaii is the "resort" side. It's quiet, quaint & far more romantic than Waikiki. Perfect for the start of a honeymoon or resting holiday.

If you come with children, pay the extra & get the suite. You will enjoy the ability to cook your own meals in suite. It is worth it. As well, Aulani has a few BBQ's that resort guests can use to BBQ lunch/dinner etc! Great idea.

Parking reasonable, only $35 a day I believe it was.

All in all, I would recommend & return.
Definitely worth a stay to experience a new large scale resort.
A+ for family with kids stays.
B+ for couples stays

Room Tip: Eat off the resort. You will enjoy it more.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank richknebel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

I had high expectations based on the reviews and what I heard from friends. They definitely work hard to exceed expectations. Most of the staff were helpful and friendly and made you feel welcome from the moment you arrived.

We were in a 1 bedroom villa on the 15th floor, overlooking the grassy area where they play outdoor movies and have the night time show. The room was immaculate - everything was perfect. The kitchen had everything you would need to cook a meal...except aluminum foil. They even had a high chair, rice cooker, toaster and electric tea kettle.

The living room had a sofa bed AND a pull out under the TV. We were thinking it would be great for a family of 4 or 5 with the kids sleeping/watching TV out in the living room and the parents can relax/watch TV in the bedroom. The bedroom had a soft and comfy queen bed, flat screen TV, and desk. The balcony runs the length of the living room and bedroom.

The bathroom was in 2 parts. A sink and jacuzzi tub with a closet, and another with the shower, toilet and sink. The closet had ironing board, flashlight, extra blankets and wonderful soft robes.

The pool area was a little confusing. You need to get a wrist band each day you want to use the pool. That's how they keep check if you're a guest of the resort. It's also where you get the pool towels. There are staff members going around removing towels that have been laying on chairs longer than an hour so there's always chairs available. The beach was perfect for kids,with gentle waves and warm-ish water. The sand was a bit more coarse than what I would expect from Hawaii. It resembled more like tiny pebbles and crushed seashells than fine soft sand.

We only ate at Mama's Snack Shack and the Character Breakfast buffet during our stay. Mama's snack shack was alright. We got the chicken strips with fries and the buffalo-ranch chicken sandwich. Not the most healthy lunch. The Character Breakfast was totally worth it. We went on our last day and really wished we could go again another day. You first take your picture with Mickey, who is outside, then they take you to you seat. Minnie and Goofy were there the entire time and visited every table at least twice. They took their time with the kids and was wonderfully patient. Our little girl was smitten with Minnie and kept going up to her. Minnie never once brushed her away or ignored her and gave her lots of hugs and kisses. Goofy was a hoot and a lot of fun. He would do silly things to get the kids laughing and was so gentle with the little ones. Auntie would join the characters and sing, dance and got the kids to participate in marching around the room with shakers and coconut shells. The food was delicious, with a wide variety of choices. The staff was very attentive. If you go to Aulani, you MUST go to the character breakfast.

We went to the Starlit Hui, a show they perform twice a week in a grassy area in the Disney Vacation Club side. It's not the typical luau where the dancers move their hips quickly to a fast drum beat. This is almost like modern dance, where they tell a story with props and choreography. At the end, the characters - Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Stich - join the cast and everyone gets up to dance. They allow time at the end to line up to take pictures with the characters.

All that said, we had 2 issues:
1) The signs, or lack thereof, made it hard to find the resort entrance and restaurants within the resort. We got lost and wasted a lot of time trying to find things that were marked on the map, but not obviously labeled in the resort.
2) Someone pulled the fire alarm at 2am during our 2nd night. Everyone had to dig their kids out of bed and hurry down the fire stairwell. We were on the 15th floor and made it down to the 7th floor before they cleared the alarm. They acted and resolved the problem quickly, but offered no explanation or apologies. Not cool, especially with screaming kids at 2am.

We came with our 2.5 yr old toddler and there wasn't a great amount of activities for her. We would love to come back again when she's a bit older, maybe 4 or 5 so she could participate in the activities they have at Auntie's House. The only activities that were available were an open house at Auntie's House from 8-10am every day where they get to play and explore as long as parents were supervising. And they had a Disney Jr half hour where Chip and Dale came to dance with the kids.

It's a great resort for families with kids. Not the most romantic, but we expected that from a Disney resort. I do agree that there should be a couple of hot tubs/pool areas that are adults only. Some people were letting their kids jump into the hot tub and splash all over everyone.

Room Tip: We loved having a higher floor. Be aware that rooms overlooking the Starlit Hui will hear the loud m...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank LAnewlyweds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012

First let me say that I have to disagree with all the negative postings in other reviews. I spent a week at Aulani with my husband and 3 sons just last week. We had a terrific time and I would recommend this Disney resort to everyone! My children are in their teens so we did not miss the huge character presence noted in other Disney Resorts. We checked in and out without problem and found all the staff to be professional, friendly and knowledgeable. Meals were very good but pricey, which is no different than other resorts we have stay at. The beach and pool are incredible. Umbrellas, towels, boogie boards and paddle boats available all day. No wait list or lines.
We look forward to returning to this resort again!

Room Tip: We are members of Disney Vacation Club and were very comfortable in two bedroom villa.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank jphillips12
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 96707-4434
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Price Range: $482 - $896 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Hawaii/Oahu

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