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“Great property,great beach & pools, lacking restaurant choices”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Branchburg, New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great property,great beach & pools, lacking restaurant choices”
Reviewed August 2, 2014

We are vacation club members since 2004. First let me say resort, staff, accommodations are great. This was our second trip to Aulani, our first was Aug 2012, things were still new so we figured they had worked out some of the kinks in 2 years. We are a family of 4 with an 18 yr old boy and a 15 yr old girl. We booked a 1 bedroom island garden view for 12 nights. ( booking 12 nights did require 5 additional calls to Disney reservations as members can only book a week at a time & then call each day to add a day which you have to do at exactly 9 am when they open or it will b sold out) We arrived at 3 pm and surprisingly our room was ready. We were on the 12th fl in the Ewa tower overlooking the lawn, gardens and much to our surprise a whole lot of beautiful ocean, cove and marina. A much better view than friends that booked pool view and got first floor looking at a tree for more points... It was great to have coffee in the morning on one of the two lanai's watching the waves. Also great view of the starlit hue show that is put on several nites per week, and it is the new location for weddings as well. Rooms are big enough for 4. Master bed quite firm, not comfortable for me, but if u like a firm mattress you will love it. Pullout has nice Therapedic foam mattress, and the Murphy twin pulls down from the T.v wall unit. It was sufficient for my 15 yr old daughter who is barely 5 ft any bigger forget it. Whoever gets that bed should be a great sleeper cause the T v is right over them n if the person in the pullout is a late nighter, forget it. Also the doors between the master n the living room/other sleeping area and the doors that separate the master bedroom from the only bathroom have slats not solid door panels. You hear everything from the bathroom,including the loudest toilet flush I have ever heard. And the sound of the tv in the living room goes right thru the door into the master. Oh and the only dresser drawers are in the master bedroom. There is a closet in the living room, but no drawers. Poor design.
Otherwise well equipped kitchen,clean, washer n dryer( again slatted doors very loud). We were first room off elevator bank and it was very quiet. So the food.. Typical Disney fashion, I personally did not think it was any more overpriced than any other Disney resort. I feel the choices of restaurants are lacking. Dinner options are either by reservation only. Buffett for 43pp bucks or appetizers only at the casual restaurant by the pool or quick service salads n Disney pizza at the other restaurant. Unless you want to make a reservation for every meal, go to Safeway or Costco( prices are the same as your Costco wherever you live) even the 1.50 hotdog and soda..and get your groceries if you have a unit w a kitchen. There is an Outback Steakhouse near the costco which was very good ate there twice..and an excellent pizza place called Brick Oven Pizza.. We r from jersey, good pizza is important! We also ate at Chucks steak house at the Marriott near the marina (not the JW marriott next door) just a 5 min walk down the beach! AND if you go on Tuesday, the marriott has a great luau show that you can see from the resturant since it is open air.. You could also purchase tix to the show n dinner thru the marriott. We did the paradise cove luau two yrs ago, this one was just as good..
These places are all located within 3 miles of the resort . First and second exit off the highway. Get a car at the airport.. Cheaper than at the hotel and if you have a BJs warehouse membership, their car rental discount is the best you will find. We paid 500 for mid size for two weeks w taxes! You will save that in food! FYI the parking garage is a hike if you are in the Ewa tower. If you food shop, drop your groceries at the main entrance or have the bell service bring them up.
Pools. Everything you have read about the chair saving, pool police, pools closing and tons of kids is true. If it bothers you that you have to go to the pool early and get your chairs and ck back every hour or so then you will be not b happy here. If you do get chairs and decide to go to the beach ,paddle board or lazy river, or even go upstairs for lunch just be mindful of your time. Let the pool police know you will be back,they are understanding that some things may take a bit longer.. Just b courteous. Don't put towels down and go to Pearl Harbor, they will be gone when u return. The day we went to diamond head we got back at 1 ish and since we of course did not get chairs in the am, we did not have anywhere to sit at all.. Disappointing. There was at least one pool closed at some point every day for chemical imbalance, usually just before the 2 pm pool party. It's to your benefit! There are lots of kids, it's Disney remember.. They are not your kids, just ignore them. The bar at the adult pool closes Way to early 7 pm. Great bartender Chad! Adult pool was quiet n seats were available. ( no one under 18 supposedly permitted) Waitress n waiter service for drinks and food service was readily available in all pool areas. The new infinity pool was greatly needed and is beautiful. Paddle boarding snorkeling and other activities at the beach were fun.. Waits sometimes for equip,especially later in the day..
Surfing lessons were a must this time. Found a GREAT little place 20 min west of the resort in Waianae called West Ohau SUP.. 808 729-2229 Jason, His son n Sue we're so nice. No Honolulu traffic or Waikiki crowds.. We went to a private beach,2 hrs 80 bucks pp. 3 kids two instructors all got up first try.. Even our friends 9 yr old! Highlight of our trip.
Overall very nice resort, it may be a "fake" Hawaiian experience as some have claimed, but if you venture out of the hotel you can experience all the culture you want, or not. At least you know what you are getting w a Disney resort. If you go to the oleo room/ lounge their near the Buffett restaurant, you can experience the beautiful Hawaiian language, as all employees there are required to speak it.. It is fun to try n learn..
Our stay came to an end with a cancelled flight, we re booked to leave at 8 pm, got a 1 pm ck out n were given keys to the hospitality room, next to the community center for showering after an extra day of sun.. We checked it out early and it was clean and cool and spacious w lockers n towels. When we went back at 3:30 to shower, my daughter n I were 8th in line to shower... There are only two showers! The line was outside the shower room behind us. It was ridiculous! There were women showering 6 kids at a time..! It was not a pleasant experience, if your flight is late and you need to utilize this facility, PLAN accordingly, you will need at least two hrs to get in n out. Or make a spa appt n use those facilities.. That experience was a huge negative for me.. Overall nice trip, game room w pool tables, air hockey, etc would be nice for older kids.. My kids really had nothing to do at nite. We love Hawaii, will probably return, unsure if we will stay here or even on Oahu.. It is a very expensive vacation if you are not DVC members, get the most for your $$ by reading reviews and don't b afraid to go outside the Wonderful World of Disney!

Room Tip: Unless you require oceanfront, book an island garden view for less money/points. You may get lucky...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank guido f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Monrovia, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2014

Spent a week at this resort with children, grandchildren and extended family. It is very well run, extremely well staffed and well maintained. Yes, it is crowded in summer (July), but so is everywhere. They seem to handle the crowd well. There are always those who feel entitled, getting lounges and locations early, saving places for others, adults acting badly, but if you remind yourself you are on vacation and it is for the kids, you will be fine. There is plenty to do to keep the children occupied. We had a 4 year old and a 19 month old and they both were entertained and enjoyed every minute with age appropriate activities. Having a villa, which has a kitchen, allows meals to be handled easily. Food at the resort restaurants is pricey and extra activities (snorkeling, star gazing) do cost, but there is a market and restaurants across the street and plenty of free fun stuff to do. It is an ideal vacation destination for families, ours ranged from 19 months to 73 years old, and everyone had a great week.

Room Tip: Villa is perfect for family, including kitchen, washer/dryer, dining area and sitting room.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank CathyKras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2014 via mobile

Love , love Disney! I had high expectations. However, I did not enjoy going to the pool at 9 am to have just a few pool chairs to choose from. They were so busy they were only giving out one towel per guest and they had to be present to get it.

Also, we stood in line for Aunties Beach House at 7:30 am. By the time they got to us. EVERY activity was filled already. If I wanted lines, and crowds I would go to Orlando in July. Not fly half way around the world.

The resort is beautiful. But they need to design more area so you can find a corner to sit and single task like the Kona brewing co commercial says, not be stressed about getting a chair, or making sure your kids can experience one of the resort activities. Disney has better organizational skills than this!!

I also wish the quick service locations were open past 6. After that you really only have restaurants or an overpriced buffet. The market restaurant has pizza and a hot plate of the day, but where are the hamburgers or Mac and cheese? The other locations should stay open as long as the sun is out!

The villas are beautiful but my one dislike of them is their is lack of privacy. The door from the bedroom to the living room has a louvre door, and the same from the bedroom to the bathroom. That makes out so you can hear everything, into the bedroom. Sometimes , you just don't want to hear what someone is doing in the bathroom!

The pull out bed that comes out of the tv unit is not made for a tall person. And the fold out couch has a double fold. So it's like the couch has two slits that go across the bed. My kids were not fond of it.

I thought it was great the villas That have kitchens have a rice maker, rice bowls and even chop sticks! They are obviously aware of the demand for the predominant Asian clientele that comes to Hawaii.

Tour busses would stop and let people off to tour. That made the lobby and gift shop area very busy at times too.

The hotel is beautiful , however it was just too crowded in summer to take it all in.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank twinglemom3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
336 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2014

Its just like Disneyland...wait in line for everything. What a crowded place. You need to get up very early in the morning to get a decent lounge chair by the pool. People were reserving their chairs starting at 6:30 in the morning. The property is well maintained and very lush, but the crowds made it a place thatwas not very enjoyable, and I am unlikely to return. If you have kids, and don't mind waiting in line for everything, then you may actually enjoy this resort. Your children will love it. For a taste of the real Hawaii, go to another place and another island,

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled on business
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ono O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport Coast
Level Contributor
53 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2014

Just returned from 4 nights at Aulani with our 12 year old twins - we had a fabulous time! The resort was at full capacity while we were there, and yet, it did not seem unreasonably busy. Many reviews mentioned the restaurants being too busy so we bypassed the resort and took a very short walk across the street and enjoyed the restaurants there. also - deck chairs - too few seemed to be the consensus. we agree - but - decided we would just hang with our kids so we did not get chairs and instead, just stowed our flip flops in a pile and swam with them - so fun for all of us. We had many hours of fun at the lazy river and the many pools and were able to judge when the lines for the slides were less populated (early or late) and so did not wait very long.

Book a vacation club villa - so great to have a kitchen and laundry - and not that much more than a standard room. Our one bedroom villa had plenty of room for the 4 of us.

Big disappointment: the "family dinner" delivered to our room. We read that another family ordered the family dinner and thought it was a great day - however, we ordered the roasted chicken dinner and got enough chicken for one hungry adult and enough mac and cheese for 12 people.

we loved being able to check out DVDs and games from the kids' room.

overall we had a fabulous time at Aulani and would definitely consider going back.

Room Tip: Book a villa or a high floor. If concerned about noise, do not book a room with a pool view.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Fairwind12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan Beach, CA
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2014

I feel always pumped up at Disney. We were welcomed with floral leis for ladies, beads for guys, and special necklaces for kids. The resort seems mostly for Vacation Club while we booked our vacation package with breakfast on the hotel side through Expedia. I traveled with two other families and we got a upgrade to partial ocean view and one of the rooms I guess that has the best view out of hotel rooms, #1628, a corner, end unit on the top floor and the view was fantastic! The ground is beautiful and is also extended to a lagoon with sandy beach. The entertainment was great and the food was great. I feel bad that my family appears to be grown out of Disney as my youngest is 15. It would be a perfect resort for a families with young kids although I have seen a few newly-wed couple.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mary C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2014 via mobile

Second time to Aulani. We stayed two years ago. Food quality has really improved. Fantastic place for families with young children (3 and older for the kids' club). Restaurant reservations are a hassle so plan ahead. But a great stay for the family.

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Seat29a
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
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Hawaii/Oahu

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