From the moment guests arrive at Disney Aulani they are welcomed with a warm aloha, a lei and a cool drink. Leave it to Disney to bring the Aloha spirit to life.
The difference here is in the D...Disney, that is! Their imagineers have breathed Hawaiian culture into every nook, cranny and minute detail of Aulani. Authentic fabrics, crafts, hidden mickeys...even the shape and style of the buildings themselves form a rainbow bridge to Ancient Hawaii.
This stunning property sits on one of 5 bays in the Ko Olina resort area on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. It's about 30 minutes west of Honolulu airport and about an hour west of the famed Waikiki. If you like hustle, bustle, lots of people and activity you're probaby better off in Waikiki. If you and your kids crave a more relaxed atmosphere then you're going to love Aulani and the surrounding area of Ko Olina. It's a beautiful neighborhood for a stroll. There are shops, restaurants and neighboring hotels that you can explore. Food and snacks can be found across the street at the Island country store (similare to Hawaii's ABC mini marts). If you have a rental car there are larger stores like Costco and more shopping 10 minutes away in Kapolei.
Aulani Resort sits on 21 garden acres lining a small protected bay adjacent to the Marriott. Because the bay is so protected, the beach here is perfect for little swimmers. The resort is comprised of two 15 story towers two 15-story Waianae and Ewa. The towers create a U or V shape that cradles what is known at the Waikolohe Valley - a family pool playground of crystalline waters, lazy rivers and imaginative play areas. Most of these water play areas are free but there is a private snorkeling lagoon area brimming with tropical fish which does charge admission. It is a perfect place for kids learning to snorkel. Really it's like playing with nemo in a huge aquarium.
Beyond the water park and pool there is a HUGE list of activities that occur throughout the day and well into the night. Lei Making, Ukelele lessons, work out classes, art tours, garden tours, character events, interactive scavenger hunts, kids club, teen program, hula shows...whew! Each day guests receive the Iwa newsletter that details the events and activities for that particular day. Most of these activities are free. In addition the Aulani boasts one of the best spas in Oahu (fee).
Rooms, restaurants and just about every inch of this resort was designed with families in mind. There are simple yet brillian ideas like premium beds created with storage underneath along with villas that ill accommodate 5 - 12 family members looking to spend vacation time together. Standard rooms here will accomodate up to 4 family members with the "kids" considered to be under the age of 17.
If there are any down sides to this resort or considerations parents need to make it would be....
- It ain't cheap! Aulani room prices start at $400 per night for a standard room. That said, it's one of those circumstances where you get what you pay for. A huge majority of your family entertainment is included in the price of your room - water park, kids club, teen program, evening shows and daily activities.
-The bay here is very protected. As we mentioned, great for little swimmers but no doubt a disappointment to teens wanting to surf.