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“Should have listened to the reviews”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Washington Twp NJ
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Should have listened to the reviews”
Reviewed September 1, 2013

Sometimes you have to just do things. Being a true Disney lover, coming to Hawaii we had to put Aulani Disney on our list of things to do/stay at. Traveling as an older couple with no children, this usually doesn't matter. Stayed three nights with an ocean view fo $609 a night. Not worth the $$$, The resort is totally overrun with children. While one expects that at Disney, this was overcrowded and not at all what Disney is about.
Began with being met by a greeter who showed us the lobby and walked us through the process. She was lovely and gave us two Disney pins, as we told her we had just renewed our vows of 10 years on Maui. We got there early, around 10:30 am and were told that our room would be "expedited". She told us we would get a call on our cell phone when the room was ready. We even signed up for the text message updats. Nearly 5 hours later with no message (despite us sending numerous texts) and no phone call, 4 pm had closed in on us. The bartender, Paul, suggested we call from the house phone. When we did, we were told the room had been ready for hours and we should have gotten a call. Did not...and spent a wasted day with little clothes, etc. Have to say that Paul, the bartender, was extremely good throughout our stay. To our surprise that night, there were two chocolates on the bed and the room had been "night' serviced. Along with that was a surprise Mickey/Minnie anniversary photo, a handwritten note from the staff, and a chocolate covered strawberry platter with the Aulani logo. Nice touch...I am sure orchestrated by the greeter in the lobby. While I was thrilled by it, it didn't quite make up for the hours of waiting and over crowded resort.
The following day we ate breakfast on site (not the character breakfast) which was decent, yet as Disney and expected, expensive. We then ventured onto the best part of our trip which was an adventure that we had prepaid for before we came.....went to private island called Secret Island. Matt our tour guide was excellent. Picked up in shuttle and taken to the island on the other side of Hawaii (beautiful lush mountains). Stopped at a local macadamian nut store...nice touch. Arrived at island. Had beach BBQ (corn, steak, chicken) and then had several hours to kayak, paddleboard, swim in private lagoon. Nice catamaran ride around the waters included. Changed into next set of clothes (not the best of changing facilities....like camp when you were a kid) and taken to ranch for two hours of horseback riding. While not allowed to trot, etc....the riding was beautiful. Saw where Jurassic Park, Lost , 50 First Dates, etc were all filmed. Beautiful country! The day was long (11 am-6:30 pm) yet worth the money ($250 per person). 18 people total on our tour. Best part of the Disney adventure.
Next two days spent hanging out at the lagoon (the absolute most beautiful waters to swim in...crystal clear and lovely ocean bottom). At 55 years of age....rented a paddleboard for the first time....and stood up easily! Lots of fun, but work.
As mentioned in other reviews....the facilities for the last day (our flight was at 8 pm) are ok. The lockers fill very fast...so go early in the morning before 8 am and get a locker if you wish to keep your belongings there during the day while you use the facilites.
Nice "pool parties" with Mickey/Minnie/Goofy. Fun to watch.
Put beach cover up on chair only to return 30 minutes later to find it was gone! The pool attendant did find it (they had picked up). When I said it had only been 30 minutes, she did not say anything. Sad, since many families took many chairs for the entire day and never even sat there. Should have better system. Luckily, I did get my new cover up back.
Limited food facilities. Had breakfast overlooking ocean one morning and would have been great if the family next to us had kept their children from running between tables and interrupting all. Can't blame Disney for that, even the waitress felt bad!
Had to try it, but won't be back. My husband kept looking at the beautiful, not overcrowded Marriott next door.
We did not rent a car....and booked through Cloud 9 Limosine. Beware, could have gone much cheaper with a taxi at half the price for flat rate of $55.
Hope that Disney realizes that those other than with children also go and would like to enjoy. Perhaps designated adults only spots would help.

Room Tip: Ocean view was nice, yet costly....over $600 per night.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank epwcw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013

Now, I read almost every review on this page. I did so much research before arriving at Aulani. I booked a nine-night stay in a studio (non-dvc) for my husband, daughter, and son. My children are 4 and 11. I requested a microwave, so we got put in a DVC non-hotel room that has a small kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, glasses, etc. I was booked for a poolside view but was 'upgraded' to ocean view that did not overlook the pool. It overlooked the lawn wear the starlit hui is, numerous weddings, movie on the lawn, etc. It wasn't what I envisioned, but it turned out fine.

In the small fridge was a freezer. We went to costco and got snacks and some microwaveable items, since we rented a car. If you like organic foods, juices, and smoothies, there is a great store near Costco called 'Down to Earth.' It was a fantastic place I frequented.

Everyone complains about not getting a beach chair, so I was concerned about this. People seriously need to calm down. It is not that hard. You really only need one chair to put your stuff on, because we were so busy. We weren't sitting. If you are worried about this, I would stop. It isn't a big deal. Our family avoided the crowds by getting up early and going to the pool, or swimming late. The lazy river and waterslides close at 8pm, but the pool and hot tubs stay open until 10 pm.

Aunty's Beach House was a huge perk. The meals you can sign your kids up for (whether lunch or dinner) are only $8.50 per child. This is the cheapest you'll find on resort property for kids. I felt that my children were safe, because they have the parents go back and get the child when they're picking them up. There are numerous workers. My children loved it. There are programs you can sign your children up for, but you don't have to sign them up for the programs in order for them to go there.

I paid the approximate $170 for the four of us to do the character breakfast. This amount includes the photos they offer you at your table. I knew we had to do it at least once, but in no way was it worth the cost. I had planned in advance for this and other activities by loading money every month onto a Disney Gift Card. This is a great way to save.

I got a letter and cookies our first evening here inviting us to tour DVC properties in exchange for a $100 gift card. My husband and I did this and seriously considered doing it. We got to go in a 3-bedroom overlooking the new construction and direct ocean view, and I got pictures. We asked what the demographic was, and the dvc sales person said it isn't so much a demographic. They currently invite those who stay 4 nights or more. In the winter time, since it is much slower, they invite those staying 2 or more nights. The three-bedroom overlooking the ocean and new construction is legit. Totally worth taking the tour.

The first few days we were at Aulani, I was truly amazed and awe-struck. Further in, I just got bored. We are accustomed to going to Disney World where there is a constant itinerary. I purposefully booked this trip, because I wanted barely any itinerary with relaxation. Nine nights was just too long for our family. Yes, we had a car, and we went to Honolulu, the very end of the West Side, and the North Shore. Still, it was too long. I began resenting the resort with its perfect landscape and very rude tourists. I hate feeling like a chump tourist.

Overall, I am glad our family experienced this place, but I'm confused as to whether I really liked it or not. I'm not disputing the beauty. The lazy river was fun, but there just isn't enough to do for nine nights. I anticipated being overwhelmed upon arrival to the hotel and the lobby, but I think I researched too much. Yes, folks, it is possible to over-research and kill the moment for yourselves. The person who checked us in rushed, and I had read so much about how check-in was great, because they know your name when you drive up. They did not know my name, so it must have been a busy day.

This really is the most expensive trip I have booked, and I don't think it was worth the money. I'm glad I experienced it, but I am not sure if this is something I will do again.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Lolitasemrika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern California, USA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2013

This is our second visit with our 2 kids to Aulani and this is not the resort we experienced about a year ago. Last year, we had a wonderful, relaxing time.
With renovation practically closing about a third of the pool area this year, you'd think that Aulani would scale back on their room bookings.
Nope. Quite the opposite, they are touting a fifth night free promotion.
The resort is terribly overcrowded, busy, more noisy than usual, and as a result, the Waikalohe valley is no longer relaxing. It feels like a theme park, with a line for the water slides.
There are not enough umbrellas and shaded chairs and we could see people with little kids looking frustrated at the lack of seating or even just a place to put their belongings for the day.
On a hot day, the situation is just ridiculous and management is not doing anything about it. The cast members are still warm and friendly and do what they can, but there is only so much they can do when their feedback from guests is falling on deaf ears.
It's as if Disney Resorts management just wants to take the money, have its guests to tough it out and doesn't care about making its guests want to come back.
With rates starting at more than $450 for a tiny room without a view, the resort is no longer worth it. The aloha spirit has started to leave this place. My family will take our money elsewhere next year when we go on vacation. Bye-bye, Disney Aulani.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
18 Thank LAtravelscribe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goodyear, Arizona
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2013

Disney does not dissapoint. I've been a Disney Vacation Club member for 22 years. All of the their club resorts are beautiful and well planned. The Aulani is no exception. We rented a car at the Honolulu Airport. While not necessary (the Aulani does offer paid excursions from their resort), it was much easier and cost effective for our group of to sight see with a car. Our check-in at the resort was fast and easy, and our ocean-view room was ready upon arrival. That evening we went to the evening Starlit Hui dance show, which featured Polynesian dancers, and of course, the gang of 5 (Mickey, Miney, Donald, Daisy and Goofy). We spent our days sightseeing on the island, and our afternoons sipping coctails and floating on the resort's lazy river that connected the pools with the water slide. Food and beverage offerings were ample throughout the resort, with pricing as expected at any Hawaiian resort. While we didn't have children with us on this visit, there appeared to be plenty of activites for the young and young at heart.

Room Tip: A "pool view" villa also provides a view of the ocean.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jean L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tinton Falls, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2013

being in Hawaii -- on Disney property? It doesn't get any better than this. I have been trying to plan our trip back -- since the day we got home.

We flew into Honolulu and rented a car--- Aulani is about 20 mins away, a very easy drive. It was nice to have a car so we could do the sight seeing.

The Spa is one of the best I have ever been to--- I booked one appt, but just stayed and ordered lunch and relaxed for hrs after that. The outdoor area is amazing.

Food is delicious- gets expensive-- so find your way across the street to the ABC store for some meals and snacks. Love the ABC store.

Pools are unbelievable-- swimming with the fish-- incredible.

Take advantage of all activities - they are so much fun - so authentic - and so worth it.

We took 2 different days to do sights - and I enjoyed it-- but missed the resort.

We used DVC points, so it was great...Hope to go back in the next 2 years :-)

Room Tip: Our room was overlooking the pools and the main restaurant.. it was wonderful - at night we could h...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank diznyprincessdi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CA
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2013

We just came back from Aulani in Oahu. My daughter loved it, mainly because it was Disney, why else? I loved the fact that the Disney resorts cater to kids needs and I feel safe and comfortable there because of it. The only issue that I had was the food service. Why is a kid at 10 considered an adult at Disney resorts? My 10 year old will not eat lobster bisque and what not. She wants kids menu options, I'm fine paying an upgrade price from a kids menu for a bigger portion for her, but I am not fine being told she can not order food from the kids menu at the fancier restaurants because she is 10....that is NOT kid friendly. They should have an upgraded kids menu price, that would resolve this issue that we have had with Disney dining everywhere!!!

The kids character breakfast was fun, she loved it, the entertainment was cute and fun for her. There were only 3 characters there though, we could use more...at least 5 like the other character dining restaurants at the parks. They also ran out of autograph books and we had to use a note pad for signatures. They never stocked up the entire week we were there, not sure what the problem is there....shouldn't there be autograph books right there for purchase by the restaurant? In general, the restaurants seemed overwhelmed and disorganized. The buffet needs more people maintaining it, so it does not get ravaged. It seemed to get messy quickly without anyone cleaning it up and refreshing the food. They have had enough time to sort out some organization, but it has not quite taken into affect yet.

Our best breakfast was at the AMA AMA, but our worst dinner was at the AMA AMA. Seemed to have a different crew...and my only advise to the resort manager is to hire the morning crew to hire and train a new night shift; because the morning crew were excellent and the night shift crew should be fired! The guy seating us named Michael was so "not Disney", he was rude and obnoxious...we had waiting until 9 pm with kids to get a dining table here and requested one with a view from the beginning. They finally seat us at 9:30 when the restaurant was ready to close, there were hardly anyone even left there.... open view tables everywhere and we get a table in the back. We asked to be moved to the table with a view, since we had waited until 9:30 for this table and he said he could not seat us there because he had no servers for those tables. We asked the servers serve us at those tables instead.. and he rudely replies 'no they will not do that because that is not their table"...we felt like we were in an "Office Space" sequel... we left and ate a room service pizza. When we called the resort manager regarding this guys behavior and lack of service the resort manager never even called us back. The dining service management definitely need evaluation and staff/ host need a better review process. Another host named Jazz was so snooty and rude there, I think she was confused about where she was working....some one needs to tell her she is not at Ciprianis in Manhatten.

Last but not least, I don't know if anyone ever gets late check-out here. The flights leave late here back to the mainland. Our flight left at 10 pm, so we asked to do a late half day rate check-out. We were not given that, due to lack of housekeeping. Basically, they do not have anyone who is able to do late housekeeping and turn the rooms around after 5pm for late check-ins. Everyone we spoke to had this problem They have a community room to leave your things and shower in. That is, they want you to check out of your room by 11am, store your things and you can still use the facilities/pool and rack up more food charges on your room card key (of course, why else would they do this). Sounds O.K., but this room can get crowded and dirty quickly. It needs to be maintained better for the masses of people not getting a late check-out who have flights leaving at night and kids who refuse to give up the pool. The showers were quite gross there by the time we got to it at 6pm.

Aw...I wish had better advise for families here...we are all hooked into Disney because our kids love it and we love our kids....and they get rich!

Room Tip: Ask for a Full Ocean View room. They are all basically the same with the full view, due to the way t...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AZscimom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013

We just got back from spending a week in Aulani and it was one of the best trips we have taken in a long time, the staff was very friendly, the grounds were awsome. They are doing some construction but you don't heare the noise at all.
The food was a little overpriced but that is to be expected, we did the breakefast with the characters and the kids loved it. It was our daughter's b-day and they staff went out of their way to congratulate her, that made her feel very special.
If you go make sure you leave your kids at Auntie's place, they can be there for hours and you don't have to worry about them at all.

Over all it was a great experience!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hector D
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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
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