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“Great for kids!”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 30, 2013

I've been to Hawaii many times over the years and if you have kids, this is the place to go. The age range would be from 4 up to about 12. After that, the kids are going to be bored and you are going to be paying a premium for stuff they aren't going to use. If you come during the high season, sign up online for the "premium experiences" at Aunty's Beach House and you can save yourself some time.

Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
5  Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 30, 2013

Disney did it again! World class accommodations, delicious food, and friendly staff! My family and I spent a week there this summer. Of course, being part of the Disney Vacation Club has its advantages! If you have a rental car, parking on premises is expensive, $35 a day. As a member of the DVC, you get free parking for your entire stay. There are several choices to keep you entertained - the lazy river, pool, beach lagoon, private reef to snorkel, and plenty of room to just sit and relax.
If you have little ones, there are several opportunities to catch a picture with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip & Dale, and Stitch! There's a character buffet breakfast! Make sure you don't have a big meal the night before, so you can take full advantage of the buffet!
The resort is conveniently located, so you can go to other parts of the island without having to drive for hours. If you are a shopping lover like I am, there's a shuttle bus that takes you to two of the island's shopping malls!
There's so much to say about how great this,resort is! You just have to experience it in person!

Room Tip: If you want a true ocean view, request "ocean front view" when making your reservations; o...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank EmmaG62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Just returned from an amazing trip to the Aulani. We had been looking forward to this trip for over a year and a half and it did not disappoint. With any major resort there are pros and cons but I would say the pros outweigh the cons completely, here at Aulani.

My perspective comes from staying in a normal hotel style room, no kitchen area, so we spent money to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. We stayed three nights and then went to another party of Ko'Olina for the rest of our stay. The hotel was sold out our entire stay.

Room: We paid for a bottom of the line room. We expected to be facing the parking garage and were. However, we had no problem with noise or any issues from the garage. We were on the lowest floor of the hotel, which was a good thing, we had a bigger lanai, with an added lounge chair that other rooms did not get, nice little touch. We spent very little time in our room. The storage in the room was great with room for suit cases under the bed. Bathroom was big and quite nice with a nice shower that had two shower heads. The pillows are HUGE and if you like a soft pillow (feather style) these are not for you.

Disney Experience: With kids 10 and 6, we thought we needed a little of the Disney experience while there so we did a character breakfast. It is quite expensive. $170+ for family of four. There was an Aunty type character playing the Ukulele and singing along with the usual one on one time with the characters, Mickey is the first photo, then Minnie and Goofy come for a short photo session at your table. Food was fine, buffet style. But for the price and since the characters are kind of around the resort at various times anyway, in retrospect, it probably was not worth the money.

You will notice music piped throughout the resort. It is Hawaiian style with little Disney flourishes, not character specific, but you know it if you hear it. It became repetitive if you listened for it but not annoying or burdensome to me, though my wife would disagree.

There is a very Disney pool party that occurs around 2pm each day. The resort does a great job of keeping it limited to one area of the pool. We were on the beach one day and couldn't hear a thing. We were also on the other side of the pool and couldn't hear it. So if you want to avoid it, it's easy. If not, it's super fun for the kids.

Pool: The pool area is fun. There is a nice lazy river. Even though the hotel was full, we never had a problem finding inner tubes to take on the river. Most people take one trip around and get out so you just wait and then kindly ask for the tube. The slides were fun as well. The line for the inner tube slide was the only major issue. It was just long. The other slide, a completely pitch black no light until the end slide, was a much shorter line.

The pool seating can be stressful and challenging, people get out early (6:30 to 7AM in some areas) to save spots. That said, if you show up at 9am, you still can find a spot just not right near the pools, maybe overlooking the lagoon and ocean which is quite nice! There is a hard rule. If you save lounge chairs and then are away from your chairs for an hour, the staff will remove your items and place it in locked storage for you to gather. The staff is great about this rule and definitely enforces it, we happened to be the beneficiary one day when a family lost their chairs. The staff is very clear about the rule, with constant reminders, so one cannot complain a spot is lost. I did a lot of research before the trip and was aware that space could be limited at the pool, so we reserved an Executive Lanai, Casabella for $275 (expensive but worth it). We received seating for 8, cabana style lounge chairs for the parents and two lounges and two chairs and table. We received fruit in the morning (a very nice tropical fruit plate) and had dedicated server for lunch and drinks. There is a locked drawer so you can safely store your cameras, phones and wallets, leaving your area unattended. It was awesome. It is a short walk from the pool and right under the Ama Ama restaurant. Reserve well in advance (up to a year). The kids did get a little tired of the pool by our 3rd day but then we went to the lagoon and it was a different location and experience - so alternate!

The only resort events we attended was the Starlight Hui. It is the Aulani version of a luau show without the food. It was very enjoyable, kids were involved. There is an ending that includes the Disney characters but we left when that started, our kids were more interested at this point in the luau. It is really neat, you sit on thatched mats.

Food: The Makahiki buffet for dinner was good. The food choices were ok. The price was quite expensive. I overate so that may be a good thing. Lunch choices were limited. Much fried. Hamburger, hot dogs, french fries, etc. Sandwiches down at the beach shack were good and semi-healthy. Dinner at Ama Ama was amazing for us. Again, quite expensive but worth it in my mind. Make reservations early, we made them 3 months in advance and still couldnt get a sunset reservation. Breakfast at the coffee bar just outside Makahiki buffet was perfect. Fruit, pastry, and breakfast sandwiches, we sat out on the lanai just outside and watched the people take photos with Mickey before the character breakfast.

Construction: There is construction going on. In our lanai area, we heard limited beeping, tractor noise, etc. It is not that prevalent. I understand that they expect it to be complete by October 2013. Just be prepared and you can handle it.

Overall this was a great family vacation. Just realize that Hawaii is expensive. We were not surprised by that aspect. I will say that I feel like that now that I have been to Aulani, we don't need to go back - now I might go back to stay in one of their condo style locations, so that we can experience all it has to offer but not spent so much on food.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank S-Flo408
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

listen, it's hawaii. it's amazing here. i will say, for the price you pay for a room here, upwards of 5-700 dollars, it better be darn near perfect, right??? well, it wasn't. the resort itself is in a very removed part of the island. sort of between north shore and waikiki and honolulu. so, you will need to drive where you need to go. i would not suggest using the excursions at the hotel, you can find the same things for half the price. there are many resorts on this strip of the island. there are like 7 lagoons that are closed off for safe swimming, etc, and disney/jwmarriott are in one of the lagoons. so, you are sharing beach space with another hotel. AND all beaches in hawaii are open to the public, so you didn't need bands here and there are lots of local people here.

Good: workers are attentive and nice. like all disney hotels, (california, orlando, here) they are all about clean rooms and areas (no smoking or cigarettes, no wet towels, no garbage all over). i will say one day it was 4 o'clock before our room got cleaned and we were really upset because we left early in the morning and came back and the room still wasn't done. the one night show we went to was very well done, a quality show. storytelling with dancers kind of thing. very well done.

Bad: yikes. where do i start? this place is absolutely packed. every single aspect was hurt by this. for example: we only went to the one night show. (one night was movie-beauty and the beast-outside. my kids are WAY too old for this). we go down about 1/2 hour before show. it's PACKED. we are so far away, we barely can see the show. they give you this bamboo mat to sit on. as SOON as the show was over, the workers start walking around say, we have to clean up. literally, we had to get up 5 minutes after the show instead of being able to sit around and talk. the characters (mickey, etc) were out for like 15 minutes and it turned into a zoo house. everyone running into different lines for photos. (again, our kids are too old, so we just wanted to sit and talk). there were 3 missing kids and the workers were running around trying to find out where the parents were. yikes. mad house.

everything was CROWDED. my husband and i got up around 630 for coffee at the starbucks at the jw marriott next door. when we got back, the whole pool area, which is still closed and being cleaned, is already starting to get people laying their belongings around the pool. putting towels down, etc. the workers are going around, picking up the towels, etc. it is so ridiculous. if you do anything on the island and come back, like us, you will NEVER find a place to sit together. we waited one day for 20 minutes before we got 1, yes 1, seat for our family. it was unacceptable. they put times around on the seats, and when they are vacant for an hour, they clean up the towels for someone to sit at. the reality is, there are just not enough amenities for the number of people staying at this hotel. plain and simple. they advertise how you can paddleboard. we had to wait almost 3 hours to RENT a paddleboard. we wanted to use bogey boards. there was only 1 available at 3 in the afternoon. you look around the beach and everyone just has them sitting next to their chairs, not using them. it's so disappointing. then, if you don't return it by 430 when the shop closes (and there is no announcement) you will be charged 45.00. the kids were down by the beach and playing on this big floating mat type of thing. i guess some kid kept knocking other kids off it, so they pulled the mat in 20 or so minutes after my kids got out there. like, seriously? just punish the one kid, not all the others. there was also no way you could get any drinks in a reasonable time frame. i was bummed.

i understand that if i am at disneyworld in summertime, it's a madhouse and very factory like. that's what you expect there. in hawaii, i want to relax. we'd leave the hotel and do fun stuff, surfing in north shore, hiking diamond head, shopping in waikiki... when i come back to the hotel, i want my kids to enjoy the water park stuff and me and my husband to sit around and drink and relax. this was NOT possible here. it was hectic, crowded and very disappointing.

my husband did complain and asked to let us out a day early, which after some discussion, the manager woman did allow. she acted like she was doing us a FAVOR. i was like, there is NO WAY i am paying this much money for a place i can't even sit with my family at the pool. she ACTUALLY admitted they knew there was a problem. they are building a lot more outdoor areas because of the overcrowding. she also ADMITTED that they had expected more people would venture off the hotel property to see the island, but that in reality, people come to the hotel and don't leave. everything we said and complained about, she agreed with. i just can't believe there was no compensation for such a poor experience. (maybe if i had 2-6 year olds, i'd have been happy: can't surf or hike, etc. so staying around the hotel and seeing the very brief moments with characters is worth it.... just not what is advertised...)

i guess that sums it up. tripadvisor is the bomb for food suggestions and activities. you HAVE to snorkel hanamua bay, take a surfing lesson, and check out waikiki and honolulu and some local beaches. get leonards bakery masalas (all my spelling is probably wrong, sorry). go to matsumotos for shaved ice in north shore. just lots to do out there. don't stay on the property the whole time!!! mahalo!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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7  Thank bobbob2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

If you are planning a trip to Oahu this is the place to stay.. Beautiful grounds with tons of things to do with the children. Water slides, snorkeling, lazy river ,luaus ... wonderful restaurants and a great beach front lagoon to go swimming if you prefer the ocean!!

Room Tip: higher rooms have a great view
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank becky l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

This was our annual summer trip through Hawaii and when we pass through Oahu we have stayed at the Kahala. Just to mix it up, we decided to stay at the Aulani, primarily because of the pool facilities. The hotel is located in Ko Olina, a golf-centered neighborhood about forty minutes West by car from downtown Honolulu. Trekking out to Honolulu to go to Ala Moana or Waikiki can be a burden - it was 80-100 dollars by taxi. If you want to stay in the hotel, this is a good fit. The resort itself was imposing. The hotel is huge - don't expect the staff to remember your name. Another minus was the room. I think we got upgraded one tier from the bottom but even still the room itself felt cramped. It had a queen size bed, a sofa bed, desk, ottoman/coffee table, fridge, microwave oven. With all that crammed in, we felt very cramped and it was hard to organize our stuff in the room. On the plus side, the pool facilities are breath-taking. There is a man-made snorkeling reef where you pay USD 25 to see very colorful fish. The pool and man-made river are substantial enough that you can have your kids occupied for at least one to two days. It can be hard to find lounge chairs becusse there are so many guests.

Overall I found prices at the resort not to be as crazy as elsewhere like in Wailea, Maui. One thing that did bother me. Although they do not push you to look into Disney Vacation Club membership, I did notice that members received a lot of discounts off various fees. It made me, a regular guest, feel like a second class customer.

I had a pleasant stay overall. I liked the restaurant Ama Ama. Surprisingly good food. I would recommend this place for families with kids. Would I come back? Probably not. The location is too isolated. I would probably opt for the Kahala because it is a smaller property and closer to Ala Moana.

Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
5  Thank Mohammedyu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2013 via mobile

As a Disney Vacation Club member, I have experienced almost all of their properties and this is the best one so far. This resort is noticeably service oriented, designed and managed with impeccable detail. Since I travelled solo, the friendly staff made my experience restful while helping me map out my excursions in my convertible Mustang. Aulani is situated in an upscale gated community that respects its clientele far enough from the busy throngs of Honolulu and close enough to the action. The staff at Aulani should be congratulated for a job well done and a pat on the back for Disney's imagineers for creating another masterpiece.

  • Stayed: July 2013
    • Value
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Thank Oldprinttraveller
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: $461 - $853 (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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