Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is located on the island of O’ahu – Photo courtesy of Disney
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a spectacular beach resort located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The resort was ranked among the top 10 in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Family Resort in 2017, Best Hotel in Hawaii in 2019 and Best Pool in Hawaii 2020.
This Oahu resort was definitely the perfect destination for a fun family vacation with kids, as we all enjoy Disney World but dread the long lines, crowds and extensive planning that comes with a theme park vacation.
Luckily, at Disney Aulani, we’ve found a great place that makes everyone happy.
This little slice of paradise offers guests the Disney experience they’re used to, minus the twists and turns of a theme park. You’ll dine with Mickey and his friends, have a luau and drop the kids off at their club while the parents enjoy some quiet time. The whole family can immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture by learning the language, trying to play the ukulele and eating island cuisine.
Disney Aulani celebrates Hawaiian culture
Hawaiian culture is present throughout the resort – Photo courtesy of Disney
At this Disney hot spot, Hawaiian culture is celebrated everywhere. In true Disney fashion, storytelling is a big part of the location, and attention is placed on the history and heritage of the Hawaiian Islands and why it is important to preserve and honor them.
“Look with your eyes open because there may be things you miss the first time,” said Kanoa Kawai, Aulani’s ambassador, whose job it is to connect with visitors and help tell the story of the place.
You’ll feel the aloha spirit when you arrive at this beautiful beach resort on Ko Olina. At first glance, the lobby looks like any other Disney attraction, but there is a purpose behind it.
The lobby was designed to reflect Hawaiian culture – Photo courtesy of Disney
One side of the lobby is calm and feminine, while the other side has a dark, masculine look. All of these represent balance, an important aspect of Hawaiian culture. Behind the reception desk are pictures taken by local school children who were asked to draw pictures of what Hawaiian culture means to them. The colorful pictures of the rainbow are a wonderful sight that shows the community’s impact on this wonderful place.
During your stay, families still have the opportunity to enjoy Disney favorites, such as breakfast with Mickey, photos with Stitch or meeting Goofy as he walks around the pool.
A look inside the villas at Disney Aulani
Most of the guest rooms here have a kitchen, living area and bedroom – Photo courtesy of Disney
Most accommodations at Disney Resorts include kitchens, dining areas, washers and dryers, and separate laundry facilities. Additional features make it last longer and choosing to cook your own meals helps families save money on food. All rooms that are one or more rooms (which is 75% of the rooms) come with a rice cooker, standard in Hawaiian kitchens.
Experience an authentic Hawaiian luau
Guests experience Hawaiian culture – Photo courtesy of Disney
Guests also have the opportunity to experience a wonderful luau on site that features hula and other Hawaiian dances that reflect Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures.
While staying at Disney’s Aulani, guests can also learn to play the ukulele and eat authentic Hawaiian cuisine – from spam to bowls of wraps and shaved ice.
Disney’s Aulani restaurant
The hotel’s lobby, Olelo, features woodwork and woodwork – Image courtesy of Disney
The hotel has a number of delightful restaurants on site, including the fine dining AMA AMA Restaurant with its local cuisine, the family-friendly Makahiki offering a wide range of child-friendly options, as well as a casual buffet and cafe. something for everyone.
The area of the hotel called Olelo which means “to speak” is inhabited by people who speak the Hawaiian language and is decorated with carved and wooden objects, such as trees, animals, numbers and more, the Hawaiian name . each item is displayed.
Activities for kids at Aunty’s Beach House
Aunty’s Beach House and Kids Club at Aulani, Disney Resort & Spa – Image courtesy of Disney
The resort has a dream pool with water features, a lazy river and lots of places to run around, including a lake with a sandy beach and lots of water activities for the whole family.
When my husband and I wanted some time to enjoy the adults-only pool, we left our three children at Aunty’s Beach House. This kids’ club (available to ages 3 to 12) is a more than 5,200-square-foot fun space designed to look like a beach house.
The staff kept our kids entertained for hours with games, arts and crafts, and learning about Hawaiian culture. For example, he learned that the name Aunty is used affectionately as a form of respect when addressing a female acquaintance.
My kids also learned about the Hawaiian legend of Menehune (men-neh-HOO-na). These shy, ugly creatures have been known to create strange surprises throughout the night.
As Kawai, our Disney Aulani ambassador said, remember to be careful when you’re at Aulani. Evidence of Menehune’s work is everywhere. You can also see them in places you don’t suspect. You can experience this through a simple search for your viewing pleasure.
Experience the magic of Disney in multiple locations
You have many opportunities to meet Mickey and friends at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa – Photo courtesy of Disney
Did you know that Disney has several locations in the United States that are not located near a theme park? This naming convention includes all the mouse dust that the mouse house is known for, including friendly members, family fun and Mickey Mouse waffles. In addition to Disney Aulani, two other resorts are Disney’s Hilton Head Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, which are part of the Disney Vacation Club. (There are 15 Disney Vacation Clubs, most of which are located at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.)
Guests who are members of the Disney Vacation Club have access to a number of select resorts, and some are available at each resort for non-members. (This is how my family can live in this place.)
How to get to Disney Aulani
Menehunes are hidden away at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa – Image courtesy of Disney
Getting to Disney Aulani may not be easy, but it’s worth it! Guests must fly into Honolulu International Airport, which is approximately 20 miles from the property. It is also important to note that Aulani is located in Ko Olina, an area about 45 minutes from Waikiki.
The resort does not provide official shuttles to pick up guests at the airport. You will need to arrange transportation or rent a car. Note, if you are not a DVC member, there is a daily parking fee.