Did you know that Disney has an amazing hotel in Hawaii? In this post, we will give you several tips for you when you are planning your first visit to Disney's Aulani Resort, this incredible Disney Resort in this tropical paradise!
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Disney's Aulani Resort
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the brainchild of Walt Disney Imagineers who worked with Hawaiian artisans and culture experts to create a special Disney experience.
From air travel to choosing the right hotel room, arriving at Aulani and special activities after your arrival, we have tips and answers to common questions about planning a trip to Aulani.
Excited to learn more about this amazing Disney hotel?
So let's go!
On which Hawaiian island is Aulani located?
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is on the island of Oahu in kapolei.
It is part of the Ko Olina Resort, making what is already an exceptional resort even more special.
Aulani sits on the first of four man-made lagoons that make up the 2 kilometers of white sand beaches at Ko Olina Resort.
Which airport do you arrive to to stay at Aulani?
Fly to the International Airport from Honolulu, with the airport code HNL.
Please note that airport transfers are not included in the price of a stay in Aulani.
Therefore, you will need:
- rent a car (more on this later)
- take an Uber (as of October 2019, the average price of an Uber trip is between US $ 40 and US $ 60)
- use the Hele Hele Shuttle service. Book in advance. Fees are $$ 10 for 2 year olds and $$ 24 for everyone else.
- get one Charley's taxi for a flat fee of $ 55 from the airport to Aulani.
When you return, plan to arrive two hours before your flight.
The airport is older and covers a large area.
If you have to leave a rental car, wait three hours.
The location where the car rental companies are located is a good distance from the airport.
Arriving three hours early will allow you enough time to wait in line to return the car and get to the airport worry-free.
And there's so much to do at this family-friendly resort—from lazy rivers and waterslides to character breakfasts with Mickey and Minnie—that you don't have to leave.
Should I rent a car to stay at Disney's Aulani Resort?
That depends on whether you want to do anything else on Oahu during your visit.
While there are lots of fun things to do on Oahu, staying at Aulani is pretty expensive.
Therefore, you may only need transport from the airport to Aulani and back, which is cheaper than renting a car for most families or groups traveling together.
Also, if you rent a car, you will need to park it.
Self-parking and valet parking are US $37 per day at Aulani.
DVC members with points earn free self parking for up to two vehicles.
How many days do you need in Aulani?
If you have kids aged 12 and under, they will want to stay a long time and never go home, so plan on staying at least five nights.
If you are traveling to other Hawaiian Islands or have older children, three nights and four days will be enough if you arrive early on the first day.
But we would say that with at least 5 days you can enjoy the resort immensely.
Does Aulani have all inclusive?
Aulani is not an all inclusive resort.
However, there are ways to save money to keep costs down and we’ll talk a little more about that later in this post!
How much does it cost to visit Aulani?
The big expenses here are rooms, transportation, food and activities during your trip.
Let's open each of these sessions and get into the details for these expenses!
Hotel Rooms in Aulani
A standard room at the Aulani starts at around US$ 400 per night (plus 14% sales tax) and goes up to $$700 per night.
One, two and three bedroom villas with full kitchens and one and two bedroom suites range from around US $ 750 to US $ 2,950 per night.
Hotel room rates are higher if the room has an ocean view.
Consider renting DVC spots to get Disney luxury at a more affordable price.
Transport to Aulani Resort
Fares will depend on your airline, departure airport and how far in advance you book your trip.
Booking early and out of season will certainly help you save money!
Round trip tickets from my residential airport come to US$900 during the winter months, compared to US$ 1300 per person in the warmer months.
But remember, I'm in Brazil, if you're flying from the United States the prices are much better with something around $300-$500.
Food at Aulani resort
It is safe to budget $$200 per day to feed a family of four. That is approximately $50 per person per day.
Of course, if you plan on having special dinners and character experiences and meals, expect to spend a little more.
How can I save money traveling to Aulani?
As we said, giving up the rental car will save you a lot of money, as will renting DVC points to reserve your room.
Plus, as with any trip, food and extras add up when traveling to Aulani.
Ordering groceries to be delivered to your room or, if you've rented a car, stopping at the grocery store will help you save a lot of money.
Buy some easy-to-go breakfast items, Starbucks via for breakfast, snacks and adult beverage fixings.
Limit room service, poolside dining or a full meal at a restaurant to one meal a day.
Instead, choose cheaper food at Ulu Café and Mama's Snack Stop.
If you don't have a car, walk 10 minutes to the small market at the Ko Olina Center for easy, low-cost lunch items.
Free things to do in Aulani
Be sure to check the Daily 'Iwa every day and take advantage of the numerous free activities at Aulani.
Aunty's Beach House Kids Club offers free experiences and hours for children ages 3-12.
Free things to do can range from canoe racing to ukulele lessons and animation drawing lessons.
And, of course, you're in Hawaii.
Ko Olina Resort is home to beautiful beaches and lagoons, all of which are free.
What age group activities are there here at Aulani for Children?
Aulani does a great job providing activities for all ages, from preschoolers to adults.
Some activities are included in your stay and others have an extra cost.
Fortunately, you are free to decide your schedule and what activities you want.
Children up to 5 years old
Preschoolers can enjoy Aunty's Beach House, which is a Disney-style babysitter.
Children ages 3 to 12 do crafts, watch Disney movies and play games, all under the watchful eye of Disney supervision.
Keiki Cove Splash Zone is a perfect water park for those hot paradise days. Mo'olelo Fire Pit Storytelling is another great activity for kids in this age group – gather around the fire as Tio and Moana tell a story using puppets, props and a little Disney magic.
The older your children are, the more activities Aulani Resort offers.
Waikolohe Pool is its incredible pool and it is available to its guests!
The pool area is the place for parties with Disney character appearances and interactive poolside activities with cast members.
Kids and parents can look for clues and solve puzzles together on the Menehune adventure trail.
There's even a recreation area nearby, known as the Menehune Bridge.
Your kids can also take a guided tour to learn about the landscape and imagination behind the resort.
teenagers and teenagers
Teens and teens can participate in most of the above activities, from the splash zone to the Menehune Bridge.
Older children can also play golf at the nearby Ko Olina Golf Club.
Some days they can even play golf for free after 3pm.
The Painted Sky Teen Spa is exactly what it sounds like – a spa only for 13-17 year olds.
It's a great way to unwind from a busy school schedule at home.
There are a variety of stores to shop, restaurants to dine in and pools to explore.
Teens and teens can even sign up for extra activities like snorkeling with the fish at Rainbow Reef, poolside cabanas, yoga on the beach and more.
Is Aulani a Disney theme park?
Many people ask us about this.
Aulani is not over-the-top Disney; focuses more on the Hawaiian experience.
Disney characters don't show up everywhere you go.
This is a luxury resort with top notch Disney service.
If you want more Disney, you can choose to immerse yourself in Disney activities and meet and greet the characters as often or as little as you choose.
How Hawaiian is Aulani?
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was designed and built with Hawaiian culture at its core. Many Aulani experiences tell the story of Hawaiian culture.
Disney has worked with over 80 local Hawaiian artists whose art is displayed throughout the resort and has hired many people from Hawaii to work at the resort.
The Hawaiian ambiance was masterfully created at Aulani.
Including, If you're really passionate about Hawaiian culture and history, don't miss the fireside storytelling at the oceanfront fire pit.
Can adults enjoy free time for children in Aulani?
One thing Disney does well is offering fun activities for all ages, even adults.
The Aulani Resort is designed to allow parents to relax while their children safely enjoy the resort and its activities.
Aulani Resort helps adults enjoy their time by offering safe, supervised areas for children and teens.
When the kids are safe, head to the whirlpool spas, an adults-only pool known as the Wailana Pool, play golf, shop, dine and more.
Laniwai Spa is for adults and has everything you could want from a spa.
Or venture out on one of the horseback riding tours or guided sightseeing tour.
What restaurants are there in Aulani?
This is the classic Disney breakfast buffet where Mickey, Minnie or Goofy will join you at the table.
On select nights, this restaurant is the venue for a fun dinner show known as Menehune Mischief no Makahiki.
It celebrates the history of the Menehune – the small magical people of Hawaiian legend.
Love Love: this is a contemporary open air restaurant with a modern twist. It's where the tastes and flavors of Hawaii come to life.
Ulu Café: Quick service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, perfect for days at the pool or beach when you don't want to miss out on your coveted chairs.
Olelo Room : Drinks and snacks and live music many nights.
Off The Hook: the poolside lounge which also offers pool and beach service.
Mama's Cafeteria, Papalua Shave Ice and Little 'Opihi's Beachside Kiosk : These snack bars are scattered throughout the resort.
Wailana Pool Bar: For adults only, this bar serves cocktails and lunch by the adults-only pool.
Is it worth leaving the Aulani Resort for something?
This is a very personal decision, but I will share our family experiences.
We've been to Aulani six times; airfare and the resort itself are not cheap so we really wanted to get our money's worth.
On our first trip, we left the resort just to walk to the local restaurants close to the property.
On the second trip, we took a drive to the North Shore for a day and that was it.
What is worth expanding in Aulani?
A water excursion is a must! Disney offers a catamaran experience for ages 4 and up that is worth every penny!
A good dinner at Ama Ama is also worth it during sunset.
The view from the restaurant over the lagoons and the ocean is insta unforgettable.
Is it worth staying at the Aulani Resort?
Definitely yes, especially if you have kids.
The memories made at Aulani, Disney Resort & Spa, are so special, they will be remembered for years to come.
Tips for Staying at the Aulani Resort
- Make dinner reservations when booking your trip. Restaurants fill up fast.
- Upon arrival, purchase your Disney Aulani refillable mugs for US $ 18.99 to get free non-alcoholic beverage refills at select locations during your stay. Take them home and bring them back for your next visit!
- Get a copy of the Daily 'Iwa. This is your Aulani Bible of each day's activities.
- Google Sunset Times before your trip so you can make dinner reservations during sunset. Request a beachfront seat.
- Book a Character Dining Experience . Indispensable on your first trip. Be sure to book in advance.
- Bring a small bag with pool and beach needs if you arrive before the 3pm check-in. Aulani will store your luggage so you can enjoy the resort while you wait for your room.
- order groceries by Instacart for hotel delivery!
- Buy your own sand toys so your kids can play on the beautiful Hawaiian sand at the beach. Pass them on to another family when you leave and enjoy the smile on their faces!
The minimum we recommend is 3 nights, however if you want to get the most out of this hotel, the ideal is a 5-night stay.
There are no additional fees to the fare price.
Unfortunately, Disney's Aulani Resort is not pet friendly.
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About the Author Carlos Braga:
Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.
My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.
During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!