A few years ago now my extended family and I went to Aulani for a week long holiday. I had been having the most stressful time at work and one day I just decided I needed a break. My sister in law loves Hawaii and we had never been with her so we decided to rent a 2 Bedroom Villa and head on down. From the moment I set foot on property I was instantly relaxed. It was like magic. When I tell people about my trip I get a lot of “Oh yeah, that’s the Disney resort where you go to Hawaii and hang with Mickey”. Honestly, yeah, Mickey and friends are there, but no, it’s not over the top and you feel like you’re in Hawaii and not in Disneyland. Actually, compared to the mass commercialization of Waikiki, Aulani feels more Hawaiian than the other Hawaiian hotels I’ve visited/stayed at.
From the moment I set foot on property I started relaxing. I will always remember my first morning at Aulani, walking through the beautifully landscaped grounds. The smell of the flowers, the sound of the waves off in the distance. I didn’t know how stressed I was until I felt that extreme level of relaxation. It was incredible. I still go back to that morning whenever things get too out of control stress wise.
There are no private beaches in Hawaii, it’s a great law for locals and I wanna be clear that I totally support it. That said, it can lead to crowded beaches which are a bit messier than you’d expect. However, given Aulani’s location in Ko Olina and its beachfront position with the pool leading straight into the ocean gives it a really private beach feel. I don’t think I ever saw anyone there who wasn’t a guest at Aulani. There are super comfy beach chairs and umbrellas as well as beach rentals with free sand toys, boogie boards and snorkeling gear to name a few.
Best. Pool. EVER. Yeah, that’s right, I said it Beach Club, this is the best pool I have ever been to. The slides were awesome, the lazy river was relaxing and the two main pools were large enough to easily hold the number of guests at a resort of its size. The adult pool was perfectly located right near the bar and removed enough from the family section that you felt like you were leagues away from the noise of the kids running around. The crowning glory of this all was the view from the pool of the ocean beyond. Sitting in the two tiered adult hot tub staring out at the beautiful ocean is another one of those memories I go back to when things get stressful. Oh, and did I mention they have pool parties with Disney Characters? No, oh, yeah they do and it’s awesome.
I know what you’re thinking, this is part of the pool Emma, it should be in that section. But no, no it’s not, at least not for me. I am terrified of a lot of things, chalk it up to anxiety or me being paranoid or whatever. Truth is, I am a bit scared of open ocean snorkeling. Here I got to snorkel all I wanted (for a small fee) within a controlled environment. I got comfortable with there being fish in the water with me and was able to enjoy an activity I would have otherwise been unable to enjoy. For normal people, the enjoyment of this is that there are a ton of beautiful fish and you’re guaranteed to see them.
This is such a fun interactive splash zone! I think the only on which even compares to it that I’ve seen is at the Four Seasons Orlando. The best part is the huge canoe which fills with water and soaks the people underneath it. Not gonna lie, I totally violated the “48 and under rule and played around a bit. I didn’t climb on anything, but splashing around was a blast.
The spa at Aulani is beautiful, they offer a ton of different services from massage to pedicures and it is an incredibly relaxing experience. I actually got the best pedicure of my life there. There are also special treatments for little ones called magical makeovers (this Pirate’s League, not Bippity Boppity Boutique) and a special spa just for teenagers.
Auntie’s Beach House
Auntie’s Beach House . is a kids club which is free for those staying at Aulani. Open from 8:00AM to 9:00PM with drop offs starting as early at 9:30AM it’s entirely possible you may not see your kids during most of your vacation. More realistically though, if you’re traveling with kids between the ages of 3 and 12, you are likely to get some pretty solid adults only time. You do need to register your little one at least 2 days before you arrive so make sure you do that. Oh, and adults, you aren’t allowed to play in the Beach House… I know… I tried and was shot down lol. Hey, it looked like a ton of fun!
One of the things I really wanted to see when I went to Hawaii was a luau. I know they are tourist traps and all that but I really wanted to see hula dancing. I looked around and was shocked at the prices of some of these shows. Seriously, I have paid less for opera tickets. Thankfully, Aulani has the Starlight Hui show. Let me say, this was awesome. The best part? We could actually see it from the balcony of our 2 bedroom villa!! I seriously watched this show like two or three times. The best part if you’re a Disney fan is that the Characters come up at the end and it’s a lot of fun. I went to a Luau when I was in Hawaii a few years before and this one was way better, and free. Only down side? No pork.
Rooms and Villas
Being a Disney Vacation Club member I pretty much knew what to expect here, or so I thought. These villas while having a familiar layout feel much more luxurious than the traditional DVC Villas. The two main standouts for me which made this a much more luxurious experience were, the master bathroom, which is saying a lot as the master bathroom in the three bedroom at Jambo House is insane, and the kitchen. For some reason it just felt a bit more like a 5 star resort. Oh and the kitchen has a rice cooker… AMAZING!!
While the resort is amazing, you shouldn’t just stay there. One of the coolest things we ever did was take a whale and dolphin watching excursion . We had an Adventures by Disney guide for some of our trip and everyone was amazing. Not only did we see a whale but Dolphins were swimming around our catamaran and playing in our wake. Then we all go to snorkel and while I admit to being too scared to go far my husband and father in law were braver and were rewarded with tons of fish and even a sea turtle. It was an amazing experience!
Wanna Learn more about Aulani and don’t feel like reading, watch these videos here.