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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
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Reviews (5,739)
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Reviewed February 19, 2012

My family loves Hawaii and Disney. So, this was an amazing combination for us to experience.

The moment you arrive, your greeted "hawaiian style" and led through their beautiful lobby via storytelling. There are so many incredible Hawaiian works of art, and choices of materials to create the resort that you feel closer to the heritage of what the islands are about.

The lobby's lanai is incredible. There are two streams flowing through the lobby, the waters meet and fall down a large wall waterfall into the river filled with Koi fish. The views from the Lanai are amazing the Waikolohe Valley is filled with mature trees (many are native plants); bridges, adventure trails, themed water slides, floating canal, family fun pool and splash party zone on the menehune bridge, a 2,200 square foot interactive play zone with three slides. Perfect for those 48 and under inches.

Do not miss the Starlit Hui, it's a casual gathering where you will be entertained with hula, live music and even a family dance party afterwards.

Ready to enjoy an intimate Character breakfast? Yes, Mickey is there to greet you as you arrive, you are then let to your table for a delicious brunch. Mickey and Minnie will spend quality time at your table for great pictures, so bring your camera!

During the week, you can gather for a special magic -- Join Uncle and his helpers in a sunset gathering where he will change Aulani's welcome of the night. An experience you will not forget.

The Pau Hana Room features movie rentals, board games and the Aulani Video Booth. The Video booth was one of the many highlights of our trip. My sister-in-law and I sat down in the booth and created a silly video to send home to family and friends. Through the system there, you are prompted to record a greeting, talk about your favorite thinks and most memorable experiences during your stay.

You will also come to the Pau Hana Room to make hawaiian crafts (lei making, bracelet making and more).

A must do -- Sign up for the Makai Preserve. Enjoy encounters with Hawaiian stringrays in this conservation pool. You can even feed them.

If you are new to snorkeling or your children are at the right age to start snorkeling. The Rainbow Reef is an incredible opportunity for your children to gain experience in a safe environment. Everyone will get up close to hawaiian tropical fish (Angel, Butterfly and Tangs).

Enroll the little ones in Aunty's Beach House. Hours range each day, but typically from 9:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. Your children will be immersed in educational and fun projects, character appearances and shore style parties.

We enjoyed the 2-tiered sunset pool. It was a great spot to enjoy an early morning treat or during sunset time.

Enjoyed a 50 minute LomiLomi massage in Laniwai. The facilities are first rate and enjoyed the hypdrotheraly garden, reflexology path and rain showers. The rain showers operate via sensor -- so it would turn on automatically when you were standing in front of the rain shower.

For my bucket list, I took surf lessons. It was great to learn how to stand up on the board and an incredible experience to have a nice wave bring us in.

The cast members throughout the property were very attentive to our needs and were always making eye contact with a warm greeting or offering assistance.

The food costs at the resort is expensive, but we expected it to be so. With a little planning, we visited a nearby warehouse and stocked up on items that would make our dollars stretch during the week.

Room Tip: Call your travel agent
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank PixieDiane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 18, 2012

On arrival (after 11 hours flight with a 3 & 4 year old) we check in to our "partial ocean view room" only to find it looks over car park. When I called reception she informed me that's what I'd booked. I had a written booking from AAA specifying a higher floor and no car park (because I'd read other reviews). I was told it was my problem because her booking didn't say the same. After a huge fight she changed our room but only after making us pay an extra $150. So off to a bad start but I've given it a good review because it really is quite nice. My kids loved it. I agree with pretty much everything Seattle Gina says but we really liked the kids club. Best feature by far. I'm not sure if I'd ever return but if I did I'd make certain my bookin was directly with Disney and really specific.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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3  Thank angelainnewyork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 18, 2012

we stayed at Aulani two nights post cruise. The welcome from the staff was amazing, very focused on the guest. The room was lovely, large with veranda looking otu at the ocean. Everyone very friendly. My only complaint was the food was really lacking. Lunch cost us close to $100 with tip and was in-edible. We ended up eating at the Marriott properties for all other meals. Nice cove for a beach, great lazy river. Not overly "Disney'd up" which was refreshing (saw the characters twice) but I was really surprised about the lack of food options and the cost.

Room Tip: ocean view is lovely
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Ann M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 17, 2012

I wasn't sure if I should give the resort an average or very good rating. I'd say its somewhere in between. My husband, daughter who is 4, and I like to take family vacations in the Winter to get some sun, spend time together as a family, relax, and go somewhere with child entertainment so she can can have a good time and my husband and I can also enjoy some adult time.
Pros:
The resort itself is very nice, its beautifully landscaped and decorated fully Hawaiian,which was nice. You actually would not know you are at a Disney hotel until you see the characters. The rooms are nice, but no microwave.
The pools are nice and not too deep for children. There is a pool sort of tuck away called Wailana Pool. Its very nice and relaxing, my daughter and I spent most of our swim time there. Also all the pools are pretty well shaded.The characters come out for fun and games at the main pool, Waikolohe and Rainbow Reef which is the snorkeling area. Rainbow Reef is salt water and cold. Any age can snorkle, but it does cost extra money. My daughter is only four so she wouldn't do it. She didn't like the mask and thought the water was too cold. I only saw older kids maybe 7 plus snorkeling. I didn't have any problem getting a refund.
The splash park area is nice and only for children. Adults are not allowed to go on the slides or mesh area.
The characters come out several times a day at a designated area. You can take pictures with your own camera and there is always a staff member with a photopass. Characters you will see, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Stitch, Chip, and Dale.
Throughout the resort there are these statues called Menehune. I've heard there's around 300. We were only able to find about 70. It was fun though, my daughter loved searching for them.

The spa was very nice. I'd say a must. Do not however, book on a weekend. I booked mine on a Monday and it was perfect, only a few other guests were there. I was told the weekend was super busy. The spa is big, but not big enough to hold more than 20 people comfortably. You can buy a day pass if it isn't busy otherwise you have to book a treatment. The massages are totally worth it.
I had a 90 min Hawaiian massage and it was fantastic. The thermal pools, sauna, and steam rooms were also very nice. Once you are in the spa you can spend as much time there, but once you leave you cannot come back in without purchasing another treatment. The staff at the spa was great!
The beach is very nice.
Negs:
This is the topper. When we arrived the Bell man was very helpful and welcoming. The registration staff was another story. We didn't have a problem getting our room, but we had a problem with our room. When we first got to our room around 11pm our room key worked. We then left to explore the hotel, upon return one key card worked out of three and then it stopped working. We called down for help and someone came, but almost 2 hours later he still wasn't done fixing it at this point it was almost 2am. They never offered to move us or even apologized. We also booked a garden view room which was more money and our view was of the entire parking lot again no apologies. They were terrible!

Character Breakfast- I would skip it. The food is the same as the regular buffet, There are only 3 characters, I was very surprised by that because all character breakfast I've been to have at least 4 characters and the kids always get some type of prize.

The food: It was good, but not not enough places to choose from or variety. They need A LOT more. One good thing is the staff will come up to you at your lounge chair and take your order so you can be as lazy as you want. If you are looking for a nice dinner at 'Ama 'Ama get there EARLY. We went for dinner after hours around 8:30pm and had a 20 min wait.
They have a Hawaiian Shaved Ice station, but its not a real hawaiian shaved ice, no cream, I was SUPER sad about that. I spoke to the staff though and they did say they have been "approved' for the cream so its coming. Apparently "Disney" people didn't think mainland people would want "Hawaiian" type of stuff. People are visiting Hawaii they should and probably want "Hawaiian" stuff. Same goes with the food, they don't really have Hawaiian food.

BIG dissappointment- No Luau. They do have a night actually two with Luau type of entertainment, but no food. Now the Resort is not all inclusive so I expected to pay for the Luau with food and all, but it wasn't offered.

Not enough entertainemnt at Auntie's Beach house. So the Children's Program is included in your hotel stay, but they only have 1 or 2 organized activities each day and usually 1 you have to pay for. Again I was expecting to pay for actvities, but barley any were offered. Only 3 paid activities and 3 nonpaid. We have been to Beaches resorts so maybe we've been spoiled, but their program is awesome. they have an activtity every hour. Since this is Disney, a place for children I assumed there would be a bunch of activities! Sadly, there was not. Maybe as the resort gets older they will start to add more. Activities repeated on the second day we were there.
I do think this resort is very nice, but I cannot imagine being there when it is full. There just isn't enough lounge chairs, pool area, or restaurants. I would avoid peak times.
I did hear they are thinking about building another restaurant and getting a shrimp truck. Not sure if that's just a rumor.
So the resort is above average, but not very good. Just good. TripAdvisor needs a "good" star rating.
Reviews I read complained a lot about the prices. I actually did not think they were that high. Hawaii is expensive that's just that and its a Disney Hotel so its what I expected. There's a super market across the street so you can always go there to buy snacks, but the price isn't that different than the hotel's prices. However, the local store does have a lot more to choose from. Also across the street is a GREAT ice cream shop do stop by!
Finally, the hotel should offer a shuttle. I think its only right. You are paying a lot for the stay and the hotel is a bit far from the airport so a shuttle would be a nice accommodation.

Oh make sure to take a walk long the beach walk, its very nice.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Lizzy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 17, 2012

Disney, please let your imagineers out of fantasy land. We stayed at Aulani the second week in February. The grounds are beautiful. The staff is super. The rooms are very nicely appointed and super clean. Yes, a vacation should be a get away, but people still need to eat. No place to get a simple continental breakfast or lunch or dinner at a reasonable price. We ate at Makahiki for the evening buffet, the food was arranged in a line of medium sized bowls. It was barely warm, the selection was lacking and it was very expensive. We also ate once at the pool food stand, okay fish tacos and fresh made french fries. We observed families carrying bags and bags of food into the resort from the market about two blocks away or from other stores. Other Disney resorts have similar food issues, please get some input from families when designing food options at your resorts. As DVC members we really want you to get this right.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank GCWItraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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