Recognized as one of Hawaii’s most acclaimed resorts, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is an extraordinary oceanfront resort providing superb accommodations in a tropical setting with access to a multitude of both daytime and nighttime activities to entertain and inspire guests of all ages.
Here are our top 10 awesome reasons to stay at this incredible Disney Vacation Club property that continually receives rave reviews. Because this resort is also popular with locals, we recommend making reservations for the items on your To-Do List before you arrive, up to 90 days prior to check-in, as most sell out.
Location, Location, Location!
This outstanding Disney resort is perfectly situated in terms of location and settled directly on the beach in Ko Olina Hawaii on the calm, leeward side of the island of O’ahu. This means Aulani is ideally positioned to make the most of the gentle breezes from the ocean yet provides a secluded and restful enclave whether guests are seeking romantic getaways or enchanted family vacations. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is close to all the action of O’ahu, but far enough removed from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki to provide a unique vacation.
Adding to the excitement, the new mega-resort complex by Atlantis is rumored to be arriving in the area within a few years, rumored for 2023, per a water and construction use permit authorized in April 2019, which will provide even more dining and entertainment choices including a planned aquarium.
Pool parties at the Waikolohe Pool are action-packed with music, dancing and interactive games. Look for appearances by beloved Disney characters that roam the property regularly. You can meet and greet: Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Stitch, and of course, Minnie and Mickey, dressed in vibrant Hawaiian attire. The pool area offers various entertainment like the gentle ride along the 900’ lazy river! Then after dark, visit the Ka Maka Grotto infinity edge pool to see the thousands of glittering lights around this pool giving off a magical reflection. Kids will have a blast, both day and night, splashing in the Keiki Cove Splash Zone.
Looking for bigger thrills? From atop Pu‘u Kilo—a craggy peak overlooking Waikolohe Valley—take off on 2 awesome adventures: Volcanic Vertical: An enclosed, extreme body slide that plunges you into Waikolohe Pool. Next try, Tubestone Curl. This open-air, twisting and turning tube adventure that eventually launches you into Waikolohe Stream—ride it solo or with a partner!
For a beach day, stop by Makiki Joe’s for a beach umbrella or sand toys to enjoy time at Ko Olina Lagoon and Rainbow Reef. Many items are complimentary for Aulani Resort Guests, while others are available for rental.
Boogie boards, sand toys and life jackets: FREE
Beach chairs and umbrellas: FREE
Snorkel sets: $25 per day for Aulani Resort Guests, which includes one-day access to Guest-exclusive Rainbow Reef, a life vest and mask.
Stand-up paddleboards: $45 per hour
Beachside casabella (2-seat lounger with awning): $80 per day (same-day reservations available on a first-come, first-served basis for use between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM)
Disney Vacation Club Villas!
The deluxe accommodations at Disney’s Aulani were designed to inspire guests with colorful, yet elegant island-inspired décor which can sleep 4 – 12 guests. Polynesian prints and island accents provide the backdrop for cheerful, comfortable villas offering separate bedrooms for privacy and space.
Choose from a deluxe studio with a kitchenette that sleeps up to 4 guests. For larger groups there are villas with 1-, 2- or 3-bedrooms, full kitchens to enjoy meals in a home-style environment, washer and dryer for clothes so save packing hassles, and plenty of space in living, dining and bedroom areas for the ultimate in vacation comfort. With spectacular sweeping views and world-class hospitality, guests will delight in the magic and wonder of the Hawaiian Islands at this grand Disney property.
Dining opportunities are plentiful and unique at Aulani. Watch the sun set while dining at Aulani’s signature restaurant, AMA’AMA, serving delicious island cuisine in an upscale beach house setting. TIP: make a reservation early for the 615PM sunset dinner. Makahiki – The Bounty of the Island serves character breakfast and buffet dinners.
The ‘Olelo Room is the perfect spot to enjoy a libation while listening to live Hawaiian music on the patio. More casual options include Ulu Café for all day meals-to-go, the Wailana Pool Bar for guests 18 and older, Off the Hook poolside lounge for light meals and refreshments with an ocean view, Mama’s Snack Stop for poolside quick grab and go’s, or Papalua Shave Ice for a cooling treat and break from the sun.
On-site amenities abound at Aulani. If you are looking for a unique experience besides the sun, pool, and beach then you’ve come to the right place. Disney’s Aulani has local artists and musicians come to the resort daily to hold classes and interactive experiences of the guests. You can take a Hula lesson and learn the art of telling a story through dance or learn the art of Lei Making with local flowers.
Next, there are guided nature tours and the Pau Hana community center where Walt Disney Imagineers will give you a walking tour and discuss landscapes and native animals. Tours are available for families and for adults only, FREE. Families will enjoy keeping track of the number of wooden Menehunes (little people) hidden in various locations throughout the resort.
To keep with the island theme all day, every morning at 7 am, wake up and open your balcony doors to listen to the sounds of Hawaiian music on a Maka’ala played over speakers throughout the property.
Make sure one of your evenings include the Mo’olelo Fire Pit Storytelling, FREE. Here you will listen to the master storytellers share tales at The Circle of ‘Alae ‘Ula each night under the stars complete with music, props, magic, and puppetry.
For an exhilarating Hawaiian experience, be sure to make reservations (early, before you arrive) for “Ka Wa’a Lu’au”, the 3-hour celebration of Polynesian-style food, music and dancing featuring authentic performers who honor Hawaii’s rich history, culture and the island’s natural beauty. The impressive buffet menu selections include Whole Roasted Hawaiian Raised Suckling Pig, Waipoli lettuce, Ahi Poke, Lomi Salmon Salad, Uala Potato, Taro Rolls with Lilikoi Butter, Haupia (coconut) Pudding, and special selections for “Keiki” (children).
Kids will have a blast!
Sign the kids up for Aunty’s Beach House, the perfect place for children and young teens. FREE supervised childcare so the adults can enjoy some kid-free time if they choose but remember to pre-register at least 3 days prior to arrival, it is recommended the earlier the better and can be done at 90 days in advance – link to pre-register is here. This is the place for kids ages 3 – 12 to relax, participate in organized activities and share family-style meals with new-found friends. The Painted Sky Teen Spa is the cool place for teens ages 13 to 17 to experience pampering spa treatments. Kids of all ages will have fun at the pool area and at the beach with you too.
The Professor from the Disney animated film Lilo & Stitch gives the kids a FREE Eruption Disruption Volcanic Experience where they learn about the formation of the Islands and how they’re affected by tides, the ocean, and Hawaiian volcanoes.
End a full day of adventure by watching beloved Disney movies under the stars each evening FREE at Ohana Disney Movie Night on the Halowai Lawn.
Get ready to explore the island! Stop by the resort Concierge Desk for help with setting up day trips and other adventures. The magnificent Island of Oahu has a multitude of things to see, do and experience. Take a ride on a catamaran for an awe-inspiring view of the coast and sea life. Many guests spot whales and dolphins during their catamaran ride that make it a highlight of their stay. Spend a day on Maunalua Bay and take in great views of Diamond Head. Sign up for a Dolphin Swim adventure or Sea Lion encounter for an additional fee to get up close and personal with these beautiful and loving creatures. Explore unspoiled rainforest terrain in the Waimea Valley or take in the beauty of the Ko’olau Mountain Range. Visit the Manoa Valley Rainforest and Bamboo Forest. Tour the USS Arizona Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Missouri battleship at Pearl Harbor.
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa has been the recipient of countless awards for its world-class hospitality, quality of service and vacation experiences provided to guests. Here’s a sampling of accolades received over the past few years:
Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards Best Family-Friendly Resorts for Summer Vacation, Hawaii Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards, First Place for best hotel or resort for families, Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 30 Best Resorts in Hawaii, Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards #1 Family Best Beach Hotel, Sunset Magazine Winner Best Large Hotel Resort for Families, and U.S. News and World Report Top Family-FriendlyRetreats for Your Summer Vacation.
DVC Member Perks!
Staying on-site at a deluxe Disney resort certain has its benefits for all guests, but it’s extra special for Disney Vacation Club members who are entitled to exclusive privileges like a designated check-in line, special wristband window, family portrait discounts, FREE arts and crafts lessons, photography classes, light wand painting lessons and mixology classes. Members have exclusive access to the Pau Hana Community Center and enchanted Menehune Adventure Trail for up to an hour after standard closing time. DVC members can pre-order groceries for convenient in-villa dining. The exclusive “Monday Mingle” is the place for DVC members to meet and greet, win lots of prizes and find out all the latest news in the world of Disney Vacation Club.
Vacation Club Loans, offers the best deals on financing if you are interested in becoming a DVC owner. Their interest rates start as low as 9.9% based on good credit and offer no prepayment penalties on all their DVC loans. For more information see https://www.vacationclubloans.com/portfolio/dvc-resale/.
- Contributed by CHRIS GOLDEN