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“Great family vacation!”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great family vacation!”
Reviewed 23 June 2014 via mobile

Things we loved:
Kids program at Aunty's Beach (allows parents to enjoy time to themselves) House and Pua Hana room (Ukelele lesson n Menehune trail--interactive fun for kids up to age 10, do either at 10 am or 5 PM when not so hot)
Customer Service was exceptional.
Valet parking (same cost as self parking)
Concierge's assistance with planning trips considered traffic and highway closures, very helpful.
Great entertainment--pools, shows, nice variety of restaurants n stores
Drinking water stations were convenient.
Photographers everywhere (buy all ur pics for only $99 at the end so take a lot!)
Costco is near by so can buy local food at a cheaper price (eg, POG juice, snacks, poke, papaya, rice) n get ur gas so bring ur membership card.
Character Breakfast is a must do at least once; found out Marriott next door offers a buffet brunch for $10, wish I had known.
Paradise Cove luau is next door, but we enjoyed Polynesian Cultural Center's, too.

Didn't like:
Waiting in line to make Aunty's Beach House reservations; people start lining up at 7am n it doesn't open until 8am! Do it on the days u don't have to do early morning excursions. If u don't make it by 7:30ish, the popular programs fill up fast, but they r offered on other days n sometimes twice a day. Activities schedule published the night before n doesn't match online schedule so plan then.
Eating local food is high in sodium; nice to have Aloha Salads near by, near Costco n Target. We had a little cooler so packed it with salads n had an evening picnic while we watched the popular hula show.
Only one laundromat per tower. Try to bring ur own detergent n drier sheets BC the dispenser was usually broken; Front desk gave me free ones for the inconvenience, but it truly was an inconvenience.
Standard rooms don't come with microwave, but u may request for one n hopefully u will get it.
If I were to plan it differently, I'd stay in Waikiki area for 2-3 days n then spend the rest of my vacation at Aulani so we wouldn't have to go back n forth for sightseeing in DT Honolulu/Waikiki area or even southern area.
$18 for drinking mug; worth the investment if u drink a lot of soda or coffee. I wish I hadn't BC we mostly drank water n there r water stations throughout the pool area n in the valet area (that one is infused with citrus slices n mints-very refreshing).

Outside recommendations:
Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial--get in line by 6:30 or ur tour time will be close to moon or later!
Boots and Kimo pancakes! Across the way is a wonderful nature preserve u can check out before they open, but the line gets long fast even on a weekday!
Waimea Falls--wonderful hiking (moderate) adventure. Sometimes they allow swimming at the falls at the end but don't swallow the water. They have a shuttle u can pay for, one way or both. Be prepared with a poncho.
Lyon Arboretum was a lovely walk n free unless u want to do a tour.


  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank CarolineInDc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2014

We just returned from our 8 day stay at the Aulani. We arrived very early and the front desk was very accommodating and they were able to give us our room right away. We stayed in a 2 bedroom villa. The villa was perfect! It had all the amenities of home, including a washer and dryer. There a few minute negatives. The bathroom lighting was very dim and the mirrors were high above the sink making it hard to put your make up on. It would also be nice to have a lighted magnified make-up mirror attached to the wall like most hotels these days! The food on property was mediocre and nothing special. I would have liked to see more seafood on the menu as this is an island property. The grounds are gorgeous and well kept. I would have liked to see a play structure that was not attached to Aunty's beach house. Our children were too young to enjoy the program there and the only time they could play at Aunty's was 8:00am - 9:30am. I would have liked to see just a little bit more of the Disney characters incorporated into the property. The car rental on property was very expensive. There is really no shopping to speak of. Just a few shops in the complex across the street with a few restaurants. The restaurants in that shopping area are decent, The pizza restaurant was very good. The fish at MonkeyPods was excellent. Overall, we loved our stay and would definitely return!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank tjmp3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakeside, Montana
Level Contributor
91 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2014

I was very skeptical about coming here after reading some of the reviews, but I am so glad we came! The "Aloha" spirit is alive and well at Aulani. I loved that Disney embraced the Hawaiian culture in every aspect of this hotel. The hotel is what you make of it. If you want the "full Disney" experience, you can have it! There is a "Daily Iwa" that you can pick up at the front desk that shows all of the Disney activities for the day. If you don't care, there is plenty to do and see all around the property! There is an excellent walking path that goes in front of all the lagoons in Ko Olina. All beaches in Hawaii are public, so we felt free to explore and found many great areas to snorkel within walking distance of Aulani. We got a villa on the 12th floor of the Ewa Tower, so noise wasn't really a problem. It is a Disney hotel, so of course there are going to be a lot of small kids. I would not recommend eating on property. We ate at the buffet restaurant one night, and toddlers wearing only diapers were running around our table while babies were screaming. Not a very relaxing experience for $40 per person. We had a villa and went to Costco and saved a ton by cooking our own meals the rest of the time. Here is a tip: when you return with groceries, pull up to the front door and the bell hops will load them on a cart and take them to your room for you! My parents are Disney Vacation Club members, so we feel very blessed to have gone on this trip with them! We would definitely go back!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Montanaboysmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 21 June 2014

We arrived Ashley at the front was great we were upgraded to A villa it was fantastic we had full kitchen and and washer dryer .The pool is so much fun so many great activity s just want to thank Jayson and Vanessa at the pool for great service we loved are stay an will be back and will let are friends and family know what a great place aulani is Mahalo The Kalalau Ohana

  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Brenda K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sunnyvale, California
Level Contributor
113 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2014

Fun, loud resort! Staying here can be great, but you have to do your homework. Disney will not help you figure things out on your own. First off, the reservation line goes to Los Angeles, not Hawaii, so they don't really know what type of room they are selling you. Their website, also doesn't match what they tell you over the phone. I needed a room with 3 beds and was told the deluxe studio (in the vacation club would work). I asked for a 2 queen and a roll-away and was told I couldn't have that room. Not that it wasn't available, that I couldn't have a roll-away in there (or a blow-up which is all they offer). I knew this deluxe studio with 1 bed, 1 sofa-bed and 1 blow-up mattress would be way too tight, but I decided to believe Disney and deal with it at the front desk. Once at the front desk, the cast member was very nice and told me that I indeed could have a 2 queen room, plus a blow-up mattress and that he'd throw in an ocean view for good measure! Yay!! While visiting the hotel I had a chance to visit the deluxe studio which is indeed a queen with a small sofa-bed and absolutely no room for anything else. If I would have tried to squeeze my family of 4 in here there would have been a mutiny. Yes, there are larger rooms available with multiple beds, but they range from $800 - $1200+ a night. What is Disney thinking? Do they really believe your average American family, on a Hawaiian vacation, can afford that? I know I can't and I put a pretty high limit on what I was willing to spend on a room per night ($500). On top of that, they want to charge an extra $100 per persons over 18 in your group. In the vacation club studio, we could have had any number of people sleep in our room for free, but because we were moved into a "hotel room", they wanted to charge me an additional $100 per night for my 18 year old son. I told them that was not discussed up front and they reversed that charges since they upgraded us at "their discretion". Bottom line is you need to be a member of the DVC in order to reap any benefits of staying here.

On the resort itself, it is very different from the other Hawaiian resorts. When you enter the lobby, you don't see a beautiful ocean view, you see a giant, fake rock sculpture, similar to the Matterhorn. This is the water slide area. There are two sides, one that requires a tube and one that doesn't. Good thing they have two to choose from because you cannot always get a tube. It's not like every guest is guaranteed a tube, even at these prices. The resort is also very loud, like an amusement park. Do not go here if you think you are going to relax and listen to the waves crashing. We went with our kids (16 and 18) and we were able to find chairs at the adult pool and then leave and go enjoy the slides and the river and come back to relax. If you have little kids, you will be asked to leave this great area and deal with the masses. Our daughter, who is 16, stayed with us in the adult area with no problem, but we did see a "pool supervisor" relocate one family with young children. They couldn't find any other place to sit so a cast member helped relocate them. There is also no shopping at this resort. There are two shops and not much to buy. No Mickey shirts, just Aulani shirts for adults. A few things for the kids, but we only bought macadamia nuts because there really wasn't anything with Mickey/Disney there worth buying. We never even saw Mickey until we ate at the buffet.

Regarding food, there is either very expensive food or fast food. There is no in between. This is something that others have talked about here and again I ask Disney, what are you thinking? Why isn't there a coffee shop type of food venue? We did have one fancy/pricey dinner at the Makahiki buffet. The prime rib and mashed potatoes where good. There was also crab legs and sushi (I didn't try the sushi, but others seem to be enjoying). Still it's a buffet and although we dressed up a little for dinner (aloha shirts and dresses), there were others there in grubby shorts, just from the pool. We also had Father's Day brunch at Makahiki. The breakfast buffet was better than the dinner buffet, I think. Made to order omelets, sliced ham, etc. At both meals the desserts left a little to be desired. The rest of our meals were either eaten pool side or at the Ulu Cafe (One Paddle, Two Paddle is no longer there). The pool food was actually very good and hot! Burgers and chicken fingers of course. At the Ulu Cafe, they offer breakfast that changes every day, but is very good. There is a large selection of fresh pastries as well. Lunch/dinner offers a hot meal that changes as well. One night we had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy that was very good, but this is all self serve. Be sure to get your refillable mug here. The middle of the pool area has corn dogs and shave ice, but the lines there were so long every day, we never ate there.

The spa is nice, but small. I booked a double massage room well in advance for my daughter and myself, but once there we wanted to get pedicures and couldn't get an appointment because there just aren't that many slots available. Book ahead if you think you might want a service and then cancel once you get there, if it's before the cancellation time.

Overall, Aulani is not a honeymoon resort, it's also not Disneyland. It's a fun place to sun, ride in the river and down the slides and eat burgers and fries. Just be prepared to wait in line and not actually hear/see any waves from the Pacific Ocean.

Room Tip: Do not take a room on the 3rd floor. Everyone has to walk passed your rooms to get to the elevators...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank gradeschoolmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oahu, Hawaii
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2014

We stayed three nights in June with two kids under 12. We will never come here again. The food was just Ok, the housekeeping virtually nonexistent, and the pools were overcrowded with people by 9 am. Most of the available seating at the beaches and pools is set up in tight rows, airline style and all seats are taken early by people throwing their belongings on chairs. Even if you get a seat, don't expect to read or even relax given the noise and the other guests being 6 inches away from you on all asides. As other reviewers have noted, at least one pool a day is closed due to sanitary or other issues. The staff isn't particularly friendly ( except for the staff photographers posted every few feet to take your picture for a steep price) and the housekeeping staff makes the beds but nothings else. The floors were full of sand after our second day and we had to open up the pull out sofa ourselves and call for extra pillows every night. Ridiculous. The "authentic" luau held at the resort was attended by almost 1,000 people, including attendees who were bused in for lousy music and one or two activities for kids with very long lines. Not very intimate or memorable. We did enjoy the arranged tour of Pearl Harbor, but other than that, we'd recommend that families skip Oahu or at least this resort in favor of a more authentic Hawaiin experience.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Pat G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Level Contributor
48 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 June 2014

Aulani is an incredibly beautiful resort - Disney designers have done what they do best - theming to nth degree; in the case of Aulani Disney has taken the Hawaiian value for the environment and designed the resort to reflect this just as they designed many of the WDW resorts in a specific theme that isn't all about Disney characters. The buildings look completely different than any other resort hotel; the outdoor areas are designed for maximum space utilization and include multiple pools, slides, restaurants. The path meanders around the pools,etc. and are beautifully landscaped. There is a lovely lagoon with beach steps off of the resort path. There are fitness classes on the beach in the morning, a fitness room and spa, kids programs and a variety of excursions to enjoy. Aulani is in HAWAII and Disney has made Hawaii the main theme of this resort. Mickey, Minnie and Goofy are around and there are hidden Mickeys to find, but this is not Disneyland the opportunities to enjoy and learn about this area are abundant. Oh, and the usual exemplary Disney service!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Michele C
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 & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Hawaii/Oahu

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