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Aulani or Cruise

  • Thread starter bevotex
  • Start date Oct 22, 2019

Bevo with Mouse Ears

  • Oct 22, 2019

I am trying to get a cost comparison. We will either be doing 7 nights at Aulani or doing a cruise. It is fairly easy for me to determine my costs on a cruise, but I am totally lost on what to budget for Aulani. I am a DVC member so hotel costs are not a concern for me. I am expecting excursions on a cruise and an excursion from theresort are a wash. So, I am trying to figure out if daily food costs and other Aulani amenities would come in under the price of a cruise. Any opinions on this is greatly appreciated. BTW-we have doen Disney cruises a couple of times (loved them), but if we cruise this time, we will likely take a different liner. Thanks everyone.  

disney cruise or aulani

Earning My Ears

Depending on how many people are in your group and how much your cruise costs, Aulani will probably be cheaper, especially if hotel costs aren't part of the consideration. The two big costs with Aulani are food and car rental. I would budget food costs similarly to what you spend in the parks. If you are signature dinning folks in the park, you can spend the same at 'Ama'Ama and the restaurants next door at Four Seasons. If you are counter services folks, you can go to Ulu or the ABC store across the street. Cocktails run around $15 each at the resort. Hawaii in general is more expensive than the mainland, but then so are the Disney Parks. Of course, if you have a 1 or 2 bedroom unit, you can go to Costco and save on food. But then you have to cook and clean up after yourselves, which can be a bummer on vacation, especially if its one person doing all the work. I recommend happy hour at Monkey Pod, with half price apps, $10 cocktails, and $10 pizzas. Cars rentals of course depend on the type of luxury you require, but for a week my experience is around $600 for a midrange vehicle. You don't have to pay for parking since you're DVC. The spa at Aulani is amazing and I highly recommend it. It is pricey, but comparable to spa services on the DCL .  

alltwelve

Mouseketeer

We just completed a 4 night Disney Cruise (9/16-20) and had a 6-night stay at Aulani around the same time last year. Aulani was significantly cheaper than the cruise, however, we had a 1-bedroom and mainly prepared meals in our villa, dining out just a couple of times. We rented a convertible for the week, and even with that cost and our flights, the cruise was more than double the cost of Aulani, once all expenses were factored in, and it wasn't as long as the Aulani trip. That being said, there's only two of us, so we only had to buy 2 plane tickets and prepare meals for two while at Aulani. We live close enough to Port Canaveral that plane tickets aren't required for us for cruising. If you are going with a different cruise line, both trips may end up being closer in price, as DCL cruises are more than other cruise lines. You may need to do a spreadsheet on it to figure it out.  

  • Oct 23, 2019

I have been to neither (going to Aulani for the first time in a couple weeks!), but I was bouncing this idea around for quite a while. We were looking at Disney Cruise or Aulani and ultimately decided with Aulani mainly because we were able to rent points at a significant discount. We have a family of four, which impacts the price of the cruise, but an Aulani room price is fixed. Here are some of the questions that I needed to answer myself. 1. What value do I put in a room? We were comparing a verandah room vs a 1 bedroom. Renting DVC for the 1 bedroom for 4 beats any verandah cruise way out of the water. It probably will still come out cheaper than a porthole room. 2. How much are flights? We live on the west coast, so flying out to Hawaii vs flying out to Orlando was essentially a wash. San Diego was an option as well, but their cruises are significantly more expensive, which came close to covering flights. 3. Flexibility of schedule? We have two kids, with one in school, we prefer our DD to not miss school, so that severely limited what cruises we were open to taking. 4. Over all price. Hopefully this actually answer your question (I realized my first three points probably didn't address your questions at all). Since you are a DVC member, I would highly recommend you consider renting a car since your parking is free. We have a 6 day intermediate car rental in early Nov for $210. Food wise, we are not particularly drawn to the food at Aulani. We will probably grab some snacks and maybe try to budget in a Luau (a huge expense), but otherwise we plan on going to the Foodland (local Hawaiian supermarket) and Costco. We also love Hawaii and will explore restaurants outside the resort. We also plan on cooking most of our breakfast (macadamia nut pancake mix from Foodland). According to my own calculations, going on a DCL (so pricing might be different for you), the extra cost between cruising and Aulani was about $100 per person per night. We do not anticipate spending $400 a day on food. Essentially this is what it looked like for me. (Cruise cost + tips, tax, etc) / (how long the cruise is) = price of the cruise per day. This price came out to be about $800ish per day for us (because we have 4). (Aulani DVC rental aka total cost + car rental) / (number of days) = price of alumni per day. Pretty straight forward. We scored a 1 bedroom with rental for about $435 a day. Aulani was cheaper by $365 a day for us. Compound that by 4 nights, it is a difference of $1460. I feel like $1460 for 5 days and 4 nights is more than enough for us. I am sure I just rambled and not sure how much I helped but since I already typed it all... I hope it helps a little!  

nkereina

Last chance to lose your keys.

Food can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be at Aulani. If you do not have a rental car and are not willing to get groceries, you can expect it to be pricey because you'll be relegated to the pricey meals at Aulani and tourist-priced restaurants across the street. If you have a rental car, it gives you the flexibility to eat at more affordable local places around the island while you're out exploring. You can also pickup groceries, since you'll have a kitchen staying DVC. I don't recall what we spent during our time at Aulani, but we did have snack items, bottled water, and quick/easy things for some breakfasts and some lunches. We roughly priced out the cruise versus island hopping on our own, and it came out cheaper for us to do it on our own, and it also gave us more flexibility. Because of that, I would also agree that a week at Aulani would be cheaper. ETA: I assumed you were looking at NCL's Pride of America cruise around Hawaii versus a week at Aulani? Or are you comparing a cruise somewhere in the Caribbean versus Aulani? I assumed you meant the Hawaiian cruise, but would probably add different comments if you're looking at a cruise in the Caribbean or somewhere else. For us, flying from the east coast, the cost to get to Hawaii is the most expensive part. We could easily fly to Fort Lauderdale or Miami to get on a cruise ship for a fraction of the cost, so in that case, it would likely be cheaper to do a cruise.  

Oh yah, and one last thing. Hook em horns!  

DIS Veteran

I have been to Aulani twice and a cruise once. I am also a DVC member. For me, its Aulani all the way. We are doing a Royal Caribbean cruise this winter to break it up a bit but the cost of going to Hawaii is much less than the cost of a Disney cruise in my opinion. If you are looking for things to do look at the go Oahu card. For one price you get to do basically everything that you might want to do and its far less expensive than Disney cruise shore excursions are. The big expense in Hawaii is food but it all depends on what you want to ear, if you want to eat at Aulani everyday then you will spend a fortune on food  

  • Oct 24, 2019
superden said: Oh yah, and one last thing. Hook em horns! Click to expand...

dachsie

bevotex said: Hook em!!! Click to expand...

😀

TeeDisney1025

  • Nov 7, 2019

We are DVC and I was recently researching this very thing! We were either doing Aulani for 8 nights or a Royal Caribbean for 7 nights. Aulani won out b/c we get a 2 br where we can all stay in one room for considerably less than 2 separate smaller rooms on the ship.  

cgattis

Wanted to add you can basically consider the rental car cost as your “excursion” cost; there is plenty to do for free on Oahu. And ditto to what everyone else has said on food. But most importantly....Roll Tide!! (And if you’re still reading LOL, it was fun to go to Aloha Stadium and take a short tour.)  

disneypoor

DH thinks I have a "thing" for Mickey!

  • Nov 17, 2019

We go to Aulani a lot more than we ever thought we would when we first bought our DVC there. We bought BLT first and had planned to do Aulani maybe every 3 years due to the cost of getting our family there. However, we were told about the Alaska Airlines card and we now get two companion fares per year (my husband and I each got one), so we have found that Aulani is even cheaper than going to WDW for us when you factor in flights, park tickets, and food. We do normally get a 2 bedroom and usually eat breakfast in the room and maybe one other meal depending on what we are doing each day. We eat one meal out per day for sure and sometimes two. We don't really pay for excursions at Aulani and have found many things we love doing that are free. I also rent a vehicle as early as possible and just keep watching for a drop in price which happens quite a bit. We do DCL cruises often too, and although they are expensive, we LOVE them! It's always a hard toss up when trying to decide between the cruises and Aulani for us, but Aulani seems to be more bang for the buck overall.  

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Aulani Resort & Spa Trip Planning Guide

disney cruise or aulani

Aulani is Disney’s resort & spa hotel (that’s an understatement!) in Oahu, Hawaii. This trip planning guide offers tips for planning a vacation at Disney’s Aulani, from when to visit to how long to stay at the resort to what to do while you’re there. It also discusses whether Aulani might be right for you in the first place, and how you can make a visit more economical. We’ve now visited Aulani several times, and have updated this guide based upon each of our experiences at Aulani.

Unlike most other Disney destinations, Aulani is a bit of an odd duck. It’s not attached to a theme park or part of a more comprehensive trip or experience put on by Disney, but it’s not “just” a hotel, either. The most apt comparison we can think of is to other resort complexes on Oahu, or in other tropical settings that offer a multitude of things to do on the premises, but really are best enjoyed alongside other experiences in that locale. It’s also somewhat like a cruise ship on land.

Aulani is a great place for guests to stay who independently want to travel to Hawaii, but it’s difficult to recommend to Disney fans as a “Disney Destination” if those fans aren’t also interested in visiting Hawaii. The good news is that Hawaii is an amazing place in its own right, so most people contemplating a stay at Aulani are probably not solely interested in Aulani. The bad news is that a trip to Hawaii is very expensive, so even being a Disney fan plus being curious about Hawaii may not be sufficient for justifying the trip.

We’ll explore that all below, for now let’s dig into the Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa planning guide…

Is Aulani Worth It?

We’ve already started to explore this question above, and there’s really no direct answer we can provide to you. In terms of the hotel/resort itself, Aulani is incredibly nice. I want to keep this trip planning guide manageable in length, so you can read our separate Aulani 1-Bedroom Villa Room Review to get an idea of the quality of the rooms, themselves. Suffice to say, Aulani is our new favorite Disney hotel.

That Aulani is incredibly nice should come as no surprise. It’s virtually brand new, has staunch competition from real-world luxury hotel brands on Oahu, and does not benefit from its proximity to a Disney theme park as a convenience-advantage. To the contrary, it’s a bit removed from Honolulu and Waikiki Beach where most of the major players are (having stayed in Waikiki and the upstart Ko Olina where Aulani is located, I’ll take Ko Olina any day of the week). Plus, in the more adult market of Hawaiian vacations, the Disney brand doesn’t have quite the same pull as the name does for families traveling to theme parks.

disney cruise or aulani

In other words, Disney had to come out swinging for the fences with Aulani in order for the resort to be a success. Fortunately, Disney did exactly that, and while the resort does command the typical Disney premium, arguably for what you are getting, it offers a significantly better value than any of the theme park-adjacent hotels in the United States.

To be abundantly clear, it ranks right up there with hotels like the Grand Floridian and Grand Californian in terms of cost (or exceeds them), but it also offers a lot more. The rooms are incredibly nice, and successfully blend luxury with themed accommodations. This is something with which we find Disney constantly struggles, and the balance is not an easy proposition. Aulani just works in both regards.

The rooms are artfully and tastefully decorated, feeling culturally appropriate, but also with the type of high quality furnishings, fixtures, and design that you’d expect of a luxury hotel. It’s exceedingly rare for us to say this about Disney hotels, but Aulani’s rooms nail both luxury and theme. You can see just how gorgeous the resort is in our “The Beauty of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa” post , which features a lot of photos.

Of course, room quality is not the only consideration in terms of whether a resort is worth it. Most people aren’t going to visit Hawaii and spend a ton of time in their room, honeymooners excluded. Again, Aulani excels in terms of both the overall resort quality and the available amenities.

From the resort’s impressive Hawaiian art collection to the amazing Waikolohe Valley pool area (including my favorite thing about Aulani, the lazy river) to the daily events and activities, there is plenty to do, see, and enjoy at Aulani. If you’ve ever done Disney Cruise Line (or another ship, for that matter), it’s sort of like that in terms of activities. We did a ton of these activities at Aulani, and had a blast just enjoying the resort.

The other part of the equation is whether Hawaii, and the island of Oahu in particular, is worth visiting for you. We cannot answer that (although we offer some insight in the “Things to Do Beyond Aulani” section of this post). If things like Pearl Harbor, hiking, beaches, or island culture (among many other things) interest you, chances are a visit to Aulani and Oahu will be worth it for you.

disney cruise or aulani

While we think Hawaii is a better couples’ destination than it is a family vacation spot, Aulani is a great place to get a mix of both. The kids can have fun with the activities geared towards them, and the adults in the family can enjoy a romantic experience.

If the resort experience or Hawaii don’t really interest you, and you’re primarily a passionate Disney fan who is thinking about visiting Disney’s newest destination, it’s tough to say Aulani will be worth it for you. Aulani is not a theme park experience, and really is only “Disney” in terms of some character motifs and the overall quality and attention to detail. Unless money and vacation time are no object, we do not recommend Aulani to Disney fans who otherwise aren’t interested in visiting a luxury resort in Hawaii.

Another category for whom Aulani may not be worth it is those passionate Disney fans on tight budgets who are interested in the Aulani experience and visiting Hawaii, but would have to forgo an annual visit to the theme parks in order to afford Aulani. Unlike Tokyo Disney Resort, which we strongly advocate skipping the US parks for a year (or two) to experience , Aulani is unlikely to satisfy those looking for a Disney theme park “fix.”

We absolutely love Aulani, but we want to try to be objective in analyzing who will enjoy the experience the most. Aulani will be an amazing destination for a lot of people, but it also won’t appeal to a lot of people–just like virtually any vacation destination out there. Of course, without knowing you and your interests specifically, we can’t say definitively how you’ll feel about it, but hopefully this section gave you an idea of how it might appeal to you.

When to Visit?

Hawaii essentially has high seasons dictated by two things: winter and school breaks. The latter is especially true at Aulani, which is a mixed family and couples’ destination, rather than primarily a couples’ destination like the rest of Oahu. The former is generally true at Aulani and throughout Hawaii, as many guests flee cold weather for a dose of paradise.

There’s also weather to consider. Hawaii is pretty warm year-round, but it gets even hotter in the summer. No matter when you visit, you can except highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s or 70s. Still, the better times for weather in Hawaii are generally the spring and fall .

Based upon all of these factors, the “sweet spots” for trips to Aulani are late-April through mid-May and September through October. You avoid all significant school breaks with these dates, and you’re also outside of the range of snowbird season. Plus, these are good seasons as far as weather goes. These are educated guesses on our part based upon things we read and travel intuition, and are not at all observation based. Frommer’s seems to agree with us , but note that they’re working off of Hawaii travel trends in general.

Our educated guesses paid off with our early-May visit (just after Japan’s Golden Week–we’d probably go a week later next time to avoid this popular travel week for Japanese visitors , but crowds were still light), as the we were told that Aulani was less than half-full, Pearl Harbor had no significant crowds, and the weather was excellent. Your mileage may vary–do your own research into dates to confirm our speculation isn’t just crazy.

Things to Do at Aulani

laniwai-aulani-spa copy

Let’s break this down into two separate questions. First, what to do at Aulani. Second, what to do beyond Aulani. If you’ve ever done a Disney Cruise before, you know that it’s kind of a go at your own pace, do as much or as little as you want type of thing. Aulani is the exact same way. Like the Disney Cruise Line, there are daily newsletters printed out with schedules of daily events, and there’s pretty much a scheduled event every hour of the day.

The schedule is definitely lighter than Disney Cruise Line’s personal navigator, but considering that everyday you have numerous pools and other on-site options, plus the whole of Oahu to explore, it’s pretty full of activities.

Some of these activities are repeated every day, every other day, or at some random interval, but some may happen only once per week. We definitely recommend reviewing the sample schedule online so you can plan meals and other day trips around the schedule events at Aulani that are must-dos for you.

tom-bricker-ukulele-aulani copy

Listed below are a few things you can do at Aulani:

  • Ka Wa’a Luau
  • Laniwai – A Disney Spa
  • Fireside Mo’Olelo
  • Ho’ Okani Pila (Learn the ‘Ukulele)
  • Menehune Adventure Trail
  • Morning Beach Yoga
  • Rainbow Reef Snorkeling
  • Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki
  • Character Meet & Greets

This is just a partial list of things that we did do at Aulani, and doesn’t include ordinary stuff like lounging around the pool, taking dozens of laps around the lazy river, wandering the grounds, or hanging out at the bars. It also doesn’t cover activities specifically for kids and teens. It’s also worth pointing out that there were about 5-10 other daily activities we would have liked to do, but simply didn’t have the time. We’ll cover some of these activities in future posts if you’re interested in learning about them in more detail.

The only thing you definitely need to know about at this point is the Starlit Hui is no more. Part of me wants to preface that with “sadly” since I really loved this show–and because the replacement for this free show costs over $100 per person, but the new Ka Wa’a Luau is a full scale luau.

Previously, many Aulani guests who wanted the full luau experience had walked 5 minutes down the road to Paradise Cove, where a similarly-expensive full luau is held. We attended that on our most recent trip and enjoyed it (see our full Paradise Cove Review & Oahu Luau Tips post); it’s cheaper than Ka Wa’a and is a fun show. There is potential for Ka Wa’a Luau to be a nice addition; it just stinks to lose a free experience for something that costs extra–and a lot extra at that.

One thing to note is that Ka Wa’a Luau is held on Aulani’s Halawai Lawn, so if you request a room overlooking that lawn, you will be able to see the luau from your balcony for free. Obviously, not the same as attending it…but much cheaper!

Things to Do Beyond Aulani

You’re hopefully not going all the way to Hawaii and staying at a Disney resort the entire time. Listed below are just a few of the things you can do on Oahu alone:

  • World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Pearl Harbor)
  • Diamond Head Hike
  • Paradise Cove or Polynesian Cultural Center Luau
  • Visit Kualoa Ranch
  • Koko Head Crater Hike
  • Visit ‘Iolani Palace
  • Manoa Falls Hike
  • Visit the North Shore

This is just a partial list of things that actually interest us. It doesn’t even include the beaches, spas, shopping, dining, entertainment, and nightlife for which Hawaii is known. You’ll want a guidebook to help plan what else you should do on Oahu. We like Oahu Revealed , which is written by a local and is not superficial fluff you could find on TripAdvisor (I’m looking at you, other Hawaii guides…).

You should definitely consider island-hopping while in Hawaii. Round-trip flights between the islands are about $150-200/person, or you can do one-way flights for half that, and head back to the US out of a different airport in Hawaii than the one into which you flew. This is what I’ve done, and recommend doing both in terms of cost-savings and time-savings.

On the Big Island, my strong recommendation is a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is one of my favorite National Parks anywhere. Read our Things to do in Volcanoes National Park post for more on this. (Notwithstanding Aulani, we both actually prefer the Big Island to Oahu.)

If you want more insight into what we’ve done in Hawaii, things we enjoyed (and did not our Hawaii category of posts enjoy–which includes a really popular tourist spot), check out on TravelCaffeine.

How Long to Visit?

We recommend no fewer than 7 days in Hawaii, with time on Oahu plus one other island. I’ve done the Big Island twice, so that’s my default recommendation, but Maui also looks intriguing to me. Hawaii is an incredible state, with a wide array of offerings. The islands are small, but there’s truly something for everyone.

On my first visit to Hawaii, I spent 14 days there and didn’t run out of things to do. Sarah and I have been to Hawaii 3 times together, and only stayed at Aulani one of those times. On our more recent visit, we were in Hawaii for 7 days split between Oahu and the Big Island, and it was not nearly enough time.

Dedicate at least 2 full days to enjoying and exploring Aulani. The resort offers a lot of entertainment, activities, etc., and it’s difficult to do these all in a couple of days, plus enjoy their excellent pools, hot tubs, spas, etc. Also, you’re spending a lot of money to stay at Aulani, so you should make it a priority to enjoy the resort.

If the entertainment really interests you, or you love lounging by pools or in lazy rivers, you could spend even longer at Aulani. If neither of those things interest you, maybe 2 nights will suffice. Basically, what we’re saying is that only you know what you enjoy doing, so we can’t make a definitive recommendation because we don’t know you.

Whether you should spend the duration of your stay on Oahu at Aulani largely depends upon your budget and priorities in Hawaii. Even by Hawaii standards, Aulani is pricey. While you will find high prices at just about any resort in Hawaii, many are much less expensive than Aulani, and offer a high caliber resort experience. Cheaper still are basic hotels and motels that you won’t want to spend time “enjoying,” but instead might function as good shower/sleeping bases for the days you explore the rest of Hawaii.

Still, there is something to be said for the convenience of just staying at one hotel in Oahu, and having that hotel be a resort to which you can come back in relax in a nice hot tub or enjoy other entertainment at the end of the day in Hawaii. In our view, if money is not a significant concern, stay at Aulani for the duration of your visit to Oahu.

If money is a concern, spend 2-3 nights at Aulani and stay elsewhere the rest of the trip. If money is somewhat of a concern, let convenience (or lack thereof) of Aulani as a home base when looking at your general Oahu itinerary be the deciding factor that pushes you off the fence one way or the other.

Getting There

Unless you’re an incredibly strong swimmer or an Olympic canoeing champion, you’re going to be flying to Hawaii. Honolulu International Airport is nearly halfway between Los Angeles and Tokyo, so you’re in for a long flight (approximately 9 hours from Chicago). Flight prices vary widely depending upon your city of origin and season, but expect to pay over $600 per person, and in some rare cases over $1,000.

Redeeming frequent flyer points for tickets to Hawaii requires more miles than an average domestic flight on most major airlines, but can be worth it. If you’re considering visiting Tokyo Disney Resort and/or Hong Kong Disneyland, Hawaii can be a free stopover. We have a post that explains how to visit multiple Disney destinations (including Aulani) on a single airfare .

Once you’re on the ground in Honolulu, you can either take public transportation, a shuttle service, or rent a car to get to Aulani. Be aware that Aulani is farther from Honolulu International Airport than traditional tourist spots on Oahu, like Waikiki Beach hotels. It takes about 25 minutes to get from the airport to the Ko Olina area where Aulani is located in no traffic.

Parking at Aulani is free for Disney Vacation Club members (or rather, your annual dues pay for it), so if you’re a DVC member, we highly recommend a rental car. If you’re not a Disney Vacation Club member, parking costs $37/night. If we were not Disney Vacation Club members, we would probably take a shuttle/Uber to Aulani.

Don’t worry, you can still explore Oahu if you do this, as there is an Alamo Rent-A-Car location at Aulani, and it’s cheaper to rent a car for a day or two and establish those days as our days for exploring Hawaii outside of Aulani. $37/night for the duration of a stay is just unreasonable for parking and really adds up over the course of the trip. If you elect not to rent a car, the best option for getting to Aulani is Uber. There’s also the Ko Olina Transportation Shuttle , which will drop you off directly at Aulani. Public “TheBus” transportation is a cheaper option, but it requires a long walk (nearly 2 miles) and a transfer. Not advisable with luggage. Go to Page 2 for Saving Money at Aulani, What to Pack, Where to Dine, and More…

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Written by Tom Bricker

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have you tried the spa there? we are going this summer and I can’t decide if we should get a massage there.

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Hi Tom I am coming from the UK and to save costs I am looking at which cities in the US I could have one or two days in before a direct flight to honolulu which isn’t too expensive. I also want to do the Same on the way home but out of Kona. Any suggestions for city breaks each way that won’t break the bank. Seattle or Chicago? would love some ideas. thanks

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Hi, Tom! We just made the decision to cancel our WDW plans for October, and we’re heading to Aulani instead! Our oldest is 12, and many of the activities Aulani offers to kids stops after age 12, so we decided this was the best time to go (and, when we canceled our tickets & resort reservations at WDW, Aulani ended up being about the same price).

Did you go on any of the Aulani excursions? We’re considering not renting a car and simply staying at the resort and using the Disney excursions for any off-site activities. It looks like they offer excursions like going to Pearl Harbor, swimming with dolphins, and zip lining. I was wondering if you did any of these, if you recommend them, or if you recommend venturing out on our own and paying for an Uber or something to take us to Pearl Harbor.

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Hello! Is anyone traveling during the just announced pool renovation? The big WAIKOLOHE pool and surrounding area, including the reef, will be closed October-December 2019. The tube slide will still be open, as will the lazy river and kids play area. I have not been… Will this be terrible? We’re booked for Thanksgiving and are trying to decide if we should cancel.

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I am going during the renovation, but we live on Oahu and go all the time. I think it will be fine without the pool as the other poo will be open and the beach is there. It will just change what you do during the day, but you won’t “know” what its like to spread all the people to these areas. The reef generally has 0-8 people in it at a time, so not a big deal, but cool to catch a glimpse of the reef when passing or snorkel for a little bit. Most people tend to use the lazy river and the kiddie area if your kids area anyway. They use the big pool for the pool party on Saturdays, otherwise, nothing “special” usually there. The $50 a day credit for the inconvenience is nice too! 🙂 Lindsey

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Hi Tom, does Aulani offer a dinning plan? We are planning a trip for May 2019. Thanks for all the helpful information

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Free travel planning guide

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The best thing about Aulani for locals is they offer various Kamaaina rates throughout the year. Definitely helps to bring down costs of a staycation.

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Do guests renting DVC get free parking?

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Tom – One of my friends just came back from Aulani nd mentioned the pools closed very early, like 6pm so if you did any type of excursion and dinner they were closed by the time you got back. Is this year round or just at certain times, do you know? We are thinking of going nect year for a family vacation, but a little bit of evening pool time is certainly a must with the Grandkids.

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We just got back from aulani. The pools were open 8am to 8pm. They have lifeguards everywhere which is why I believe the operating times are as such. It is dark by 8pm in Hawaii year round so I suspect that does not change based on the season. We loved our stay and will be back!

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Love all your posts! So very helpful. My husband and I just booked our trip to Aulani this Oct/Nov. We will be staying there a week, but will also be going to the big island for a week as well. We have family that just moved there. So very excited about this trip! There is a current special going on now with Aulani for a fall stay. If you book before June 19, you get 30% off and $150 resort credit.

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Did she get her flower crown through Aulani?? We are going for our honeymoon soon and I need one like hers!

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Hi Tom! Did you book the trips to Kualoa and Pearl Harbor through Aulani and independently? Trying to outweigh the pros and costs of booking through Aulani vs renting a car and booking through the place themselves. Also, have you visited the Dole Plantation? Is it worth the trip? I’ve seen many mixed reviews. Love all your pictures! Thanks

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Check out my Hawaii posts on TravelCaffeine. Two of the most recent ones pertain to Pearl Harbor and Dole Plantation: http://www.travelcaffeine.com/location/hawaii/ 🙂

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I haven’t read the post that Tom linked yet, but having been to Aulani several times, I would strongly suggest you consider renting a car when you arrive in Honolulu. While the Aulani is awesome with a lot of great features, if you are spending a week or so there you will want to get off the resort and see the island, and you will need a car to really get around and see the North Shore, Wikiki area, and of course Pearl Harbor. Also, eating at the Aulani is very expensive, and there are plenty of wonderful local restaurants for you to check out that are much more affordable. Again, you can’t get to them if you don’t have a car.

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How to Have a Great Time at Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawaii

disney cruise or aulani

If Disney trips bring lines, crowds, and humidity to mind, consider this getaway to be your theme park antidote. Located outside Honolulu, Aulani is a Disney destination that's truly relaxing, where the lush walkways, outdoor offerings, and endless lazy river are nothing short of enticing.

With activities, entertainment, and nods to Hawaii 's landscape and history, this gem tucked away in a private, gorgeous corner of the island can make for an ideal family trip — if you know how to do it right.

Curious about Disney's Hawaii resort? Here's what's in store, and how to plan the perfect vacation there.

Expect Disney, but not too much Disney.

Aulani features the quintessential parts of a Disney getaway — poolside visits by characters, adorable Mickey-shaped foods, unexpected doses of magic — but won't feel anything like the theme parks, which is why it's best for those seeking a family-friendly tropical getaway instead of a replacement for Walt Disney World .

There are character meet-and-greets and small Disney touches throughout, but Aulani focuses more on pure vacationing, with grotto-style pools, two stellar water slides, and a picturesque lazy river.

Come hungry.

The food at Aulani's sit-down restaurants is remarkably good. Makahiki, which hosts character breakfasts and dinner, has phenomenally better offerings than your standard Disney buffet fare, while 'Ama 'Ama serves upscale dining from its elegant beachfront porch. Even the poolside snacks, particularly Pāpālua Shave Ice's Mickey-shaped treats, are an exciting addition.

Tackle as many activities as you can.

You'll be tempted to waste the day away in Aulani's infinity pool and hidden whirlpool spas, but there are plenty of exciting diversions worth breaking away for. Hit Makiki Joe's to experience Aulani's scenic Ko Olina Beach by kayak or paddleboard, snorkel past schools of fish and underwater statues in Aulani's impressive Rainbow Reef lagoon, or head out for a round at Ko Olina Golf Club . Even the Menehune Adventure Trail , an interactive game that magically brings Aulani's surroundings to life, is a perfect way to break up a pool day.

Expect plentiful Japanese touches.

Due to Aulani's relative proximity to Japan, plenty of its guests are from overseas, and the resort caters to this global clientele with fabulous effect. There are rice cookers in villa kitchens, and, along with the resort's many other dining options, the 'Olelo Room offers an impressive sushi menu.

Much of the unique resort merchandise features Duffy, Shellie May, and Gelatoni, three easy-to-love characters who are wildly popular at Disney's Tokyo theme parks.

Prepare for early nights and even earlier mornings.

Pool wristband distribution and chair selection begin at 8 a.m., and, given the resort's family focus, it doesn't offer much by way of nightlife. Thankfully, though, because of the time difference — Aulani is three hours behind the West Coast and six behind the East Coast — most American guests will adjust easily to the sunrise starts, and not be bothered by Aulani's lack of late-night activities.

Make the most of your time alone.

Family vacations make great memories, but your little ones' favorites may just be made while you're unwinding elsewhere. Aunty's Beach House , the kid's club and certified child care center included with the hotel stay, offers so many delightful activities in its homey, trinket-adorned environment that they'll likely spend at least one full day learning hula or watching Disney classics in the movie room — giving parents just enough time to experience the adults-only 'Alohi Point whirlpool or the unique body treatments and couples massages at Laniwai Spa .

Attend the luau, if it's the only thing you do.

The Ka Wa'a Luau is a can't-miss experience fusing Hawaiian culture and history with enthralling entertainment and a surprise appearance by Mickey Mouse himself — and that's not even including the other festivities. The evening begins with hands-on stations for regional crafts like kapa printing and orchid floral bracelet making (while adults can enjoy the free-flowing bar), and when dinner time begins, a true feast is unveiled.

Pros know to skip lunch and buy a top-tier ticket for the first crack at delicacies like a whole-roast pig before tucking in for a fire and dance-filled show.

Make the most important phone call of the day.

Aulani's Daily Iwa guide is your best way of finding out what's happening at the Hawaiian resort, but the Character Hotline, which can be reached by hotel room phone, is how you'll find out which characters will appear that day and where to find them. Be sure to call each day to find out about appearances by Moana, Stitch, Chip 'n' Dale, and other Disney characters.

Spend at least one day away from Aulani.

Hawaii is a gorgeous destination, sure, but it's almost as if you need to leave Aulani's phenomenal grounds to appreciate its immersive, family-friendly splendor.

Book a tour — either through the Disney resort or externally — or rent a car on-site to see the rainforest, waterfalls, and beaches the island has to offer and return to one of the most serene hotels on O'ahu.

Where Disney and Hawaii Intersect: Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Summer Hull

I adore Disney World , Disneyland and most things Disney. I also love visiting Hawaii -- even more than I love Disney. (Don't tell Mickey!) So it seemed like a total slam-dunk that I would love a Disney resort in Hawaii where two of my favorites came together.

Except I didn't. At least not at first. In fact, within 10 minutes of arriving at Disney's Aulani resort on Oahu, I thought I had made a terrible error when deciding where to end our multiweek trip to the Hawaiian Islands .

disney cruise or aulani

But by the end of the trip I had a very different opinion, though it took some serious mental readjusting to get to the place of enjoying Disney's version of Hawaii (officially known as Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai'i) for what it was.

disney cruise or aulani

FOR NO COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG'S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS .

I've wanted to go to Aulani (pronounced ow-LAH-nee) since it opened in 2011. I mean, if your family loves Disney and Hawaii, how could this not be like Oreos and vanilla ice cream coming together to make cookies and cream? Well, more on how the mixture can go astray soon, but the reason I hadn't booked earlier was largely that Aulani can be very expensive and I like to travel using hotel points.

However, we have learned some ways to knock meaningful amounts of money off the cost of the trip, including by renting Disney Vacation Club points from David's Vacation Club Rentals . Sadly, for our fixed mid-June dates, we couldn't get Disney Vacation Club availability to line up, so we went to Plan B, earning a bunch of rewards on the stay.

Rent Disney Vacation Club points from David's Vacation Club Rentals to save up to 50% on Aulani.

Our stay was the most expensive one of our trip to Hawaii, at about $600 per night. We booked the three-night stay using our Capital One Venture Rewards credit card via Hotels.com to earn 10 miles per dollar on the Venture card (offer ends Jan. 31, 2020), but also three nights of credit toward a free night after 10 nights booked via Hotels.com. Based on TPG's valuations, that was a total of around 24% back in rewards , which is very good.

disney cruise or aulani

Disney's Aulani is on the western side of the Hawaiian Island of Oahu in Ko Olina. It's about 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport (HNL), which can easily be a 30-to-40-minute drive, depending on traffic. If you decide to take a taxi from HNL to Aulani, I highly recommend using Charlie's Taxis, as they offer a flat rate of $55 each way. A regular old taxi will almost certainly cost more. There's generally no need to set this up in advance when leaving Aulani, as they have a stand in front of the hotel, but you can make advance reservations for pickups from HNL online .

disney cruise or aulani

Since, for most of us, a trip to Aulani requires flights, here are tips for the best ways to use points and miles to get to Hawaii , including my favorite way when I'm feeling fancy: spending 40,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles to fly in lie-flat seats .

disney cruise or aulani

I was beyond thrilled pulling up to the impressive towers of Aulani, but check-in was where things started to get ... interesting, or more accurately, overwhelming. We arrived around 4pm on a Saturday, and the lobby was buzzing with activity. Families were arriving for their stays, people were heading to the luau, people were coming back from the pool. people. were. everywhere.

disney cruise or aulani

Now, at Disney World or Disneyland, I would have 100% been mentally prepared for that human rush hour, but coming off several weeks in Hawaii exploring places like the Big Island, where most things are spread out, we were shell-shocked at the concentration of humanity in one small area.

Thankfully, like at most Disney resort hotels, there was a cartoon room just off the lobby where I could park the girls and bags while waiting in line to check in, as they were just as overwhelmed as I was.

disney cruise or aulani

The actual process of checking in was uneventful, and we were given the room we booked with no upgrades offered or requested. They did apologize that we weren't given leis and necklaces upon arrival (it was a zoo, there was no way that would have happened for 100% of arriving guests), so these welcome goodies were given at the check-in desk.

Aulani has 351 hotel rooms, including 16 suites, as well as 481 two-bedroom Disney Vacation Club villas and 21 Grand Villas. Basically, there's a bunch of rooms in a couple towers. We were in one of the standard hotel rooms with two queen beds.

disney cruise or aulani

A general rule of thumb at Disney: Even if the rooms are expensive, don't expect to them to be the star of your vacation. The room at Aulani was completely adequate, but it was as the name described, standard. Your $600 per night isn't going to over-the-top room accommodations with butlers and soaking tubs, it's going to the on-site activities, so adjust your room expectations accordingly.

disney cruise or aulani

The two queen beds were comfortable, and housekeeping was prompt each day. I would have appreciated additional outlets by the bed, but I'll take that trade-off for the very cool air-conditioning that worked better than at most of the hotels we visited in Hawaii.

disney cruise or aulani

There was a TV, and you could rent free DVDs from a community room to watch on the DVD player, which we did -- the Disney selection was, not surprisingly, outstanding.

disney cruise or aulani

Next to the TV area was a small table with two chairs, which was functional on the one morning we ordered room service.

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My favorite part of the decor in the room was likely the Hawaiian-themed Mickey lamp on the table. Generally speaking, Mickey was an understated element at Aulani.

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Also the room had a minifridge and balcony.

The bathroom featured a single vanity, which probably would have been better as a double, given this was a room for families.

disney cruise or aulani

Having a shower-tub combo, though, was the right call for a room with two queen beds. I was surprised to find different bath amenities at Aulani than at the Disney Resorts at Disney World and Disneyland. Instead of the usual greenish-blue Disney H2O line, there was an Aulani special version of the line, which was a neat touch.

disney cruise or aulani

There was a lot to do.

Here's where Aulani really got both great and overwhelming all at the same time. Given the prices and the plethora of amenities, when you stay at Aulani, you are probably literally staying at Aulani. This isn't a hotel you come to use as a headquarters to plan trips out of while you enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer. You stay here and largely you play here, which makes for a unique environment. I honestly felt like I was no longer on Hawaii and was back on a Disney cruise , just without the cruising part.

disney cruise or aulani

There was a printed daily hotel activity sheet available each evening for the next day's lineup (not all that different than on a cruise). There was also an internal number you could call from the hotel's house phones beginning each day around 8am to find out where the various characters, such as Stitch and Moana, could be found throughout the day.

disney cruise or aulani

Basically, this was the thing about Aulani. You needed to go into the trip with a Disney mentality, not a true Hawaiian mentality. To make the most of what the resort had to offer, you needed a daily plan to get into the activities you wanted, avoid the pool when it was at its busiest, find the characters you cared about, get meal reservations and so on. This was a real shock to our system, and it took about 24 hours to kick my mind into Disney mode and get with the Aulani program.

disney cruise or aulani

All that said, there was a massive (7-acre) pool complex that went way beyond pools. The Waikolohe Stream was 900 feet long and included a traditional lazy river as well as two tubing slides that did not have height restrictions. One you could do in single or double tubes, and the other was a body slide. I loved being able to do this waterslide with my 3-year-old while my 9-year-old did countless laps with friends she made at Aunty's Beach Club. And, yes, there were lifeguards everywhere.

disney cruise or aulani

There was also Menehune Bridge, with waterslides, splash features and more. This closed relatively early in the evening, so we were never out in the pool area in time to play on it.

disney cruise or aulani

Next up were three pools and a private snorkeling lagoon with beautiful fish, Rainbow Reef, which cost $20 to $25 for one-day access.

disney cruise or aulani

There were adult pools, zero-entry pools, infinity pools, hot tubs and plenty of water activities to keep your group busy. We vastly preferred heading to the pools around 5pm, when most people were leaving for the day. The slides and lazy river were open until 8pm during our stay, and the main pool stayed open until 10pm.

disney cruise or aulani

Chairs were hot commodities, and you needed a colored wristband each day that you got at the towel hut. Cabanas were pricey, at $450 per day.

disney cruise or aulani

Of course, there was also a beach that was home to epic sunsets and calm water, thanks to breaks just outside the lagoon.

disney cruise or aulani

Outside of the water activities, there were included animation classes, evening outdoor movies, sunrise yoga, photography classes, cultural and nature tours, crafts, lei making and much more. Some of these activities required that you sign up each morning starting at 8am, but others were come-and-go events. Animation classes, for example, were very popular, so we lined up at 8am to sign up.

disney cruise or aulani

I didn't have time or the budget on this trip to splurge on treatments at the Laniwai Spa, but it looked and smelled fantastic. There were 15 treatment rooms, including a family treatment room that sounded really cool for those looking to relax together. There was even a teen portion of the spa and a hydrotherapy garden.

I've been holding out on you a little, because the best included amenity at Disney's Aulani for families was probably Aunty's Beach House, Disney's version of an included kids club for potty-trained children ages 3 to 12. A full day of the kids club at comparable resorts is probably $100, so if you use this service at Aulani, the room rates starts to look a little better in a hurry.

disney cruise or aulani

This was not just a place you safely warehoused your kids for a couple hours while you enjoyed the spa but a place that your kids would probably beg you to go. Getting them in the door may or may not be easy depending on your kids, but go during the open family playtime, when adults are allowed from 8am to 9:30am, and the odds are high that you'll have to peel them away.

disney cruise or aulani

My 9-year-old was aging out of most kid clubs and finds them boring, but just like on the Disney Cruise Line, even discerning tweens like her could dig this kids club.

disney cruise or aulani

Food and Beverage

There were multiple dining options at Disney's Aulani, ranging from the Mickey-shaped shave ice to almost fine dining at 'AMA'AMA.

disney cruise or aulani

In the middle of all that was the buffet-style Makahiki, which offered a traditional Disney character breakfast that started with pics with Mickey (in Hawaiian garb) and went on to include a variety of buffet breakfast items and visiting characters.

disney cruise or aulani

At night some nights there was a character show at Makahiki, and other nights there was just the normal buffet. The evening buffet had impressive foods such as sushi and crab, but while it was totally adequate, I'm not sure it was truly worth the $50 per adult and $23 per child.

disney cruise or aulani

Honestly, it seemed a little messy for Disney, though we did enjoy some of the selections.

disney cruise or aulani

I mean, all-you-can-eat dessert is a surefire winner with the kids.

disney cruise or aulani

However, I grade on a curve when Disney characters are involved, as my youngest loves them, so I actually felt better about the character breakfast, at $21 for kids and $41 for adults, than I did about the dinner.

If you want to eat at either of these full-service restaurants, you need to make online reservations well in advance of your trip. There's no fee to make a reservation, so do it even if you aren't 100% sure.

disney cruise or aulani

The food and service at the open-air 'AMA'AMA was very nice for Disney but pricey with entrees around $35 to $50 each. Even kid meals were $15 each, so if you want to save this one for a kid-free meal, this restaurant is right next to Aunty's Beach House.

disney cruise or aulani

For a meal that doesn't top $100 for two people, head to Ulu Cafe, which is where we ate most of our meals. This quick-service and grab-and-go had an assortment of pastries, muffins, drinks and packaged goods in addition to a few hot items at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

disney cruise or aulani

At lunch, there was a build-your-own poke bowl that was pretty solid.

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From 5:30pm to 8pm, you could order a pizza for $20 to $25, probably the cheapest family dinner on the property. You could purchase a refillable mug to load up with soft drinks and such for the duration of your trip.

You could also grab a card with the hot item you wanted on it, such as child chicken fingers, a flatbread or the sandwich of the day, and they would cook it up for you. A family of four could do dinner here for less than $50.

disney cruise or aulani

Also near Ulu was a coffee hut that sold actual Kona coffee for $5 per cup, which was well worth it, in my book.

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Next to the pool and beach were an assortment of kiosks, snack shops and a poolside cafe with table service for lunch and dinner called Off the Hook .

Kid meals here were $9 or $10. Shrimp tacos were tasty and $22, while a burger went for $18. It wasn't cheap, but this was a great place to have an easy meal with table service by the pool.

disney cruise or aulani

One spot we didn't try but looked nice with some evening music was 'Ōlelo Room. Here there was a sunset happy-hour menu with appetizers, sushi and sashimi, along with drinks.

disney cruise or aulani

You could also walk to nearby off-site options such as Monkey Pod. While we didn't visit this Monkey Pod, we have enjoyed one on Maui on a previous trip. They have fantastic happy hours with discounts on drinks, $10 pizzas and 50% appetizers.

Overall Impression

I walked in the door of Aulani in Hawaii mode and for the first 24 hours didn't have the best time. Island mode doesn't really work here, at least not during peak season. At Aulani, you need a plan to make the most of your day, because each night is pricey and there are lots of activities.

However, once I shifted my mind a bit and started looking at the schedules, calling the character line and using strategies to be sure we were lining up for characters and activities, it got better.

I enjoy Disney cruises and Disney parks, and while Aulani isn't exactly the same as either of those, once I started thinking a little bit in those terms, we had a great time.

disney cruise or aulani

The pools and waterslides outside of peak times were great, meeting the characters wasn't nearly as involved as at the Disney parks or cruise (once you learned how to find them), and Aunty's Beach House was an absolute standout.

If the price were right, likely via rented DVC points, I'd absolutely return to Aulani. But I would never make Aulani the totality of our Hawaiian vacation. Stay there with the kids for three or four nights of your longer trip to Hawaii and then move on to somewhere a little more relaxed and affordable so you leave the confines of the gorgeous resort and explore the beautiful islands.

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Aulani was a great lesson that sometimes when two of your favorites mix, what you end up with isn't quite what you were expecting.

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Included With Your Stay

Discover a wide range of complimentary experiences available to Guests of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa.

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Save Up to 30% on Select Stays This Spring

This offer is valid for stays of 5 or more nights—with other savings available for 4-night stays.

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Enjoy Comforts of Home in Your Villa – And a Resort in Your Backyard!

Make your family vacation even more delightful in a comfy Disney Vacation Club Villa with just-like-home amenities, including a full kitchen, private bedrooms, spacious interiors and a washer/dryer—plus all the amazing Aulani Resort activities just outside your door!

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Delight in Your Own Piece of Tropical Paradise

Become a Disney Vacation Club Member to enhance your vacation at Aulani Resort—with spectacular amenities in your comfortable home away from home, plus the value and savings that come with Membership.

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Free Vacation Planning Brochure

Explore the enchantment that awaits you at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i. You are invited to order our free ebrochure—a helpful resource for planning an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation.

There’s Something for Everyone

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Begin the day with ‘ohana

Disney Character Breakfast

Waffle in the shape of Mickey Mouse

Pools at Aulani Resort

Dip into an oasis filled with aquatic fun

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KA WA‘A – A Lū‘au at Aulani Resort

An exhilarating and enchanting journey

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Know Before You Go

Learn what you can expect during your next visit

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Celebrate the spirit of aloha

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アウラニの新着情報は こちら

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アウラニ・バケーションの スペシャル特典と パッケージ

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Explore Aulani Resort in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i

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Daily 'Iwa: Aulani Resort Activities Calendar

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  • Activities for all ages —with many included with your stay
  • Laniwai – A Disney Spa , offering soothing therapies and amenities
  • Sparkling swimming pools
  • Breathtaking beaches
  • Excursions that showcase the splendor of O'ahu

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii

LAST UPDATE: 3/11/24

Aulani, located on the island’s western (leeward) side in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina, is Disney’s first mixed-use family resort outside of its theme park developments. The resort overlooks breathtaking crystal blue lagoons and sandy beaches, with a total of 481 two-bedroom-equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas and 351 hotel rooms including 16 suites.

Aulani Resort Overview

Booking a vacation at aulani, discounts on aulani vacations, free activities at aulani resort, daytrips and excursions on oahu, dining, drinking and luaus at or near aulani resort, saving money on groceries & beach items, transportation to hawaii and aulani resort.

  • Childcare and Babysitting

Spas at or Near Aulani Resort

Prices in hawaii, taxes on oahu.

Aulani Resort & Spa, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, is an oceanfront resort offering activities and amenities that aim to engage every member of the family. Aulani is also designed to respect and connect with the local culture of the Hawaiian islands. The Walt Disney Imagineering team researched Hawaii and worked with local architects and cultural experts as part of the resort’s creative design process. The resulting design is a village celebrating the Hawaiian customs and traditions that lead to a life filled with joy and in harmony with the natural world.

At the heart of the resort, an open-air lobby building — Hale Aloha — draws its design inspiration from a traditional Hawaiian canoe house, visually connecting families to the sea and beyond. Window designs, wall graphics and other details welcome families with tales of adventure, myth, legend and more, while twin streams flow through the building before uniting as a single cascade into the center garden below. Wood, thatch, lava stone and coral are among the materials represented in the resort’s two 15-story guestroom towers, each oriented perpendicular to the ocean to maximize ocean views. Façade murals add to the distinctive look of each tower and portray some of the stories and legends of the islands.

To further incorporate Hawaiian traditions, cultural programming including music, dance, history, and arts and crafts; a story-driven, technology-enabled adventure game; a lu’au and other surprises come together to create a Hawaiian destination that’s uniquely Disney.

The Aulani Resort offers an extensive and elaborate pool and water play area, an 18,000-square-foot spa, a children’s club ( Aunty’s Beach House ) and dining at two full-service restaurants and several convenient quick-service dining options. To learn more about this resort, you can read Kris Borchardt’s November 2016 review of her stay at Aulani .

The pool area, known as the Waikolohe Valley, includes:

  • A large 8,200 sq ft pool (Waikolohe Pool) with a zero entry area, and tunnel body slide
  • A lazy river (Waikolohe Stream) pool that twists through caverns and glides through tropical landscape
  • A themed family pool (Ka Maka Grotto), featuring an infinity edge, a misty grotto with beautiful sunset views and an after-dark experience with glittering lights
  • A kids’ splash zone (Keiki Cove) that’s designed to resemble a tidal pool, with images of tidal pool creatures on the pool floor, rainbow water jets and hidden menehune – the legendary “little people” of the islands
  • Rainbow Reef, a private saltwater snorkeling pool stocked with tropical Hawaiian fish, is located in the resort and is good for beginner snorkeling
  • Wailana Pool, another family pool, is separated from the main pool
  • Four whirlpool spas, two with beautiful sunset views (one is reserved for those 18 and older)
  • Ulu Cafe, a poolside dining venue serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – and featuring an outdoor patio with resort and ocean views
  • A shave ice stand (Papalua Shave Ice), grab’n’go shop and a hot and cold item snack stand (Mama’s Snack Stop)
  • Deck space, chairs, chaises and cabanas surround all of the resort’s water features, and numerous chaises are available at the resort’s sandy cove beach.

Rates vary by season of the year. Generally speaking the rates are lowest when kids are in school, and highest in summer, at Christmas and during other holiday periods.

Parking is an additional $37 per day for either valet or self-parking.

Vacations at Aulani can be booked in various ways:

  • For a full-service travel agency that specializes in Disney and can help you plan your stay at Aulani, fill out a quote form with Small World Vacations . They give you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly !
  • If you prefer to self-book your vacation, Travelocity and Expedia  offer online booking for Aulani.
  • If you want a hotel + airfare package , Alaska Airlines Vacations and Funjet Vacations offer air-inclusive vacations to Aulani.
  • It is sometimes possible to book an Aulani stay by renting Disney Vacation Club points from an owner. This is the only way for non-owners to book one of the fabulous DVC studios or villas at Aulani more than 60 days in advance. The best way to do this is through David’s Vacation Club Rentals .

Spring Aulani Offer

Get up to 30% off Villas or up to 25% off rooms when you book a 5-night or longer stay in select rooms and Villas at Aulani. Get up to 25% off Villas or up to 20% off rooms when you book a 4-night stay in select rooms and Villas at Aulani. Offer available for stays most nights April 12 – June 12, 2024. Travel must be complete by June 13, 2024.

Get up to 10% off when you book a 4-night or longer stay in select Villas at Aulani. Offer available for stays most nights June 13 – July 31, 2024. Travel must be complete by August 1, 2024.

Offer subject to end at any time.

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Standard change/cancel policies apply. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Does not apply to Suites or 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Offer excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.

  • To book this offer, we recommend filling out a quote form with Small World Vacations . They give you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly !

Renting Disney Vacation Club Points

When available, renting Disney Vacation Club points from an owner is a great way to save money on an Aulani stay. (It is also the only way for non-owners to book the studio or villa accommodations more than 60 days in advance.)

  • The best way to rent Disney Vacation Club points is through David’s Vacation Club Rentals .

Annual Passholder Discount

Aulani offers an ongoing discount for ALL Disney theme park Annual Passholders , no matter which Disney theme park. Discount is typically 10% but sometimes up to 30% with special offers, which will be noted below when available. This includes Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Resort.

  • To book with the Annual Passholder discount , you can log into the Passholder site or fill out a quote form with Small World Vacations and request Annual Passholder rates. Small World Vacations gives you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly !

Disney Visa Cardholder Offers

Spring aulani disney visa cardholder offer.

Get up to 30% off Villas or rooms when you book a 5-night or longer stay in select rooms and Villas at Aulani. Get up to 25% off Villas or rooms when you book a 4-night stay in select rooms and Villas at Aulani. Offer available for stays most nights April 12 – June 12, 2024. Travel must be complete by June 13, 2024.

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Standard change/cancel policies apply. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Payment must be made with a Disney Visa card, and cardholder must be a registered guest in the room. Offer excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.

  • To book the Disney Visa Cardholder Aulani Offer we recommend   filling out a quote form with Small World Vacations and request the Disney Visa Cardholder Aulani Offer. They give you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly !

Military Discount

Aulani has an ongoing discount for active duty military : 25% off, subject to availability.

Spring Aulani US Military Offer

Eligible members of the US Military get up to 30% off when you book a 5-night or longer stay in select rooms and Villas at Aulani. Get up to 25% off when you book a 4-night stay in select rooms and Villas at Aulani. Offer available for stays most nights April 12 – July 31, 2024. Travel must be complete by August 1, 2024. 

  • Save 30% when you book a 5-night or longer stay in select rooms or Villas April 12 – June 12, 2024. Travel must be complete by June 13, 2024. 
  • Save 25% when you book a 4-night stay in select rooms or Villas April 12 – June 12, 2024. Travel must be complete by June 13, 2024. 
  • Save 10% when you book a 5-night or longer stay select Villas June 13 – July 31, 2024. Travel must be complete by August 1, 2024. 
  • Save 10% when you book a 4-night stay in select Villas June 13 – July 31, 2024. Travel must be complete by August 1, 2024. 

Book by 6/5/24.

Offer excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Standard change/cancel policies apply. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Eligible military service member/spouse must present a valid military ID upon check-in and must stay in a room on the reservation. Offer excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.

  • To book with the Military discount , we recommend filling out a quote form with Small World Vacations and requesting Military rates. Small World Vacations gives you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly !

Kama’aina Rates

Kama’aina (locals/Hawaiian resident) rates may be offered seasonally. You will have to show a Hawaiian resident ID (drivers license) at check-in.

  • When available, Kama’aina discounts are listed here . 
  • To book Kama’aina discounts , you can go directly through Disney or fill out a quote form with Small World Vacations and ask for Kama’aina discounts. Small World Vacations gives you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly !

When booking a stay at Aulani, you can enjoy a wide range of activities at no additional cost!

In addition to the beach and the resort’s themed pools, Aulani offers many complimentary experiences:

  • Mo‘olele Fire Pit Storytelling: Guests of all ages gather round a fire pit as “Uncle” brings legends of the island to life.
  • ‘Ohana Disney Movie Nights: Watch family-friendly Disney movies under the stars, as well as enjoy pre-movie games, activities and trivia competitions.
  • Aunty’s Beach House : Kids are invited to explore this special area designed just for them as they engage in Hawaiian activities, games and crafts. There are also premium activities available for a fee. Pre-registration and activity reservations are required for Aunty’s Beach House .
  • Menehune Adventure Trail: On this high-tech scavenger hunt, guests explore Aulani to solve riddles, search for statues and discover surprises.
  • M‘ka‘ika‘i, the Art of Aulani Resort: This guided walking tour showcases the art of Aulani.
  • M‘ka‘ika‘i Nature Tour: On this guided walking tour, learn about the native plants, birds and geology of Aulani.
  • Pau Hana Room – Community Hall: Art, crafts and other activities are available for the whole family. 

Aulani Resort offers a variety of excursions including snorkeling, hiking, and visits to Hawaii tourist spots like Pearl Harbor. However, exploring the island on your own is usually much less expensive than Aulani’s standard excursions, as well as more flexible. We highly recommend it, and have some suggested activities and daytrips below .

For self-guided exploration, a rental car is a must. The resort’s location is remote and there is very limited public transportation. The nearest bus stop is 1 mile from Aulani and major attractions are located 30 minutes to 1 hour away by car. Read our information on rental car discounts.

If you prefer to rent a car only for only part of your stay, Alamo has a rental car desk at Aulani (location code is HNLR72).

If you plan to drive around Oahu, be aware that traffic is often very bad, particularly along the south shore/Waikiki/Honolulu. Avoid driving into the Honolulu area on weekdays between 5:00-8:00 am and out of Honolulu between 3:00-6:30 pm.

Daytrips and Activities on Oahu

Go city oahu pass, dvc member discounts outside aulani, standard excursions offered by aulani resort.

Snorkel at Hanauma Bay

For a more authentic alternative to Aulani’s artificial lagoon (Rainbow Reef), drive about 1 hour to Hanauma Bay , which is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life conservation area and one of the world’s best places for novice snorkelers. Within the bay’s pristine and clear waters, visitors can swim through a stunning coral reef with more than 450 species of vibrant tropical fish. You can drive down on your own and snorkel all day for $25.00 per adult, and kids 12 and under are FREE. There is also a $3.00 parking lot fee, cash only. You will need snorkel equipment of your own, or you can rent some on the beach for $20 per person. An advance reservation is required to view the mandatory 9-minute safety video. This must be paid for in advance and once the reservation has been made, you cannot change it. (There are a limited number of tickets available for walk-in each day, but they must be purchased and used that day and they sell out quickly.) 

Hanauma Bay is very popular, and you’ll do best to get an early reservation. Only 1,400 visitors per day are allowed in, and there is limited space for parking even if you have a reservation. You’ll want to add extra driving time for traffic if you are coming from Aulani (or need to drive through Honolulu), but if you have 2 or more people in your car you can use the HOV carpool lane and bypass the worst of the traffic.

In our opinion, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay was a highlight of our trip. We’ve snorkeled at several coves on the Hawaiian Islands, and Hanauma beats them all, hands down. You’ll see many types of fishes, urchins and varieties of living coral in a short span of time. Much of the bay is fairly shallow, which gives you an “up close and personal” view of all that you see. For more information, read Kris Borchardt’s November 2016 review of Hanauma Bay snorkeling .

Experience Kualoa Ranch

Consider a visit to Kualoa Ranch , located on the opposite coast of Oahu, about 45 minutes’ drive from Aulani. Many movies and popular television shows were filmed at the Kualoa Ranch complex, and the area is a popular tourist destination that offers a wide array of reasonably-priced recreational activities, including catamaran sailing, ATV tours, horseback riding, a “secret island” beach and film set tours. Kualoa Ranch is on land once inhabited by the Kahuna members of Hawaiian society, who served as advisors to Kualoa’s resident royalty. The ranch acreage includes a lush valley, natural streams and mountains with beautiful ocean views, and an 800 year old Hawaiian fishpond.

  • The Go City Oahu Pass includes multiple activities at Kualoa Ranch, plus over 30 other Oahu activities and excursions. If you buy a 3-, 5- or 7-day card, you get a FREE bonus attraction.
  • Kualoa Ranch offers military and kama’aina (local resident) discounts .

Explore the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)

You can easily spend a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center , located on the northeast coast of the island, about an hour from Aulani, and open daily except Sundays and Wednesdays. The PCC is focused the cultures of the 1,000+ Pacific islands that make up Polynesia. The park is divided into six different villages representing islands of Polynesia and their customs: Aotearoa (New Zealand) Village, Hawaiian Village, Tahitian Village, Fijian Village, Samoan Village and Tongan Village. Each of the villages allows visitors to experience cultural practices of that particular island. Some of the activities include fire pit cooking, coconut husking, hula lessons, fire-starting, paddling a canoe and fire knife dancing.

General admission includes the villages and the Huki: A Canoe Celebration canoe pageant, Hawaii’s only water-borne show. For an additional fee, one of the best luaus on the island, featuring a buffet and spectacular show (HA – Breath of Life) with over 100 performers, can be added to your admission ticket.

  • The Go City Oahu Pass includes general admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center, plus over 30 other Oahu activities and excursions. If you buy a 3-, 5- or 7-day card, you get a FREE bonus attraction, and one of the choices is the Alii Luau and Dinner show at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Visit Pearl Harbor

The most popular thing to do at Pearl Harbor is to visit the Visitor Center and USS Arizona Memorial . Other options are the Battleship Missouri Memorial , Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park .

The Visitor Center and USS Arizona Memorial are operated by the National Park Service. They are FREE to visit and parking is free, but you must get a ticket for the boat over to the Memorial. Tickets can be reserved in advance online (there is a $1 program reservation fee per ticket); see the USS Arizona Memorial Program website for complete details about ticket reservations. There may be some standby space at less busy times, but reservations are highly recommended. Paying your respects at the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor — the final resting place of many of the 1,177 American sailors who were lost in the Pearl Harbor attack on the ship — is intensely moving for most adults, but can be boring for young children. It may be worth taking children 10 and older, especially those interested in history.

There are fees to enter the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park. The Battleship Missouri and the USS Bowfin are interesting for some younger children because they can tour through the massive ships, but children under 4 are not permitted on the Bowfin. Children who are very interested in planes and/or history will enjoy the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Be aware that you cannot carry ANY bags (fanny packs, wrist purses, handbags, diaper bags, backpacks, camera bags, etc.) into the Pearl Harbor sites. You can carry a camera in your hand or around your neck. Put your personal items in your pockets or car trunk before departing for Pearl Harbor (don’t put things in the trunk when you get there, as theft from car trunks is a big problem in Hawaii and thieves could be watching). Alternatively, you can store things for $6 per bag at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.

Strollers can be taken into the Visitor Center (except the theater), but all pockets and compartments must be empty. Strollers CANNOT be taken on the boat over to the USS Arizona. You are allowed to leave a stroller outside the theater in the Visitor Center while you take the boat to the Memorial, but no one will be watching it. No strollers can be taken onto the Battleship Missouri or USS Bowfin.

  • If you plan to visit the Battleship Missouri , there are militar y and kama’aina (local resident) rates – ask at the box office and show ID.
  • If you plan to visit the USS Bowfin , there are senior, military and kama’aina (local resident) rates – ask at the box office and show ID.
  • If you plan to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum , there are military and kama’aina (local resident) rates – ask at the box office and show ID.
  • If you plan to visit everything at Pearl Harbor and do other activities on Oahu , the Go City Oahu Pass includes the Battleship Missouri, USS Bowfin and Pacific Aviation Museum, plus over 30 other activities and excursions.

Hawaii is a great place to do this! There is so much to see (amazing fish, rays, eels, turtles), and the water is wonderful and clear on the west side of the island, where Aulani is located. There are also interesting wrecks and caves in the area. Unfortunately the lagoons at Aulani (and throughout Ko Olina) are not good for off-the-beach scuba diving as they are too shallow, but open water dives are amazing. Hawaii Nautical is the local scuba diving company in the Ko Olina area. If you are not already a diver, there is a 3-hour “Scuba Diving for Beginners” excursion from Ko Olina Marina (very close to Aulani) where you can learn to scuba dive.

If you plan to do much self-guided sightseeing on the island, be sure to check out the Go City Oahu Pass , which includes admission to over 34 attractions, including a Grand Circle Island Tour, Hanauma Bay snorkel excursion from Waikiki with equipment included, multiple activities at Kualoa Ranch, general admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and lots more. It allows you to skip the line at top sights and saves you up to 55% on regular admission rates.

Go City Oahu Passes are available in 1- and 2-day increments, but only 3-, 5- and 7-day passes give you access to bonus attractions such as a Dolphin Encounter at Sea Life Park, Alii Luau and Dinner show at the Polynesian Cultural Center, or a semi-private surfing lesson. 1- and 2-day cards include the Polynesian Cultural Center; just not the Luau and Dinner show.

Instant delivery! You can now get your pass instantly when you download it as a mobile pass after checkout. You will also receive a link to the pass in your order confirmation email. Along with your pass, you will receive printable and mobile versions of your guidebook containing information about each attraction including location, getting-in instructions, phone number, and hours of operation. Simply choose the “Instant Delivery” option at checkout.

  • Get 5% off your Go City Oahu Pass order  with MouseSavers special deal! You must use Promo Code GO5MOUSESAVER   at checkout to get this offer. No expiration date. This offer may end at any time. This offer may be combined with special sales!
  • Costco.com sometimes offers a very good discount on the Go City Oahu Pass. You don’t have to be a Costco member to buy through their site. (Non-members pay a 5% surcharge, however.) There is a shipping charge when ordering from Costco.com. Thanks to Peter L for info.

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members may qualify for some discounts on Oahu, away from Aulani. We don’t list them here because they are subject to frequent changes: the best way to see the current offerings is to check the DVC member website . To get the discounts you’ll need to show your blue DVC membership card.

A variety of standard excursions including snorkeling, hiking, and visits to Hawaii tourist spots like Pearl Harbor are offered by Aulani’s Tour Desk. The primary advantage of doing these excursions is that most of them depart from Aulani, so you don’t need to drive. However, you will generally pay a considerable amount more than if you did them on your own. You can certainly book Oahu excursions directly with various tour operators ( Viator’s Oahu Page  or HawaiiActivities.com’s Oahu Page are both good place for learning about and booking dozens of different Oahu tours), but very few of them depart from Ko Olina; they usually have pick up available, but sometimes only from Waikiki hotels or the cruise ship terminal. There are some exceptions; there are several snorkel and dolphin-watching tours now that are run from Ko Olina Marina, which is an easy walk from Aulani, and there are a few helicopter and jeep tours that leave from Ko Olina. Many Ko Olina excursions can be booked directly through HawaiiActivities.com’s Ko Olina Page  (some are also available on Viator’s Ko Olina Page ). Tours that happen in and around Honolulu are probably better booked directly through Aulani in order to get the transportation.

These excursions are operated by third parties (not Disney) and are booked independently from any room or package reservations. They are payable in full at the time they are reserved. Most have a 2 or 3 day cancellation policy. Excursion reservations can be booked online, added to your reservation by your travel agent , or you can book in person in the main lobby at Aulani.

Excursions from Aulani change frequently, check the current list of excursions to see what is available. Prices are typically $70-$500 per person; call or ask your travel agent for pricing on specific excursions).

Food and Restaurants

Bars and lounges.

Makahiki offers a casual 3-course breakfast (with Disney characters daily) and a casual 3-course dinner. See below for sample prices for Makahiki . We strongly recommend making advance reservations for Makahiki, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. If you can’t get reservations online for your desired time, check when you get to the resort. We found that there was some table space reserved for walk-ins.

‘Ama ‘Ama offers a 4-course, fixed price dinner menu featuring contemporary island cuisine. There is a plant-based option available for every course. Reservations are recommended and can be make online.

In addition, there are two beachside/poolside bars and an indoor/outdoor lounge , all of which serve limited bar food.

There are also several  quick service locations: The poolside Ulu Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – and features an outdoor patio with ocean view; the others, including the beachside Little ‘Opihi’s, and Mama’s Snack Shop offer snacks like gourmet hot dogs, chicken fingers, wraps and ice cream sandwiches or frozen yogurt. Papalua’s Shave Ice offers only that, in a variety of tropical flavors. You can get a few pricey “grab and go” wraps and salads in the two resort stores , and there is room service .

Across the street from Aulani is Island Country Market (an upscale version of ABC Store), which has a deli area with very reasonably priced take-out food. There is also a selection of health-conscious fare, also reasonably priced. Its grocery prices are high — about the same as Disney’s Aulani gift shop prices — though it has a lot more selection.

Next door to Aulani, the Four Seasons Resort at Ko ‘Olina has several restaurants, including the casual outdoor poolside Waterman Bar , which offers shared bites, Hawaiian and Asian inspired salad and rice bowls, along with burgers, sandwiches and tacos. They also have a very decent kid’s menu with chicken nuggets, teriyaki, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and more. For a fine dining experience there is Mina’s Fish House , a “line-to-table” restaurant featuring local fresh caught seafood in a casual open-air environment overlooking the ocean beach, or Noe , which offers updated takes on traditional Southern Italian dishes. Reservations are recommended for both Mina’s Fish House and Noe.

If you’re looking for more dining options, Roy’s Ko ‘Olina is located at the Ko ‘Olina Golf Club, close to Aulani. Roy’s is a well-regarded chain of high-end “Hawaiian fusion” restaurants.

If you are on a tight budget, skip the Four Seasons Resort and head across the street to the Ko ‘Olina Center & Station , a 5 minute walk. There are several dining options including MonkeyPod Kitchen Restaurant , a popular evening spot with live music, creative cocktails and cuisine crafted from local ingredients sourced from Hawaii’s farms. Appetizers range from garlic oil truffle fries to poke tacos, and entrees include pizza, salads, burgers and fresh caught fish dishes. MonkeyPod Kitchen is known for it’s cream pies, and if you have room after dinner you’ll want to try a slice. You’ll also find a Black Sheep Cream Company ice cream shop, Tropic Poke and Mekiko Cantina in the shopping center. While you can spend significantly less at these restaurants than you might at Aulani’s full-service choices, you can still expect to pay $18-$35 and upwards per adult, excluding drinks.

Aulani has three bars: two outdoor pool/beach bars (Off the Hook and Wailana Pool Bar) and one indoor/outdoor lounge in the lower level, below the lobby (Olelo Room). Most of the featured cocktails are around $16, and in our experience they are terrible. Their recipes all seem to be cloyingly sweet, yet flavorless.

You will do slightly better (lower price and it’s harder for them to screw the drink up) if you order a very simple liquor-on-the-rocks or liquor-plus-mixer type drink (Baileys on the rocks, gin and tonic, etc.). Avoid complex mixed drinks like Mojitos. Beer is at least a safe bet. Wine is high-priced (5 times retail, so a glass will cost you about the retail price of a bottle of the same wine), but at least the selection is good.

Across the street from Aulani is Island Country Market (an upscale version of ABC Store), which has an excellent wine selection. Prices are a little high, but compared with buying wine at Aulani, it’s a bargain.

Aulani has its own luau, KA WA’A – A Lū’au at Aulani . The luau is about 3 hours long and currently only for guests staying at Aulani. Performances are held on select nights, weather permitting. Seating will be assigned upon arrival. The price for general seating is $175 per adult and $104 per child (age 3-9), plus tax. The price for Preferred seating is $204 per adult and $124 per child (age 3-9), plus tax. The prices include gratuity. Check out Kris Borchardt’s November 2016 review of Aulani’s KA WA’A Lū’au .

  • Find out more information or book KA WA’A – A Lū’au at Aulani. 

Paradise Cove Luau is also a good choice , located immediately on the other side of the next resort over from Aulani (the Four Seasons at Ko Olina), so it’s very close to Aulani and requires no transportation. We like this luau about as well as the Aulani one, and it’s only slightly further away.

  • You can book the luau in advance at   HawaiiActivities.com , directly with Paradise Cove , or through the tour desk at Aulani. The price is the same either way, but HawaiiActivities has a loyalty program that gets you points that can be applied toward other bookings, so if you have other Ko Olina activities you want to book through them, that’s a little extra savings.

If you are a Costco member, you will definitely want to stop at the Costco in Kapolei, about 4 miles from Aulani. It is by far the best place to stock up on essentials, and it offers a nice variety of Hawaiian specialties like kalua pig, pork lau lau, ahi poke , Portuguese sausage, Hawaiian sweet bread, lomi lomi salmon, Kona coffee, POG (passion fruit/orange/guava) juice, pineapples and more. You can even buy leis and exotic floral arrangements. Costco also usually has the best gas prices on the island.

Another good option is the Target in Kapolei, also about 4 miles from Aulani. You can pick up basic foods and beach items like snorkel gear, sand chairs, beach umbrellas, etc. Having your own gear can save you a fortune compared to the cost of renting beach equipment from Aulani .

Even if you don’t plan to have a rental car, you can walk over to Island Country Market , across the street from Aulani. The food prices are about the same as what you’ll pay at Aulani, but there is a lot more selection. We don’t recommend doing a lot of grocery shopping here: it would be like buying all your groceries at 7-11, price-wise. However, the market has a very nice selection of wines and offers things like inexpensive, basic snorkel sets.

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members get 10% off Aulani beach rentals, Rainbow Reef snorkeling and full-day cabana rentals. To get the discounts you’ll need to show your DVC membership card.

Getting to Hawaii

Transfers to/from honolulu airport, parking fees, checking in and out.

Links to major airlines that fly to/from Honolulu from North American mainland cities:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • United Airlines

Read our information and advice about how to save on airfare.

There are no Disney-provided transfers between the Honolulu Airport and the resort. We strongly encourage you to rent a car ( check our rental car discount information ). Otherwise you’ll have to take a taxi, which will be costly because the resort is 17 miles from the airport.

If you prefer to rent a car only for the drive to/from the airport, or for only part of your stay, Alamo has a rental car desk at Aulani (location code is HNLR72).

Parking at Aulani is $37 per night for either self-parking or valet parking.

  • Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members get FREE self-parking for up to 2 cars per room.
  • If you spend $50 on spa services at Laniwai Spa, you can show your receipt(s) to the valet and parking is complimentary for up to 4 hours . You may be able to get your parking validated if you dine or shop at Aulani Resort and spent a minimum amount. This is great for locals who want to visit the resort.

You can check in at any time, but standard rooms and suites will not be ready until 3:00 pm; studios and villas will be ready at 4:00 pm. Check-out time is 11:00 am.

Bell Services can store your luggage if you arrive early or depart late.

Aulani guests can make a reservation to use the Ko Olina Club Lounge at the Honolulu Airport . It is available exclusively to confirmed guests and owners staying at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa; Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club; Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu and the Beach Villas at Ko Olina. There is no charge. They have Wi-Fi, charging stations as well as snacks and soft drinks available for purchase. The lounge is located on the 1st Floor Garden Court area of Terminal 2. This can be handy if your flight time does not sync up well with Aulani’s check-in and check-out times. 

Childcare and Babysitting at Aulani Resort

Childcare for kids ages 4-12 at Aunty’s Beach House is available between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. Parents can reserve 1.5 hours of FREE themed activities, or pay for premium activities. Complimentary activities include interactive games and arts and crafts based on the theme of the day. Premium activities, such as Surf’s Up, A Surfin’, Fishin’ and Dancin’ Party with Disney friends, are offered for a fee.

Online pre-registration is required for Aunty’s Beach House . Online pre-registration must be done at least 2 days before your arrival date, and can be done up to 90 days in advance. When you arrive at Aulani, stop by Aunty’s to complete the registration. Please note: registration does NOT guarantee participation in specific activities. You will also need to make a reservation for all the activities you want your child to participate in , whether there is a fee or not. This can be done online and you do NOT pay in advance. 

Every child will receive a keiki band at a charge of $18 plus tax; you can keep the keiki band, or return it for a full refund before you check-out from Aulani. If you think you are going to return it, hold on to your receipt.

Babysitting services are available for ages 6 weeks to 14 years in your villa or room from Kama’aina Kids Sitters.

Access to the Laniwai Spa complex, including the outdoor Kula Wai hydrotherapy garden with private vitality pools, co-ed mineral baths, a reflexology path, six different “rain” showers, whirlpool jet spas and more, is complimentary with any 50-minute spa treatment. You must be 18 or older (14 and older with an accompanying adult) to use the Kula Wai facility. Read more about the spa in Kris Borchardt’s 2016 review  or read  MouseSavers.com founder Mary Waring’s spa experience .

For younger guests, there is the Painted Sky: HI Style Studio (ages 3-12). Kids can get styled for a luau or like Moana, a mermaid and more.

Spa treatments at Aulani’s Laniwai Spa can be booked online .

  • Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members may qualify for discounts or free upgrades to Laniwai Spa treatments. Be sure to ask when booking — they do not volunteer this information! You’ll need to show your DVC membership card when you arrive at the spa.

The Four Seasons at Ko Olina across the street has a spa.

Get ready for some sticker shock: Hawaii is expensive, and Aulani is no exception. Here are a few of the resort’s prices from late-2023 to give you an idea:

  • Lunch from Wailana Pool Bar – Burger $23, Fish Taco $23, Caesar Salad $17, Chicken Tenders $18, Onion Rings $18, Kid’s Meals $14, plus tax/tip
  • 3-course Character Breakfast at Makahiki – $49 for adults (ages 10+) and $29 for kids (ages 9 and under), plus tax/tip
  • 3-course dinner at Makahiki – $74 for adults (ages 10+) and $30 for kids (ages 9 and under), plus tax/tip
  • Beach rentals – Snorkel Set: Full Day $25; Stand-up paddleboard: $45/hour; Double Chaise Lounge Chair: Full Day $80, plus tax
  • Pool Cabana – Full Day (9:00 am – 6:00 pm) $550, plus tax and optional gratuity for attendant; furnished and includes 32″ TV, refrigerator, Wi-Fi access, fruit bowl, bottled water, ceiling fan, for up to 7 registered guests 

General Excise Tax (similar to sales tax) of 4.712% applies to almost all transactions on Oahu, including food, gas and medicine.

If you are using DVC points for your stay at Aulani, be aware that a Transient Accommodations Tax of 9.25%, times 1/2 of the per-point Aulani maintenance fees, times the number of points used, must be paid at the resort. This applies to those renting points as well. In short, you’ll be paying tax of roughly 26.5 cents per point used. For example, if you stayed for a week in Adventure Season in 2011, in an Oceanview 1-Bedroom Villa, the total points required would be 322, times ~26.5 cents, for a total tax of ~$85.33 due at checkout.

If you are paying cash for your stay, the tax on your room rate is just a hair under 14%.

The Park Pixie

Home » Best Excursions from Aulani Resort in Hawaii

Best Excursions from Aulani Resort in Hawaii

By Author Meg Frost

Posted on Published: May 10, 2023

Grid with 4 photos of things to do near Aulani Resort in Hawaii. Text in the middle reads

Are you ready to take on some of the finest Hawaii has to offer? If so, we’ve got great news!

Aulani Resort is your ticket to all the most exciting activities, from exploring beautiful lagoons and beaches to hiking incredible terrains; it truly has something for every traveler.

Join me as I dive into my favorite excursions from Aulani, including the best things to do in Ko Olina, so you can plan an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation!

Availability, dates, hours, and prices discussed in this post are subject to change at any time.

Play golf at Ko Olina Golf Club

With its top-notch courses and stunning views, the Ko Olina Golf Club the perfect place to perfect your swing and get a little exercise while you’re at it.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just looking to hit a few balls, this course has something for every golfer.

A standard 18-hole round is $225 for Ko Olina resort guests (including Aulani), $250 for non-resort guests, and $95 for kama’āina. Additional packages are available, as are discounts .

Classes and private lessons are also available, whether you’re just beginning or looking to improve your skills. Private lessons start at $70 for kids and $80 for adults for 30 minutes.

Lastly, if you didn’t bring your clubs with you, they have men’s, women’s, and kid’s clubs available to rent. Adult club rentals are $75 per set, while kid’s club rentals are $30 per set.

More information

Address : 92-1220 Ali’nui Dr, Kapolei Phone : 808-676-5300 Website : Ko Olina Golf Club

See Oahu from above on a helicopter tour

Aerial photo of the Ko Olina resort area in West Oahu, Hawaii.

If you’ve visited Oahu before and done all the usual tours, aim for something new, like a helicopter tour.

Paradise Helicopters offers several tours from the Kalaeloa Airport in Kapolei, just a 15 minute drive from Aulani.

They even have those thrilling doors-off tours! With the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, you’ll soar above the stunning scenery of Hawaii’s coastline and catch a glimpse of hidden gems that can only be seen from above, like Ali’i Sacred Falls.

Address : Kalaeloa Airport, 300 Midway St., Kapolei Phone : (866) 876-7422 Website : Paradise Helicopters

Shop for unique souvenirs at Ko Olina Center

Just across the street from Aulani is Ko Olina Center, a complex filled with lots of cute shops and restaurants.

For low-cost souvenirs, check out the Island Country Market, which is basically an ABC Store in disguise.

BikiniBird, Crazy Shirts, Hemptuary Hawaii, Honolua Surf Co., Mahina, Pineapples Boutique, and Tommy Bahama are perfect for those looking for local fashion and accessories to bring home.

Check out the custom-made signs from Things Unique, as well as art from CocoNene and The Plantation, for souvenirs you can display at home to remind you of your island vacation.

Whether you’re browsing for yourself or hunting for gifts, shopping at these boutiques is a a blast. Plus, supporting local businesses never looked so good!

Address : 92-1047 Olani St, Kapolei Website : Ko Olina Station

Test your bravery at Coral Crater Adventure Park

If you’re looking for some adrenaline-pumping activities, check out Coral Crater Adventure Park in Kapolei.

Whether you want to conquer ziplines, challenge yourself on the aerial adventure course, or zoom around on ATVs, there’s something for every adrenaline junkie at Coral Crater.

And with Hawaii’s beautiful weather and picturesque scenery, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more breathtaking setting for your next adventure.

Also looking into booking a luau while you’re visiting Aulani, then book their Mele Luau, too!

Lastly, it’s only a 15 minute drive from Aulani, but if you don’t want to drive, they can help arrange for transportation.

Address : 91-1780 Midway St, Kapolei Phone : (808) 626-5773 Website : Coral Crater Adventure Park

Hang loose at Wet n Wild Hawaii Water Park

If the water slides at Aulani aren’t thrilling enough, check out Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii Water Park, just a 12 minute drive away.

This water park boasts 7 adventurous water slides, a gigantic wave pool, a flowrider (surfing simulator), and 2 splash parks for kids – one of which is ADA-compliant!

On select dates , they show football games or family-friendly movies in the pool, too.

Plus, you can cap of your day of fun at Chief’s Luau, right on site!

Tickets start at $49.99, not including tax. Daily prices for the Flowrider range from $6-15, not including tax.

Address : 400 Farrington Hwy, Kapolei Phone : (808) 674-9283 Website : Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii

Hit Oahu’s beautiful hiking trails

Photo of the entrance to the Manoa Falls Trail on Oahu.

There are tons of fabulous hikes for all skill levels across the island of Oahu.

For this option, you’ll need to either rent a car or find an outside tour company with pickup at Aulani, as the resort currently does not contract with any tour companies for guided hikes.

No matter which hiking trail you choose, you’ll be treated to beautiful scenery and views.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and prepare to feel like you’ve conquered the world once you reach the top or complete the end of the trail.

Here are a few suggestions for hikes to consider:

Maili Pillbox Hike

Location : Kaukama Road in Waianae Length : 1.6 miles total

Not far from the resort is the Maili Pillbox Hike, aka the Pink Pillbox Hike, which is roughly 25-30 minute drive from the resort.

It is 1.6 miles out and back and can be a bit challenging due to elevation gain, uneven terrain, and frequently muddy conditions. It’s definitely not for beginners or those looking for an easy nature walk.

However, if you’re up for the challenge, this hike is great if you’re looking for gorgeous aerial sunrise views over the ocean and a heart-pumping workout.

Diamond Head Summit Trail

Location : 4204 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu Length : 1.6 miles total

Another good option is Diamond Head Summit Trail in the Waikiki area. Once called Lē’ahi, Diamond Head is an extinct volcano and the summit offers stunning views of Oahu.

Diamond Head is roughly 45 min to 1 hour from Aulani, just past the Waikiki Beach area. I recommend planning for a pit stop in Waikiki before the hike for food and perhaps afterward for a dip in the ocean to cool off.

Entry to Diamond Head is $5 per person. Children 3 and under are free.

The entrance gates open at 6 AM with last entry at 4 PM. Gates close at 6 PM, so you have to be out by then. Parking is $10 per vehicle ( source ).

Lastly and most importantly, reservations are required to access this trail for non-residents, even if with a Hawaiian resident.

Mānoa Falls Hike

Location : Kaukama Rd, Waianae Length : 1.6 miles total

Another popular option is the Mānoa Falls Hike in Honolulu. This hike is very popular, especially with tourists, as it takes you to a waterfall.

Be warned though – it is very crowded and also much harder than many blog posts claim it is! That said, it’s totally worth it!!

My family and I did this hike on our stay at Aulani and loved the different rainforest plants and trees along the way.

This hike is roughly 45 min to 1 hour from Aulani, depending on traffic, so you may want to plan other activities in the Waikiki area to make the drive worth it.

Go on a boat tour with Ko Olina Ocean Adventures

Photo of fish swimming near a coral reef of the shore of Oahu.

If you’re looking for adventure in Hawaii, look no further than Ko Olina Ocean Adventures’ tours.

There are 2 tours available: Sail & Snorkel and Sunset Cruise.

The Sail & Snorkel Tour is 3 hours long and has departs in the morning and afternoon.

This tour takes you out to a reef for snorkeling amongst the marine life, such as sea turtles. Plus, from December through March, you’ll likely see whales, as well!

Use of snorkeling gear, including life jackets, is included with your ticket.

The Sunset Cruise is 2 hours long and includes light appetizers and 3 alcoholic drinks. A cash bar is also available.

Prices for tours can change, as there are multiple discounts available, so please check their website for an accurate estimate.

Tours leave from the Ko Olina Marina, which is roughly a 1.5 mile walk from the resort. If you prefer to drive, parking is $15. In the past there was a free shuttle, but it has not been in operation since the pandemic. It is unclear on whether it will return.

Address : 92-100 Waipahe Pl, Kapolei Phone : (808) 396-2068 Website : Ko Olina Ocean Adventures

Check out the local beaches

Photo of Paradise Cove Beach at sunset with palm trees in the distance.

Yes, Aulani is located right on the beach – but Oahu is surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world – so why not visit a few more while you’re there?

It’s hard to say which ones are the best, but here are a few to get you started.

Paradise Cove Beach is just a stone’s throw away from the resort (10 minute walk) and offers crystal-clear waters and soft white sand.

Two other location options are Kahe Point Beach Park and Electric Beach , both of which are popular snorkeling spots. They aren’t walkable from the resort, but are only about a 7-10 minute drive away.

Waikiki Beach is perhaps the best known beach on Oahu and is considered the main tourist area on Oahu.

It is super packed, but you’ll find everything you’ll need or want here, like restaurants, shops, surfing lessons, beach equipment rentals, and so on.

Over on the North Shore of Oahu, Waimea Bay Beach was my favorite of the beaches my family visited in that area.

Parking here is not easy, but it’s worth it! There’s a massive rock that you can jump off of, if you dare.

Take a day trip to Kualoa Ranch

Photo of a wooden sign that says Kualoa Ranch with flowering trees and bushes behind it and massive mountains in the background.

Another fun-filled day trip from Aulani is Kualoa Ranch on the windward coast of Oahu.

This picturesque ranch covers over 4,000 acres and offers a range of outdoor activities and tours that you won’t find anywhere else in Hawaii.

Feeling adventurous? Try the UTV tour and explore the rugged terrain and lush valleys. This is the tour my mom, brother, and I chose and we had an absolute blast!

The tour guides were super engaging, told us some really interesting Hawaiian legends, and even took some fun pictures for us.

Make sure you wear an outfit you don’t mind getting dirty. They’ll provide goggles and a cloth mask to help keep the dust and dirt out of your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Other tours available include ziplining, e-bike tours, horseback riding, food tour, boat tour, and surprisingly – more!

This ranch is so stunning that many blockbuster movies and hit shows have filmed here, such as Jurassic Park , Godzilla , Jumanji , Kong: Skull Island , and Hawaii 5-0 . So if UTVs aren’t your jam, I still recommend booking a tour (or several) here!

If you have a rental car, the drive is about 45 min to 1 hour, depending on traffic. However, you can arrange for transportation through their ticketing office.

Check out the website linked below for more details, such as tour availability, pricing, etc.

Address : 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe Phone : (808) 237-7321 Website : Kualoa Ranch

Tour a local rum distillery and farm

Photo of a woman pouring a cocktail into a glass with a bottle of Kō Hana rum next to it.

Are you tired of the same old boring tours? Look no further than Ko Hana Rum Distillery tours!

This local distillery offers 2 tours: Kō Hana Rum Tour and Estate Sugarcane Farm Tour.

The Kō Hana Rum Tour focuses on how their rum is made, with stops in a sugarcane garden, distillery, and warehouse. The tour is capped off with a tasting of 4 rums.

Tours run every hour at the hour between 10 AM and 4 PM. However, some days there are fewer tours, so be sure to check ahead if you want a specific time. They also have a few tours each day that are conducted in Japanese.

Tickets for the Rum Tour are $25 for adults 21+ and $10 for those under 21.

The Estate Sugarcane Farm Tour is held on Thursdays at 10 AM. This tour takes guests out into the sugarcane fields to see how the plant is grown and harvested. Like the other tour, it is capped off with a tasting of 4 rums.

Tickets for the Farm Tour are $35 for adults 21+ and $25 for those under 21.

Lastly, if you don’t want to do a tour, but want to purchase rum, you can do that as well! Plus you can just do a tasting for $10.

Tastings are held at 15 and 45 past the hour, every hour, from 11 AM to 5 PM, on a walk-in basis.

The Kō Hana Rum Distillery is about a 20-25 minute drive from Aulani.

Address : 92-1770 Kunia Rd, #227, Kunia Phone : (808) 649-0830 Website : Kō Hana Rum Distillery

Let loose at the Paradise Cove Luau

If you’ve already been to the Ka’Waa Luau and want to try something new or can’t get tickets, check out the Paradise Cove Luau.

This fun luau is just a 10 minute walk or 6 minute drive from Aulani.

With its stunning beachfront location and lively Polynesian entertainment, this luau is like no other. You’ll be transported to another world as you sip on tropical drinks and devour a delicious buffet dinner.

And the entertainment? It’s simply unforgettable. From fire dancers to hula dancers to live music, the performers at Paradise Cove know how to put on a show.

There are multiple packages available, starting at $100 for kids 3-12, $115 for age 13-20, and $140 for 21 and up. For more information on packages and prices, check out their luau package page .

Kids under 3 are free but must stay in a stroller or on a parent’s lap. If a seat is desired, you’ll need to buy a ticket.

Address : 92-1089 Aliinui Dr, Kapolei Phone : (808) 842-5911 Website : Paradise Cove Luau

Tour the Dole Plantation

Photo of pineapple plants growing in the ground at the Dole Plantation.

Looking for a fun, family-friendly outing during your stay at Aulani Resort? Look no further than the Dole Plantation!

This iconic Hawaiian attraction has something for every age group, from the informative Pineapple Express train tour to the colorful garden maze.

But perhaps the most delicious reason to visit is the famous pineapple soft serve, made from freshly harvested fruit grown right on the plantation.

The Dole Plantation is about a 30 to 40 minute drive from Aulani, depending on traffic. It is open daily from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, except Christmas Day.

Ticket prices vary depending on which activities you want to do, so check their website listed below for additional details.

Address : 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa Phone : (808) 621-8408 Website : Dole Plantation

Visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial & Museums

Photo from the USS Bowfin submarine at Pearl Harbor looking out the front to the ocean with an American Flag in the foreground.

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a group of memorials overseen by the National Park Service in Oahu’s infamous Pearl Harbor.

It includes the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater, USS Arizona Memorial, the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, a bookstore, and several exhibits.

There are also several additional memorials and museums on site that are managed by separate organizations. This includes the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum (USS Bowfin), and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Everything is ticketed separately, although you can sometimes package them together for a small discount. Military discounts are also available.

Visitors can go independently or via a tour group. My family and I chose to go the independent route, as we had a rental car. However, we missed out on visiting the USS Arizona Memorial because getting tickets for it is next to impossible!

We tried getting USS Arizona Memorial tickets starting months ahead up to the day we went and still lucked out. So if you have your heart set on going, I recommend going with a tour company.

Not many tour companies will provide transportation from Aulani, but if you need it, the folks at the Holoholo Tours desk in the main lobby of the resort can help arrange a tour with transportation included.

If you prefer to book ahead of arrival, you can contact them at (808) 674-6320.

Address : 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu Phone : (808) 422-3399 Website(s) : Pearl Harbor National Memorial & Pearl Harbor Historic Sites

Learn about Hawaiian history and culture

Photo of a massive, colorful street art mural at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

For a fun and educational excursion during your stay at Aulani Resort, I recommend the Bishop Museum, located just a short 30 minute drive away.

This museum is not your average stuffy exhibit hall. It’s home to some of the most fascinating artifacts and exhibits on Polynesia and its people.

And if that wasn’t enough, they even have a planetarium where you can learn more about wayfinding via the stars.

So go ahead and rent that car, hit the road, and prepare to have your mind blown by the Bishop Museum. Who knows, you may even come back a bit smarter.

Address : 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu Phone : (808) 847-3511 Website(s) : Bishop Museum

Go snorkeling at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Aerial photo of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Hawaii.

Who says you have to stay put at Aulani all day, every day? Take a break from the resort life and head out to one of Oahu’s most breathtaking snorkeling spots, Hanauma Bay.

At Hanauma Bay, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to an underwater wonderland as you snorkel amidst vibrant coral and a rainbow of tropical fish.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for sea turtles and manta rays gliding silently by. Who knows what other treasures you’ll uncover on this day trip adventure to Hanauma Bay?

In order to help preserve and protect the bay, it is only open Wednesday through Sunday, from 6:45 AM to 4 PM. However the last entry is at 1:30 PM and they start clearing out at 3:30 PM.

Reservations for Hanauma Bay are required and can be made starting 2 days ahead of your desired date, starting at 7 AM Hawaii Standard Time.

There are a few exceptions. A small number of “walk-in” tickets are available each day until sold out. In addition, residents of Hawaii can access the bay without a reservation from 6:45 AM to 9 AM, Wednesday through Sunday.

Tickets are $25 for non-Hawaii residents 13 and older, plus a 2.35% service fee. Children 12 and under, residents of Hawaii, and active duty military members and their dependents are free.

If you don’t have your own snorkel gear, you can rent gear on site or reserve ahead of time .

Hanauma Bay is 50-60 minute drive from Aulani. Parking is $3 for non-Hawaii residents and $1 for Hawaii residents. Parking is payable by cash only.

Address : 7455 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu Phone : (808)-768-6861 Website : Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Take surfing lessons

Photo of a man teaching kids how to balance on a surfboard.

Visiting Oahu without catching a wave is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, it’s just not a complete experience! That’s where surfing lessons come in.

Not only will you get to ride the waves like a pro, but the experience of learning to surf in Hawaii is something you won’t forget.

Surf HNL runs lessons at Kalaeloa Beach Park, about 20 minutes from Aulani in the town of Ewa Beach. They also host lessons at Ala Moana Beach Park in Waikiki if you’ll be down that way.

For lessons in North Shore Oahu, consider North Shore Surf Girls , Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience , or Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf Academy .

If you don’t have access to transportation, see the Holoholo tour desk in Aulani’s main lobby and they can set you up with lessons with a company that includes transportation.

Take a North Shore Road Trip

Photo of people standing a large rock in the ocean at Waimea Bay Beach.

Oahu’s North Shore is hands-down my favorite spot on the island. It’s super laid-back and not as touristy as Waikiki and not as closed off as Ko Olina.

For this one, you’ll need a rental car, which you can arrange for nearby the conference center at the hotel if you didn’t get one at the airport.

Here are a few top spots on the North Shore that my family and I visited on our North Shore road trip.

First, we hit up Ehukai Beach to see if we could catch some surfers at Banzai Pipeline. It was a quiet day, so we didn’t catch much – but this beach is absolutely stunning and worth a stop for the views.

For slightly calmer surf (at least that day!), we went over to Waimea Bay Beach for a typical beach day filled with swimming, sunbathing, and cliff jumping into the ocean.

Nearby is Waimea Valley , where you can see a beautiful botanical garden, cultural artifacts, and even a waterfall ( Waimea Falls ) that you can swim in.

After we got our fill of sun, sand, and sea, we made our wait to the charming town of Haleiwa , where we picked up souvenirs from surf shops and grabbed a snack.

And before we made our way home, we stopped at Laniakea Beach , also known as Turtle Beach, to catch a glimpse of the adorable sea turtles relaxing on the sand.

If you stop here, please make sure you keep at least 10 feet away from the sea turtles at all times.

It is unsafe for both them and us, not to mention illegal. Plus, we’re on their land, not the other way around!

Do a Grand Circle Tour

Photo looking across a bridge to the replica of Byodo-In Temple on Oahu in Hawaii.

If you only do one tour while on Oahu, make it a Grand Circle Tour! This tour gets its name from its route: a circle around the island to see all its most popular spots.

There are many tour companies that offer this type of tour, sometimes using slightly different names, but most only pick up from resorts in the Waikiki area.

The Holoholo Tours desk in the main lobby can help arrange a tour for you that includes transportation, but it requires a minimum of 8 guests to run.

Aside from that option, there is one tour company I recommend: Oahu Photography Tours .

In addition to being fun tour guides, they will show you how to take great photos, as well as take photos of you!

They have two full-day tours that take you around the island, one that includes sunrise at a local beach and one that includes a nature walk to a waterfall.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek to both of these tours before they officially launched – and I highly recommend both!

Side Note: I paid for both tours and am not sponsored by OPT – I truly enjoyed and recommend them!

The only con is that Oahu Photography Tours doesn’t do pickup in Ko Olina, unless you arrange for a private tour.

But, if you do the max number of guests for a private tour, you end up actually paying less than if you joined a group – so it might be a better deal in the end if you have a big group.

Which excursions from Aulani are on your must-do list?

From relaxing beach spots to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there is plenty of fun to be had on the island of Oahu!

Whether you want to explore the nearby hiking spots and tropical coastline or take a dive into the world beneath the waves, there’s an excursion for everyone.

Let me know in the comments below which excursions from Aulani you’ll be booking. Enjoy your stay!

Next up, check out these posts:

  • Aulani Disney Resort Review: Oahu’s Best Luxury Stay
  • Best Things to Do at Aulani Resort in Hawaii
  • Ka Wa’a Luau: A Review of Aulani’s Luau

About the author

Photo of Meg Frost on Buzz Lightyear: Space Ranger Blast at Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Meg Frost is the creator of  The Park Pixie , where she covers Disney World, Disney+, and Disney fandom.

She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and B.S. in Communication & American Studies from University of Miami in Florida.

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AULANI, A Disney Resort & Spa

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An island oasis for all ages.

Experience Aulani Resort, combining the wonder of Disney with the beauty of Hawai'i in one memorable vacation destination. Located in Ko Olina, Aulani Resort spans 21 acres along the island's leeward coast. At Aulani Resort, adults, teens and kids each have special places to call their own. While adults reconnect, children love the complimentary kids' club that taps into cool island culture and stories. Teens quickly discover the water sports, spa, salon, teen-only activities—and beachy snacks at the Lava Shack. Choose the right accommodations for your family, and enjoy amazing adventures with a touch of magic.

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Hawaii Nautical

Disney Catamaran

Monday & wednesday |  4 hours.

hawaiinautical-dolphintour-KoNauLani

Disney Catamaran 

AULANI 12:45pm

12:45PM – 4:45PM | 4 HOURS

Sailing catamaran: ko nau lani, monday & wednesday, what’s included.

  • Transportation between hotels and the harbor
  • Bottled water
  • Snorkel fins
  • Deluxe collector pin

What to Expect

Join Aulani guests for this 4-hour ocean adventure. After just a short drive from Aulani, you will board the 65-foot Gold Coast catamaran Ko Nau Lani and cruise out along the shoreline of Oahu’s sun-kissed leeward (away from the wind) coast. Following a hearty lunch, you will be greeted by local marine life. You may see playful Hawaiian spinner dolphins and Hawaiian green sea turtles. Humpback whale-watching is also a highlight from December through March.

The marine life will continue to awe you as you enjoy a guided snorkeling excursion. Then, catch some rays on the deck while a local ukulele player entertains. 

Each passenger also gets an exclusive deluxe collector pin gift — a jewelry-quality cloisonne pin that features the vessel image and the “Catamaran Experience” title.

Snorkel fins and vest and in-water assistance from our expert crew are included. Buy or bring your snorkel and mask, or use our sanitized reusable sets that are available as a backup.

Meeting and Pick-Up

Aulani, departing from waianae small boat harbor.

85-491 Farrington Hwy

Waianae, HI 96792

8.712% tax and harbor fee are added to all prices. Cancelation policy: 24-hour advance notice required for refund.

Visit the Aulani Holoholo desk to reserve; to reach the Holoholo desk by phone, call 808-674-6200

Hawaii nautical is one of hawaii’s largest ocean-activity providers..

We have a fleet of vessels islandwide serving many harbors across Oahu and the Big Island. We believe in delivering service, safety and the spirit of Aloha. We respect the ocean and the ecosystem, and we follow strict guidelines so that all marine wildlife is protected. Additionally, we honor the host culture and support the local communities in which we operate. We want the natural environment you enjoy today to be here tomorrow and for every tomorrow after. That’s why we are Hawaii’s first Dolphin SMART-recognized operator. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Dolphin SMART program educates guests about dolphin conservation and advises not to seek activities that pursue close interactions like swimming with dolphins in Hawaii in the wild. We also follow the guidelines of the Coral Reef Alliance, to establish lasting change and promote coral reef health around the world. That includes sustainable practices — such as not feeding fish. Coral conservation aims to save these valuable ecosystems, unite communities and preserve cultural identity. For decades, we’ve been wowing guests of all ages in Hawaii. And while provide exciting experiences for our guests, we practice the highest level of safety in everything we do. We treat guests like ohana , the Hawaiian word for “family,” which permeates everything we do.

With a fleet of vessels islandwide serving many harbors across Oahu and the Big Island. We believe in delivering service, safety, and the spirit of Aloha. We respect the ocean and the ecosystem, and follow strict guidelines so that all marine mammals and wildlife are protected. And we honor the host-culture and support the local communities in which we operate. We want the natural environment you enjoy today to be here tomorrow, and for every tomorrow after. That’s why we are Hawaii’s first Dolphin Smart-recognized operator. NOAA’s Dolphin Smart educates guests about dolphin conservation and harassment and advises not to seek activities that pursue close interactions like swimming with dolphins in Hawaii in the wild. We also follow the guidelines of the Coral Reef Alliance, to establish lasting change and promote coral reef health around the world. That includes sustainable practices — such as no fish-feeding. Coral conservation aims to save these valuable ecosystems, unite communities and preserve cultural identity. We’ve been wowing guests of all ages for decades in Hawaii. While there’s lots of excitement around our activities, we practice the highest level of safety in everything we do. We treat guests like ohana, the Hawaiian word for family that permeates everything we do.

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Who We Are & The Hawaii Nautical Difference

Home | Whale-Watching | Dolphin Tours | Snorkel with Turtles | Sunset Cruises | Luxury Charters | Disney Catamaran

Business office: 808-234-7245 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Hawaii Time

Questions?  Contact Us

Reservations office: 87-1988 Pakeke Street, Unit 4, Waianae, HI 96792

Corporate mailing office: 46-471 Hololio Street, Kaneohe, HI 96744

Trips With Tykes

Tips for Disney’s Aulani with Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

By: Author Leslie Harvey & Joseph Cheung

Posted on Published: February 3, 2020

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Walt Disney World and Disneyland are filled to the brim with guests from nine weeks to nine decades old every year. But not as many consider a Disney vacation in Hawaii at Aulani: a Disney Resort & Spa. After all, it is a longer trip for many traveling families. It can also be a bit pricier than the theme parks, especially after adding airfare to the equation. But if you can make the trip out, Disney’s Aulani is truly made for young kids.

Disney Aulani Makahiki Character Breakfast

For some background, Leslie has been to Aulani three times with her kids – in March 2013, November 2017, and April 2019. Joe visited Aulani with his three children (ages 1.5, 4, and 6) in July of 2019. We co-authored this article in order to give Trips With Tykes readers a wide variety of reports and experiences from our young kids of various ages, stages, and personalities. Both of us firmly believe Disney’s Aulani is great for kids of all ages. In this article we’ll look at why that is and how to make the most out of your Disney Aulani vacation with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Disclosure: Trips With Tykes uses affiliate links. We may receive compensation when you click on links featured in this post. See our full disclosure policy linked in the menu at the top of this site.

What Makes Aulani Work So Well With Young Children?

Kid-friendly activities, included childcare, everyone’s favorite characters, amazing beaches, and a bunch of pretty cool pools and water play areas, to name a few. Because the resort has a smaller footprint than a large theme park, it is all the Disney fun without the walking or even the need for a stroller. This makes Aulani much more manageable with babies and young kids.

Disney Aulani Panoramic View

Above all else Aulani: a Disney Resort & Spa is a place where you can relax. And that’s part of why in many respects Aulani works better for babies and young kids than the theme parks. In the theme parks, you’re walking miles a day, running from attraction to attraction, and trekking all the way back to your hotels for naps. At Aulani you can get busy relaxing. Everything is all in your hotel, which really eases the stress of travel and lets you just settle in and enjoy your vacation.

Baby needs a nap? No problem, one parent can go upstairs while the other stays with older kids at the pool. Need something to eat? Mickey shave ice is steps away.

But most importantly, Aulani: a Disney Resort & Spa is a resort you won’t want to leave. Disney took painstaking care to make a resort that is truly authentic to Hawaii yet that also contains Disney touches and the trademark quality Disney service. It’s those little touches that make Aulani stand out when it comes to young children.

Visiting Disney Aulani with babies, toddlers, or preschoolers? Tips for the best activities, restaurants, room and villa types, and more. #disneyaulani #aulani

Aulani with Young Kids: Trip Planning and Preparation

A successful family vacation anywhere requires planning and preparation, especially with baby or toddler travel companions. Before taking a trip to Aulani with young kids, here are the top things to keep in mind.

Flying to Aulani with Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

Hawaii is a long trip for many American families, so a big part of the trip preparation for an Aulani vacation is simply planning for the “getting there.” For West Coasters like Leslie, the flight is under five hours long and not too challenging, especially in winter months when the time difference is only two hours. (Remember that Southwest Airlines now flies to Hawaii from a wide variety of California airports – that means more potential for discounts!)

If you are planning a trip with little ones from a longer distance like Joe does from the East Coast, the flight and the resulting jet lag is a bigger deal.

For the flight, pack plenty of snacks as well as entertainment and toys to keep your child busy and happy. Even if your child is still under age 2 and can fly as a lap child, consider buying a seat instead for such a long distance. ( Related : Tips for flying with a lap toddler ). Try also to book flights that depart and arrive at times when your child is likely to be at his or her best. Attempt 6:00 a.m. departures and redeye flights at your own risk.

Be prepared for having early bedtimes the first few nights as your kids adjust to the time change. Aulani is a place that goes to bed early and wakes up early, in part because of the time difference from the mainland.

Choosing a Hotel Room or Villa at Aulani with Young Kids

Another trip planning decision is choosing the right room. Aulani has a wide variety of room types to meet the particular needs of families with kids of all ages as well as a variety of budgets. These include regular hotel rooms as well as studios, one- and two-bedroom villas. Some of these room options are Disney Vacation Club units, but you can often rent them even if you aren’t a DVC member. Trips With Tykes recommends renting DVC points through David’s Vacation Club Rentals which can save you a bundle – often up to 50%! ( Related : Find out how Leslie’s family rented DVC points at Aulani. )

Disney Cruise vs. Disney Aulani - Aulani 1 bedroom DVC villa

Master bedroom and spacious bath in Aulani’s 1 bedroom villa.

Between Leslie and Joe, we have stayed at a studio, a one bedroom villa, and a two bedroom villa – almost all of the villa room types available. They all work very well with younger kids because the addition of a kitchenette or kitchen makes it easy to prepare snacks and even light meals for kids on the go. The studio is probably best suited for families of three since it is a tad tight on space and only has a kitchenette. But Leslie made it work with her family of four on her last vacation.

The one bedroom villa has a full kitchen and in-unit washer and dryer and is very spacious (but obviously more expensive). We found it ideal for families of four or five people. The one bedroom villa features a single Murphy bed perfect for a toddler sleeping place in addition to the master bedroom king bed and the pull out queen bed sofa. There is also a Pack N Play in every room for younger toddlers not yet ready for a bed.

Joe found the two bedroom villa perfect for his family of five traveling with two grandparents. There was plenty of space even with seven people. With two and a half bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a dining table, two families could probably even share a two bedroom villa without feeling too cramped.

Best Activities at Aulani with Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers

Once the planning is done and the vacation begins, families with young kids will find that age-appropriate activities abound at Aulani. Take advantage of the pools, beaches, and the many free activities at Aulani. Naturally, a few Aulani splurges may make sense as well, as some are ideal fits for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Best Aulani Activities with Babies

Admittedly, all babies are different, but if you’re at least a little bit adventurous there’s plenty to try with your baby. Here are some of the things Joe’s 18 month old enjoyed the most at Aulani.

Waikolohe Pool (zero entry)

Joe’s daughter’s favorite activity was probably wading in the zero entry portion of the Waikolohe Pool, Aulani’s main pool and the center of its extensive pool areas. If you don’t know what zero entry means, it’s essentially a gradual incline to enter the water – no steps to worry about. That meant that his daughter could wade in up to her waist without having to worry too much (although she kept trying to go deeper!).

Disney Aulani with a Baby

Joe’s youngest loved the main pool.

Like all Disney resorts, children’s life jackets are included with the price of your stay. Joe actually chose not to use it for his baby, as she’s already a daredevil and they didn’t want her to have a false sense of security.

Waikolohe Stream

Disney Aulani Splurges - Son in Lazy River Asleep

Leslie’s son was so relaxed in the lazy river, he fell asleep. Not kidding!

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a float along Waikolohe Stream, Aulani’s lazy river. You can get one or two person tubes. Parents can stay on the outside or inside of the tube and wade in the water while supporting a baby sitting on the tube, or you could even wade through the stream without a tube if you wanted. This was a huge hit with the whole family and a great way to get a baby on the water.

Best Aulani Activities with Toddlers and Preschoolers

As kids get older, they can branch out to more of the activities at Aulani: a Disney Resort & Spa. A few top can’t miss activities at Aulani for the toddler and preschooler set include:

Disney Aulani Keiki Cove Toddlers Preschoolers

Joe’s and Leslie’s youngest kiddos both loved Keiki Cove!

Aulani’s splash pad area is the place to be with toddlers and preschoolers. Jets and spouts of various shapes and sizes squirt water, providing plenty of chances for kids to get wet without parents having to stress as much about safety and life jackets. Babies who can walk might also enjoy the fun features of Keiki Cove.

Trips With Tykes Tip : Grab a tablet from the Pau Hana room and play the free Menehune Adventure Trail scavenger hunt game. It features lots of surprises as you explore the resort including a great one at Keiki Cove!

Menehune Bridge

disney cruise or aulani

A view of the water play area, Menehune Bridge.

Have more adventurous tykes? They may want to graduate to the larger, but relatively still tame, thrills of Menehune Bridge. Menehune Bridge is a water playground with bigger jets and even a few small water slides. Leslie’s daughter adored it when she first visited Aulani as a 3.5-year-old. Her son wasn’t quite ready at age 4, but couldn’t get enough on a trip when he was 5.5. Joe’s 6 and 4 year olds both loved the whole area.

Menehune Bridge is restricted to kids under 48 inches tall, so there is no worry about tweens and teens knocking over little ones as they play.

Character Meet and Greets

Most young kids want nothing more than the chance to meet Mickey, Stitch, Moana, and Duffy on their Aulani vacation. Aulani has plenty of character meet and greet opportunities. Check the Daily I’wa, Aulani’s daily activity guide, for times and characters. Often, Photopass photographers are present at these meet and greets to capture the whole family together.

Trips With Tykes Tip : At sunset, Photopass photographers set up at the beach on the cove. It’s a great time to get family photos.

KA WA’A Luau

Disney Aulani with Preschoolers - KAWAA luau

Family fun at the KA W’AA Luau at Aulani.

While undoubtedly a major Aulani splurge , the new KA W’AA luau is pretty much a can’t-miss with young children. With a dedicated kids buffet line and a captivating show featuring hula, fire dancers, and amazing music, it is an activity the entire family will enjoy. Best of all – kids under 3 are free! Just be aware that the show may run a bit past many toddler bedtimes. Plan to get in an afternoon nap so your little one can go the distance.

All of our kids were captivated with the story. Although Joe’s baby fell asleep in the stroller on his visit, we’re happy to report that even from the back, the luau is spectacular to watch.

Where to Eat at Aulani with Young Kids

All of the restaurants at Aulani are kid-friendly, so you can take your toddler or preschooler to any of them without fear. Some undoubtedly will interest the younger kid set a bit more and be a better fit for your vacation. Ones especially to add to your dining plans include:

Disney Aulani - Makahiki Character Dinner Stitch

Stitch meets and greets at both the Makahiki character breakfast and dinner.

One that is a can’t-miss with young kids is a character meal at Makahiki. At breakfast (offered daily), kids can meet with Mickey and then dine on a buffet of Disney breakfast classics like Mickey waffles. Aulani also offers a dinner character meal (Menehune Mischief) approximately three nights a week with an extensive seafood buffet. The breakfast is probably the better fit for younger kids, but the dinner is a bit more mellow, so consider your child’s preference for action and crowds when making your choice.

Disney Aulani - Ulu Cafe Outdoor Seating

Outdoor seating at Aulani’s Ulu Cafe.

For busy toddlers who can’t sit still for a lengthier meal, Aulani’s quick service restaurant, Ulu Cafe is a smart choice. The restaurant has kid favorites like chicken strips and pizza as well as more exotic choices for parents like the very popular poke bowl for lunch. There isn’t a ton of seating, but you can always eat the meal poolside.

Another thing we actually recommend doing, especially if you have a dining room like in the larger villas, is getting food to go from Ulu Cafe and eating in your room. Joe’s family did this multiple times and it worked out great for his young kids.

Pāpālua Shave Ice

Disney Aulani Mickey Shave Ice

If your kids get hungry mid-day, Pāpālua Shave Ice is the best place to grab a snack with little ones. Aulani cast members make shave ice into the shape of Mickey ears there! And at just $4-5, it’s a cheap treat that you can share with your kids.

Off-Property Dining

Finally, don’t overlook the off-property dining options within walking distance of Aulani. Just across the street is a shopping center with several restaurant choices. Pizza Corner and Just Tacos serve kid-friendly options you can grab quickly. Leslie’s family’s favorite Monkeypod offers local favorites in a seated dining atmosphere that is casual and family-friendly. You can even grab musubi to go at the ABC Store if you’re only looking for a snack!

Childcare at Aulani

Disney Aulani Auntys Beach House - Sign

Fun with Stitch during morning open house at Aunty’s Beach House at Aulani.

While Aulani is all about family togetherness, sometimes it is nice for parents to get a break from the kids. Aulani has included childcare for potty-trained children ages 3-12 at Aunty’s Beach House.

Aunty’s is truly a kids dream come true, with separate rooms and play spaces for dress up, art projects, Disney movie watching, and more. There are even special programs (some free and some for an additional fee) where kids can make unique crafts, learn about ocean life, or try to hula for the first time. See the complete guide to Aunty’s Beach House for all the details.

For guests with kids not old enough for Aunty’s, Aulani does not have group childcare for children under the age of 3 like Disney Cruise Line does for babies and younger toddlers ( Related : Disney Aulani vs. Disney Cruise Line: Which is Best for Your Family? ). Luckily, Aulani’s concierge works closely with a local recommended childcare service to provide in-room babysitting at an additional fee. Or just bring grandparents to help out like Joe smartly does!

Note also that younger kids can still experience some time at Aunty’s too. Every morning for about an hour, Aunty’s opens early for an open house where kids of any age can visit with parents accompanying them.

If Aunty’s Beach House is a make-or-break feature you plan to use often, then it might make sense to wait to visit Aulani until your kids turn 3. But if you have kids of a wide variety of ages, waiting until they are all at the right age often isn’t practical or even possible.

Final Secrets & Tips for Aulani with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Ready to pack your bags for Aulani with your kids? Here are a few final parting tips for travelers with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers:

  • Leave the lifejackets at home. Aulani has free life vests of all sizes to borrow, so no need to pack your child’s water wings unless you really think they rely on a familiar device.
  • No need to pack or buy sand toys . Similarly, there’s no need to waste luggage space on sand toys. The beach rentals hut, Makiki Joe’s, loans them for free to Aulani guests.
  • Make dining reservations. The nicer restaurants at Aulani, particularly the character meals as well as the luau, are very popular. Make reservations well in advance of your trip to get a day and time that works for your family’s plans.
  • Pre-register kids for Aunty’s. If you have kids of the right age for Aunty’s Beach House, you must pre-register them before your trip. Do this early as you can also make a reservation for the paid programs at the same time, securing your child a spot on the off-chance the facility reaches capacity.
  • Strollers optional. If you have a baby, Aulani is very stroller friendly (although it does not rent them). You may find you don’t even need it. But there is always a path to where you want to go that is stroller or wheelchair friendly, so you won’t have to deal with any stroller related stress!
  • Baby supplies are available. You can always buy disposable diapers at Aulani’s store, though you may want to go across the street and save a little money at the ABC Store. Aulani will also provide a diaper pail on request.
  • Consider housekeeping needs. If you rented or redeemed DVC points for your stay, don’t forget that your room will only receive housekeeping once every four days. You can pay an extra charge for housekeeping if you need it. Plan accordingly!

Best Ways to Book an Aulani Vacation & Save

Aulani vacations can be expensive, but there are definitely ways to stretch your budget much farther if you plan well. There are a ton of different ways to book an Aulani vacation. Be sure to price compare because the best site for deals for some dates won’t necessarily be the best site for deals another date. Trips With Tykes recommends checking the following:

  • David’s Vacation Club Rentals : Save up to 50% on DVC villas – plus get more space to spread out with family.
  • Get Away Today : Get Away Today knows Disney travel and sometimes has special travel agent deals you can’t find anywhere else. Mention Trips With Tykes if you give them a call for additional discounts.
  • Direct from Disney : During certain seasons, Disney has room rate discounts, occasionally as high as 30% off.
  • Hotels.com : While ordinarily I don’t love using middle man online travel agencies, I have not infrequently seen rates lower than the published Disney seasonal discounts on this site, potentially saving families a couple hundred dollars on stays of several days.

About the co-author : Contributing writer Joe Cheung loves traveling with his wife and three children. He has been writing about using miles and points to reduce the cost of family travel on his blog  asthejoeflies  since his wife was pregnant with their first child. He loves traveling all around the world with a special place in his heart for travel to Asia and all things Disney. When he’s not writing, you can find Joe chatting about Disney World on the Disney planning podcast  Disney Deciphered  that he and Leslie co-host or chatting about miles and points on his other podcast the  Saverocity Observation Deck .

Considering a Disney Aulani vacation in Hawaii with young kids? The best activities, food, tips, and secrets for Aulani travel with babies, toddlers, or preschoolers. #disneyaulani #aulani

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Discover a thriving, modern metropolis at the heart of this alluring hawaiian state capital on the island of o’ahu, where high-rise buildings meet surf and sand., destination details, things to see and do, port adventures, travel information, arrival information, pre- and post-cruise hotel stay, aulani, a disney resort & spa in ko olina, hawai‘i.

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Aulani Disney Resort: Spring and Summer Savings

Spring into magic save up to 20% on select rooms for stays of 5 or more nights.

Plan a spectacular springtime escape with this special offer at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi—where there’s something magical for everyone! Save on select rooms for stays April 16, 2022 through June 5, 2022.

With this great offer, the longer you stay, the more they save:

  • Save up to 20% on select rooms for stays of 5 or more nights
  • Save up to 15% on select rooms for stays of 4 nights

This offer is valid for stays most nights April 16, 2022 through June 5, 2022.

IMPORTANT DETAILS

  • Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room for stays from April 16, 2022 through June 5, 2022. Travel must be completed by June 6, 2022.
  • Length of stay requirements apply and cancellation of any nights of a stay will affect discount validity.
  • Not valid on Suites and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas, or on previously booked rooms.
  • Advance reservations are required and must be consecutive night stays.
  • Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.
  • Excludes applicable fees and taxes.
  • Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and occupancy restrictions apply per room.
  • Additional charges apply if more than two (2) adults per hotel room; not applicable for Suites or Villas.
  • Offer applied once per reservation and is not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers.
  • Offer subject to restrictions and change or cancellation without notice.
  • Select activities require additional fees.

Disney® Visa® Cardmembers: Save 25% on Select Rooms for Stays of 5 or More Nights This Spring

Plan a spectacular springtime escape with this special offer at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi—where there’s something magical for everyone! Save on select rooms for stays May 10, 2022 through June 5, 2022 when your Clients book using their Disney® Visa® Card.

With this great offer for Disney Visa Cardmembers, the longer you stay, the more they save:

  • Save 25% on select rooms for stays of 5 or more nights
  • Save 20% on select rooms for stays of 4 nights

No matter how long you stay, they’ll enjoy an unforgettable vacation brimming with fun for the entire family.

This offer is valid for stays most nights May 10, 2022 through June 5, 2022.

Important Details

  • Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room for stays from May 10, 2022 through June 5, 2022. Travel must be completed by June 6, 2022.
  • Disney® Visa® Cardmember must stay in the room.
  • Must mention the offer when booking and use a valid Disney® Visa® Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card to pay the deposit. If a valid Disney® Visa® Card is not used, the non-discounted room price will be charged for the duration of the stay.
  • Offer is nontransferable and subject to restrictions and change or cancellation without notice.

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Disney

The Acolyte

June 4, 2024

Mystery, Science Fiction

In “Star Wars: The Acolyte,” an investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Amandla Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems….

Rated: TV-14 Release Date: June 4, 2024

Directed By

Produced by.

Rated TV 14

Official Trailer | The Acolyte

In an age of light, a darkness rises | Star Wars: The Acolyte | June 4 | Disney+ | movie poster

(Center): Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Jedi Master Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(Clockwise from center): Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae), Jedi Master Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo) and (second from right) Master Torbin (Dean Charles Chapman) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(Clockwise from center): Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae), Jedi Master Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo) and (second from right) Master Torbin (Dean Charles Chapman) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(L-R): Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(L-R): Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(Center): Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(Center): Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Amandla Stenberg in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Amandla Stenberg in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Scene from Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(Center, L-R): Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett) and Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

(Center, L-R): Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett) and Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

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IMAGES

  1. Disney's Aulani Hotel Resort In Hawaii

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  2. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi

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  3. Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii

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  4. Disney's Aulani & Cruise Line Disney Aulani, Disney Parks, Cruise

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  5. Guide to Disney Vacation Club

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  6. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

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COMMENTS

  1. Disney Cruise vs. Disney Aulani: Which Vacation is Right For Your

    For a trip right after Labor Day this year (September 4-8, 2023), here is what the least expensive room/cabin runs for each: Disney Magic 4-Night Bahamian Cruise from Miami (inside cabin): $3452. Aulani $2242 (standard room with current 25% off fall discount) + $250/day food budget = $3242. Here's another example for early next year (January ...

  2. Aulani or Cruise

    We just completed a 4 night Disney Cruise (9/16-20) and had a 6-night stay at Aulani around the same time last year. Aulani was significantly cheaper than the cruise, however, we had a 1-bedroom and mainly prepared meals in our villa, dining out just a couple of times. We rented a convertible for the week, and even with that cost and our flights, the cruise was more than double the cost of ...

  3. Aulani Resort & Spa Trip Planning Guide

    From the resort's impressive Hawaiian art collection to the amazing Waikolohe Valley pool area (including my favorite thing about Aulani, the lazy river) to the daily events and activities, there is plenty to do, see, and enjoy at Aulani. If you've ever done Disney Cruise Line (or another ship, for that matter), it's sort of like that in ...

  4. Disney's Aulani Review + Planning Guide

    Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is a Disney-owned and -operated resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu (home to Honolulu International Airport, Waikiki Beach, and Pearl Harbor). Aulani opened on August 29, 2011. It was designed under the direction of Joe Rohde, a Disney Imagineering legend.

  5. 3 Ways that Aulani is Similar to Disney Cruise Line

    3 Ways that Aulani is Similar to Disney Cruise Line. March 1, 2021 Jackie Gailey. UPDATE 3/4/21: Disney has announced that the KA WA'A Luau will be making its return beginning March 27, 2021! Read more details about the luau HERE. While we're all waiting and dreaming of being able to board a Disney ship and sail again, let's take a quick ...

  6. Everything to Know About Visiting Disney Hawaii Resort Aulani

    David Roark/Courtesy of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Pool wristband distribution and chair selection begin at 8 a.m., and, given the resort's family focus, it doesn't offer much by way of nightlife.

  7. An In-Depth Review of Disney's Aulani Resort

    Summer 2025 Disney Cruise Line Itineraries Released An In-Depth Review of Disney's Aulani Resort. By Zoë Wood - September 21, 2022 | Walt Disney World. As some of you know, I recently spent some time in Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa, at a time that I don't usually visit. This trip was a winter escape for us, and we found ourselves ...

  8. A Review of Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii

    Having a shower-tub combo, though, was the right call for a room with two queen beds. I was surprised to find different bath amenities at Aulani than at the Disney Resorts at Disney World and Disneyland. Instead of the usual greenish-blue Disney H2O line, there was an Aulani special version of the line, which was a neat touch.

  9. Hawaii Excursions

    Hawaii Excursions are vacation experiences available at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, featuring catamaran cruises, dolphin encounters, rainforest activities and more. Skip Navigation ... Come along and spot humpback whales on a catamaran cruise, tour O'ahu's moving World War II memorials or hike to a hidden waterfall. All this and more is ...

  10. Aulani

    Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina on the beautiful island of Oahu, is located in a spectacular setting. View photos, artist's renderings and videos of Aulani and beautiful Ko Olina, Hawaii.

  11. Ten Awesome Experiences at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

    6. Rest, Relax and Rejuvenate at Laniwai - A Disney Spa. A special part of an Aulani Resort vacation is the restorative opportunities the resort offers. One of the most relaxing experiences is a visit to Laniwai - A Disney Spa which provides an environment to indulge and care for your wellness needs.

  12. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii

    Aulani Resort & Spa, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, is an oceanfront resort offering activities and amenities that aim to engage every member of the family. Aulani is also designed to respect and connect with the local culture of the Hawaiian islands. The Walt Disney Imagineering team researched Hawaii and worked with local architects and ...

  13. Best Excursions from Aulani Disney Resort in Hawaii

    A standard 18-hole round is $225 for Ko Olina resort guests (including Aulani), $250 for non-resort guests, and $95 for kama'āina. Additional packages are available, as are discounts. Classes and private lessons are also available, whether you're just beginning or looking to improve your skills.

  14. AULANI, A Disney Resort & Spa

    Located in Ko Olina, Aulani Resort spans 21 acres along the island's leeward coast. At Aulani Resort, adults, teens and kids each have special places to call their own. While adults reconnect, children love the complimentary kids' club that taps into cool island culture and stories. Teens quickly discover the water sports, spa, salon, teen-only ...

  15. Hawai'i

    When you set sail on an enchanted Hawaiian cruise on the Disney Wonder, you'll travel to all 4 major islands and experience the best this exotic paradise has to offer. Enjoy the exceptional quality that makes a Disney cruise outstanding—including luxurious amenities, magical onboard activities and fascinating Port Adventures. SHARE.

  16. DVC Aulani: All You Need To Know About Disney's Hawaii Hotel

    The cove right in front of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa! About Disney's Aulani. Located on the island of Oahu, the Aulani, a Disney resort spa in Hawaii, is about a 35-minute drive from Honolulu, in the Ko Olina, Hawai'i area.More than just a hotel room, it is one of the Disney Vacation Club member resorts, which means its thoughtful amenities are perfect for families.

  17. Disney Cruise Line Reveals Name and Theme of Next Ship, The Disney

    The Disney Destiny, sister to the Disney Wish and Disney Treasure, will have a first-of-its-kind design theme, "Heroes and Villains," drawing on the legacies of beloved Disney stories, characters and theme park attractions.. The Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering teams were inspired by the dynamic duality of every great Disney story when developing this new ship, where ...

  18. Pearl Harbor and City Ending at Aulani (HO47)

    All Port Adventures are subject to the Disney Cruise Line Cruise Contract. Port Adventure itineraries, content and durations may be adjusted at Disney Cruise Line's discretion, and all Port Adventures are subject to availability and/or cancellation based on weather, itinerary changes, and attendance. Children under 18 years of age must be ...

  19. Special Aulani Offer for Guests on Disney Cruise Line ...

    Save 20% on a Post-Stay at Aulani Resort. Oct. 3, 2023 - Vancouver to Hawaii Sailing*. Feb. 16, 2024 - Sydney to Honolulu Sailing**. To book this special offer, please get in touch with your Dreams Unlimited Travel agent. * Offer is only valid for post-cruise stays for Disney Cruise Line guests booked on the 10/3/23 to 10/13/23 Vancouver to ...

  20. Disney Catamaran

    Join Aulani guests for this 4-hour ocean adventure. After just a short drive from Aulani, you will board the 65-foot Gold Coast catamaran Ko Nau Lani and cruise out along the shoreline of Oahu's sun-kissed leeward (away from the wind) coast. Following a hearty lunch, you will be greeted by local marine life.

  21. Tips for Disney's Aulani with Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

    For guests with kids not old enough for Aunty's, Aulani does not have group childcare for children under the age of 3 like Disney Cruise Line does for babies and younger toddlers (Related: Disney Aulani vs. Disney Cruise Line: Which is Best for Your Family?). Luckily, Aulani's concierge works closely with a local recommended childcare ...

  22. Cruises From Honolulu, Hawaii

    Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai'i. Discover your legend at the ultimate family destination that celebrates the beauty, culture and welcoming spirit of the island. Read More. SHARE. Explore Disney Cruise Line's exciting cruise and destination offerings departing from the beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii.

  23. Disney Offering Aulani Resort Add-On Discount to Disney Cruise Line

    This discount applies to stays ranging between two and seven nights, and can be booked through the Disney Cruise Line Reservation Center. All Aulani stays tied to this deal must begin on the day of disembarkation for post-cruise reservations, or end the night before sailings for pre-cruise bookings. The promotion will end September 6 of this year.

  24. Aulani Disney Resort:

    Aulani Disney Resort: Spring and Summer Savings. Spring Into Magic! Save Up to 20% on Select Rooms for Stays of 5 or More Nights. Plan a spectacular springtime escape with this special offer at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi—where there's something magical for everyone! Save on select rooms for stays April 16, 2022 ...

  25. The Acolyte

    Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, Carrie-Anne Moss