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“A wonderful way to experience the culture of Hawaii”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 15, 2013

This was our first trip to the Hawaiian Islands. We spent 5 nights at Aulani. I met someone recently who described Aulani as, "a perfect marriage between Hawaiian culture and the magic of Disney". I couldn't agree more. From the time you arrive when Auntie greets you at the door and welcomes you into her home until you leave, you feel like you part of their Hawaiian family. This feeliing is part of everyone and everything at Aulani. I am more inclined to return to a place where I feel at home, a part of a community than returning to a resort that feels like a business.

We loved floating along the lazy river, watching the sunset from the hot tub, floating in the pool and snorkeling in the lagoon. They even have their own self contained reef where kids can safely snorkel among the fish in a supervised setting. The rooms were nicely appointed. The food was fabulous but a bit pricey but we knew that before we arrived and planned ahead for it. It would be great if Disney would offer a dining plan like they do at their other resorts (Ex: Walt Disney World in Florida).

We enjoyed the Menehune Trail adventures with Auntie and the stories Uncle told by the campfire. I was surprised by the amount of Disney character interactions. It seemed like there was always a dance party or photo opp happening somewhere at Aulani.

Room Tip: When you book your room and again when you check-in online, ask for a room that overlooks the lazy r...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank LotusExplorerTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,745 - 3,751 of 5,510 reviews

Reviewed July 14, 2013

We are Disney Vacation Club members. I was surprised that we were able to book 2 one bedroom units at this resort following a 7 day cruise in Hawaii. Check in was speedy and first class with a lei greeting. The unit is beautiful with a shower to die for. Lovely lagoon and lazy river. Only complaint is that food is very expensive on property so would suggest going to grocery store nearby and stock up. There is a wonderful fully equipped kitchen in units.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank donnajmox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

I thought the.sheraton waikiki was bad but aulani is worse. Its new and rooms are clean but if u are looking for first class service its not here. The worst part was we had a couple pool chairs we put our goods on, and we decided to check in kids in the kids club and take a look at the beach area, when we came back 45 minutes later our stuff was gone. Everyone was blowing us off and we finally found the attendant that moved out stuff and she had no good reason why she turned our stuff in. The way this hotel works is if don't get a beach chair on the morning. So we are screwed the rest of the day. If our trip was linger we would move out to another hotel, not what i expected at over 600 per night. Had to wait in line at the kids club for 45 minutes at 8 am this morning so out kids can participate in the activities. It feels like disneyland waiting in these lines for everything. Character breakfast is the weakest of of the three we have been to, with a few seconds with just minnie and goofy, and a 30 minute line to take a pick with Mickey. Not what we hoped for on our anniversary weekend.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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7  Thank althekillr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Aulani is almost a destination in itself, for couples or for families. In true Disney style the staff are very welcoming and friendly. The property is fairly new and the rooms are great, we had a wonderful view of the lazy river and out to the ocean. There is plenty to do, and Disney has mixed its own style with the Hawaiian culture brilliantly.

We are Disney Vacation Club members and had a wonderful week at Aulani leading up to Christmas, and found the decorations to be a nice touch.

Definitely highly recommended.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2013

The minute we arrived the service was top notch. Did on- line check in. They had our keys ready. Unloaded bags. Valet car. Took us to room in 2 minutes flat and we were ready for fun.

Place is new and immaculate. We had me, wife, daughter, Mom and Dad. We took a one bedroom villa that sleeps 5. It had "island view" but we overlooked the garden and could see ocean. Definitely the quiter side of hotel. I would recommend it if you want to escape the noise of pool side. And there is noise. Disney cheerleaders with microphones.

Restaurants are good, but Disney pricey.

Only two small gift shops with limited options. Nothing special. Don't open until 7am.

Beach is ok, but there are not enough umbrellas. Every other hotel we have ever stayed at on Hawaii has ample shade. Here you scramble for it. Every man woman and mouse for himself. It is as if Disney wants to push its $45 per day cabanas. Major turn off.

As for room. Again, amenities were all nice, but layout is horrible. All sliding doors. No privacy to showers tubs etc. Every time some one in our party wanted to use the facilities they felt compelled to leave the room. Note: do not stay on first floor near Lobby. Disney tiled the floor. Every morning I was down that
way around 630 a.m. People were checking out early and dragging luggage over the tiles. Disney should have carpeted there. Super noisy.

Biggest dissappoint is that, but for Mickie Minnie Goofy Chip Dale and Stitch walking around you would never know this is anything Disney. No princesses. No Jack Sparrow or pirates. No Little Mernaid or Sebastian. No Nemo or Crush. No Tiki Room. No Disney shows.

Clearly Disney knows how to do it right. They have nailed it with cruises and Cast Away Cay. The Disney Water parks in Orlando are fantastic. Aulani is frankly a nice beach and pool with two water slides and a kids play area. You could find this at many other resorts on the Islands and pay less. They are building more, so if you go now you have the joy of laying on the beach in no shade and listening to construction.

We stayed three days here and three next door at the Marriott Ka Olina Vacation Villas. We enjoyed the villas much more. More space. Grounds are more open. Beach is nice. Grounds are more colorful. Disney's decor is all green and brown. No gardens and falls like on so many other Hawaiin resorts.

You will have fun and be treated well here, but unless you are compelled to see Aulani, I would stay next door at Marriott Vacation Villas.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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4  Thank Daniel G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2013

If you have been to the Disney Parks you would expect this hotel to incorporate a lot of Disney into it. Unfortunately the hotel did not have much of the mouse in places. We stayed in a one bedroom villa which was very nice for a couple. I would not reccomend this villa for mixed couples. It had two fold out beds that were as hard as rocks. If you are looking for peace and quite I would recommend staying at the Marriott Ko Olina, right next store. The Marriott had more colourful landscaping and was much quieter. Overall this resort was nice, it was just hard to believe we were staying at a Disney resort.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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1  Thank Queenstownlover1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2013

We stayed at Aulani for five nights in a deluxe studio ocean view room. Overall we enjoyed our family stay but would like to highlight some of the pros and cons.

Despite it being a disney resort, there is limited disney exposure and more subtle throughout which I personally found positive. It has an overall island traditional decor, dark woods, island prints etc and is only new so there is very limited wear and tear.

Although the resort is lovely looking and a fantastic lagoon, pools and gardens (2 water slides, a lazy lake and a watermark for the littlies - lots of fun this one!, the rooms were rather disappointing as they are geared towards couples rather than families.

We were initially booked into a partial ocean room. Upon arrival, I asked if an upgrade was available and I was happy to pay the difference as they told me the rooms were on the back part of the resort and overlooked the golf course, and hotel carpark (bear in mind parking costs $35 USD per day and there is no street parking allowed). The partial ocean is one looking west to the ocean. There were no ocean resort rooms so we were offered the studio deluxe. I questioned reception and asked about the size if the room compared to a resort room. She reassured me it was the same and we got a kitchenette included but rather than 2 beds, we would get one queen and a queen sofa bed. When we got into the room, the room was in fact smaller! Friends we were travelling with chose to remain in the partial ocean with two kids with us, the larger room would have been better. Although the kitchenette is useful. I would not consider this room an upgrade, and if you have two young kids, it may be better to stay in an ocean view resort room to gain the extra space.... Or a one bedroom villa if you want to pay an extra $354USD per night!

If you are cost conscious, I would recommend a poolside gardens view resort room. This would be on the lower floors facing into the pool areas although there would be more noise during the day.

I would not return to this resort in July, it was way too busy and the service levels definitely dropped. It took three phone calls and over 90 mins for them to get my bags up to my room alone.

The day spa in house was lovely. The girls were professional and courteous.

Dining options are very limited in the resort. There is a buffet style restaurant where breakfast, lunch and dinner are , one upmarket restaurant AMA AMA (loved this restaurant - please see a separate review) and three other casual food outlets - Off the hook, a junk food shack (fried chicken, hotdogs and the like) and a lovely kiosk down at the beach. This was the healthiest option for daytime dining especially for the kids. I can't understand why more healthy options can't be made available to them. One cannot survive for one week on hotdogs, fried chicken, pizza and fries all week! More sandwich options are needed or fruit options eg frozen watermelon, pineapple, it wouldn't be too hard to introduce if the US is so worried about the obesity epidemic!!!

We also tried the themed breakfast, it was ok, $32 per head for an adult and $18 for a child plus 20% service charge. We saw two Disney characters only that make the rounds so don't expect more.

There is a small centre with an ABC store across the road a few restaurants there. We dined at the Monkeypod twice (lovely food and separate review to follow) but didn't try the others there- one Japanese, one Hawaiian grill, one pizza restaurant and one Mexican and that was pretty much it. There is a free shuttle that does the rounds between neighbouring hotels and we went to Longboard cafe at the Marriott one night ( separate review) but that was a disappointment so don't bother. There are more like Roy's and Chucks steakhouse but you need to make a reservation.

There is a kids club called Auntys beach house but in peak times like this you need to book in early and only on the morning of the day you want the kids to attend. So get in early!

The highlight for me was the man made beach area that is shared with the Marriott next door - how serene and perfect. When it was windy up at the resort, it was tranquil and sheltered. You can hire a paddle board or canoe too.

As for whether I would return... perhaps... But I think I'd try Maui instead where you can stay at condo style apartments and cheaper and be able to do some meal preps for a younger family.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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2  Thank 2angelic
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: $484 - $893 (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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