Are you thinking about visiting Aulani – Disney's Resort in Hawaii? Awesome! I highly recommend the Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii. Want to find out a little more information on all of the Aulani activities and what is offered?
We just went and I am excited to tell you all the things I learned and what to expect when you make a Disney's Aulani reservation in Hawaii. My family loved it! The Aulani pools are incredible not to mention the Aulani lagoons!!! They are both amazing!
In this post, we will review if Aulani is worth it, what the best time to visit Aulani is, all the things to do at Aulani, and list the activities at Aulani your family will love. We will go into detail about why we loved the Aulani Lazy River and all of the Aulani pools.
I am hoping to convince you that an Aulani Honolulu trip is an amazing family vacation. This complete Aulani guide will prepare you if you decide if visiting Aulani is worth it.
Let's begin our complete Aulani guide and plan your trip to Aulani!
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Is Aulani a Disney Theme Park in Hawaii?
Unfortunately, there is not a Disney theme park in Hawaii. Disney's Aulani Resort is just a beautiful resort right on the beach, geared towards families.
Visiting Aulani entails lots of kid activities at Aulani including a kids club where you can drop your kids off for a fun and entertaining experience (think cruise ship). There is a fabulous pool, luau, and in Disney fashion, character meet and greets.
What Island is Aulani On?
You might be wondering “What island is Aulani Resort on?” Disney's Aulani is located on the island of Oahu. It is about 25 minutes from the HNL Airport. The part of the island it is on is called Ko Olina and is on the leeward side of Oahu (west). In Hawaiian Ko Olina means “Place of Joy”. Ko Olina is beautiful and a place of joy.
Aulani Lagoons of Ko Olina
There are four Aulani lagoons in Ko Olina. The Aulani Resort has direct access to one of the lagoons. It is a public beach, however, it is located within walking distance from the Aulani pool.
Benefits of the Staying Near Ko Olina Lagoons
The east side of the island does not have big waves, in fact when Disney decided to build a resort they went in and designed man-made coves or lagoons. These lagoons are very nice. There is a beach area along the coves. The coves are great for paddleboarding. The water tends to stay smooth as well. This is nice if you have little kids!
The Aulani Lagoons are perfect for younger children who want to build a sandcastle and play in the ocean. The Aulani Lagoons are also a great hang-out area for teens and adults. There are a lot of activities that you can enjoy at the Aulani Lagoons.
Best Time to Visit Aulani
Hawaii is perfect all year round. The best time to visit Disney Aulani Oahu is when they are offering a discount. Always check the promotions. Aulani can sell out so once you know your dates go ahead a book your stay.
Airports Near Disney's Aulani Oahu Resort?
The Honolulu Airport is the main airport on Oahu. When searching for your flight you will enter HNL. It is the closest airport near Aulani Disney Resort.
How to Get to Disney's Aulani Oahu Resort
Once you arrive in Honolulu you have a few options for transportation from Honolulu to Aulani. Let's review what will work best for you.
Renting a Car
Renting a car at the airport is probably your best option. The drive is easy and it is nice to have a car so you can get out and explore other areas of the islands.
There is an Aulani car rental counter at the resort. However, all of the partners are stationed out of the HNL airport. I am not sure if they will bring the car to you. Enterprise does offer this service in some areas.
Disney's Aulani Parking
There is a $40 daily parking fee. Valet service is the same price as the regular parking fee. This is nice because you do not have to worry about parking the car. (although you will be paying a tip)
If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member or rented through one (like David's Vacation Club) parking is free for up to 2 vehicles.
Aulani Airport Shuttle Bus
Disney does not have a “Magical Express” from the airport. If you do not want to rent a car you will have to hire a private shuttle service. These shuttle services cost well over $200 for 5 people one way. (Each additional person is $25) We found it was cheaper to rent a car.
There is an Aulani resort shuttle that will take you to shopping areas and the airport but it is very over-priced.
Arriving at Disney's Aulani Resort
Aulani Oahu Check-In Time
Aulani Oahu Check-in time is at 3:00 pm for standard rooms and 4:00 pm for Villas.
Aulani Check-in is an easy process.
You will need to head directly to the check-in desk. A valid ID is required. The cast members will ask you a few questions including credit card information and how many people are traveling in your party. They will also ask you your preference for the location of your room if it is not at capacity.
Hopefully, your Aulani Check-in will be simple and smooth!
Can I Arrive Early On the Day of Aulani Check-in to Use the Facility?
Yes, You can come early and start having fun. When your room is ready they will let you know. You can store your luggage with the bellhop.
Aulani Day Passes are not offered however this is kind of like a bonus Aulani Day pass. You can actually enjoy the facility for 2 full days with the purchase of 1 night.
Aulani Day Pass is only offered when staying at the resort!
Can I Stay After Aulani Check-Out?
Aulani Oahu Check-out time is 11:00 AM
Yes, you can use the facility the entire day of checkout. You will need to have all things removed from the room. The bellman can come and get your bags and store them while you play.
Rooms at Disney's Aulani Oahu Resort
There are a few different room types, depending on the size of your party, you can choose a standard room or a villa. Some of the rooms offer kitchens and more than one bedroom.
We got at a 2 bedroom villa with a kitchen. It was nice.
Disney Aulani Oahu Discounts/ Promotions
Disney Aulani often offers special promotions. I often see 20-30% off. You might be able to find a stay for 4 days get the 5th free.
If you want to save a ton of money on your Aulani Honolulu trip I recommend Davids Vacation Club!
David's Vacation Club is hands down the best way to save at this Oahu Disney resort.
We actually decided to go with David's Vacation Club Rentals. This service allows you to rent DVC points from a Disney Vacation Club Member.
I had looked on the main Aulani Oahu website and couldn't find a good deal. It is very expensive to stay at Aulani Oahu! I had heard about David's Vacation Club and thought I would give it a try.
The process is super simple. You can enter your dates and see an estimate of how much it will cost. If you like the price, you will submit a form and David's Vacation Club will let you know if anything is available.
Luckily for us, there was a 2-bedroom villa available!
The best part is, it SAVED us over $1000 on the 2-bedroom villa we wanted. I 100% think it is the way to go if you need a bigger room. We had 8 people in our group.
I think using David's Vacation Rentals is the best way to book Disney's Aulani Oahu Resort. It will save you so much money when you visit Aulani! It is the best Aulani discount out there!
The Aulani pool is the main reason that Disney's Aulani Resort is the best family resort in Oahu. It is perfect for children.
One of the main reasons we wanted to stay at Aulani was the amazing Aulani pool. We knew our kids would love it. The Aulani pool is huge. There are 3 big pools, 4 hot tub areas (including an 18 and over one), 2 Aulani water slides, an Aulani lazy river, an aquatic playground, and a tot splash zone.
Let's answer one of the most asked questions about Aulani pools…..
Can I Get An Aulani Day Pass?
Unfortunately, no there is not a Disney Hawaii day pass. You have to be a guest staying at the resort to have access to the pool and amenities Aulani Oahu offers. However, if you stay just one night you do have two full days which is similar to having an Aulani day pass.
Aulani Pool Hours
The main Aulani pools are open from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM. The Aulani water slide, Aulani lazy river, and splash areas are open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.(Sometimes 6:00 PM)
Gaining Access to the Aulani Pool
Only those staying at the Aulani Resort have access to the pool. To gain access you will need an “Aulani Magic Band.” This band comes in many colors. The colors indicate which days you are staying at Aulani. You will pick up your bands at a booth near the children's splash pad.
Towels are provided for the Aulani pool area. You will pick up your towel in the same place you get your bands.
Aulani Lazy River
The Aulani lazy river is fun. Both single and double tubes are provided. It is not too deep. It is the perfect depth for walking around or just relaxing on a tube.
Aquatic Play Area – Splash Pad
For younger children, the jungle gym splash pad is an added bonus. You must be under 48 inches. My son is 6 and was able to play but my daughter who is 9 and is extremely tall was past the height restrictions.
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Aulani Pools and Hot Tubs with a View
There are a few Aulani pools with incredible views of the ocean. The Aulani hot tubs have even better views!
Over 18 Aulani Hot Tub
There is one adult-only hot tub. It has the best view of the ocean. It is a double-layer hot tub with a waterfall. It is very relaxing and a great place to enjoy the sunset.
Aulani Water Slides
They are both really fun! The more weight on the tube the more fun! It goes a lot faster. These Aulani water slides make Aulani the best family resort on Oahu.
Disney's Aulani Restaurants
As you visit Aulani you will probably want to try out some of the Aulani Restaurants. We did too! I am going to give you a few tips for Aulani restaurants.
Is Aulani an all-inclusive resort?
No, visiting Aulani does have benefits and great amenities but it is not an all-inclusive resort like you would find in Mexico (food, entertainment,….) Food must be purchased separately.
Aulani Dining Plan
There may have been an Aulani dining plan years ago but it is no longer offered.
Aulani Character Breakfast
The main restaurant is called Makahiki- The Bounty of the Islands. This is where the Aulani character dining breakfast is located. There is also dinner available without the Disney Aulani characters at night.
The Aulani character breakfast is available every day except Thursdays.
Aulani Dining Reservations
I highly recommend making reservations at the Aulani restaurants. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance. Aulani Oahu is a popular destination, so book early.
We were pretty lucky to get an Aulani restaurant reservation the night of but we only had 2 people. I think larger groups would be harder to come by last minute.
Aulani Restaurants – Counter Service
ULU Cafe is a counter-service restaurant that has a variety of snacks and entrees.
Restaurants and Snacks by the Aulani Pool
Off the Hook offers poolside service. It is a restaurant and a bar.
There are four snack stops by the pool:
- Mama's Snack Shop
- Papalua Shave Ice
- Little OPIHI Beachside Kiosk
- Wailana Pool Bar
Olelo Room Bar and Lounge an adult area available from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm. There is live music, drinks, and hot plates.
Hot Tips for Visiting Aulani Oahu
Disney Aulani’s prices are extremely expensive. The Makahiki dinner was $140 before tip for 2 people.
Water was $4 bottle. It was more expensive than other resorts.
One advantage to having a villa with a kitchen was that we could go to Costco and buy pre-made meals and cook them.
If you are planning on staying at Disney Aulani Oahu the entire trip, I would go and buy a huge case of water at Costco and lots of snacks.
The Aulani luau is a mix of entertainment and dinner. You know when Disney does something, the do it right. The Aulani luau is no exception.
Book Early – Aulani Luau Reservations
Book early if you want to attend the Aulani luau. Aulani Luau reservations fill up fast. I booked my tickets to Hawaii for October and the next available Luau was December. So plan on at least booking 2-3 months ahead of time.
This is another dining option for dinner. The Aulani luau price is about the same price as other luau’s in the area. This dinner includes food and a show.
How Long is the Aulani Luau?
The Aulani luau is 3 hours.
Book a Garden View Room
Our hotel room overlooked the Aulani luau (Garden View Villa). We were able to watch the entire show from our balcony. There are dancers and fire throwers. It is an impressive show. I actually think we had a better view of the show than those seated at the luau.
One thing I did notice is that there weren't many children at the luau. Mostly couples. My younger kids watched the show for a few minutes and then got bored and went back inside to play.
Visit Aulani Oahu - Activities at Aulani
You will love all the things to do at Aulani. There are daily activities at Aulani. Some are included in your stay and others cost an additional fee.
Activities at Aulani Include:
- Adventure Trail Scavenger Hunt
- Star Gazing
- Make your own Aulani Ears (Mouse)
- Shirt Stamping
- Ukulele Lessons
- Walking Tours
- Fire Pit Storytelling
I am going to share with you some of our favorite Aulani Activities.
1. Aulani Character Meet and Greets
Aulani Character meet and greets have different times every day. Depending on the day, Aulani character meet and greets end before 4 pm. We were able to see
The location to meet the Aulani characters is in the same area where Aulani Luau is located. It is on the backside of the resort. It is a long walk and hidden. We ended up relaxing in the area and waiting for the Aulani characters to come.
2. Aunty's Beach House
Aunty's Beach is what makes Aulani the best family resort on Oahu. It is a 5,200 sq ft area of fun. It is designed for kids. There are dress-up clothes, movies, video games, activities, and more. Each day there is a themed activity. It is included in your stay but you will need to make reservations to get in.
There are also activities that you can pay an additional fee for that are available.
Teens and tweens will love it too! Aunty Beach House is cool for kids!
Unfortunately, when we went to Hawaii, Aunty’s Beach House was closed. I am so sad we missed out on all the fun!
Arts and Crafts
For an additional fee you can make Aulani ears (Mouse) or take a painting class. There are lots of activities at Aulani that change daily. Be sure to look at the schedule.
3. Ko Olina Aulani Beach
The public beach that is located steps away from Aulani is known as the Aulani lagoon. Kids can build sandcastles, snorkel, or rent paddleboards. Equipment is available to rent at the beach.
Sailing Canoe Experience
If you want to sail on the ocean you can easily book an Aulani excursion from the Ko Olina cove or Book a Ko Olina tour off of Viator. It is $99 per person ages 4 and up.
Sunset Mele is for teens and is live entertainment at the beach during sunset. Unfortunately, they did not do this when we went.
4. Aulani Snorkel Experience
There is also a special reef where you can pay an additional fee and snorkel. There are hundreds of fish in the reef. If you don’t want to snorkel you can view the fish from the pool.
Great for Kids
This is a great area to learn to snorkel. Snorkeling is hard for little kids but in a controlled environment (no waves or currents) it is a great place to learn. This Aulani activity is another reason Aulani is the best family resort on Oahu!
Disney Aulani Spa
Aulani Oahu offers a family spa that includes normal spa treatments but also offers princess and prince make-overs. It is one of the only spas that caters to families.
5. Adventure Trail Scavenger Hunt
The Adventure Trail Scavenger Hunt is a really fun Aulani activity that is included in your stay. You can check out an Ipad and that is where the adventure begins.
There are different markers located throughout the property. You will solve riddles and answer questions. At each location, something magical happens.
Once you complete the hunt you will get a special prize at the end.
So Many Activities at Aulani
There are truly so many activities at Aulani for families. However, if you want to venture away from the resort there are many options for activities.
Oahu has a lot to offer. You can book your excursion with Aulani or if you want to do it yourself I highly recommend using Viator. These tours will pick you up from your hotel.
Ko Olina has an 18-hole golf course located nearby. This is a fun addition to your stay at Disney Aulani Oahu Resort.
Be sure to check the Aulani activities schedule each day. There is always something fun to see at the Aulani Hawaii resort!
There are several Aulani gift shops near the main lobby of the hotel. A great Aulani souvenir idea is pin trading.
If you are a Disney fan you may already be into Disney pin trading. We always bring our lanyards and pins with us on every trip. From 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm., there is a pin trading event that takes place every day in the Aulani shops.
Hot Tip for Aulani
We usually will buy cheap pins off of eBay or local sites before any trip. These usually cost around $1 a pin. These pins are perfect to trade.
We like to buy souvenirs on vacation. The Aulani stores have fun souvenirs however, they are more expensive than Disneyland or Disney World. There are lots of fun Aulani merch.
If you want to save a little money you might want to buy a few Disney-themed things on Etsy ahead of time to give to your kids.
Okay, of all the Aulani merch we saw, we did purchase one item. the Aulani ears! There are two options. You can make your own or you can buy the Hawaiian theme Aulani ears in the Aulani gift shop. We bought the Aulani ears in the gift shop.
Is Aulani Worth It?
Yes, if you have kids visiting Aulani is worth it!
Hopefully, this gave you a good overview of what to expect when visiting Aulani Resort. It really is the best family resort on Oahu!
There are so many fun things to do at Aulani. I highly recommend it if you have young kids. The Aulani pool is fantastic and the sunset on the east side of the island is beautiful.
Have fun on your trip to Aulani Hawaii resort!
Explore More of Oahu
Do you need help planning your Oahu Hawaii trip? I have a great Oahu Itinerary, with some of the Best Hikes in Oahu, and the Best snorkeling in Oahu. There are so many things to do in Oahu with kids like visiting Pearl Harbor. We loved doing all the things on the North Shore including the Dole Pineapple Plantation, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the Jurassic Adventure Tour.
Have fun reading about all the exciting things there are to do on the Island of Oahu.
Also, do not forget to get your Hawaii Souvenirs!
If you have any questions be sure to join my Facebook Travel Community. This great community can help answer any questions you may have about your upcoming trips. Plus, I try to add any great deals or promotions that companies send me!
Have More Questions
Join the Families Who Love Disney Facebook Group. This is a great group that can help you answer your questions.
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