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-sqaure-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!
If you’re planning a trip to Aulani be sure to see our discounted Aulani Rooms article to help you save money. We also have an Ultimate Savers Guide to Aulani that includes saving money not just on your room but dining and more. It’s worth a look!
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.