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Reviewed January 6, 2018 via mobile

Don’t go Aulani expecting a Disney world experience as the actual Disney theme is very subtle and not over the top as it is at a theme park. This is actually part of the charm of this great resort in Hawaii. It is located on the west side of Oahu, north of Honolulu. The beach lagoon area is perfect for families but it doesn’t give you an authentic Hawaii beach feel. If you only visit Aulani you need to take an excursion to another beach on the island to experience it. The staff was very friendly, rooms were clean, food was pricy but good. Servers were not the best but adequate. Overall it was a great stay. I would recommend staying here at the end of your Hawaii trip and make sure you get out to see other parts of the island as well. Once again Disney does it right.

Stayed: December 2017
6  Thank Eatsalot03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 4, 2018

You can count on Disney to consistently provide the high caliber and quality service as you would with any of their resorts - be it California or Florida. We stayed for three nights in December, which of course means it's packed. But we got remarkable service and treatment all throughout the facility, even when it's crazy busy. They think of everything down to the smallest detail!
Facilities were awesome, especially for the little ones. Spa was luxurious and one of a kind (think smallest details with exquisite Hawaiian touches). Pools, lagoons and related amenities are well suited for big and little kids alike, and for novice snorkelers and paddleboarders.
Special shout-out to Chef Greg (again with special touches). He took us around the buffet to give us a rundown of potential allergens for my daughter. My daughter had her eye on those rice krispie treats, which unfortunately had butter in them. Chef Greg offered to make her special ones, but she declined (she gets conscious of being treated differently due to her allergies) and opted for the fruit for her dessert. Towards the end of our meal, he has two dairy-free treats sent to our table because he couldn't bear to see the disappointment in her face. Made her day.
Disney can charge a premium, but it's priceless things like these that make everything worth it!

  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Candice C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 4, 2018 via mobile

Stayed at the resort for a week over the holidays. It was crowded but the resort is large and can handle the crowds. Like most resorts you have to do armbands for the pool each day and you have to get there early to get your chair. But this is normal for this type of resort. The resort has several pools, some geared towards little kids and some adult only. There are two water slides which were pretty good even per the teenagers. There is also a lazy river which is pretty good also. The resort is situated on a bay which was great for swimming, paddle boarding and playing in the sand. There are a couple of restaurant options by the pool. One of my only complaints about the resort would be the food, very pricey and not that great. AMA AMA, their nicer restaurant was very good. The buffet was way overpriced and only ok. The other restaurants were very basic and pricey. Ulu cafe was a good place for breakfast items. The kids options at all the restaurants were plentiful and not as bad price wise. The area in general does not have a lot of dining options yet so make sure to make some reservations before you come or you will be waiting a LONG time for tables. (The Marriott down the road had the best restaurant - Longhi’s.) Our room was a two bedroom villa which fit the 6 of us with no problem. It has a kitchen and washer and dryer which was great. There is a small grocery store across the street which was great.
My overall opinion is that this resort is great for families with small to young (12 and under) kids. Not much to do for older kids. While it is a Disney property that is not seen as much as you would expect.
Lastly the excursions recommended were great. We did Keana farms zip lining and the day at the bay and they were both awesome!

Stayed: January 2018, travelled with family
2  Thank Monica C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 3, 2018

I previously reviewed Aulani in Dec of 2015.

The first time we went to Aulani, we had been on a Disney Cruise shortly before and our expectations were "Disney Cruise on land in Paradise." It isn't that.

If you think about how Disney builds hotels & resorts - they are really good at building great base camps from which you go spend time at their parks. They don't need to have huge spa facilities because everybody is off at Disney World. If you read the negative comments about Aulani (my own included) they come down to the fact that Disney did not build enough resort infrastructure for the number of people at the resort. This is still true. You still need to book everything (spa, yoga, dinner reservations...) months in advance. The food on property is overpriced and generally below average. So if your plan is to spend all your time at the resort - you will probably be frustrated & disappointed.

We decided to treat it like a base camp. The result was outstanding. We worked with John at the concierge desk to make arrangements (John is outstanding - he seemed genuinely excited to help us coordinate our adventures). We went scuba diving with Island Divers (excellent operation), parasailing and "tubing" with H2O Adventures (also excellent), horseback riding at Turtle Bay, Zip Lining, hiked up the Koko Head Trail (amazing and worth the sweat to get to the top), and only ate on property once (at the buffet - still expensive but good). As a base camp Aulani was ideal. Starbucks is 2 miles away (next to Costco & Target). The North Shore is 45 minutes to an hour away, but so are activities in Hawaii Kai & Honolulu. In fact - everything we wanted to do was easy to get to.

Hacks to improve your stay:

Instead of going to the lagoon in front of the Aulani, walk past the Four Seasons, and through the parking lot at the Paradise Cove Luau. The lagoon there is smaller, but when we were there, there were multiple turtles, countless beautiful fish, and the prior day there was a Monk Seal sighting. Just bring a mask and snorkel and you are all set.

Ramen Ya (in the same mall as Target) very tasty food at very reasonable prices 4 of us gorged ourselves for ~$40.

Koko Head Trail (in Hawaii Kai) - the view is spectacular - we were looking down on helicopter tours as the flew by.

  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
13  Thank LJdon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 3, 2018 via mobile

A friend and I visited, pre Christmas for a little respite from her cancer treatments. It was a lovely stay in a beautiful location. From the moment we arrived and were greeted with a lei welcome, throughout our stay.
Easy access from HNL, no car needed unless you wish to explore the island. And if that’s the case - there is an Alamo right on site.
The property is huge, but true to Disney - everywhere you look is beautiful in its detail and design and the whole site is spotless. Disney is toned down as well, which for adults, was just right.
We had one spectacular meal at AMA AMA above the beach. Spectacular!
Otherwise, we enjoyed the beach, the morning activities and truly soaked in the ambience. A very pleasant and relaxing stay.
Across the road from the resort is a great ABC market and a fabulous restaurant featuring live entertainment - called Monkeypod. Highly recommend it! And the best mai tais around.
Our only negative would have been on departure. And it is very minor. But no one said good bye or thank you. Minor in the grand scheme of things - but given the Disney level of service, I would have expected a better farewell.
I can only hope to return one day soon.

Stayed: December 2017, travelled with friends
5  Thank Travelwiththeboys23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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