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“Best Vacation Ever !”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Best Vacation Ever !”
Reviewed 7 March 2014

Me and my wife (no kids) have decided to go to Hawaii and use our DVD points to stay at Aulani. Even with no kids it was one of the best vacations we had so far. You don't feel that you are in a Disney resort because the character show up only a few times a day at specific locations however the resort is so beautiful and so well made that you know that only Disney can do that.
I strongly recommend for families with kids or even just for a couple. Awesome beach (not too cold on warm days) and all pools are heated, even the lazy river !

The prices for food are on average for a resort at this level however the are great options just crossing the street at Vintage Café or Monkey Pod and the buffet inside Marriot just beside, for $27.

Can't wait for next vacation at Aulani !


Can you believe that ? Can not wait for the next vacation at Aulani :))

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Rafael S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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San Carlos, CA
Level Contributor
87 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2014

I was travelling with my daughters 8 and 10 during President's Day week. It was crowded (which turned out to be their excuse for a lot of the problems.) My feeling is, if you have the capacity in rooms, you should have the capacity in facilities. We didn't have a car as we didn't want to pay $35 a day for parking but there is a rental car agency here for those that want a car for just a day.

Curb Appeal: 1 star. Upon arriving at the curb of the hotel, I noticed a water station on the left and bell services on the right and crowds milling around both. I was tired after a long flight and shuttle ride, with delays on both, and I just wanted to get to our room so we headed into the enormous and crowded lobby where I was further frustrated that I couldn't see the reception desk (it was around the corner). They should have had a doorman.

Reception: 0 stars. I was greeted with "Checking in? Last name, please". Even motels will welcome you with hello, how was your flight, etc. The receptionist looked up my reservation, said curtly "just one moment" and walked off. I was left wondering if there was something wrong with my reservation. During the 5 mins she was gone, I thought about how poorly Aulani compared to my experiences with Disney Cruise where we felt welcomed from the moment the taxi cab dropped us off at the curb and the Disney Magic was in full force. No Magic here.

She came back with a lei and said "here". It felt like she was dispensing with a necessity, which, I guess, she was since the lei was part of my package. Next she accused me of checking in online. Well, yes, I had forgotten. After all, Disney sent me that email a week or more before departure. She didn't say why it was relevant but maybe it was a veiled explanation of why she had to run off -- I was in the wrong place.

Finally, I asked about my included free breakfast and was told it was for adults only so only I would get a free breakfast. I pointed out that one of my daughters is 10 and the receptionist started to tell me that you have to be some other older age, but I interrupted that Disney was charging 10 years old as an adult if I make buffet reservations. That fact really ticks me off actually so I wasn't going to accept a claim that 10 didn't qualify for a free adult breakfast. Because I was insistent, the receptionist called someone on the phone and, after a long discussion, she told me I could have free breakfast for 2.

Room: 4 stars. It was spacious with a great view of greenery. The front hall was big, with room to leave shoes. The bathroom was big. There were enough drawers (6) for 3 people -- though it would have been tight for 4. There was a closet. Like the Disney ships, the bed is designed for suitcases to go underneath. I love that. And Disney always provides plenty of counter space in the room and bathroom. There were well-placed outlets (each side of both beds, between the beds, and at the table.) Fridge and room safe. I requested and received a microwave. The only thing I wished for was an extra chair -- only 2 at the table.

Knocking off one star for maid service. The room wasn't cleaned on second day while we were at breakfast or swimming, despite the fact that cleaning cart was parked outside our door and later was gone. I called at 2pm and they said they had until 4pm. Another day, they didn't get around to coming in until almost exactly 4pm. Cleaning did not include cleaning/replacing the bathroom glassware, and the bathroom floor always felt a little gritty.

Food Service: 3 stars. Our first night, we sat in the outdoor lounge and waited forever for a waitress. I finally flagged down someone who turned out to be a hostess. After ordering, it took forever for food to arrive. It was impossible to get a waitress at poolside dining. Even when I walked up to one and she promised to come by, she forgot and never came. But the folks at the Olu Cafe were charming, helpful, and patient and I think they deal with the largest volume of people. Character Breakfast was excellent but overpriced, especially for the 10 year old, and they didn't have a carving station or dessert table.

Free Breakfast: 0 stars. Aulani funneled everyone into the tiny Ulu Café for free breakfast. There were long slow lines every morning. The wait was at least an hour long, a sucky way to start each day. Tables were scarce. One day they ran out of bacon (the line stopped moving until they cooked more) and to-go boxes.

Refillable Mugs: 2 stars. It was nice to have bottomless cups. Not so nice to constantly be lugging mugs around and washing them. Not nice that there were only 2 refill stations Ulu Café and Lava Shack. It was $3 per drink without them. I wished there was just an all inclusive option and saved us the hassle.

Aunty Beach House: 0 stars, negative stars if I could. This was the children's programming. They told me they opened at 8am and advised me to get there before then to sign up for programs that required reservations. I arrived at 7:45 and the line was very long. The person in front of me had gotten in line at 7:30. After an hour they had sold out of two of the programs and the lunch shift. Any parents who had adult plans for the day or that time of day were out of luck. The person ahead of me said they were turning people away the day before even for free play because they had reached capacity. After a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes, I was still 10 people away from the head of the line and they announced that they had sold out of the other 2 programs I was waiting for. There was absolutely no reason why they couldn't have taken a poll at 8am and let those of us who weren't going to get in get on with our day. For that matter, they should have added more capacity.

Water Features: 4 stars. The Lazy River was the best feature -- long warm and 3' deep (safe for many kids). Many swam in it without a tube. Kinda crowded and tubes scarce at peak times. No waves but there were some drenching waterfalls which you could avoid if you were careful. The slide line was long and the slide was pretty tame. I liked it ok but not enough to stand in the line twice. The water playground was great. Keiko Cove was closed almost the entire time. There was plenty of space in the pools and hot tubs. Rainbow Reef was a good place for newbie snorkelers but the water is really cold in the mornings. They ran out of towels one day; I wasn't able to get any until 3pm.

Overall, Aulani wasn't special and it didn't feel like Disney. I wasn't the only guest who expressed surprise that this was run by Disney. On top of that, it didn't even feel Hawaiian. I realized afterwards that the resort didn't have that heavenly plumeria scent (maybe they were out of season), no POG (the refill station just offers soft drinks, coffee, tea, and cocoa), and pineapples were $5 per wedge. Ulu Café served meatloaf for the hot entrée one day, and teriyaki chicken the next. I've had far better experiences in every other place I've stayed in Hawaii. I won't be back to the Aulani.

It did make me nostalgic for another Disney Cruise though!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank KarenB_California
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alberta, CANADA
Level Contributor
76 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2014 via mobile

The resort was very nice, and their ocean front lagoon beautiful. The staff were friendly and accommodating, and we liked that there were a lot of options for activities. I didn't find it overly "Disney-ish"..I was expecting it to be more so. It is still very much a family place though. The restaurant food was fine in terms of quality if not a bit overpriced (and we couldn't get in for dinner most nights...they were all full as we were staying during peak..right after Xmas). Oh! Two things...the piña coladas at the resort were the best I've ever had, and the neighbouring hotel has a Starbucks..a nice surprise. Make your dinner and activities reservations way ahead of time, that is, before you arrive for your vacation if you plan to travel during peak/busy season. We were turned away at one activity after waiting in line 20 minutes (they were full). We used the Kids Club one time, it was okay. I found the staff in there were well-meaning and friendly, but their system for pick ups and drop off was a little bit chaotic. Admittedly, I have never used any kids clubs before, so I have nothing to compare it to. I would also have to agree with many of the other reviewers here… it was indeed expensive at Aulani (we paid around $800/night for an ocean view room). We have stayed in some of the nicest resorts/hotels in the United States, and I still say that this resort is particularly pricey. We stayed over New Year's eve. The party was great for the kids, but the lineups were way overlong to get in and seated (nearly 45 minutes with two kids in tow). Overall, we enjoyed our stay. I think many of the issues we had with chaos etc., would have been remedied had we not been there during peak season.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank MTVandendooren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2014

Aulani is a beautiful resort and Disney has thought of everything. They capture the essence of the Hawaiian culture so wonderfully. Our first flight out of NY was cancelled due to snow and we arrived a day late only to find a beautiful platter with cheese, crackers and fresh fruit with a note saying they were sorry we were delayed. We stayed in a 1BR villa on the 3rd floor overlooking the lawn and we loved it. We felt like we were close to everything and we didn't spend much time in the room. I initially wanted an ocean view room, but none available, but again we loved our room. We didn't do any sit-down dining at Disney due to the cost (even by NY standards). We shopped for groceries at Target (about 4 miles away) and there was also great little group of stores and restaurants across the street that we walked to everyday for groceries and souvenirs. Otherwise the food stands at Disney were great. Loved the lagoon, the snorkel pool and the lazy river. Listen for whale sounds underwater at the pool near the hot tub. Loved that!! Used the gym facilities every morning and loved sunrise yoga on the beach. Great activities everyday, even learned how to play the ukulele!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank excsusan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Placentia, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2014

Our stay at Disney’s Aulani on Oahu, Hawaii was phenomenal. We stayed five nights, check-in Sunday – check-out Friday, the last week of February 2014. We are two adults with no kids and were aiming for low occupancy days, midweek.

Here, you will not find “over the top” Disney. What you will find is a blending of Disney’s exceptional customer service and the relaxing atmosphere of Hawaii. It was both refreshing and rejuvenating. The greeters at the door welcomed us with a beautifully colored and fragrant lei for my wife and a necklace of kukui nuts for me. Check-in was easy and the room was amazing. The pictures on their website truly represent the room. Very beautiful and very warm.

You will find Disney characters randomly roaming the resort. Unlike Disneyland and Disneyworld, these characters do not stay in one place, take pictures and leave. As said, they roam the resort. Greeting everyone, taking pictures. I received both a “fist bump” and a “shaka.” Goofy waded knee height into the pool to greet and take pictures with guests.

Of course there are plenty of water activities. The pools were fun… yes, plural pools. Plus a play structure/water park area that will make you wonder where things like that were when you were little. The lagoon, shared with Marriott, was very enjoyable. Swim, kayak, snorkel. There are some fish in the lagoon to see if you do snorkel.

There are plenty of free activities on site. You can find daily schedules at various places. If you get a chance, I highly recommend the Starlit Hui.

Of the paid activities, we did the Catamaran Experience (highly recommended). We rode a catamaran with several other couples and families on the western side of Oahu and snorkeled for a good amount of time. We saw plenty of reef fish, a few sea turtles directly below us and whales in the distance. There were three safety divers with the group. One dove down and brought up a sea urchin for everyone to hold and feel.

We ate at all dining areas. The food was good in all areas. ‘Ama ‘Ama was very good. A good juice drink is POG. A passion fruit juice, orange juice and guava juice mix. I could not get enough.

There was only one thing that disappointed us at Aulani. As you wander around the resort, you will hear Disney songs beautifully translated in Hawaiian. We could not find this on cd or media of any kind. All Disney team members we asked said that music is something not currently sold. All we know is we need this should it ever be sold.

Other trip items…

There is an Alamo Car Rental at Aulani. If you do rent a car, be sure to set this up a day prior. Sometimes they don’t have cars on hand for spontaneous renters. If you are on a budget, you can do one day rentals to avoid the $35.00 parking fee. Though Alamo closes at 5:00 PM, you can drop off your car after hours with the valet.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Timothy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Central Coast California
Level Contributor
223 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 421 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2014

Everywhere you look there is perfection. Resort is very well done. Every staff (cast) member is awesome, appears happy to be there and helpful all the time. Food service at Ami Ami was spectacular. Food servers are very personable. Drinks kind of pricey but good. Food pricey but good. Lunch blows the dinner away at Ami Ami. The view is awesome at Ami Ami during the day, overlooking the beach and pool areas. Get the plate lunch it is different every day and is $21. I was stuffed like a crab after eating it. There are so many things going on in this place you could not possibly have a bad time. Every adult and kid I saw was so damn excited and swimming, riding water rides, etc. There is stand up paddle boarding, polynesian shows, taking pics with Goofy, you name it. This is not just another water park. It has lava caves, splash areas, lazy rivers, hot tub areas, pools, more pools, Shave Ice bar, restaurants, you name it. Enough said. Book it Dano...

I hope my review helps

Room Tip: Ocean View. Beachside resort view. Enough said.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank California_Wine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
33 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2014 credit card Amex Cardmember Review

Rooms are just OK and food is poor value - taste vs cost vs portions. I liked everything else, though. Staff are extraordinarily friendly, grounds are impeccable, water features are great fun and art and culture activities are first class.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank johnh96813
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Property: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Address: 92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-4434
Region: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 819
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Also Known As:
Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Hawaii/Oahu

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