In my previous article, I discussed the top 5 things for families to do together while staying at Aulani. In this article, I am going to focus on just the KIDS! Aulani is one of those magical places where kids can be kids. They are encouraged to have fun, be silly and enjoy all that the resort has to offer. Parents- you can rest assured that while your kids are off having fun, they are also SAFE. My children beg to go back to Aulani on a regular basis. Thankfully, with our third trip recently under our belt, it is now conclusive that this will become a regular in our vacation rotation. Aulani does not skip a beat. From the incredible level of guest service, to the beauty of the resort, right down to the music in the lobby, this place has it made in the sunshine!
5) Menehune Bridge
This 2100-square-foot water playground is perfect for kids under 48 inches tall. You know the best thing about this play area for the kids? No parents allowed! This is their own private playground equipped with water slides and interactive water elements. Kids, you will get soaked and have tons of fun! My kids love playing at this interactive site and the adults love the lounge chairs that surround it. Over our past three visits, this is certainly a highlight and one that the kids talk about for months after!
If you have stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, then you will have a taste of what Menehune Bridge is like. We have stayed at both resorts recently and enjoy both versions, however, Aulani’s does not allow adults on the bridges and is far bigger.
As a tip – the water here can be chilly. So, this is a great later afternoon activity for the kids. Also, as with most areas at the Aulani pools, there is lifeguard supervision on Menehune Bridge, however, not in the play areas around or under the Bridge. This is an area that parents are allowed to splash and play, so please do!
4) Beach Activities
Aulani has an amazing pool area where you can spend hours having fun, however, it also has one of the most kid-friendly beaches that I have seen in Hawaii. Its calm waters and shallow entry is perfect for little swimmers and big kids alike. On the beach there are lounge chairs for the parents to enjoy, while the kids play with complimentary sand toys and boogie boards. Additionally, the lifejackets are always free and plentiful (please use them!). Another option when you are at Aulani is to check your Daily ‘Iwa for beach games and activities for the kids to participate in. Cast members regularly run beach games for the kids to enjoy. My kids also love free play on the beach building sandcastles and making sand angels (or sand Mickeys!). Each year, the kids like to write the year in the sand and pose for their photo with one of the PhotoPass Cast Members. For older kids, you can rent stand up paddleboards, snorkel sets and kayaks for the day at an additional cost. There is lots of fun to be found on the beach at Aulani!
Tip: In my experience the beach lounge chairs were always plentiful, so there was no need to rush to get a chair. In addition, there is a beachside kiosk called ‘Little ‘Opihi’s’ where you can get snacks and drinks if you and the kids get hungry.
3) Menehune Adventure Trail
Depending on the age of your children, the Menehune Adventure Trail may be something you want to do together, or it could be something for the older kids to do on their own. Either way, this can be a ‘kids-in-charge’ activity that they will love and it’s included in your stay. My girls have always loved this interactive scavenger hunt around the resort (indoor or outdoor version). It is full of magical surprises and hidden treasures that you didn’t know were even there! My girl’s favourite part of this hunt is when you get to spray water on unknowing guests floating down the Lazy River! That always gets a good chuckle! Aunty guides you through this scavenger hunt on your tablet (that you collect at the Pau Hana Room) and you meet many of her friends and family on your journey through Aulani. This really is an exciting option to enjoy and just another example of how Disney has gone above and beyond at this resort!
Tip: We like to save this for a mid-stay activity, as an activity to change up the daily routine. Or, if the weather is not very good, this is a good option.
2) Water slides / Lazy River
Disney has created a perfect water playground here at Aulani. My girls have loved this pool area on every trip from ages 2-8! As a mother, what’s my favourite part of the Aulani pool area? That’s easy: it’s super fun and there are lifeguards at every turn and the lifejackets are plentiful. Disney takes water safety very seriously, however, that being said, for the little kids or weaker swimmers, this section is to share with parents – but is kid directed!
At Aulani, there are two large water slides for your enjoyment, the dark slide and the tube slide. My girls love the dark slide. You can hear the echo of their screams as they slide all the way down! The tube slide is also fun and can be done as a single or a double rider. When my girls were younger we would ride double, however, on the last trip, my 8 year old enjoyed the solo ride. The tube slide has the added bonus of sending you right into the Lazy River. So, from a fun slide down a ‘waterfall’, you can then enjoy the relaxing glide around the Lazy River!
The lazy river meanders you through Aulani’s central courtyard and is a perfect example of Hawaiian relaxation and fun combined!
Tip: Depending on the time of year, the water slide lines can get backed up. Best to hit them in the morning to avoid the crowds and get as many slides in as you can. The dark slide is really dark – so remember this for the little ones. It can be scary.
1) Aunty’s Beach House
Aunty’s takes the top prize for the kids in our family hands down! This is a clubhouse for kids ages 3-12 and includes just about anything that your child could ever want. They can have meals (for an additional cost), play with their favourite characters, dress up, play video games, watch Disney movies, enjoy arts and crafts, read books, play outside… and so much more – the list goes on! One our favourite programs offered is ‘Stitch’s Space Goo’. Here, your kid’s will put on a lab coat and play the role of a scientist with their friend Stitch. They even get to bring home the ‘goo’ that they made!
There are a variety of programs offered at Aunty’s Beach House for the kids to enjoy. You can sign up on-line for certain activities prior to your stay or check your Daily I’wa and sign up the day of the activity. Some programs fill up quickly, so best to chat with your travel agent or the front desk about expected crowds during your stay.
Another perk of Aunty’s Beach House is their morning ‘Open House’. For children who are a little nervous about leaving Mum or Dad, or for parents who are a little nervous about leaving their children, this will put you both at ease. The open house allows parents and children to spend time together and become comfortable with their surroundings. I enjoyed seeing all the fun activities that are offered… and even enjoy challenging the family to a game of Memory on one of the interactive game boards (more than once). My girls enjoy Aunty’s so much that they have asked to stay longer when I have picked them up. A sign of a good time for sure! Aunty’s is unlike any other kids club that I have seen at other resorts (and I have seen many…some never to be visited again). Aunty’s is included with your hotel/ DVC stay and gives the kids independence and a feeling of having their own special vacation.
For parents, your children are signed in with an electronic wristband when they arrive at Aunty’s. They have to scan in and out. You will need a ‘password’ for pick up and will be contacted if there are any problems while your child (or children) is there. I’m a nervous nelly mama and Aunty’s has me perfectly at ease.
Tip: If your child really wants a certain program, sign up on-line or arrive first thing in the morning to register. Popular programs can fill up quickly depending on crowd levels in the resort.
So, there is my list! For those of you who have been to Aulani, I’m sure you can add to this list and share your memories! There is just so much for kids to do that making a 5-point list proves to be difficult. Again, another reason to book your Aulani vacation, whether it is your first trip or your fourth, it will not disappoint!
Thanks for reading… I’m dreaming of booking my next Aulani vacation already.