A trip to Disney won’t be complete without going to Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa. It is one place you’ll want to visit time and again and never get enough of it.
The Resort and Spa is the creative work of the Walt Disney Imagineering team that’s responsible for designing and building the parks, resorts, attractions, and themes. The team enlisted the expertise of Hawaiian cultural specialists and artisans to deliver an amazing Disney experience.
Here is a guide to planning a first trip to Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa.
Overview of the Resort
Aulani is located on the Oahu Island in Kapolei and sits on the four human-made lagoons. These are part of the 2 miles of incredible Ko Olina Resort’s white-sand beaches. There are tons of activities at the Resort, and a well-planned trip will help you enjoy all of them.
On the site are three pools and 10 foodservice options. You’ll also have access to the Disney-operated spa, a host of other in-house activities and paid Hawaiian excursions. This is not your regular Hawaiian Resort, and though not really big, the events are extensive.
You know you’re in for a great time from the moment you set foot in this stunning spa. The staff is super friendly and treats female guests to lei and men to kukui nut necklace. Children also receive a Menehune necklace.
How to Get to Aulani Resort
This gorgeous property is located just a 20-minute drive away from the airport of Honolulu. The main airport is served by 27 international and domestic carriers, four commuter airlines, and three inter-island airlines. From the airport to the site, you can rent a car, take an Uber, use the shuttle service, or hire a taxi.
Renting a car and paying for parking charges will cost you $37 per day while the cost of Uber is between $40 and $60. The shuttle bus charges $10 for children and $24 for other people. A taxi charges a flat rate of $55 from the airport to the Resort.
As a tip, only rent a car if you intend to visit other places outside the Resort. If the entire stay is within Aulani, the bus from the airport and back will be your cheapest option.
The Cost of Visiting Aulani
Apart from the ticket and hotel transfer expenses, other costs include hotel accommodation, food, and entertainment. Airfare rates depend on your airline, where you’re booking from, and when you make the booking. Booking early and off-season helps you save a good chunk of money.
You can book a room or a villa with a full kitchen at the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa. A standard room attracts a charge of $400 per night and can go as high as $700. One to three-bedroom villas and suites range from about $750 to $2950 per night.
The rates are higher for rooms that overlook the ocean. As a tip, you can consider collecting Disney’s Vacation Club points to get Disney luxury at a more affordable price. You’ll get home-like amenities to make your stay a lot better.
For food, it’s safe to budget about $50 per person per day. However, special dining favors and character experiences during meals are not included. You can lower this cost by shopping for groceries on your way in to make your own meals.
Alternatively, you can eat out as most of the restaurants outside the Resort have cheaper food options. However, this only increases your transport expenses as you have to hire a taxi or get an Uber. If you’re staying in the standard rooms, limit room service if you want to make some decent savings.
Things to Do at Aulani
This question can be divided into things to do within the Resort and what to do beyond. Luckily, there are daily newsletters printed with details of each day’s events. There’s practically a schedule for every hour.
Some activities occur daily or at random intervals, while others happen once a week. You can review the sample schedule online to plan your trips and meals around the scheduled events. Some of the activities include:
- Character meets and greets
- Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki
- Rainbow Reed Snorkeling
- Morning Beach Yoga
- Menehune Adventure Trial
- Fireside Mo’Olelo
- Laniwa Disney Spa, among others
This list doesn’t cover ordinary activities like lounging around the pool or wandering the beautiful grounds. It also doesn’t include special events for kids and teens.
Things to do beyond Aulani to make your visit to Hawaii more complete are also vast. A few of them include:
- Go to the World War II Valor located in the Pearl Harbor
- Diamond Head Hike
- Visit the North Shore
- Manoa Falls Hike
- Kualoa Ranch visit
- Polynesian Cultural Center in Luau
This is yet another partial list that doesn’t include the spas, beaches, shopping areas, entertainment, dining, and nightlife. You may also want to island-hop, with a round trip costing between $150 and $200 per person on the flight.
When to Visit
During school breaks, you can trust the Aulani Resort to be at full capacity. During winter, people tend to flock to the area since Hawaii is pretty warm throughout the year. The highs range in the 80s while the lows are between the 60s and 70s.
Given these factors, the best times to visit the Resort are from late April through Mid-May. Another good time is from September through October. You’ll avoid the school breaks and also the snowbird season.
When you visit, plan to stay not less than seven days. This is ample time to spend on Oahu and the other island. Hawaii has several must-have and must-do offerings that you shouldn’t just rush through to experience.
A visit to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete and magical without staying at the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa. Here, the activities and attractions are enough to keep you hooked and thoroughly entertained. The destination is ideal for families and children will have a chance to meet with their favorite Disney characters.
The rates are affordable, given the quality of service and amenities available. To maximize your experience, avoid rushing your stay. Instead, come prepared to spend not less than a week. After the experience, you’ll want to go back for more on your future vacations.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.