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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
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Reviewed June 20, 2014

My family of 4 stayed at Aulani in June 2014 for 5 nights. What an amazing experience! When we pulled up, we were immediately greeted by the valet. Since we did Online Check-in, we had someone come to us with her handheld device to give us our keys and information on the hotel. She gave me and my daughter beautiful fresh leis, my husband beads, and my 7-year old son a Menehune necklace (which he loved). She gave us an overview of the hotel and the amenities and then our bellman took us all the way to our room (1212 right by the elevator- great room with an amazing view). The bellman continued to give us an overview of the activities. What great service! We stayed in a 1-bedroom villa, which was perfect space wise. The room was clean and large with two balconies overlooking the pools and the ocean. There were so many things to do around the property- the lazy river, the pools, the snorkeling reef, the lagoon, the games, etc. We didn't know where to start first! Everything was great although I will say that the snorkeling reef was COOOLD so be prepared! The hotel had beautiful sunset views. We ate at AMA AMA for lunch, and the food was delicious with great views of the water. The character breakfast had a great selection. The Starlight Hui was a lot of fun and in a great venue. I love Disney, but I didn't want ALL Disney on my Hawaiian vacation. This hotel was a perfect mix! We could see the characters if we wanted, we could buy the Disney merchandise, we could look for hidden Mickey's BUT we weren't inundated with Disney and cartoons. The hotel was luxurious and beautiful and great for adults and kids. It is a drive from the Honolulu and Waikiki area (about 45 minutes). I visited Waikiki Beach though, and it was so busy I wouldn't have traded. I loved the Ko'olina location! Make sure when you go, you get the daily IWA so you can see what daily activities are planned and take advantage of them! I will say that one of the nicest amenities (even though we didn't use it) was Aunty's Beach House, a great place for your kids aged 3-12. It's FREE! The next hotel we stayed at on the Big Island had a kids center that was $90 for the full day- makes you appreciate what Aulani has to offer. I will defnitely be back!

Room Tip: Rooms higher up for the best views. Room 1212 was right by the elevator but you couldn't hear any of the noise. Made it very convenient to go right down the elevator and out the door to the pool area!
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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4  Thank Lea R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2014

When you walk into this hotel you are immediatly taken back by the splendor of the hotel, and the attention to detail that Disney has placed into the property. The feel of the hotel is one of island paradise on a grand scale with massive cielings and expansive corridors opening to grand staircases. The one thing that seems to be missing in this amazing Disney Hotel is, well..Disney. The hotel has a true island feel to it, but the thing that makes you want to stay at a Disney property is well, Disney. There is very little Disney throughout the hotel, with the exception of maybe the Gift store and a few characters at the breakfast.

While some may want an island hotel themed to the tropics, with a smattering of Disney throughout, most are looking for a great Disney Hotel themed with a smattering of the tropics throughout. I heard more then one guest comment on the lack of a Disney theme to the Hotel, and that is why you would stay at a hotel like this and not just another beach resort.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Troy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2014

We stayed 4 nights at Aulani resort in June 2014. The resort is exceptional. Service and room are up to par with its 5 stars rating. We stayed at the 7th floor facing the mountain – the breeze from the mountain makes the room temperature very comfortable. During our stay we enjoy the pool and beach the most. Beach: Love that it has beach towels, ice water, sunbath chairs and umbrella, even beach toys available handy at the beach area. Pool: Love the lazy river the most. Kids had a blast! We had a rental car the entire time so we didn’t get stuck with the resort food onsite. Food is really average. my kid loves the mickey mouse pancake the most. hey it is Disney resort you shouldn’t have any expectation on dining.
Overall it’s a very pleasant experience. We will plan another trip next year!

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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3  Thank TTPPP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2014

My son (16) and I spent 5 days at the Aulani this June. Overall, it was a great trip. The beach and swimming coverwas a lot of fun - but there's no lifeguard and what appeared to be a lot of unsupervised younger children in the water. By afternoon, the cove can get pretty full of kayaks and paddle boards, swimming was definitely better in the morning. We got to the beach early each day so that we could get chairs with an umbrella (they need more umbrellas on the beach). If you get to the beach after 9:30, be prepared to sit in full sun until late afternoon. The pool chairs seem to fill up even earlier in the morning.

The pools were nice and the lazy river fun. As others have mentioned, there are not enough tubes available to accommodate guests so you'll have to hope to find one if you don't want to just swim in the river. We didn't spend much time in the pools (why use a pool when the ocean was about the same temperature). There are 2 watersides that are pretty fun.

We did check out the Rainbow Reef, that was a disappointment. Its not at all like snorkeling (can't kick your feet and have to wear an uncomfortable "life jacket" that deflates as you look down), so you're better off saving the money and going to Hanama Bay or some other area if you want to view fish.

The food...not much to say other that it wasn't great and was really overpriced. After the first day, we skipped on the resort food and got great pizza delivered from Pizza Corner across the street, and picked up other food at ABC and Target.

The staff was great and very accommodating, but getting a hold of housekeeping on the phone was an exercise in frustration. Each time we called, it was a minimum of a 5 - 10 minute hold. We finally gave up at one point and dropped laundry off at the bell desk, and rather than having it returned the next day by noon (as advertised), we had to call (and hold) and get the run around as to where it was at with a promise to call back with a "status" the following day. Thankfully, we did finally get it 2 days after we dropped it off (not really acceptable for this level of a resort IMO).

If you're bringing a car, just use valet. Its the same $35/day whether you park it yourself or have them park it for you. $35 is a bit steep, but its Disney and there are no other options for parking in the area.

Room Tip: partial ocean view was nice. if you want quiet you should opt for a room not facing the pool area.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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4  Thank Stephanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2014

If you love all things Disney, don't read this. If you're a skeptical Disney person (like me) who still wants to give your kids the Disney experience because you know they'll love it, read on!

We stayed at the Aulani for 3 nights on our way home from Kauai. This hotel is a cross between Disney & Vegas with a bit of Hawaii thrown in.

The good:
The pools, beach, Aunty's Beach House & the rooms. All very well done.
Check in is easy and the activities (if you sign up early) are fantastic.
The guests - everyone is there for the kids, so they're all very nice.

The bad:
The food, it's as terrible as everyone says....We arrived at 5pm on our first night. We weren't in the mood for the fancy restaurant and we don't do buffets. The only other option was the grab-n-go place/cafeteria. Listen to everyone else, take a 3 minute walk out the front of the hotel and across the street to the MonkeyPod.

The Aulani service was spotty. We got lost one day and an employee at the bell desk actually put us in the elevator and walked us to where we needed to be. Very nice.

On another morning, our room keys decided to stop working. We had to make a detour to the front desk where I was questioned about why my keys weren't working (not sure why that was my problem) but I finally got two new keys. I headed out to the pool as usual where the towel people promptly told us that our new keys no longer had our kids' names on them, so we needed to go all the way back to the front desk again to resolve the issue. I went back to the same people and asked why the issue had happened and once again, I was asked why my kids weren't in the system. Uh, I gave you their names when I checked in? Again, why is this my fault that I've now spent 45 minutes resolving "key issues" on my last full day at the resort? Just an example of the hit and miss experience so be prepared.

The crowded pool area. It's true that people get up and save pool chairs by 8am. They are ALL taken. If you decide to sleep in one day, you're out of luck. Literally....The good news is that around 3pm, people start to clear out and things are much nicer. It's also kinda gross that at least one pool as day is shut down due to kids pooping or vomiting in the pools. Not sure why people would allow this to happen, but the first day the bridge area was shut down. The next day the main pool and shut down. Bluck!

The Rainbow Reef is as cold as people say. My 8 year old loves to snorkel but spent 5 minutes in the reef due to the temp. It only cost me $10 but still!

Two insider tips:
1) Take the kids for surf lessons. It's great and safe. They'll love it!
2) Go visit the giant sea turtles that live in the bay right next to Paradise Cove (5 minute walk).

I will not be back to this resort. It's not what I love about Hawaii, but I'm glad to have given my kids the experience. They loved it. For non-Disney lovers, book a couple of nights and check it off the list!

Room Tip: The doors are very solid and should keep the noise out. If you want to be safe, make sure to ask for a room that does not face the inner pool area.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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8  Thank sarah j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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