Did you know that Disney has a resort in Hawaii? You can find Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, on the western side of Oahu, and it is as amazing as you may think.
Imagine the luxury of a Hawaiian vacation with the magical touches Disney is known for. Aloha meets bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.
Your arrival in Ko Olina is the first indication you are somewhere special. Everything is perfect, just perfect. The coastal breeze rustling the palms, lush greenery, the Pacific Ocean shimmering in shades of blue you didn’t think existed outside your most fantastic tropical dream. They’re all here. And in the middle of it all is Aulani.
Breathtaking Villas, Delicious Food, Fun-Filled Pools, and Much More!
For our group of seven, we had a 2-bedroom villa which was just the right size for us. We had a full kitchen, a washer and dryer, and a huge balcony that overlooked the lawn where the luau was held. There are a variety of other room options available, from a regular hotel room with 2 queen beds to a 3-bedroom grand villa.
Your kids (and you!) will love the pools. There are several of them, including a lazy river, an adults-only whirlpool spa, an infinity pool and grotto, and a pair of water slides inside a volcano. Pay close attention to the rock work for carvings of sea creatures and birds (it reminded me of The Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom). We had a blast trying to find them, and we’re sure we didn’t discover all. For real sea creatures, go snorkeling in Rainbow Reef. The man-made reef/aquarium is the perfect spot to enjoy the wonders of the ocean without worrying about tides, currents, and surf. And if the pools aren’t enough, walk a few more feet to the beach on the lagoon, where you can paddle board, snorkel, boogie board or even sail away like Moana and Maui.
You’ll love the food and drinks. Yes, there are frozen cocktails with little paper umbrellas. There’s even one with a back scratcher! My favorite meal was the ahi nachos with wonton chips off the poolside menu. You can have breakfast with Mickey in his aloha shirt and some of his friends (we got to see Minnie, Goofy, and Chip and Dale). This restaurant, Makahiki, also serves a table service dinner. There’s a poolside restaurant, Off the Hook, that serves lunch and dinner as well. I’m still thinking about the shrimp flatbread I had for dinner the first night. Ulu Cafe is a quick-service restaurant that has breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The açaí bowls were delicious! Here they also serve spam musubi, a Hawaiian specialty, beginning at 11 every day. And it’s Mickey-shaped! And just like at Walt Disney World, you can purchase refillable mugs to use throughout your stay. Don’t forget about Dole Whips! My husband and kids couldn’t get enough of them (they loved the pineapple/watermelon swirl by the beach).
Experiences Your Kids Will Love
Mickey and Pals and other characters, including Moana, Stitch, and Duffy and Friends, wander the resort and pose at designated spots (you can find their schedule in the app). There’s nothing quite as cool as floating down a lazy river and having Goofy walk to the edge to wave hi or calling out to Pluto from your balcony as he waits for visitors, having him wave up to you. Yes, both of those things happened to us.
Aunty’s Beach House is available for kids ages 5-12. There is a free version that’s 1.5 hours. Our kids did this twice and made a birdhouse one day and a sign the other, as well as other activities. There’s also a premium (paid) experience that’s 2 hours long and the kids get to interact with a character. Our kids got to see ‘Olu Mel the day they went! The free experience fills up very quickly, so you’ll want to book that ahead of time.
For something more authentically Hawaiian at the resort, check out the KA WA’A luau (just make sure to book early). You’ll learn about the history of Hawaii and fill your belly with delicious traditional foods. It was ono, brah! Mickey and Minnie even made an appearance to do the Aulani hula!
More Experiences Outside Aulani
There’s also plenty to do away from Aulani. Championship golf, shopping, and dining are just across the street. Get an emotional lesson in history by visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. We learned so much and felt even more. Seeing the “black tears” leaking from the Arizona more than 81 years after it sank was unreal.
Of course, there’s so much more to do all around Oahu. We hiked Diamond Head. Yes, you can do it, just keep pushing. We saw unbelievable sights (I’ve never heard a carful of people ooh and ahh so often – every time we turned a corner or came around a bend), ate amazing food (try some loco moco and shaved ice), bought too many souvenirs and got to be up close (at least 10 feet away by law) with a dozen or so sea turtles on the North Shore.
Reach Out To Your Magical Vacation Planner
Hawaii was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us, as it is for so many people. And as soon as we returned home, we started talking about how and when we could come back. After all we did and saw, there’s still so much more to do!
If you’re interested in visiting Aulani, reach out to me or your Magical Vacation Planner. Booking through someone who has first-hand experience is always helpful in planning the perfect vacation. Aloha and Mahalo!