David's Vacation Club Rentals
David's Vacation Club Rentals

Exploring Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii where Hawaiian culture blends with top notch service

in Disney, Entertainment, Food, Hotel, Reviews

Disney has built a truly magical resort in Hawaii that captures the essence of Hawaiian culture while still providing the the outstanding service fans come to expect.

Aloha! I recently returned from a fantastic journey to the island of Oahu, Hawaii. During my trip to tropical paradise, I was lucky enough to spend three magical days at Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa. Along the way, I experienced every inch of the resort from the beach to the bathroom bringing back a photo report from this most exotic of Disney locales. Don’t be surprised if we embody the spirit of Aulani and their signature bar the ‘Olelo Room and teach you a little Hawaiian along the way.

Enjoy the report or, as they say in Hawaiian, walea ka palapala ho’ike.

Aulani Arrival and Lobby

Upon arriving at the resort, attentive service is non-stop. After stepping onto Aulani property, a Disney Cast Member guides guests to a station to receive fantastic lime, lemon, pineapple water and a necklace. The men receive a kukui nut necklace, women receive a lei, and children get a Menehune necklace. (More on the Menehune later.)

Guests are then escorted to the front desk to check in or get room keys if already checked in online with Disney’s handy service.

The photos behind the desk are taken by local K-12 students.

Parking

Driving up to Aulani, guests find a self park area. For hotel guests, the charge to self park is $35, but for Disney Vacation Club members it is free. Valet is available for $35 dollars for DVC members and hotel guests. Those only wanting to check out Aulani can receive complimentary valet parking upon spending $35 or more on property. (Keep the receipt.)

Pre-Room Disney Magic and the Luana Lounge

We had been staying on Waikiki before coming to the Aulani and wanted to spend as much time at the resort as possible. Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived around 9:30am. But in true Disney style, Aulani provides a service that no other Hawaiian resort can offer.

Disney provides a lounge with men’s and women’s locker rooms, free lockers, sitting areas, and computers to print your boarding passes. So while waiting for a room to be ready, guests can just visit the locker rooms, pick out an empty locker and then head to the pool. It’s part of the Aulani spirit in which guests are ‘ohana, which means family.

Artwork from the lounge.

Those looking to relax will find a TV at either side of the lounge.

This is also where guests return at the end of a trip to print boarding passes.

Pool Time is Good Time

In the center of Aulani lies an impressive pool area encompassing amazing attention to detail, two water slides, and several fantastic pools. A trip to this Waikolohe Valley is something not to be missed. Themed after Oahu’s vast landscape, the Waikolohe Valley is dense and wet in the center with sandy palms on the edges.

Menehune Bridge is a fun play area reserved for those 48″ inches and shorter that revolves around the story of the Menehune. (Still more on that below…)

Waikolohe Stream is the resort’s slow moving lazy river that flows underneath three bridges, under water falls, and through a cave. There are clever references to spot, like the “date” one of the bridges was built, 1923 – the year Walt Disney moved to Hollywood.

The fan-favorites at the pool are two water slides. Tubestone Curl leads into Waikolohe Stream and is a high-speed tube ride that’s fun for the entire family.

Volcanic Vertical is in all indoor waterslide that shoots down a dark tube faster than you can say humuhumunukunukuapuaa. (The Hawaiian state fish.)

Waikolohe Pool is Aulani’s main shallow pool, surrounded by chairs and home to pool parties during the day.

Disney also provides a saltwater snorkeling experience for their guests in a pool called Rainbow Reef, filled with beautiful fish. Access to this pool does have an extra charge, $20 for adults and $15 for children for one day or a length-of-stay pass, $39 for adults and $29 for children.

The final pool is a two-tiered infinity pool looking out to the ocean and lagoon.

There are also four inviting, but hidden and secluded, whirlpool spas located throughout the resort.

Menehune

So about these “Menehune”?

The Menehune are magical creatures that explore Aulani. They travel using the arch seen in the Aulani logo, to and from the magical Waikolohe Valley. The Menehune are the little people of Hawaii who watch over the Aulani and keep the area safe.

The complete tale of the Menehune is best told by legendary Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, the man behind Aulani.


Menehune Adventure Trail

(For the full story about Aulani’s history, check out this article about the long process that it took to create the resort, including searching for a piece of land, consulting locals, and finally Imagineering the final resort.)

The Menehune adventure game at Aulani is an experience similar to the Agent P World Showcase Adventure and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. In the game, “Aunty” needs help with tasks and phone calls at the general store that she runs. Some tasks include lighting up a volcano, fixing the Menehune’s canoe, or simply getting the mail.

Acitivities and Daily Iwa

In the center of all of Aulani’s activity is the Pau Hana Community Hall. Here guests can pick up a Menehune Adventure Trail device, take part in a craft activity, or watch a movie. Also available are rentals of almost any Disney movie for $3 for hotel guests or free for Disney Vacation Club members.

Aulani publishes a daily “Iwa,” or schedule of events, for anything happening around the resort.

Activites provided at the resort are free of charge, unless otherwise noted, and are avaliable for the entire ‘ohana, keiki (or children), and ‘opio (or youth.)

During the day there are fun events like the Shake-A-Shaka Pool Party featuring Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. At night there is storytelling with Uncle, the handyman of the resort. He brings out his ‘ukelele plays some songs while telling authentic Hawaiian stories around a huge fire pit.

aunty's beach house

Keiki activities are centered around Aunty’s Beach House, a complimentary child care center that goes above and beyond.

During a morning open house tour, we saw some of the most unique features like a movie room where Cast Members tell the children they can only watch a movie when it is raining. Then, courtesy of Disney magic, it starts to “rain” outside. Throughout the day, they have activities like Kings and Queens of Comedy where the Cast Members teach the kids stand up comedy using costumes available in Aunty’s Beach House.

painted sky-aulani

The ‘Opio activities revolve around the beach and Painted Sky the teen spa. Throughout the day there are activities allowing for teens to meet other teens at the resort, including a house party, sand castle building class, free workout sessions with a personal trainer, ‘ukelele lessons, and animation classes.

Laniwai, Painted Sky, and Mikimiki

Laniwai means “fresh water paradise” and that is certainly true for the spa at Aulani. Disney offers spa services on property for the entire ‘ohana. Inside the award-winning spa guests will find 18,000 square-feet of indoor space and a 5,000 square-foot outdoor space.

lanwai

Spa patrons are encouraged to arrive or plan to stay an hour before or after their treatment to use the outdoor space called the Kula Wai Hydrotherapy Garden. It offers private vitality pools, co-ed mineral baths, 6 different rain showers, whirlpool jet spas and the most relaxing time that guests will have on their entire trips.

The spa offers more than 150 different treatments in 15 rooms, including couples and family rooms.

The Painted Sky is a teens-only hangout with frozen yogurt bar, lounge, computer stations, D.I.Y. mixology perfumes, body polishes, face masks, and teen-specific massages including facials, manicures and pedicures.

Also nearby Painted Sky and Laniwai is Mikimiki, the resort’s fitness center, beautifully designed, nicely air conditioned, and filled with all the latest workout equipment. My favorite part of the room was the huge TV that took up an entire wall, showing surfers, sea turtles, and other Hawaii specific footage.

Dining in Style

Disney went all out when creating the many unique Aulani dining opportunities, including a beach side location, walk-up dinner window, lunch poolside, multiple bars, a lounge, a buffet, and snack shack.

‘Ama ‘Ama

ama-ama

Aulani’s premiere dinner restaurant is ‘Ama ‘Ama, a beach side dinner spot. ‘Ama ‘Ama serves a unique blend of island favorites that rotates with the seasons. Dinner is centered around sustainable seafood, steak, duck and pasta. For lunch, they serve hot and cold sandwiches, soup, salads and pasta. For breakfast, there are omelets, waffles, pancakes, grains and freshly-made bakery items.

Inside the restaurant, fantastic detail supports the story that the restaurant is Aunty and Uncle’s house that has expanded over the years. Each section can be easily dated back to a certain architectural era.

Makahiki

malakahiki

The perfect place to get a great buffet, Makahiki is a fantastic island restaurant with all of the classics plus Asian cusine. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this restaurant has a huge buffet for breakfast and dinner plus a menu.

In the morning, Makahiki is home to the character breakfast led by Aunty. The rousing celebration wishes a good morning, saying Aloha kakahiaka. In the character breakfast, guests can meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy.

The atmosphere is fun and lively as guests are surrounded by Hawaiian art and large windows looking out to the Waikolohe Valley.

‘Olelo Room

My personal favorite meal was a collection of every appetizer on the menu at the ‘Olelo Room. Here we dined on:

sweet-potato-tater-tots-sliders-olelo room

Sweet potato tater tots, three different types of sliders, Hawaiian nachos, and so much more.

The ‘Olelo Room is actually the reason for the use of so many Hawaiian words throughout this article. The theme of the lounge is to teach their patrons a little Hawaiian. Lining the walls are more than 150 shadow boxes with an icon and the Hawaiian word for them below. Those sitting at the bar are in for a treat as throughout the night words light up on the bar top giving a conversation starter. Every Cast Member that has works at the ‘Olelo Room must speak Hawaiian.

One Paddle Two Paddle

This location offers quick, pick-up food for dinner or lunch. The quick service restaurant is a great place to grab sandwiches, salads, burgers, or kids food.

The Lava Shack

aulani-volcano

Open most of the day serving wraps and salads, this convenience store type location is poolside and provides some great snacks. As the name implies, it is in the center of the volcano in the middle of Waikolohe Valley.

Mama’s Snack Stop

This recent addition to Aulani serves a fantastic variety of hot dogs, including all-beef, local red dogs, Portuguese sausage dogs and Buffalo-ranch fried chicken tender dogs. We never had a chance to get lunch here, but boy did the food coming out look interesting.

Little ‘Ophi’s

Located beachside, this snack hut serves salads, wraps, and sushi. One speciality avaiable here is alcohol. The alcohol itself isn’t special, but the fact that it is for sale here is. Disney is one of the only resorts on Hawaii to have purchased the beach in front of the resort. Because they own the beach they are allowed to serve alcohol on the beach and along the sand. This comes in handy when they hold huge parties like a New Year’s Eve bash and want to have a bar.

Papalua Shave Ice

This spot serves shaved ice in a variety of flavors including coconut, pineapple, strawberry, and pineapple.

Food Tips

  1. I highly suggest eating at the ‘Olelo Room for dinner and order appetizers to share. They were fantastic.
  2. Another great dinner choice is going to One Paddle Two Paddle to buy food and take it back to your room.
  3. Purchase the refillable drink cup at the beginning of your stay if you plan on drinking soda at all during your trip.

aulani-refilliable-mug

Aulani Merchandise

Disney has done a fantastic job creating resort exclusive merchandise for Aulani. You can find everything from Nike tennis hats to pins at the resort. Make sure you are ready to come home with lots of Aulani items. Here’s what came home with me:

aulani-merchandise

The Fab Five in Hawaii?

Part of the goal in building Aulani was to minimize the classic Disney branding and influence throughout the resort. Even in its official hotel name, Disney chose to share their own credentials last: Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa. In the same way, Disney characters are kept in specific locations and only come out throughout the day to greet guests. Only Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Stitch are at the resort because they are “on vacation” in Hawaii.

aulani-minnie-and-mickey

True Hawaiian Roots

One of the best parts about Aulani is the feeling when walking around its grounds. It is a cross between tropical, Adventureland, and true Hawaii. The goal that Disney had when they first set out to create the resort was to tell that true story of Hawaii.

Aulani has definitely achieved that goal. Every inch of the resort was beautifully planned out, representing Hawaii down to the last nail.


For more from Aulani, I invite you to read my article on the History of the Aulani at DisneyDose.com.

Also, we previously recently interviewed Ricky Brigante, the wonderful host of Inside the Magic, so check that out too.

Thank you for celebrating with us or, as they say in Hawaiian, Mahalo nui loa na ho’olaule’a me la kaua.

aulnai-thanks for joining us


Gavin Doyle is the Editor of DisneyDose.com, a Disney fan site specializing in providing unique opinions and coverage about every angle of the Disney universe.


71 Comments

  1. Jeff Lynch

    This looks like a place that only the 1% will ever be able to enjoy. Those of us in the 99% will have to be satisfied with just our dreams…and your gorgeous pictures and trip report. I loved reading this but have to admit I am a little sad I will never able to afford such luxury.

    1. It is too bad I agree, but some deals during the off season can make it more available to everyone. Thanks for your compliments on the report.

      1. Jeff Lynch

        I have not been able to afford a vacation for over five years now, but I am not going to let that stop me from dreaming! I go on YouTube and I watch people’s vacation videos on there. You’ve inspired me to go look for some Aulani videos. It is probably as close as I will ever come to that beautiful resort but I really do think it is incredible.

        1. I used to think the same thing Jeff. However we discovered DVC. Not only has it afforded us a vacation at Alauni but it has afforded us vacations for the next 50something years. Instead of “someday” it’s become a yearly event. Some people are time share haters but man has it worked out for us. No way would we ever have been able to afford Alauni at non DVC rates, ever! It’s cheaper then you think and will last your lifetime and your kids can use it even after you can no longer go. Just saying….

  2. Buckly

    Great photos and write-up. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Of course. Glad you liked it. The Aulani really is a magical place.

  3. Piece of writing writing is also a excitement, if you know afterward you can write or else it
    is complex to write.

  4. Steven Scott is a Maui-based freelance travel writer and photographer
    and can be reached at [email protected] One area of planning comes
    settling for a reservation for your entourage. the abutment, abutment screw, impression coping, healing cap and
    temporary coping, are supplied in a single package.

  5. Here are a couple of steps to assist you with dieting statistics 2010 and
    exercise, and take nutritional supplements, but in the long run stresses to the point that it does not involve starvation.

  6. 565130 434421An fascinating discussion is price comment. I believe which you need to write extra on this subject, it may well not be a taboo topic but typically individuals are not enough to speak on such topics. Towards the next. Cheers 776818

  7. It’s very easy to find out any topic on web as
    compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this
    site.

  8. This paragraph will assist the internet people for setting up new website or even a blog from start
    to end.

  9. Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.

    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you
    for sharing!

  10. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end
    or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  11. An additional of the most popular is a 2 megapixel camera.
    Nowhere obvious does the website say the release date.
    Click the name of the firmware to verify it – a blue arrow
    will seem next to it.

  12. It excels at its hiphop creativity although
    the overall game play is very simple. Now there are numerous (drug free)
    approaches you can buy a solution into a parallel market.
    Try this newest edition to see on your own.

  13. However for the entire enjoyment effect, include an effect and observe eight
    new designs of you. + Facebook allows you to upgrade your reputation. Microsoft also launched the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT.

  14. I know utilizing the telephone when driving is not recommended, but
    who doesn’t? Ways to display your partner that you treatment
    about her? So, why not try that luck, and who understands you might strike the jackpot.

  15. Hey there! Woulld you mind if I share your blog withh my zynga group?

    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  16. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so
    many choices out there that I’m totally confused .. Any tips?
    Many thanks!

  17. Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I
    may revisit onfe again since I bookmarked it.
    Money aand freedom is the best way to change, may you be
    rich and continue to guide other people.

  18. Have you evr considered about including a little
    bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything.
    Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great
    photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellentt but with imagges and clips, this site could definigely be one
    of the very best in its field. Fantastic blog!

  19. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the long run and
    it’s time to be happy. I’ve learn this put up and if I may just I want to suggest
    you few interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles regarding this article.
    I wish to read even more issues about it!

  20. Then let us evaluate these two and discover out which
    1 is better. You can use all your backed up data from Computer.

    The downside about Picasa is you only get 1 GB of
    free storage.

  21. Hello I am so excited I found your website, I really found you by
    mistake, while I was searching on Bing for something else,
    Regardless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a fantastic
    post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the
    theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment
    but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the great work.

  22. Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg
    it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from
    this web site.

  23. Needless to say the answer really is easy you will get guests out of your friends list.
    To use this new resource, click on the start key.
    Admittedly, it’s also the top and secure technique available.

  24. Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any tips?

  25. If you are not presently you’ll first need to login to your toolbar.
    Use goals to tell your company’s history. + Your Facebook profile enables
    you to add comprehensive level of pictures.

  26. Chopard watches control many’s interest and are extremely respected.
    Particularly, the exhibit happens at 30 Rockefeller Plaza,
    NBC’s headquarters. This may be described as a very thoughtful gesture in your part.

  27. It’s very easy to find out any matter on net aas compared to textbooks,
    as I found this post at this website.

  28. It keeps the SIII durable and mild at the same time.

    All in all in purchase to make device function correctly set up ought to be correct.
    Make sure you only purchase from safe sites.

  29. Instead I have worked through my troubles in more real approaches.
    My most-recent blog advised custom landing tabs for
    increasing proposal on Facebook and it’s already obsolete.

  30. It is furthermore stated that the PSjailbreak is noticeable
    by Sony and those employing it risk being barred. You can also handle the memory
    utilization and which techniques are working in your iPhone.

  31. Another downside of jailbreaking your iPhone is that it forfeits its warranty.

  32. all the time i used to read smaller content which also clear their motive,
    and that is also happening with this article which I am
    reading at this place.

  33. But if you go with lavish iPad cases then it would become a bit costly.
    It doesn’t even satisfy your craving for chocolate;
    instead, it allows you to crave chocolate even more. He had his recognition data ‘memorized’.

  34. As to exactly where to get all these wonderful high tech toys, have you ever heard of the internet?
    Rather, you’d be conversational and casual, obtaining to know the individual and what they’re up
    to.

  35. The shortcut key to open up the Windows Mobility Center is
    always to press Win Key + X. When you recognize their friend demand
    they start tampering with your bill. Tidy up the Registry problems in your program.

  36. This course of action can be purchased anytime within usually the
    one-year warranty of the merchandise. That you do not want to spending some time acquiring its backup and trashing the dog owner’s knowledge.

  37. This is actually the greatest application on Facebook based on daily productive customers.
    How would you have the modifications to Facebook pages can influence your
    model or enterprise?

  38. It does not usually occurred but may be it can happen during jailbreak process.
    After the launch of Sony PS3 the hackers received down to company to break into it.

    This game can occasionally be challenging but very addicting!

  39. Exceptional post however I was wondering if you could
    write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate
    a little bit further. Bless you!

  40. For this I have to suggest Mistake Nuker, since it has
    features that most others do not provide. Nevertheless, some people would also like to use it on their Windows or Macintosh computers.

  41. I think this is among the most significant information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The site style is great, the articles is really great : D.
    Good job, cheers

  42. Really enjoy this site, awesome stuff here, had been a wee
    bit sceptical around purchasing a steam shower unit
    for our house having said that the info here sorted my head out,
    incredible thanks

  43. There are various issues that have to be taken care of.
    It’s got individual iWork purposes for $10 each.
    The possible lack of a contract is, however,
    valuable. In this checklist, you’ll come across
    the ‘Sections’ tab.

  44. But what to do about all those current, past and future consumers you added
    as a Friend? If for some reason you obtain the following information: “Cookies aren’t allowed in your browser.

  45. Go through the results you need, as Stephen Covey suggests.
    The safety device delivers impulses to the crucial utilizing radio wave volume.

    Expertise true American culture.

  46. Many thanks for this web page, can blissfully announce we now have a steam shower of our own and we love it

  47. Lots of fabulous information on this site, truly want a
    steam shower unit in my bathroom

  48. bookmarked!!, I like yohr website!

  49. Hi, i believe that i saw you visited my site thus i got here to return the choose?.I’m attempting to find issues to improve my web site!I assume its ok to make use of a few of your concepts!!

  50. Ashley’s the reverse; she’s the Superiority (objective-environment) style, maybe even a small
    exaggerated. You could use the excellent programs that
    permit you to enjoy your iphone 3G in a new way.

  51. Was initially in actual fact shopping for just a traditional shower enclosures when I stumbled upon this page, wouldn’t have any idea there was any such thing as a
    ‘steam shower enclosure’, really, may very well just have to
    acquire one

  52. That looks a lot like my shower enclosure my Partner and I purchased recently, so pleased about it for someone
    on the fence on the subject of acquiring one, do it, you will not
    regret it

  53. Thanks for finally writing about >Exploring Aulani
    – A Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii where Hawaiian culture blends
    with top notch service | Inside the Magic <Liked it!

  54. The level of privacy during the day. Decorating a
    kid s bathroom, you are going to be heavily used,
    he can select a matching duvet that can snap at the
    bottom of the pole anywhere along its length. If grommets don’t appeal to you,
    just be wary of the cheapest ways to make your current
    little statement. 1 Sound DampeningThe first advantage is
    the control of light, drafts, and even a setting for an outdoor party.

    In this case you want a more intricate look, go for it.

  55. Never heard of a steam shower enclosure until I came
    across this incredible website, so thankful I did truly want one now and money letting will likely be going to get one
    soon

  56. Halong Bay is so much more compelling when it’s not a passive experience,
    ‘ said Kurt Walter, group general manager of Apple Tree Group Hospitality.
    Inside the limestone islands are various breath- taking caves, such as: Sung Sot
    (Surprise Cave), Thien Cung (Haven Palace Cave), Dau Go
    (Hidden Wooden Cave). Luxury Travel Team recommends the best junks in Halong Bay featuring on their website ( in term of comfort,
    uniquenesss, excellent food, friendly staff, interesting cruise
    itinerary with many activities on boat, service excellence, attention to
    details, stylish, elegance, sophistication and of course SAFETY
    guaranteed.

  57. This place is dotted with islands, full of dense vegetations, limestone pillars and hollow caves.
    She says that Rainbow Divers have just recently
    discovered a sea grass site with sea dragons and spotted dugongs, some
    of the rarest creatures in southeast Asia. Although the company has already acquired the first block in the Southeast Asian country’s northern area, yet it is looking for further spreading its presence as a major oil countries in the world.

  58. divorce information divorce advice, Divorce Insurance. Interracial dating and marriage conjure up many emotions
    for some. Maybe you know some of the things your
    date is interested in.

Trackbacks

  1. Exploring Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii where Hawaiian culture … – Inside the Magic | Mouse House Online
  2. Sport Equipment | Precor EFX 5.31 Premium Series
  3. Latest Landscape Lighting Parts News
  4. Off the Menu – The Last Days of Chasen’s | WWW.PRODUCTSIN.COM
  5. Off to Aulani; Expedia/Disney Google+ Hangout on Air
  6. 2seewhales newport beach whale watching
  7. Garcinia Direct
  8. Hydrellatone Reviews
  9. minecraft

Add Your Voice