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.
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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