I know it has been mentioned on The DIS before, but if you have not yet been to Aulani, then this is yet another nudge for you to book your travel plans and jet off to paradise. Aulani is not an inexpensive destination, however when you factor in all that you can do at this resort for FREE, then the price does not appear quite so intimidating. There is actually a very big big bang for your buck in this little slice of heaven. My family and I are DVC members and have had 3 incredibly magical and fun filled vacations at Aulani. If this says anything, with each trip our length of stay has increased. We simply love this place. Here are some of my favourite things to do as a family, while staying at Aulani.
5) Take advantage of the Pau Hana Room
This is Aulani’s version of a Community Hall and is located on the first floor of the ‘Ewa Tower’. Here you will find everything you would want and more to have some good old fashioned family fun. Enjoy Hula lessons, lei making, arts and crafts, board games, ukulele lessons and so much more! You can also read a book, send an email or simply relax in front of a movie. My family spent a lot of time in the Pau Hana Room. One of our favourite things to do after a busy day was rent a movie from the Pau Hana room and head to our beautifully appointed room for some down time. After a busy day in the sunshine, this was often exactly what we needed! You can also pick up a copy of your Daily ‘Iwa while you are in the Pau Hana Room. This is your daily planning guide for all the fun activities at Aulani. Yet another fun activity to do – plan your next day of FUN! And the best part of all of this? It’s all included in your stay!
Tip: You will have rain in Hawaii on occasion. Our family loves the Pau Hana room for rainy day activities.
4) Mo’olelo Fire Pit Storytelling
Another favourite of mine! I actually get a little choked up when I remember our Fire Pit Storytelling experiences. It is such a unique experience and one that seems to truly keep in you in the moment. The setting is spectacular and the legends told are captivating. Check your Daily ‘Iwa for Fire Pit Storytelling times with Uncle, then sit back and enjoy the relaxation. Here you will be captivated by stories of Hawaiian legends told by Uncle as he strolls around a giant fire pit, strumming his ukulele. Uncle’s tales will enchant kids of all ages and adults will soak in the peaceful atmosphere while learning a little something! The moments my family shared around Uncle’s fire pit will live in my memory for years to come. There is just something magical about it all (and it’s included too!). Some of Uncle’s legends are still discussed around our dinner table!
Tip: I suggest that you arrive a few minutes early to secure good seating. This is an outdoor event and to hear everything well, sitting closer is better. Another tip, depending on where you sit you may feel the heat of the fire, so you can always back up your lounge chairs a little if needed.
3) Ohana Movie Nights!
Are you a Disney movie buff? Well, here is the chance for you and the family to curl up on a straw mat (provided) and enjoy a Disney movie in the open air of beautiful Hawaii! This event is included with your stay and is located on the Halawai Lawn. Some rooms are able to see the movie from their balcony, so if this is what you would like (or not like) then perhaps include this in your room request. My family always enjoys bringing along a blanket, heading to Kalepa’s Store for some snacks and then relaxing in front of the movie. The movie options vary weekly and are listed in your Daily Iwa. There are arts and crafts to do before the movie starts. This helps prevent the kids (and some adults) from getting restless. I recommend going early to grab the perfect spot so you get a good view. We have been rained out once, but thankfully we were able to rent the same movie from the Pau Hana room and finish it the next night!
Tip: The mats provided are lovely, but not comfortable. Bring a blanket and prepare to lie down for the duration of the movie. Also, on a personal note – please put the cell phones away. Although we are outside, this is still a movie theatre and the darkness illuminates all your texting. Unplug and enjoy this time with your family.
2) Shake-A-Shaka Pool Party!!
Turn the music up and dance with your favourite gang! This pool party is a blast! On our last vacation to Aulani, our extended family joined us for a week of our 10-night stay. After 2 years of ranting and raving about Aulani, the rest of the gang had to experience it for themselves. This pool party was one of the highlights for our whole group. We had grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings and of course, the kids, dancing and playing games with the Disney gang. This is located at the Waikolohe Pool and includes games, music, dancing and character interaction. My 70 year old mother was dancing and smiling from ear to ear during this party – a definite highlight of mine! My kids are still talking about Grandma dancing! This is a great opportunity for your kids to see, meet and interact with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy if you did not want the standard ‘meet and greet’ or Character Breakfast. The pool games are a ton of fun and very well organized by the Cast Members.
Tip: The pool gets very crowded and very loud. If either of these things bothers you, then perhaps this is not for you. There are PhotoPass Cast Members around the pool, so if you would like some pictures snapped, then this is a great opportunity! Your children may also be in some general PhotoPass moments, so check in Kalepa’s Store after the event to find the rest.
1) Starlit Hui!
My #1 pick! This is simply put, a magical night. You will feel the music of this performance in your soul and you will stare in amazement at the talent on stage. For an included event, this one will blow you out of the tropical waters! Again, my whole family ages 4-70 enjoyed every aspect of this 35-40 min show. As a tip, arrive early to secure a place up front with your straw mat (provided) and expect to be amazed (again, remember a blanket for comfort)! Before the show begins, the kids can take part in hula lessons or arts and crafts provided by Cast Members positioned around the lawn. My daughters both wore hula outfits to the pre-show and felt as though they were one of the performers! The Cast Members played this up and made them feel like Disney stars! I won’t give away any details of this night, so please take my word for it and experience it for yourself!
Tip: Plan ahead for this event. It is only on 1-2 times per week, so ensure that you will be on property for this event. It is a must-see for your whole family. Arrive early so the little ones can get a good view.
The Disney level of service is alive and well at Aulani! Expect the best and you will find it here. No questions asked. So, that’s my Top 5 countdown for family fun at Aulani! Have I convinced you yet? This is the perfect location for a family vacation and with so much included in the price, the cost seems much more reasonable. The sights, smells and atmosphere of Aulani will captivate you and keep you coming back for more! It is a slice of heaven on earth with a sprinkling of Disney magic!
For more info on this magical place, you can visit http://www.wdwinfo.com/disney-resorts/aulani-hawaii-resort/ for more information.