Monday, December 2, 2013

Disney's Aulani Review

Today we have a very special guest writer, my friend Sean at Disney Day By Day. Sean recently was lucky enough to visit Disney's Aulani Resort located in Oahu, Hawaii. He has written a review of the many amazing amenities for families with young children. Come along as we journey to the stress free paradise that is Disney's Aulani. To watch actual video's that Sean recorded while at Aulani visit his youtube page:

There is no doubt that Disney’s Aulani is a relaxing resort perfect for adults and couples looking to get away from the hustle of everyday life, but don’t let the romantic ambience and five-star like atmosphere fool you. As with anything done by Disney, Aulani is catered toward the family. And children (or keiki as the locals call them) will find plenty to keep them busy. Pools, waterslides, a lazy river, a beach, and snorkeling are just a few of the things ready and waiting for your family.

Lazy River

Water, water, water! By far our son’s favorite place to be was the Waikolohe Stream, and when you get a look at the lazy river you’ll be just as eager to jump in. Relax on a double or single tube while the water gently pushes you along. Heck, you don’t even need a tube, you can swim with the current. Of course there has to be a little bit of excitement, it’s not all relaxation! Watch out for the occasional dancing water, and be prepared to dodge the leaky roof when you enter the cavern!  


The lazy river not exciting enough for you? Then climb the volcano to head down one of two amazing slides! On the Tubestone Curl slide you can climb aboard a single tube, or go with a friend in one of the double tubes, ending up near the lazy river. Don’t want a tube? Then go down the Volcanic Vertical slide where you’ll be dumped unceremoniously into the Waikolohe pool. Although far from intense, these are not delicate and easy slides, and you may end up going underwater at the end.   Life vests are available all around the pool areas for children to use for both their and your comfort.  


Inevitably your children will end up in the pool for most of their stay and Aulani does not disappoint where water activities are concerned. Both family pools are zero entry which makes sitting and splashing easy for children of all ages. If your child can’t swim well, not only are there lifeguards constantly surveying the outdoor areas, but free life jackets are provided as well.

Aulani’s main pool is called Waikolohe and this large pool is hard to miss! Can’t find it? Just head to where the music is playing and the children are splashing! Not only is where most of the children’s parties and activities happen, but it’s also where you might run into a Disney character or two. 

Ka Maka Grotto, Aulani’s newest addition, is a gorgeous infinity edge pool that looks out onto Aulani’s private beach and bay. Although there are no slides or parties around this quieter pool, children still love the infinity edge that makes them feel as if they will slide right off into the ocean. Even cooler are the underwater speakers that send out the occasional sound of shrieking whales, dolphins, and even submarines! Make sure to encourage your children to duck their heads underwater to count how many different sounds they hear.

Wailana Pool, for guests 18 and up, is where Mom and Dad get to relax (yes, there is a bar nearby) while the kids are having a blast at Aunty’s Beach house.

All Aulani pools and water areas require a wrist band.   These are free to guests; be sure to stop at Kāwele Korner and present your room key to get your towels and wrist band.  Make a game of it! See how many wrist bands your children can collect and take a guess at which color might come next.


Aunty’s Beach House

What is Aunty’s Beach house, you might be wondering? The perfect place for your children to have fun…without you! You might feel guilty over leaving your kids at Aunty’s at first, but when they start begging you to go you’ll realize it’s the perfect time to relax while someone else watches your child. Everyone has fun, no guilt needed! Aunty’s Beach house is for those potty-trained kids ages 3-12. Children can play video games, watch T.V., play outside in a fenced-in yard, or do activities with the staff. They might even get a visit from a Disney character! Most activities don’t cost extra, and parents must fill out safety forms, so come prepared. While at Aunty’s your child will be cared for by trained Disney staff. And to put your mind at ease, all children wear a censored wrist-band and can only leave with an adult and password.


The Beach  

Aulani isn’t just about pools and Aunty’s beach house. There’s a reason why people visit Hawaii…the beaches! Aulani has the perfect beach! It’s clean and rather well protected. You can rent gear to snorkel, splash in the waves or rent kayaks and paddle around the bay area. The only complaint is that it’s so protected that if you rent snorkeling gear be prepared to see very little fish and lots of sand. If you want to actually see fish during your snorkeling experience, then pay the extra fee and try out Rainbow Reef. Be warned…the water in Rainbow Reef is cold, but the fish are beautiful!

Splash Zones

If your children aren’t quite ready for the pool or beach, don’t fret, there are two splash areas for young ones. Menehune Bridge is an amazing combination of platforms, bridges and slides, all while water shoots from tubes and dumps from buckets! You’ll be wishing you were short enough to play!  And the new Keiki Cove Splash Area is for children of all ages to enjoy the jumping water and small fountains.   No one will leave the area dry.   


Evening Activities

When the evening has grown cooler and your kids are tired of the pool, fear not, there’s still plenty to do! Children can head into the lounge and pick up a scavenger hunt called the Menehune Adventure Trail.  Or just walk around the pool area and check out the volcano, are those animals carved into the rock, just like the Tree at Animal Kingdom? Why yes, I do believe that’s a hermit crab! Count how many animals you can find! That’s not the only thing they can count. Check out all of the Menehune, the legendary little people hiding all over Aulani! You’ll see hundreds of these little statues inside and outside of the Aulani building.

Every night Aulani offers night shows on the North lawn, Disney Movie nights and story-telling near the fire pit. In particular the Starlight Hui on the north lawn is an amazing show offering traditional dancing and story-telling, while interacting with the children in the audience.



One of the main complaints about Aulani when it first opened was the lack of inexpensive food. But with the opening of Mama’s Snack Shop and Ulu Café, families can pick from a variety of meals. Even your picky eaters will be sure to find something.  Yes, you will even find chicken fingers and fries.  If you’re not interested in sitting down to eat, head to the Lava Shack for grab and go style sandwiches and snacks that are easy to throw in your bag for the beach. And make sure to try a shaved ice!  They are not your standard shaved ice; these come 4 different ways and you get to pick your three favorite flavors of over 12 to select from.  If you want a sit-down meal Aulani also offers meals with the Disney Characters!



For those of you who like to plan, don’t be afraid you’ll miss something. Every night you’ll find a newsletter in your room at turn-down time. This newsletter will tell you what is going on, what time it is happening, and if it costs extra for the next day. Many of the events at Aunty’s Beach House require sign up so get there early in the morning if there is anything your children would like to do.


It’s plain to see that Disney does an amazing job catering to families, and that doesn’t stop with activities.   Each guest room at Aulani has a portable crib/playpen, bedding and mini refrigerator to store those must needed snacks.  If you forget something at home there is also a great selection of baby care products at the Kalepa Store, including disposable diapers, baby wipes, formula and more.   Aulani also has a selection of items that can be checked out with a deposit for the length of your stay, such as: bed rails, bottle warmers, outlet covers, booster seats, and high chairs.  And, don’t try to get that beach bucket into your luggage, Aulani supplies sand toys that can be used at the beach, you just have to return them when you’re done.


This is just a sample of the things you can do at Disney’s Aulani, but there is so much more! We heard more than one visitor say that a family could stay at the resort the entire week and never get bored. As with anything Disney the staff is there to make sure your stay is wonderful, and they go out of their way to make Aulani a truly magical experience. Just send an email, or give Aulani a call before your visit to make sure they have what you need!

Thanks Sean for this wonderful review of Aulani! I hope to be lucky enough to visit one day myself. Visit Sean's website at and like him on Facebook at 


  1. Aulani is on my bucket list! I would love to spend some time relaxing on the beautiful beaches.

  2. My teenager would love the lazy river, my toddler would love the splash zones, and my husband and I would love the food! :)

  3. I don't have kids so I think I would like the bar the best. haha

  4. I am so jealous of all the WDW posts. We have yet to visit WDW.

  5. I would love it ALL! I would start my day at the lazy river, head to the beach and then let the kids play at Auntie's Beach House while I enjoy a drink at the bar ;)

  6. My son would love the splash area!

  7. We would like the beach and the lazy river

  8. We would love the water slides and lazy river!!

  9. I would love to go there one day!

  10. That all looks awesome! The Menehune area looks amazing!

  11. <3 duffy.. cant wait to go to this resort!

  12. We have a pipe dream of going to Aulani in 2015. I think we'd mainly be found at the pool or drifting down the lazy river.

  13. I would love to visit Aulani one day...I'm thinking that lazy river looks pretty amazing!

  14. I would love th beaches and character greetings

  15. The nightly Starlight Hui event sounds like something my family would love!

  16. We'd love the Menehune Bridge Splash Zone - perfect for our toddler :)
    Liza C.

  17. oh wow, my family would LOVE relaxing by the pool while the little ones play in the water! they LOVE waterslides & water play areas!

  18. I love Disney! Hope to experience Aulani some day!

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