While Aulani is one of our favorite places to visit, it can also be one of the more expensive places to visit. Because of this we decided to write a guide on how to to Aulani for Cheap. We’ll give you our insider opinions on how to save and break down every aspect of your trip and how you can sneak out some savings to make your Aulani vacation more affordable.
As an update, Aulani was closed for several months due to COVID-19 but has now reopened as of Nov. 1st, 2020. The resort has a view new guidelines like every other place and you may want to take a minute to read about them online.
For the most part, Aulani is operating like normal with a few slight changes that allow for social distancing and mask wearing. No you don’t have to wear masks while you’re in the pool.
Dining is now more spaced out and masks are to be worn as you walk from place to place. The beach is public land so therefore Disney has not put guidelines out for this space.
The state of Hawaii does require social distancing here and may limit the number of guests who can be on the beach at one time.
Discounted Aulani Rooms
We’ve written a whole other article on how to book your discounted Aulani rooms for your vacation that is worth looking at. It takes you step by step on where and how to book them. We highly recommend booking your Aulani room with Get Away Today. They’ve been selling Disney vacations for over 20 years and specialize in offering discounted rooms and offers.
Our main goal is to keep you from paying what hotels refer to as rack rate. This is a room price that features no discount in anyway shape or form. It’s the highest dollar amount you could pay and one that you want to avoid.
For Aulani, Disney is constantly offering discounts and special offers for their Aulani rooms which makes doing Aulani for cheap much much easier. You just want to make sure you time your booking right. We suggest looking about 4-5 months in advance of the time you plan to visit to see what special offers are available.
Most of the time you are going to get an offer that includes rooms discounts up to 30% off. This bring down that rack rate we mentioned by quite a bit. It’s the perfect time to book! Other offers will include a room discount plus free dining or resort credit. This is just icing on the cake if you can snag one of these deals.
Outside of offers there are a few other things that can help you maximize your savings. The first one we like to mention is a rewards card. Be sure to book Aulani on your Disney Rewards Visa card or another card that give you at least 2% cash back, if not more. If you’re a Costco Member and have the Citi Card you can get 3% cash back. $80-$100 back into your pocket is worth several meals and souvenirs at Aulani.
Saving Money on Flights
Anyone who’s looking to do Aulani for cheap will definitely want to purchase their flights at a discounted price. This is the second most expensive part of your vacation! Overall you’ll want to search almost daily to find the cheapest flights for your trip. Most people don’t have time to do this which is why we suggest searching your flight with Google and then tracking them.
Hawaiian Airlines is one of the most popular airlines to fly to Hawaii but they mainly service the west coast, however, there are a few flights from New York and Boston. If you’re coming from the East Coast we recommend taking a look at United or Delta. You’ll most likely have a layover somewhere before landing in Hawaii.
Southwest recently started flying to Hawaii from California and has had some amazing deals on those flights. It’s worth taking a look at what they have to offer. Their flights are a bit limited since they’re new and most of the time you’ll have a layover in California somewhere.
Many airlines have started offering restricted economy seats for pretty cheap. It’s basically like flying a saver airline except you’re on a major carrier. You don’t get to choose your seat without paying for it. You can only bring a personal bag, no carry on or checked bag. If you can make this work you can save a lot of money. We don’t suggest this option for families with younger kids as you’ll want to be sitting by them.
Saving Money on Food
Outside of your hotel room and flight expenses comes your food expense. Aulani is not an all-inclusive so you do need to purchase your food each day. Of course Aulani has several food options for you including quick service, lounges, seated dining and a buffet. Here’s a list of what’s offered:
- Ulu Cafe – All day cafeteria and made to order dining. Grab breakfast, lunch and dinner here with plate options, cereal, cinnamon rolls, bagels, sandwiches, salads, flatbread pizza and more.
- Mama’s Snack Stop – Quick service food out by the pools that includes french fries, fish and chips, chicken tenders, dogs, drinks and more.
- AMA AMA – Seated dining with amazing views of the ocean. Order a fresh catch, most seafood options, steaks, salads and more.
- Makahiki – Character dining buffet open for breakfast and dinner. Enjoy plentiful foods and some one on one time with your favorite Disney characters.
- Off The Hook – Bar with a fantastic drink list and some small plates including mac n cheese, sandwiches and salads. Poolside.
- The Olelo Room – Lounge offerings classic Hawaiian bites and tropical drinks and live music every night.
- Wailana Pool Bar – Adults only pool bar located next to the adults only pool. Serves a great drink list and some small plates.
- Little Opihi’s – Beachside snack shop serving very small plates like nachos, drinks, beer, and dole whips.
One place that Disney doesn’t mention with dining (and it makes sense) that we like to pint out is Kalepa’s Store. It’s mostly merchandise but they do sell groceries including milk, cereal, eggs, cheese, bacon, sandwich items including bread, jelly and peanut butter and more. If you’re a DVC member you get 10% off your groceries here.
The best way to save on dining is to book when Aulani is offering free dining with your stay or a daily resort credit. That money brings your food spend down quite a bit, even if it just covers one meal a day.
If you are staying in a 1 bedroom villa or bigger then we would highly recommend you stop at Costco or Wal-Mart on your way in and buy your weeks worth of food. We always get cereal because it’s the cheapest meal to replace.
Then we grab sandwich items and chips for lunches. For dinners we try and keep it easy with meals like spaghetti or other noodle dishes. You can request a rice cooker for your room which is always a good cheap meal. We’ll even do BBQ pork sandwiches with pre-cooked meat from the store. Heat it up and throw it on some rolls.
Guests do have access to grills on the resort where they can grill some meat which we have also done before. They are located behind Auntie’s Beach House.
Saving Money on Activities
Aulani does offer lots of options for activities for guests including at the resort and around Oahu. Obviously if you really want to do Aulani for Cheap just use their free activities including all their pools and waterslides and the ocean.
They also offer free child-sitting at Auntie’s Beach House for kids 3 and older. They have a lounge with games and DVD’s to rent as well as daily activities including Ukulele lessons, drawing and more. It’s easy to stay busy everyday for free!
If you’re looking to do activities around Oahu we would suggest purchasing them directly from the vendors instead of from Aulani. The Oahu Go Card is a great way to save and experience a lot of what the island has to offer. The North Shore has some fantastic activities including Jungle Jeep tours, kayaking and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
If you want to stay around Aulani without needing to rent a car there are several activities including snorkeling and dolphin excursions that can pick you up from the resort. If you’re a pretty good swimmer and want a really great, free snorkeling experience then head to Electric Beach. It’s one of the coolest spots to snorkel at and is just down the road from Aulani. A short swim out will have you in warm waters and surrounded by tropical fish!
Many guests who visit Hawaii love to participate in a Luau which is a giant buffet with Hawaiian-style food and live entertainment. Aulani does put a Luau on every week called KA WA‘A. It does require reservations and costs $139 per adult and $98 per child.
However, right next door to Aulani is Paradise Cove which also offers a Luau for a bit less. It includes:
- Arts & Crafts Demonstrations
- Games of Skill and Daring
- Shower of Flowers
- Imu Ceremony
- Hawaiian Revue
- Shell Lei Greeting upon Arrival
- Mai Tai Greeting
- $12/Adult, $8/Youth & Child Cove Card
- Wing Seating
- Hawaiian Luau Buffet Menu
Prices are $102 per adult and $80 per child. Reservations are also required.
The key is to plan ahead, wait for the good deal and then take advantage of everything the resort has to offer. Our kids stay busy all day long between swimming and daily activities.
When they’re tired they take naps and then go back at it. We’ve found that mid-day naps for everyone keeps attitudes at bay and everyone is happy. In the evenings be sure and stop by the Olelo Room for some small bites, drinks and relaxing music.
Be sure to book your discounted room with Get Away Today to get the best price!
When you combine the magic of Disney with the natural beauty and splendor of Hawaii, you get the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa. It’s the ideal destination for families and there’s so much to see and enjoy there for people of all ages and interests. There are stunning beaches, incredible lagoons and even waterfalls.
Disney Aulani Resort and Spa
The Disney Aulani Resort and Spa brings together everything that people love about Hawaii with the majesty and magic of Disney. If you’re looking for an ideal place to take the family next summer or even at another time of the year, there are few options better than the Disney Aulani. With state of the art facilities and comfortable and convenient rooms, there’s a lot to love about this resort.
The whirlpool spas are particularly beloved by visitors and it’s not hard to see why. Two of them are positioned to allow you to see the Hawaiian sunset in the evening as you relax in the spa. There are few things more magical than that. All of the kids entertainment needs are more than catered for too, as you’d expect from a Disney-operated resort such as this one.
Where is Aulani Located?
The Disney Aulani Resort is located in Honolulu, Oahu in Hawaii. And the precise locale of the resort is called Ko Olina, near the Ko Olina Lagoon, Golf Club and Beach Park. As you’d expect, the coastline on which the resort is located is simply stunning. The hotel overlooks the sea and offers amazing views as far as the eye can see. It’s one of the major attractions of this resort.
Perhaps most importantly, the sandy bay overlooked by the resort is beautiful and perfect for relaxation and family fun. It’s an incredible stretch of sandy beach and the waters are very calm and shallow. This makes it ideal for kids play and all kinds of family fun and activities. Be sure to make the most of this beach if you do make the trip to Disney Aulani.
Amenities and Facilities
There’s a wide range of top class amenities and facilities on offer at the Disney Aulani Resort. You’ll want to make the most of these when you decide to spend your vacation here. In total, there are four restaurants, including one that offers open-air dining and another than offers buffet food. There’s also an adults-only restaurant on site.
The most impressive facility is the overall pool complex. It includes Waikolohe Stream, which is plenty of waterslides for the family to enjoy. There’s also a Waikolohe main pool and a relaxation pools called Wailana Pool where things are a little more relaxed. The Rainbow Reef offers private snorkeling opportunities and there’s an interactive pool play area at Menehune Beach.
There’s also a fitness center and a total of 15 spa treatment rooms to relax in. There are regular Ohana Disney Movie Nights that allow your family to watch Disney classics under the stars. Other basic amenities include a Kids’ Club, babysitting service, 24-hour room service, laundry and dry cleaning, concierge service, valet parking and access to a safety deposit box.
In total, the Disney Aulani Resort offers 246 hotel rooms, each with air-conditioning, WiFi, mini-fridge, safe, flat screen TV, bathroom facilities, iron and board. The Standard View rooms come with 1 king size bed, a queen size sleeper sofa or 2 queen size beds, meaning there’s room for 4 people.
There are room upgrade options, including the chance to get views of the mountains from the room and balcony. These also sleep 4 people, offering similar bed options. The Poolside Garden View Rooms offer at least a partial view of the courtyards and pool. Then there are the Ocean View Rooms that offer 2 queen size beds or one king size bed and one queen size sleeper sofa.
There are wheelchair accessible rooms in the hotel that are available upon request. These have restricted availability and may sell out faster than the other rooms in the hotel, so that’s something to keep in mind when planning ahead. Be sure to contact the Disney Aulani Resort and ask any other questions about accessibility and wheelchair accessible room availability before booking if you want to book one of these rooms.
Making a Booking with Get Away Today
If you’re interested in making a booking at the Disney Aulani Resort, it pays off to book now and to start looking for the very best deals on the market. Despite the amazing quality of the resort and how in-demand it is among tourists and families from around the world, it’s still more than possible to get a great deal on your stay there. You just need to make sure you’re looking in the right places.
At the moment, the best place to head to if you want to book a stay at the resort and you want the best possible prices is Get Away Today. That’s where you’ll find a range of packages and deals that beat the others on the market, so bag yourself a bargain deal today. As you get closer to the date you want to depart, the prices will only rise so it makes sense to book as soon as possible.
The magic of Disney is all around you at the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa. If you want to have an experience your whole family with remember and cherish for a lifetime, don’t hesitate to make a booking at the resort today. Hopefully, this article will have provided you with everything you need to know about the resort ahead of booking your family’s stay there.
For the most up to date information concerning Aulani we recommend visiting their official site at disneyaulani.com
Top 5 Things To Do At Aulani Resort & Spa
Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa has so many different and unique experiences that it can be hard to choose what to do during your stay. I’m going to go over my top five favorite things that always brings my family the most fun and value when we stay at this luxurious resort. Most of the list includes things that are free and are included with your stay while a couple others may cost some money but make for some amazing memories.
Aunty’s Beach House
If you’ve ever been to Disney’s Aulani Resort you’ve almost certainly heard of Aunty’s Beach House. This clubhouse for kids aged 3-12 is 5,200 square feet of fun and adventure that offers your kids a wide array of activities. They have a big movie room that shows all your favorite Disney movies along with Xbox gaming devices and gaming tables.
They also have an awesome arts and crafts room and a whole closet full of costumes for your kids to play dress-up. While most activities are free you can pay for some premium experiences that include a souvenir. You’ll need to pre-register your children at least two days before you arrive. Their hours are 8:00am-9:00pm daily.
Remember, Aunt’s Beach House is a free service for families with kids ages 3-12!
Let’s be honest, one of the things most people want to do while in Hawaii is to swim with the fishes. The Rainbow Reef is the perfect location to enjoy this incredible experience. It’s a 3,800-square-foot artificial lagoon that has a wide variety of fish that includes: angelfish, yellow tangs, butterflyfish, reef triggerfish and surgeonfish.
The depth of the lagoon goes from 3 feet to 8 feet and has on duty lifeguards so you can feel safe snorkeling with your kids.
This is one of the best opportunities to get up close and personal with these amazing fish and get those high definition pictures and videos to show off to your friends and family. The lagoon is conveniently located just mere moments away from your room in the middle of Waikolohe Valley pool area and keeps around a nice 77 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
While the experience is not free it’s one of the most memorable activities for the price. They do offer higher priced experiences that include scuba-diving lessons and Supplied-Air Snorkeling, advance registration is required for those two.
The basic prices include:
- One-Day Access: $25 per adult (ages 10 and up); $20 per child (ages 9 and under)
- Length-of-Stay Access: $45 per adult (ages 10 and up); $35 per child (ages 9 and under).
While it may be easy to spend all your time at the resort, the island of Oahu has many beautiful places to see and exciting activities. I highly recommend taking a tour of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where you’ll get to see the USS Arizona and USS Missouri Battleship along with the Pacific Aviation Museum.
For first time visitors I always suggest visiting the Dole Plantation Tour. Take a 20-minute train tour around Hawaii’s only working pineapple plantation while you learn about this exotic fruit in all its different stages. Afterward you can take a tour of the Dole Garden or solve your way through the 3-acre Dole Maze.
At the end make sure and enjoy one of the most popular pineapple treats, the DoleWhip. Other excursions include the Kualoa Ranch, visiting the incredible shore of Waikiki, parasailing, kayaking Kailua Bay and miles of beautiful hiking trails.
If you’re not looking to leave the resort make sure and check out the live entertainment and shows that Aulani has to offer. My kids love visiting the Mo Olelo Fire Pit where you can hear enchanting stories told by, “Uncle” a master storyteller who uses puppetry, props and magic effects to enhance his stories!
Also check out the Ohana Disney Movie Nights on the Halawai Lawn where you sit under the stars and watch Disney Movies. If you get there early they do a fun game of trivia! Try the Menehune Adventure Trail where you can go on a fun scavenger hunt that takes you around the Aulani Resort to solve riddles and discover prizes. Not only did my kids enjoy this but it was a great way to get to know the entire resort on our first visit!
Resort Pools and Beaches
I’m usually not big on swimming in pools but the Aulani Resort changes that completely for me every time I visit! All of their pools and pool activities are exciting and allow for hours of fun.
If you’re traveling with kids you’ll definitely want to check out the Keiki Cove Splash Zone! This whimsical water playground is conveniently located next to the Ka Maka Landing, a family pool for all ages so the adults can relax in a Cabana while your kids swim and play. The splash zone includes rainbow water jets and images of aquatic creatures on the pool floor.
Jump over to the Menehune Bridge that has a fun play structure and two water slides! Visit the Ka Maka Grotto that sports an amazing infinity-pool that overlooks the Ko Olina Beach. Stay after dark to experience the twinkling lights! Last but not least the crown jewel of pools, the Waikolohe Pool!
This 8,200 square foot area boasts a body tunnel slide, the Volcanic Vertical, a lazy river you can tube around or try out the extreme rapids that twist and turn through caverns! You can also visit the incredible spas while your kids play at the pool parties where they can dance, play games, and even enjoy some special visits from Disney Characters!
Everyone knows Hawaii has incredible beaches! Take advantage of your time out there and go as often as you can! You’ll enjoy the sky blue waters along the Ko Olina Shoreline where you can relax and soak up the sun or enjoy some fun beach activities! They have a great Sailing Canoe Experience that allows you to explore the island of Oahu.
It does cost a bit ($99 for ages 4 and up, 3 and under is free) but is worth the amazing views and photos. I recommend dropping your kids off at Aunty’s Beach House and then enjoy the sailing so you can save some money.
Learn the art of sand sculpting (free) then break into teams for a fun competition! My son really got into sand sculpting and actually got pretty good at it, he still boasts about it to this day. Teens can also enjoy the Sunset Mele where they can learn about music and the Hawaiian culture.
Head over to Makiki Joe’s Beach Rentals where you can pick up complimentary boogie boards, sand toys and life jackets. Or rent out a snorkel set for $25 a day which includes one-day access to Rainbow Reef or enjoy the ocean on a stand-up paddleboard for only $45! My kids really enjoyed snorkeling, not just at Rainbow Reef on along the beach as well.
One thing we all enjoy on a vacation is the food! At Aulani you can get the best of Table Dining, Quick-Service, Buffet and Lounges & Bars. My family almost always does breakfast or dinner at Makahiki which has a great buffet and in the mornings has a Disney Character Dining experience.
It’s worth going at least once, while the kids probably won’t take advantage of the buffet you’ll get plenty of memorable pictures with the Disney Characters! The Ama’Ama is a wild open-air restaurant that lets you try some great Hawaiian food that overlooks the Ko Olina Beach.
It’s worth going just for the food but the view is a great bonus! Seriously, this is some of the best Hawaiian food I’ve ever had! Even my son who’s an incredibly picky eater found something he enjoyed.
Adults can relax at the Wailana Pool Bar while enjoying cocktails and lunch favorites right next to the adults-only Wailana Pool. Or take a stroll into The Olelo Room which features live music, great food and a stunning décor of wood carvings! Enjoy your food and drink inside or relax to the live Hawaiian music played live each night on the patio.
Stop by the Papalua Shaved Ice to grab a cold treat or get a quick bite to eat at Mama’s Snack Stop which offers fish and chips, chicken tenders, shrimp and more.
I personally enjoy the Ulu Café, it’s a fun poolside venue that has some of the best Poke Bowls! Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy their hot meals! My favorite thing to get is a made-to-order pizza with a pineapple soft-serve for dessert! Here you can also purchase a refillable resort mug that gives you unlimited access to soft drinks.
Refillable stations include Ulu Café, Lava Shack, and One Paddle Two Paddle. The Ulu Café has a Freestyle Coke Machine so you have hundreds of options to choose from; it’s definitely worth the money! Don’t worry if you can’t make it to all these different restaurants (it can add up quickly) just choose one or two that you think you’ll enjoy the most and try it, you can always visit the others on your next trip!
There are so many other things to do while you’re at Aulani, too many to name here but make sure and ask the staff what their favorite things to do are, I find they know some of the best things to do at the resort!
It can be hard but try and plan out your days ahead of time and stick to it so you can experience as much as possible and find out what you and your family enjoy the most. This makes your next visit a lot easier when it comes to deciding what to do!