Aulani :  "Distinctively Disney, Authentically Hawaiian"

A Disney hotel in Hawaii?  Sounds kind of crazy, but it's true!  A true Polynesian-style resort on the island of Oahu that keeps Hawaiian traditions alive & guests happy!

Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa carefully blends the Polynesian culture and imaginative Disney style to form a terrific experience for adults & kids!  This 360-room, 480 villa property sits on the Leeward coast of Oahu, on the Ko'Olina shore, and in my opinion has the best beach area on the entire island.  It's about a half hour ride from the Honolulu Airport (of course, depending on if you catch the traffic during rush hour from 3:30pm to 6:00pm).

Of course, not being in the Honolulu/Waikiki area of Oahu has it's pros & it's cons.  I loved the fact that you get a true sense of relaxation here and you  can enjoy an uncrowded beach experience, as well as have a very authentic Hawaiian experience.  But, you are away from the area where you can quickly take tours to the points of interest on the island.  Although you can certainly visit Pearl Harbor, or the Dole Plantation, or various other areas but you have to plan it ahead of time.  Aulani does offer a 'shopping shuttle' three times a week that brings guests to one of 3 locations for the day. (Aulani sits right next door to Paradise Cove Luau - about a 5 minute walk, as well as across the street from Ko' Olina Marketfor shopping & dining options.)

So Disney is all about story-telling, and of course Aulani is no exception!  With a wonderful 'cultural advisor' with a soft-spoken way of teaching guests about the history & traditions of Hawaii, and firepit story-telling nightly, family movie nights, Disney's 'Starlit Hui' show featuring local artisans, hula, live music & a dance party two times a week, guests can certainly find enough entertainment to keep their families busy.   On those rainy days that you might catch, the Pau Hana Community Hall offers arts & crafts, board games, and DVD rentals too!

Of course, one of the most fantastic areas of Aulani is the outdoor pools!  As if the beautiful beach wasn't enough to keep water-lovers happy, there are 3 amazing pools in which guests can find a comfortable spot just for themselves!  There's the zero-entry Waikolohe Pool, Ka Maka Grotto, and the adult's only Wailana Pool.  In addition, kids have a great interactive water play area, and the Waikolohe Stream Lazy River, two waterslides & 4 hot tubs!

And it wouldn't be 'Disney' if it didn't have a 'kids only' area as well!  Aunty's Beach House is reason enough for kids to never to want to leave Aulani!  This great 'cottage' is designed for the little ones, as well as the teens, and is complimentary to guests!   Disney's youth counselors entertain kids ages 3 to 12 with hula lessons, lei making, crafting, and anything else to keep them busy!
And of course, costumes for dress-up time included every princess & pirate outfit imaginable!
 The guest rooms are creatively and thoughtfully designed so that families can be comfortable and kids are taken care of during their visit.  Guest rooms have Pack'n Play playards, a fridge, iron & ironing board, all have balconies, great size closet & storage space, and free Wifi (as with all Disney hotels).

A great variety of dining venues are offered, from the family-friendly 'quick service' locations that Disney always has available (Lava Shack, Mama's Snack Stop, and Ulu Cafe (grab & go breakfast or lunch; i.e. $7 yogurt & granola, $11 croissant sandwich) to full dining service like the terrific Ama Ama, or Makahiki offering the great character breakfast, where Aunty has a beachside celebration with guests (about $40 per person)!  Get your cameras ready!
I loved the fact that each night there was music playing outside of the Olelo Room, where 'Sunset Happy Hour' gets guests together in a really festive environment.   And the property would not be complete without a poolside bar - Off the Hook!  Mixed drinks ranged from $9.75 to $12, not too bad!
Food & beverage service is also available beachside & poolside!  And with a 'master mixologist' in house, the bar staff is kept busy all day long!

Laniwai Spa has to be one of the most fantasic spas in all of the Hawaiian islands, and in North America!  Water, light & color was used in the design of the spa to create a nature-filled environment.  Guests that reserve a spa appointment will have a full-day's use of the outdoor hydrotherapy garden area (Kula Wai) the only one in all of Hawaii.   Disney never forgets about kids, so of course there is a fantastic 'teen spa' called 'Painted Sky' .... great way to introduce your teen to the 'spa world'.  The fitness center is complimentary to guests.  Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Hawaiian-style' is available for your little princesses!  And the spa offers a mom/dad/baby experience too!

What I love about this resort is the fact that there are suttle 'touches' of Disney infused with traditional Hawaiian culture, and their phrase 'Distinctively Disney, Authentically Hawaiian' really sums it all up.  I cannot imagine planning a vacation to Hawaii with a family and NOT making Aulani one of the stops on the itinerary!
Suttle 'touch' of the 'Magic of Disney
Visited property October 21 - 26, 2014
For more information contact Vira Mastroianni at or

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