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“An Honest Review With 6 Guest Tips”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 January 2012

We stayed through the Christmas season in Aulani and aside from the cost, it was a great experience. As we first walked into the lobby, a cast member gave us kukui nut leis, which was nice. As we walked into our “deluxe ocean view studio” we couldn’t help but notice the wonderful view of our neighboring Marriott’s parking structure. Of course, we requested a different room, which they were able to accommodate, but not until the next day. The small inconvenience was definitely worth it; our new room had a wonderful view of the resort’s pool and beach areas. So here is TIP #1: if you’re expecting an ocean view, request an EVEN NUMBERED ROOM.

The resort excels in children entertainment, let’s face it, it’s Disney. Auntie’s Beach House is a must for any parent. This part of the resort is best suited for children ages 3 and up who are potty trained. If they meet the age requirement, you can leave your children with them and enjoy the adult accommodations like the spa or the fitness center. For additional fees, they offer “premier entertainment”. We have a 5 and a 2 year old, so we couldn’t take full advantage of this. TIP #2: Auntie’s beach house and the resort for that matter are really worth it if your kids are 3 years or older and potty trained.

Visit the Kalepa’s store located near the lobby, the merchandise there is extremely expensive, but if you’re a coffee or soft drink lover you can… TIP #3: purchase an $18 tumbler and get free refills throughout your stay.

If you are renting a car, expect to pay $35 a day for parking UNLESS you are a DVC member, they waive that fee if you’re ever-so-lucky. Also if you have transportation, the neighboring town Kapolei has everything you need. Any kind of restaurant you can think of, supermarkets, a movie theatre, even a Costco can be found in this town. TIP #4: if you’re looking to save money on food, visit Kapolei.

The character breakfast is fun for kids and a must since you’re staying at a Disney resort. TIP #5: book this as early as possible. This experience is available for anyone, not just guests, so it sells out. I suggest, as soon as you book your room, inquire about reserving your character breakfast.

Every day the resort has character meet and greets, special events for kids both during the day and at night, complimentary trams to shopping areas (this isn’t every day), so TIP #6 is: make it a habit to every morning or the evening before, pick up a bulletin at the lobby which has the days schedule.

Upon an early check in or a late check out, the resort has a very nice visitor’s center which has computers, printer, showers, lockers which means you can still enjoy the resort even if you don’t have a room. Overall, if you’re mentally ready for the price, this is an amazing resort you won’t forget.

Room Tip: Request an EVEN numbered room.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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13  Thank rcruz101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4,512 - 4,518 of 5,503 reviews

Reviewed 4 January 2012

My family and I just returned from a week at Aulani. The good - the buildings and grounds are beautiful. The pool area is a lot of fun and there is a wonderful two-level jacuzzi that is great for watching sunsets. The beach in front of the resort is great for little ones - no big waves to worry about. There are beach chairs and you can rent umbrellas and other equipment. For the most part, service at the resort is good. Workers are friendly and put effort in.
The bad - there are just not enough food options for the resort - and it's not fully built! There are two full service restaurants. One is a buffet and another is a high end restaurant with high end prices. They are both difficult to get into - almost impossible if you haven't pre-booked before you arrive. They both work out to be expensive choices for a family of four - fine for the occasional meal but not a great daily option. On top of this - the buffet was really not that good - certainly not worth the price. The other options are 'off the hook' - the casual outdoor lounge, but getting a table was near impossible and it took forever to get service and for the food to arrive. We overheard so many people complaing about this. The Olelo room serves a really basic continental breakfast if you don't want to eat a buffet breakfast but the service at the Olelo room is painfully bad - I waited 15 minutes just to get a cup of coffee and then got attitude from the female employee when I mentioned the wait!
Unfortunately there are not a lot of options around the resort - most people would walk across the street to the half empty strip mall and pick up stuff at the little ABC grocery store.

Disney needs to at least triple the restaurant options and menu offerings if it wants to get people to come back. I can't imagine want it will be like when the whole place is open. I felt like the pool area was pretty maxed out too so I can't imagine what it will be like when the resort is completely finished. I think Disney got greedy and built too many rooms and not enough public space to accomodate everyone. We will definitely not be back.

Room Tip: pool view rooms can feel like a cave. ask for 5th floor - the highest floor offered with a pool view...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank paurora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2012

Come on, people. Research before you book. For all who are complaining of little to do at this resort, who did not rent a car, who are complaining of the lack of choices in dining and the outrageous cost, it is Hawaii. You go to Hawaii to see Hawaii, not to sit at a hotel all day long and be entertained by cartoon characters. Hawaii is a vacation destination. One of the main sources of income for the state is tourism. Disney built a star rated hotel to capture some of that revenue. If you want to see Disney characters and be entertained, then go to Disney World instead. And for those "older" guests complaining about screaming children--- the name "Disney" should have given you a big clue that this is what you would see and hear. I admit the dining experience leaves much to be desired, but why would you expect to eat all your meals at this resort when you are in Hawaii? Disney dining anywhere is mediocre, at best. The pleasure of being in Hawaii is to experience all that Hawaii has to offer. We have been to Hawaii too many times to even count but each time we visit Oahu, I have to go to the Arizona Memorial. I have to visit the North Shore. I have to visit Waikiki. The scenery of Hawaii is gorgeous. Why would you spend all your time at a resort to see artificial lagoons and fake volcanoes when you can experience the real thing that makes Hawaii the paradise it is? Just driving around, with the top down, is an experience to savor. Ko'Olina is far removed from the bustle of Waikiki. Did you not see this before you traveled? Hawaii traffic is ridiculous. On one visit, we were stuck in traffic that took us 90 minutes to travel 5 miles. Its
Hawaii. That is just how it is. We booked Aulani because it is a new resort, away from Waikiki and we wanted to see how Disney does Hawaii. You need a rental car. But you need a rental car at every resort on every island if you plan to actually visit Hawaii.
The Aulani is a resort, it is not a
destination. Would you go to Italy
if you expected to only visit your hotel? Why bother? It is the same with Aulani. If you go to Hawaii and expect to stay at Aulani
the entire time, don't even bother to go.

  • Stayed: January 2012
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15  Thank Ginmato
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2012

The anticipation of spending Christmas vacation at a brand new Disney resort...in Hawaii no less...was met with disappointment. Perhaps I was a victim of having just read the Steve Jobs biography and his constant quest for consumer satisfaction.

Let's take general attitude -- overall, mostly business-like - not warm and friendly; smiles seemed to come at a premium.
Let's take organization -- everything required a reservation -- and often, well in advance. We called for breakfast one day - they told us flat out: no reservations, no walk-ins, good-bye! Disney hospitality??
Perhaps this is why the well-stocked and economically-priced market across the street from the hotel was frequently busy for meals.
So let's talk money -- yes, it's Hawaii and you wouldn't expect it to be cheap, and yes, Disney's Aulani IS a resort, but its charges were outlandishly expensive.
For Christmas morning brunch: $254. And, if that wasn't enough, $6 extra(!) for orange juice (we complained about that and management agreed that was probably an oversight and changed their policy). But they did not change it for soft drinks.
And if you wanted a taxi, you also needed a reservation. What?? Have you ever been to a hotel where you needed a reservation for a taxi?
Even worse, the valet never smiles, just puts your request in a box and says "he'll let you know".
Want to rent a car? Better do it about 3-4 days in advance. And think you can do it in one sitting? Nope. You can put your name in on day one but you can't do the paperwork then - you have to come back a SECOND time to do the paperwork and a THIRD time to get the keys. And you can't get the car from the valet one second before a specified witching hour.
This is Disney friendly??
We asked for extended check-out two days prior to departure.
They said they didn't know if they could, check the next day.
We checked the next day. They said check that night.
And then the following morning.
And so it went.
And of course it never transpired.
Disney friendly??

In the hotel store on Saturday, I asked if I could reserve a Sunday morning paper? They said they DID NOT KNOW if they got Sunday papers!! What???
Can you imagine or fathom that answer?

Room Tip: Nice to have at least a partial ocean view
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank chuck a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2012

The moment you arrive you are greeting by a friendly face and the words" welcome home". It's a beautiful resort with the friendliest staff. The rooms are ur average size hotel room, love the design. The pool and grounds are amazing! Loved the beach, no waves, perfect for kids. Only thing I was a bit turned off by is THE FOOD. Not great and very pricey. I hope this improves. Other then that, we loved it!!!! Kids thought the character dining was awesome and loved swimming with sting rays.

Enjoy and aloha!!!

Room Tip: Next time I will try and get ground floor pool view so we can run out from our room anytime. I will...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank twoman04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2012

We had an excellent time at the Aulani, it is beautifully located in quiet Ko Olina. The watersides are terrific and the snorkeling reef allows you to snorkel in an aquarium stocked with the most amazing tropical fish,

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank michele n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2012

My family and I are Disney Vacation Club members, so we have attended Disney coordinated resorts in the past. As many people who have attended Disney resorts know, you have to set you standards pretty low due to their lack of professionalism and cheapskate attitude. However, during our week at Aulani, even our already low standards were challenged. After a long flight from Detroit to Honolulu, we arrived at Aulani around 3:30 in the morning Detroit time. Tired and worn out, my family and I looked forward to a quick check in and go straight to bed, however when checking in, it was brought to our attention that Disney had only reserved us as a party of five rather than six (we called Disney prior to our trip several times to confirm that we had a party of six). Without an explanation or apology we were forced to wait an extra hour for Disney to correct their outrageous screw up. The following day, despite the beautiful grounds and enormous pool area, we were once again shocked by Disney. No one informed us that the breakfast buffet required a reservation beforehand or that they charge more per person when the Disney characters are present. We were forced to wait an hour for a table to open and once finished with an average at best buffet line, we were greeted with a $130 bill for only three as the rest of our group didn't want to eat breakfast. We never ate at the resort again. You would probably think that there is nothing left to complain about but there is. During a week long stay at the resort you would think that the maids would clean out your room or change your towels at least once, not the case. After several calls to the front office, we were never once attended to. We finally had to physically find a maid on our floor and force her to just change our dirty towels, but still no cleaning of the room or removal of trash ever occurred. I also must add that the grounds of Aulani do not provide many fun excursions. While the pool grounds are nice, if you are an older person or just don't enjoy swimming, you don't have much to do. For example, we enjoy playing tennis when on vacation, upon arrival there were tennis courts all over the grounds. However, when we tried to use them we were sent back every time. This is because Disney doesn't own any of the tennis courts themselves. One set belongs to the golf club across the street which only allows club members, while the other tennis courts at the Marriott are exclusively used by only Marriott guests. When we talked to the front desk about it, they told that they had no rental agreements for either site and basically that we were screwed. All in all, our trip outside of the resort was quite nice, I highly suggest that you spent as much time away from Aulani as possible as well as avoiding eating there at all costs. However, if left with the choice of Aulani, I would recommend the Marriott across the street which is cheaper, more organized and has far more things to do for those who don't rent a car during their stay. I must also add that unless you are a Disney Vacation Club member, you have to pay $35 dollars a day for parking. I believe that they only charge $15 dollars a day at the Marriott.

Room Tip: Cheapest available rooms provide guests with a lovely view of the large parking lot located north of...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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11  Thank sam c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Address: 92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-4434
Region: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Price Range: $588 - $1,113 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 819
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Also Known As:
Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Hawaii/Oahu

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