Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa is located right on the oceanfront in the beautiful Ko Olina Resort area of Oahu, Hawaii, about 17 miles north of the Honolulu Airport. Hawaiian culture and tradition come to life in this resort, modeled after the Hawaiian village concept. The ocean views, white sandy beaches, tropical foliage and salt-water lagoons make this resort a great vacation destination.
Blogs about Aulani and the surrounding area
From the perspective of a “local,” here are my recommendations on how to see the best of Hawaii from a cruise ship. For the purposes of this article, I will be adapting these recommendations to fit the Norwegian Cruise Line 7-Night cruise itinerary sailing out of Honolulu.
General Public Discounts for Aulani
Save up to 30%! - booking extended through 4/30/15!
Discount is available most nights 4/6 - 6/15/15.
Book a stay at Aulani and save up to 30%!
Book by 4/30/15 for stays most nights 4/6-6/15/15. Number of rooms available for this offer may be limited. Resort fees and taxes not included. Offer excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Limit two rooms per reservation. All discounts are subject to availability, certain restrictions apply.
Save 25%, plus get free breakfast!
Book a 1-3 night pre- or post-night stay at Aulani for the Disney Cruise Line Hawaiian sailings and save 25% on the resort rate, plus get complimentary breakfast at Ulu Cafe. These stays are based on availability:
Complimentary quick service breakfast offer is per person, per night.
Get free transportation from the airport, plus a 1-day car rental!
Book a 4-night or longer stay at Aulani and receive free round-trip transportation from the airport, as well as a free 1-day mid-size Alamo car rental! This offer is available for select stays 1/4/15-3/23/15 and 4/6-6/15/15.
Book by 3/23/15. All nights must be consecutive. The number of rooms available for this offer may be limited. Offer excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. All discounts subject to availability, certain restrictions apply.
Theme park annual passholders (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort) can save 10% on room reservations at Aulani.
Aulani offers 25% off room reservations for active duty military. This offer is subject to availability.
Very similar to a Disney Cruise Line daily navigator, guests of Aulani receive a daily 'IWA (pronounced e-v-a) in their room every morning. These are crucial for planning your day at Aulani and something you should definitely read over in the morning. The daily 'IWA lists all of the events and activities, character greeting locations, and hours of operation for many of the venues. We've scanned a full week of 'IWA's for your reference. Please note that the details listed in the ones below are very likely to change and should only be used as a reference.
September 4-10, 2011
Aulani features 359 traditional hotel rooms and suites and 481 Disney Vacation Club Villas, decorated with wood and Hawaiian elements. These rooms have several views available: Standard View, Ocean View, Partial Ocean View, Poolside Gardens View, Island Gardens View. The standard rooms sleep 4 and have either 2 queen-size bed or 1 king-size bed with queen-size sleeper sofa. The 382-square-foot rooms have 1 bathroom. There are also handicap accessible rooms available for all views and on most floors.
There are 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom suites available, featuring sleeping space for 5 and 6 guests. Villas include Deluxe Studios (accommodate 4), 1-bedroom villas (accommodate 5), 2-bedroom villas (accommodate 9) and 3-bedroom grand villas (accommodate 12).
Many of the contemporary custom furnishings pay homage to ancient culture. Fabrics in earth tones were inspired by kappa, or bark cloth, known for its subtle intricacy and embossed patterns. The headboards reflect outrigger canoe shapes and butterfly joints that were used to mend precious wooden bowls. Fabrics from the 1940s and 1950s have been reinvented in the room's pillow and bedding. Being a true Disney resort, you will find "hidden Mickeys" in the pineapple-patterned Hawaiian quilts on the bed and Ukulele-playing Mickey Mouse lamp on the desk.
Standard Room Amenities
Handicapped Accessible Rooms:
The following hotel rooms are set up to accommodate guests who are visually impaired:
Disney resorts are known for their recreational opportunities and Aulani is no exception.
The Waikolohe Valley is the main pool area of the resort where the pools and water play area blend seamlessly into the beautiful surrounding scenery. There are two pools, both of which offer zero-entry as well as traditional steps. There are also two slides in Waikolole Valley, a tube (Tuberstone Curl) and a body slide (Volcanic Vertical) that takes you on a ride through volcanic rock, or you can float along in the lazy river that circles the entire valley (900 linear feet). There are also four hot tubs, two of which feature "infinity" edges that let you sit and soak in the beautiful Hawaiian sunsets. With its 2013 expansion, Waikolohe Valley features a themed family pool called Ka Maka Grotto with an infinity edge, a misty grotto with beautiful sunset views and an after-dark experience with glittering lights. Wailana Pool is an adult-exclusive pool area.
Menehune Bridge / Aquatic Play Area
This play area is for children under 48 inches and features 3 slides, a play structure and more! Children using this area must be supervised at all times and diaper age children must wear swim diapers. There is no lifeguard on duty here.
A kids' splash zone that's designed to resemble a tidal pool, with images of tidal pool creatures on the pool floor, rainbow water jets and hidden menehune – the legendary 'little people' of the islands.
The Rainbow Reef saltwater snorkel lagoon is filled with tropical fish for you to explore. The Rainbow Reef experience is $20 for adults and $15 for children, or you can purchase an length-of-stay pass at $39 for adults and $29 for children. This is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The water in the Reef is COLD, but it's definitely worth it. Snorkeling in the lagoon was not that enjoyable for us, but there's plenty to look at in the Reef. If you're trying to decide whether to spend your money on renting snorkeling equipment in the lagoon or doing this, I would say do this. I only saw a bunch of rocks in the lagoon. - Corey Martin
Aulani Beach and Lagoon
Guests of Aulani have access to an exclusive beach and lagoon area that is only shared by one other resort. Relax on a beach chair or take advantage of the rentals from Makiki Joe's.
Makiki Joe's Beach Rentals
Makiki Joe's is located on the beach and is where you will rent single and double kayaks, snorkel sets, stand up paddle boards, beach umbrellas, canoe adventures, and paddle board lessons. Makiki Joe's is open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.
There are a total of 8 pool cabanas that you can rent for the day for up to 6 Guests. The cost per day is $325 and includes lounge chairs, couch, 6 waters in a mini fridge, safe, iHome for your ipod/iphone, 32-inch flat panel TV, fan, WiFi, and a menu to order food from. These are available from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm.
Cabana No. 1 has the best view, but it books fast and is often reserved. When booking your cabana, also ask if it's near the kids play area. Depending on your situation, having a cabana in the kids area can be a good or bad thing. - Corey Martin
Live music, hula dancing and Disney characters make this the party to be at Monday and Thursday evenings on the Halawai lawn.
Pau Hana Room
Enjoy board games arts and crafts, book and Disney Family Movies together. DVD rentals also available.
Ko Olina Resort Golf
Reserve tee times at an 18-hole championship golf course created by legendary course designer Ted Robinson.
Features a variety of high-end goods and gifts, including: Maui Divers Jewelry, the latest Tori Richard styles, Hawaiian products, Aulani watches, Island-inspired jewelry and souvenirs. This shop is located in the Maka'ala (lobby) across from Kalepa's Store.
Money Saving Tip:
There is a grocery store across the street from Aulani. It's called Island Country Markets (by ABC Stores) and it's literally across the street within walking distance. Picking up a few snacks to keep in your room might be a good idea. They also have hot food items available for less than what you would pay at Aulani. I considered breakfast at Aulani somewhat limited, so check out the selection at the store. They even have seating outside. - Corey Martin
'Ama'Ama Beach Restaurant
This signature dining restaurant serves local favorites while you dine alongside the Pacific Ocean. Ama Ama means Mullet Fish and the theming behind the restaurant is a fishing village. Ama Ama offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is served from 7:00-10:30am. Lunch is served from 11:30 am - 3:00 pm. Dinner is served from 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm. There is live music from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. This is not a cheap restaurant so be prepared to spend money.
There is a dress code for Ama Ama's dinner service:
Breakfast Buffet: This character breakfast, Aunty's Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki, is served from 7:00 am - 11:00 am. Character breakfast price for adults is $32.00 and $18.00 for children 9 and under.
Koho (Hawaiian for "to choose") Lunch: Choose toppings to create your own pizza, salad or sandwich. Some of the toppings available include pepperoni, Portuguese sausage and pineapple for pizza; veggies, several varieties of cheeses, grilled tofu, chicken, or shrimp for salads; fish, turkey, ham roast beef, avocado, pesto and cheese for sandwiches. Kids will have their own special choices. Signature entrees are also available: Hawaiian pizza, crispy Asian salad, or the Chef’s Bento Box with ahi tuna sashimi, chicken teriyaki, carrot and cucumber namasu, fried rice and mocha ice cream. Lunch prices range from $11.50 to $15.
Dinner Buffet: Dinner is served from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Price for adults is $43.00 and $21.00 for children 9 and under.
Items on the dinner menu might not appeal to everyone in your family. Take a look at the items listed below or in the photo gallery here. I personally thought the food was great, but I also like to try everything and eat plenty at a buffet. My wife did not have the same experience. - Corey Martin
*Menus item are subject to change without notice based on seasonal local ingredients.
The 'Olelo Room
'Olelo is the Hawaiian word for "language". This is an "interactive language lounge" that is full of sculptures labeled in 'Olelo Hawaii so that guests will increase their Hawaiian vocabulary. In 1896 English was made the main language of Hawaiian schools and children speaking it in class was punished, so parents discouraged their children from speaking it at home. As a result the Hawaiian language was nearly lost forever.
Continental breakfast is available from 6:00 am - 10:00 am. The lounge is open from 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm serving traditional food and drinks. There is live music outside of the 'Olelo room from 5:30 - 9:00 pm.
Off the Hook
Off the Hook is the sports lounge located poolside and there are 2 large flat screen TV's that only show sporting events. The theming behind Off the Hook is that you are at a fisherman's house where the fishermen would gather after their day on the water to share stories about the "one that got away." Along the inner ledge of the building, you will find artifacts they brought back from their journeys. The 3 large hanging lights resemble fishing nets and water droplets.
Off the Hook is open 11:00 am - 12:00 am. An appetizer menu is served from 5 - 10 pm. This is the only place you can get an adult beverage at Aulani after 11:00 pm.
This quick-service eatery is beachside. Convenient grab-and-go options include sandwiches, salads, California rolls, ice cream and fresh fruit. A children's menu is available as well.
The Lava Shack
The Lava Shack is the grab & go food and beverage location offering cold plate lunches or snacks. A refillable mug station is also available. A self-serve Dole Whip station is here, offering pineapple, vanilla or swirl soft serve. Since this is located near the pool area, you can pick up pool and sun essentials here too. Hours are 10:00am - 5:00pm.
Pool-side venue serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – and featuring an outdoor patio with beautiful ocean view. Open from 6:00-9:00pm.
Papalua Shave Ice
Pool-side stand that serves fruity shaved ice treats. Open 11:00am - 6:00pm.
Mama's Snack Stop
Attached to Papalua Shave Ice, this location offers hot dogs, chicken tenders, fries, cupcakes and fruit. An interesting twist on the sandwiches is that guests can choose the type of bread, sauce and meat they want. The options include all-beef hot dogs, Hawaiian Winner dogs, Portuguese sausages and even a buffalo ranch chicken tender dog. Open 10:00am - 7:00pm.
Rip Swirl Yogurt Bar
Yogurt with fresh fruit and other toppings are available in the youth spa, Painted Sky. This is open 11:00am - 6:00pm. Adults are allowed to purchase yogurt but are not allowed to hang out in that area.
Available from 6:00 am to midnight daily.
If you're lounging around the pool, you can take advantage of being served food and beverages without having to get up.
Money Saving Tip:
You're paying for convenience when you order from this menu. Take a look at the One Paddle, Two Paddle menu and you will find similar items for less. It might be worth it to send dad over and have him walk the food back. Give him the tip! - Corey Martin
Self-parking and valet is $35 per night and is assessed at check-in.
Ko'Olina Intra Resort Shuttle is available from 6:00 am - 11:00 pm outside of the Aulani porte cochere; check with concierge.
Car rental is available at the Holoholo Desk.
Laniwai means "freshwater heaven." As you enter the 23,000 square-foot spa and see the tranquil reflection pool, you'll immediately feel the calm surround you. Enjoy a massage therapy session, facial, or a full body treatment. Kids ages 13+ can head to Painted Sky, a 1,500-square-foot spa complete with a yogurt bar, computer station, and a mixology station where girls can learn to make cosmetics from natural ingredients.
Kula Wai (meaning "water source") is Aulani's 5,000-square-foot outdoor hydrotherapy garden where you can relax before your massage treatment. You can soak in an outdoor vitality bath meant to calm your mind and refresh your body. Used in tandem with a massage session, early Hawaiians believed that using fluctuating water temperatures helped to reset the body, boost immunity and increase circulation. This is a part of of the Laniwai Spa and is not available to non-spa guests.
Mikimiki Fitness Center
The 2,000 square-foot health club is the perfect place to stay in shape while on vacation. The state-of-the-art facilities offer yoga and tai chi classes, group fitness training, sport-specific training, and boot camp series spa treatments; relax after class in the sauna and steam rooms. You will need your room key to enter and exit.
Pau Hana Room
Enjoy board games, arts and crafts, books and Disney Family Movies together. DVD rentals also available. This is also where you will need to sign up to play the Menehune Adventure Game. Open from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm.
Tip: Check your daily 'IWA for some of the free classes that are held here, such as lei making.
Ko Olina Resort Golf
Reserve tee times at an 18-hole championship golf course created by legendary course designer Ted Robinson.
Conference Center & Outdoor Venue
Aulani has a 15,000+ square-foot conference center available for all of your group's needs. If an outside venue would suit your needs better, select one of the outdoor locations in the available 40,000 square-foot area.
Aunty's Beach House - Kids' Club
Aunty's Beach House is designed just for kids ages 3 to 12 and it offers secured programming where all children will be within sight or sound of the Youth Activities Counselors. Base activities (covered by the Resort room charge) and premium experiences (offered for a fee) will surprise and delight guests at Aulani by encouraging and promoting physical, intellectual, emotional, social and cultural development. The counselors are trained in basic first aid, CPR and AED. Also, each one goes through a basic ASL class, as well as a basic Japanese language class. There are three certified teachers on staff and one teacher is always working on Aunty's side of the house.
Drop the kids off while you go have a little adult time and know that they will be having the time of their lives. The Beach House is divided into two sides, Aunty's and Uncle's, and features traditional Disney music in Hawaiian. The keiki (children) will learn about Hawaiian culture in Aunty's living room where she gathers the children for Once Upon an Island storytelling, Make Believe Magic, lei making, hula lessons and ukulele playing. An enchanted fireplace and a magical ceiling window make this area extra special. Meals and snacks are served in Aunty's Kitchen. Snacks are provided free of charge every two hours and lunch and/or dinner are provided at an additional cost. Kids can also watch movies here and participate in Eruption Disruption! (a Volcanic experiment) as well as Stitch's Space Goo.
If you were a fan of the Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island you have to check out Uncle's T.V. Room. You might spot a few familiar artifacts here. You won't be able to just walk in on your own, so ask about tour times. - Corey Martin
The interactive touch table games located in Uncle's Den will keep even the most tech-savvy kid entertained. Kids can "make it rain" to start movie time in Uncle's T.V. room or watch their favorite Disney show. Nap mats are available here for those keiki that need daytime rest. There are computers and gaming consoles in Uncle's Surfboard Workshop. Uncle's Garage is where your child can participate in arts and crafts, face painting, and the Fish Are Friends program (this is a premium experience at an additional charge and reservations are required). Kids will get an inside look at how the Aulani Animal Programs train, feed and care for the resort marine life. Not only will they see the animals first-hand, but they will make fish food and feed it to them. With all these experiences available, you may have to bribe them to leave!
If you are the parent of a child under the age of 3, you can take advantage of the Disney Aloha Junior program. This allows the parent and child to use Aunty's Beach House during the earlier part of the day. Parental supervision is required for all children under 3.
Aunty's Beach House is open 7 days a week, 12 months a year, but operating hours vary by day. Sunday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am until 11 pm. Monday and Saturday from 8am until 9pm. Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 am until 9 pm. All children participating in secured youth activities must have a completed Youth Registration Form on file and they must wear a Mickey Band while checked-into the beach house. The primary cell phone number for the child's family will be used as the point of contact between Aunty's Beach House and the child's family. Children are encouraged to leave all personal toys and gaming equipment with their families. Any items brought in will be labeled and stored until the child's check out from Aunty's Beach House. Kids are required to be potty trained, but potty accident clothing is provided by Aunty's Beach House just in case. Cast Members will not provide medication to guests in Youth Activities. The only medications allowed are prescribed asthma inhalers and EpiPen.
Aunty's Beach House accommodates all children, including those with disabilities, and the cast will work with each family to ensure the needs are met for each child to the best of the staff's abilities.
The Hawaiian legend of the menehune, or mischievous and playful little people, will inspire visiting children of all ages. The menehune (May-nay-hoo-nay) were believed to inhabit Hawaii long before the Polynesians settled into the islands. They are a mischievous race of hard workers and traces of their work and culture still remain on many of the islands, including the Fish Pond on Kauai.
Imagineers have hidden menehune statues all over the resort for keiki (the Hawaiian word for children) to discover. Players are given a handheld device and there will be audible and visual clues that will help guide them on their adventure to find the menehune.