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Reviewed January 31, 2017 via mobile

We are Disney fanatics and have been wanting to check out Hawaii for quite some time so it was an easy decision for us to choose Aulani. From the moment we entered the resort we felt the aloha spirit - from the fresh flower lei greeting to the breathtaking grounds. It was beautiful and magical combined with the trademarks of Disney and the authentic feel of Hawaii. The decor was magnificent and well appointed and the intimate cove that introduced us to the majestic ocean was pure perfection. I am going to list some pros and cons to help sort out the details of our experience...

Pros:
-The location is gorgeous and grounds are spectacular. From the lazy river to the waterslides and incredible pools/pristine private beach you will have fun in the sun ALL day long! Everything is immaculate as expected from a Disney resort.
-We stayed in a two bedroom ocean view suite and were thrilled with our room. Comfy beds, space galore, and a breathtaking view from the multiple balconies.
-The cabana rental was WELL worth it in my opinion. You get food/drink service, towel service (which was awesome - fresh dry towels ALL day), a safe, TV, beats pill speaker, amazing complimentary snacks, and super comfortable seating. If you can swing it I highly recommend it!
-The luau was awesome although we weren't crazy about the food. I feel for the price they could've stepped it up a little in that respect, especially with the salad and dessert selection. Also, please find a way to check people in easier who have their tickets in their phone which is the norm these days. I had to leave my party to find a booth where they write out my reservation on a card then bring it back to the first line I waited in. This seemed unnecessary and there has to be an easier way to check in.
-The spa was splendid - I could've stayed there all DAY! You must give yourself extra time to enjoy their fantastic garden with an abundance of adult water play pleasures. The only thing I found odd was looking up at people's balconies in that garden area. Not so private!

Cons:
-We were so excited about our special dinner at AMA AMA and it just didn't wow us at all. The atmosphere is truly amazing but that's about it. The service was okay and the food delivery was REALLY slow. We just about fell asleep at our table. I ordered the chicken and it was literally like a baked chicken breast with some breadcrumbs on it. For the price it was quite disappointing. I was hoping to find some great Hawaiian influenced selections which only seemed apparent on the dessert menu.
-The character breakfast was delicious and had a fun and impressive variety although we literally only had one character visit to our table throughout the entire meal. For the cost of a "character breakfast" we expected to have a few good photo ops but only walked away with a photo with Minnie. This was quite disappointing but for the quality of the buffet I would still recommend it.
-This places closes shop EARLY. The pools/hot tubs close at 8:00 and it quickly becomes abandoned. There wasn't anything for us adults to do after nine or so which is kind of odd for a resort that is in the middle of no where. Next time I will check neighbor hotels for adult options in the evening.

All in all I will absolutely make my way back to this beautiful place. Highly recommended! :)

Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
3  Thank mom2many13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 31, 2017

Pros:
-Lots of kids activities that seem to be well done (no surprise from Disney)
-For adults, the Disney theme is not in-your-face all the time. The Disney theme is subtle (Mickey ears hidden as part of bedroom design; Disney music in elevators, but not elsewhere, etc.)
-The beach is awesome -- unless you are looking for waves. The water is always calm and protected. It's a large (artificial) swimming lagoon that is safe for any child who knows how to swim. And the snorkeling is above average.
-The pools and lazy river are well done and the water slides are surprisingly fun, even for adults.
-Good location. It is not far from Honolulu (though the traffic can sometimes be bad). Nor is it far from the North Shore, which we explored one day. And it's a short drive to Pearl Harbor. But perhaps the best part of the location involves the weather. The hotel is on the relatively undeveloped southwestern corner of Oahu, which gets the least rain! So it may rain everywhere else on the island, but be dry and sunny at the hotel.

Cons:
-Food options. There is a fancy restaurant that is quite good. There is a more casual restaurant. And there is a snack bar with some basic food items. That's pretty much it for on-campus dining. Across the street there is a small strip mall with a few other restaurants (some of which are quite good!). Presumably the nearby hotels also have restaurants. But if you are staying at Aulani for a week, you may start to get tired of the food choices. And other than the choices I just mentioned, there really is not any other non-fast food option within (approximately) a 10 mile radius of the hotel. We had difficulty finding a non-chain, local restaurant.
-There are three large hotels nearby. Of the three, the Aulani easily has largest, most entertaining pool area. The Marriott is probably a little bit nicer. And the Four Seasons is spectacular. If money is not a concern, consider the Four Seasons.
-There seems to be an adequate number of pool chairs. But they are spaced ridiculously close together. We preferred the chairs facing the beach, but not on the sand itself.

  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank joelsss44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 31, 2017

To start, we are huge Disney people. This place just did not live up to the expectations. HORRIBLE customer service. I just can't believe Disney, of all places, would have horrible service. We made reservations for a few things before coming (luau, character meal, etc.) and I had the HARDEST time even booking when I would call. Low and behold, once we actually got to these activities, they couldn't find our reservations. After much wasted time, someone in our group took over the cast members computer and said "Our reservation is RIGHT here, helloooo!!" I don't know how they can be SO unorganized for Disney. We LOVE Disney world and Disneyland, but will probably never be back to Aulani. Very disappointing. It is WAY too overcrowded at all times. They need more land for how packed this place gets. Would never spend the money here again (everything is expensive)... would much rather go back to Tahiti!! And side note, the beds are horrible as well. For how much money we are spending, we would expect much more, and we are not "cheap" people. Drinks sucked. Food was ok.

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Nick K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 30, 2017

This has to be the best resort anywhere for families with young kids. Rooms are spacious and impeccably clean (no doubt due to the very high expectations of the large numbers of Japanese guests). The swimming pools, beach activities, Disney character greetings (and photo ops), outdoor movie nights, and so much more, are all targeted to families with young kids.

It's great for Adults on their own too. The area around Aulani is much quieter and easier to travel in and out of, than anywhere else on Oahu. This was our eighth visit to Aulani (we are Disney Vacation club members), and we really enjoyed our stay. We asked for an received a room that was remote from where all the kids activities are, so we were left with a wonderful quiet room with a great ocean view.

There isn't much for teens to do here, and I would expect that they would be much happier being in the middle of Waikiki. The extraordinary variety of day and night entertainment, and all the shopping there, will likely be much more appealing to teens than the much more subdued and child-focused Disney Aulani.

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Erik R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 29, 2017

My wife is pregnant and we have one four year old girl so for a babymoon/family resort this place was exactly what we were looking for. Clean rooms, amazing pina coladas, great pools & activities!

The private lagoon in front of the resort is great for trying out some stand up paddle boarding or snorkeling.

Don't forget to complete the scavenger hunt with the supplied tablets. Head out around 6:30 pm as most of the events look way cooler at night!

Already planning our return trip when the baby is old enough.

Room Tip: Go for a higher floor
  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank han182
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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