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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 12, 2013

I'll make this quick - others have written excellent, comprehensive reviews. We are not really Disney people (never stayed at a Disney hotel before, though we've done Disneyland a couple times), so we are a little apprehensive about trying this Disney resort experience with our two small boys. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find there's really very little Disney about the Aulani. It's very much geared to a Hawaiian experience, with lots of attention to incorporating Hawaiian history and culture into the entire grounds and the entertainment. I think it's theoretically possible to stay at the Aulani for a week and not realize it's actually a Disney establishment (despite the daily showing of a Disney character or two for photo opps and optional character breakfasts). So kudos to Disney for completely blowing my mind on that score.

The resort is geared toward outdoor family fun. The pools, hot tubs, lazy river, waterslides and splash area--not to mention the man-made lagoon and beach--are fun and can keep you active all day. There is a community room with board games, video games, books, and a TV, but I noticed hardly anyone was ever in there watching TV. There's too much fun to be had outside. My kids (2 and 5) especially loved the Menehune trail walk. It's basically an app that has you walk around and learn about Hawai'i, and you find clues and then trigger interactive experiences around the resort. And it's free. I've seen a lot of complaints here about how expensive everything is at Aulani, but honestly, there's a ton of stuff that's included, so you don't really have to spend much more than hotel and parking costs (especially if you stock up on groceries instead of eating at the resort restaurants). There are various entertainments, lessons, and craft activities planned throughout the day, some for adults, some for kids, some for both, plus evening entertainments like oral storytelling around the firepit, the moonlit hui, and outdoor movie nights. Oh, and fresh towels are available all day long for the pool area - LOVED that. We never had to worry about towels.

The rooms were spacious, clean, and comfortable. We went during low season, so we got upgraded to a room facing the pools and ocean, which was nice. Service was overall quite good, usually friendly. The kids had a blast, and we'd consider going back again someday.

BTW - I didn't think the food prices were outrageous. Expensive? Heck yes. But if you combine Disney + Hawai'i, it's not shockingly high. Just go shopping at a Safeway (or, if you have the stomach, a Whole Foods) in Hawai'i, and you will totally get why the food costs so much at the Aulani. The food was quite good (not quite 5-star good, but good), and they were able to easily (and respectfully) accommodate our need for gluten- and dairy-free meals.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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10  Thank gothic_cowgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,865 - 3,871 of 5,385 reviews

Reviewed February 11, 2013

We are in our early 40's with kids 8 and 10. We typically stay at standard Marriotts and other chain hotels. Occasionally nicer but mostly pretty mainstream. We generally go to Hawaii once a year. This was our first time to Aulani. We found Aulani to be very close to 5 stars. As others have said it's much more Hawaiian than it is Disney. No hidden Mickeys and no over the top Disney stuff. Just an occasionally Mickey sighting walking around and the Mickey shaped pancakes and waffles at breakfast! Classy but clearly within the Disney family if that makes sense.

Highlights:
- Staff is plentiful, friendly and with a few exceptions very top notch;
- Probably 10-15 bellhops standing around to open doors and take your luggage when you arrive - old school and impressive to me;
- Food variety (our daughter has Celiac so eats gluten free) was exceptional -- this was #1 highlight when my daughter learned of all their gluten free options at the on-site restaurants;
- Day care center was the best I have ever seen by FAR;
- On-site snorkel lagoon is amazing;
- Waterslides were perfect for my kids;
- Lifeguards everywhere - safest feeling pool I have ever seen;
- You can hang out onsite for days and never feel the need to leave;
- Wi-fi good and no passwords needed which was nice;
- Shave ice very good and, as everybody else, very friendly employees;
- Very clean;

Low Lights (I have to stretch here to think of a few):
- It's expensive;
- Food is pricey and not great quality but it's fine;
- The last morning the woman on phone said a 12:00 "late" check out was no charge and she would call back to see about a later check out but then called back (left VM) to say they couldn't do a late check out. I didn't get that message until 10:58 on the voice mail and was surprised, irritated and annoyed. Call downstairs to talk about it as my family was at the pool and I was hung up on... and then phone wouldn't re-dial. I think the first woman on phone was inexperienced so I don't blame the hotel. Probably isolated incident.
- Ko Olina is far from Waikiki and isolated - to me this is a positive but to some would be too far I am sure.
- Gym is not huge, has no windows, and only has 3 bikes (1 upright and 2 recumbent);
- The day care center was incredible but geared toward slightly younger kids. Maybe a few more organized activities for 10-12 year olds would be nice.

Overall highly recommended and 4.5+ stars.

Room Tip: There are few bad rooms. We saved money with non-ocean view and it was totally fine.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank DodgerJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

First off, let me say that the resort is beautiful. The staff is wonderful and all gave wonderful customer service. The beach was perfect for my little 3 year old twin boys. The shaved Ice shack was their favorite thing by far! The biggest disappointment was price of the food. It was expensive and the choice was really limited. The buffet was just OK. You either spent a lot of money at the buffet or ate like a poor man at the pool. The little shack that was where most people grabbed a bite walking by the pool basically had chicken nuggets or a hot dog and fries. Considering that this was a family resort they could have healthy quick snacks like yogurt, fruit, carrots and ranch or a variety of things. We ended up eating breakfast at AMA AMA everyday because it was good and we had a great view. That was expensive! The food at the beach ordered through a waiter was also good - same kitchen behind Ama Ama no wonder.
Our friends said the cocktails at the pool bar were not good and very syrupy. The pools were not heated and my kids always wanted to go to the jacuzzi to warm up so we spent very little time in the pool. my favorite part of the stay was being on the beach.
2nd biggest complaint were the beds and pillows. It is supposedly a fairly new hotel and there was a huge crater in the mattress and the pillows were huge and hard. Neck ache for everyone! They need to learn from other hotels that have "heavenly beds". I am not a picky person but, when I am paying Four Season prices I expect to at least have a good rest.
All in all, nice resort and I know they will Iron out the kinks with time.
BEST THINGS- SPA was amazing and so fun. Loved the outdoor showers with different massages.
Disney photo pass- where they randomly take photos of you and you have option to buy at the end of stay,
The beach and free entertainment,
Customer service and Aunties Beach house ( complimentary secure child care)

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Luxurius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

Like all Disney properties, the price is not proportionate to the quality/service. First of all for Disney you'd expect an amazing pool area for kids/adults. While being larger than average it's still not as expansive or has as many attractions as other resorts in Hawaii. For example the Marriott Resort in Kaanapali or Waikaloa Resort in Kona eclipse Aulani. But for the kids who love Disney it's a great way and has more than enough distractions. The beach is passable, but bear in mind it's a man made lagoon. Food on the resort is pricey, but no more than any other mega resort.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank brianysf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

The hotel staff are so friendly! I went there from Dec 17th to Dec 23 and loved it. The beach was lovely and the water slides were my son's favourite.

He loved it there!!! The kids club was great:) The only thing they can improve on is have more
restaurants that are cheaper. The food was very expensive there.

The resort is amazing:) The bell boy was very helpful and told us places to see!!

Room Tip: ocean Front is nice:)
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Shirley B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

We spent a week at the Aulani and had a wonderful time!! Everything was top notch. Our room was spacious and clean. The resort has so much to do. Everyone was friendly and so helpful We found the food a bit expensive in the two main restaurants but the food was good. There is a market and a few other restaurants across the street, so we were not limited to just the hotel for meals. The pool area and hot tubs were great!! We would go back again!!!!

Room Tip: We had an ocean view on an upper floor. View was awesome.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank UpstateNYGrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

Aulani was perfect. Simply superb. There were four of us in a one-bedroom suite. The pullout was surprisingly comfortable. We had rented a car and were able to go to a nearby Target and stock up on pizza and frozen meals to help with food expenses. We had one meal and two dessert outings in the Disney restaurants and mostly ate fast food. The facility is extraordinarily beautiful. We enjoyed being away from the hustle of downtown Honolulu. The Majestic Circle tour of Oahu picked us up at the door for a day-long trip. Pearl Harbor was an easy 30-minute drive. We also took a half-day whale and dolphin spotting tour that included snorkeling. Hawaiian Nautical was great. Both outings were arranged at the travel desk at Aulani. We trusted the Disney experts and they delivered oboth times. The pools, hot tubs and beaches were outstanding. I don't know what could have made the stay better. We drove to Honolulu two days and were glad to get back to the quiet side of the island. T

Room Tip: We had an ocean view room and had great views of the Pacific, the beach, the pool and the mountains...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Tim S
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: $438 - $834 (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 & 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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