Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Aulani — A Disney Resort & Spa

by Mommy Frog on May 17, 2024
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What if we told you that you could have the magic of Disney AND a tropical vacation all at the same time? You do not have to decide between a beach getaway and a Disney vacation. You CAN have it all! One of our frog-favorite beach destinations, Aulani — A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, combines the wonders of Hawaiian culture with the magic of Disney. Offering daily unique experiences, this resort truly has something for every member of the family! Tad and Lily always have a hoppenin’ time interacting with Disney characters, and so do we. Now, you can book your magical trip to Aulani — A Disney Resort & Spa and save some green through Undercover Tourist! In fact, right now you can save up to 35% on select stays through Dec. 20, 2024. Let’s hop into it for more details on this tropical Disney resort.

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - aulani exterior

Overview of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - Mickey and Minnie

Aulani Resort & Spa is a Disney Resort located in the town of Kapolei on Oahu, about 20 miles west of Honolulu. Nestled between breathtaking mountains and peaceful ocean waters, Disney Aulani Resort sits on four human-made lagoons, which span over 21 acres of Ko Olina’s white-sand beaches.

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - aulani interior

To achieve the ultimate family getaway experience, the Disney Aulani Resort immerses its guests in the rich culture and customs of Hawaii. Walt Disney Imagineers worked closely with local artisans and cultural experts to curate unique experiences and excursions for guests to connect with the beauty and spirit of the land. Throughout the resort, you can see contemporary Hawaiian art and design, culturally rich entertainment, fireside storytelling, outdoor movie nights, Hawaiian arts and crafts, hula and lei-making lessons and thrilling island excursions. Learn to play the 'ukulele or make your own Mickey ears with flowers (for a fee).

Be sure to download the Aulani Resort app so you can view the schedule and sign up for activities in advance. The premium activities are an additional fee. The app makes it easy to scroll through and find the included activities (with no fee, such as pool parties, 'ukulele lessons, nature tours, hula presentations, animation classes and movie nights) and the premium activities (with a fee, such as crafts and dance parties) so you can stay in your budget.

Rooms at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - regular rooms

Disney Aulani Resort is comprised of 351 hotel rooms (16 of which are suites) and 481 Disney Vacation Club units, including 19 Grand Villas.

Each lodging unit is complete with unique, contemporary art reflecting the greenery and natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands.

Let's go over the room types. One thing is for sure, you'll want to book as far in advance as you can for the best selection as this popular resort books up early. Reserving your room early also means you can book your luau, character dining and activities as soon as the reservation window opens for them.

Resort Rooms

There are five different kinds of resort rooms, each sleeping up to four adults. From most affordable to most costly, these include the standard view room, the island gardens view room, the poolside gardens view room, the partial ocean view room and the ocean view room.

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While each type of standard room provides a different view, they are all spacious (about 382 square feet) and provide guests with either two queen beds or one king bed and a queen sleeper sofa bed. These rooms also include one full bathroom, a flat-screen TV, an in-room safe, Wi-Fi access, a mini-fridge, a coffee station and some basic toiletries.

The resort suites are a more costly, but lavish, lodging option for larger families staying at Aulani. There are 1-bedroom Parlor Suites, Signature 1-bedroom Suites and Signature 2-bedroom Suites to choose from.

Looking to visit this lush, blissful resort this upcoming year? For a limited time, Undercover Tourist is offering a hoppin' deal! Save up to 35% on select stays from Aug. 21 through Dec. 20, 2024.

Suites

Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - suites

A 1-Bedroom Parlor Suite offers 750 square feet of space and sleeps up to five guests! In this room, guests can enjoy a private master bedroom, a kitchenette, a private porch or balcony, an extra twin-sized pull-down bed in the parlor, and an additional half bathroom, as well as complimentary robes and slippers. There's even an extra flat-screen TV for the tadpoles to stay entertained!

The Signature 1-Bedroom Suite, also known as the Lei Hulu Suite, also sleeps up to five guests and offers all of the benefits of the 1-Bedroom Parlor Suite. Occupying about 1,528 square feet, this suite includes two full bathrooms, another queen-sized bed and a full-sized kitchen with a pantry and additional appliances. Some other perks this room includes are extra toiletries, a whirlpool tub, a steam shower and deluxe robes and slippers.

Over 1,900 square feet in size, the Signature 2-Bedroom Suites (also known as 'Ahu 'Ula) includes all of the amenities of the other suites and more! This suite includes an additional sleeper sofa and an additional queen-sized bed to sleep up to six guests, as well as a third full bathroom. Ideal for large families with many tadpoles, the Ahu 'Ula Suite also includes a third flat-screen TV and a Blu-Ray DVD player.

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Deluxe Villas

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - DVC villas

For a more luxurious experience, Disney Vacation Club Deluxe Villas are also available for members on the other side of the resort. These studios are also categorized (and priced) by the view and offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units. These units are similar to the standard resort rooms in decor and quality; however, the Disney Vacation Club rooms are equipped with a minibar and an extra pull-out sofa bed. They also have full kitchens, living rooms and washers and dryers. Book your stay at a DVC Deluxe Villa through Undercover Tourist to save big on your trip!

Amenities, Recreation and Shopping at Aulani Resort

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - main pool

Endless fun is waiting to be explored at Disney Aulani Resort! Guests can enjoy the focal point of the resort — a shimmering beach where guests can rent paddle boards, snorkel and even ride in a special canoe (for an extra fee)! For an additional fee, be part of the undersea world of Rainbow Reef with S.A.S., or Supplied Air Snorkeling. Moreover, the resort offers multiple recreational activities and amenities included in the price of your stay, as well as other island excursions at an additional cost. Keep in mind that more experienced snorkelers with equipment can also walk to local beaches outside the resort to snorkel for no charge. Beach access is free to the public in Hawaii.

Kids’ Club

At Aunty’s Beach House, kids can play games, make crafts and explore Hawaiian art and culture brimming with Disney magic! Intended for tadpoles ages 4 to 12, this kids' club is supervised at all times and offers both complimentary and paid experiences for tadpoles. Guests must pre-register for Aunty’s Beach House in advance to have a chance at participating.

Pau Hana Room — Community Hall

Stop by the Community Hall for complimentary, family-friendly activities, such as crafts or coloring pages, 'ukelele lessons and a scavenger hunt along the Menehune Adventure Trail.

Activities that come with additional costs include making your own tropical Mickey ears, T-shirt stamping and painting parties.

Included Activities

What activities are included in your Aulani Resort vacation? Leap loves keeping his wallet in his pocket while still having a great time. Here are some fun activities you don't want to miss, especially since they have no additional fee:

  • Aunty's Beach House supervised kids club for ages 4 through 12 (pre-register here and book activities in advance online or in the Aulani Resort app). There are both complimentary and premium (fee-based) activities here. Each tadpole gets a commemorative keiki band at a charge of $18 plus tax (price subject to change). Your child can keep it as a souvenir or return it for a full refund (with a receipt) before checkout.
  • Shake-A-Shaka Pool Party
  • Fire Pit Storytelling
  • Māka‘ika‘i Culture through Nature Tour
  • Scavenger hunt along the Menehune Adventure Trail
  • ‘Ohana Disney movie night
  • ‘Ukulele lessons
  • Live Hawaiian music at sunset
  • ‘Ohana hula dancing
  • 5 Pool areas, including splash pads, lazy river, water slide and Menehune Bridge
  • Beach at Ko Olina Lagoon Lagoon (has a paved trail) — Beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and sand toys are complimentary to check out.
  • Fitness center
  • Disney Animation classes
  • Character interactions (use the app or call the ToonFinder at ext. 2447)

Pools

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - family in pool

Swim, splash and have fun under the sun at one of the many pools in Disney Aulani Resort! There are a variety of pools for the whole family to enjoy. In the Ka Maka Landing area, you can find an infinity pool overlooking Ko Olina Beach, a misty Grotto and an after-dark experience with glittering lights. Guests of all ages can also bask in the tropical atmosphere of a 1,500-square-foot Wailana Pool, which delivers a more relaxing poolside experience.

Both tadpoles and adult frogs can enjoy outdoor whirlpool spas in four different resort areas. There are a few additional pools throughout the resort, including the Waikolohe Pool and the Waikolohe Stream. Spanning over 8,200 square feet, The Waikolohe Pool hosts regular poolside dance parties and even has a tunnel water slide (known as the Volcano Vertical) for the tadpoles and teenage frogs! One area containing two whirlpools, at 'Alohi Point, provides spectacular beach views and is exclusively for adults, ages 18 or older.

Typically, the pools are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, while the water slides are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. A wristband, given to each resort guest, is needed to enter the pool areas. Each day has a different color.

Character Interactions

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa - character breakfast with stitch

Disney characters love to vacation at Aulani Resort! While on the property, guests can encounter Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Daisy Duck, Chip 'n' Dale, Duffy and Shellie May. Moana and Stitch call the island home and are often wandering around the resort. Guests must present a valid room key or wristband to participate in a character experience.

The tadpoles will absolutely love spending time with Mickey and Friends during character experiences. You never know which character will drop by Aunty's Beach House for some free fun! The Shake-A-Shaka Pool Party is included in your stay. Learn about surf culture, dance and play games while you splash around with Disney characters at the Waikolohe Pool.

The resort also offers some premium character and dining experiences, which come at an extra cost and require advance reservations:

  • "Kakamora Chaos with Moana" allows kids to play traditional Hawaiian games with the Princess of Motunui
  • "Surf's Up! — A Surfin', Fishin' and Dancin' Party" invites Goofy and Chip 'n' Dale for some dance lessons.
  • "Becoming Sea Creatures" — Learn about fascinating ocean friends as the octopus, crab, sea turtle, clown fish and whale through fun activities and a visit from ʻOlu Mel.
  • Disney Character Breakfast at Makahiki – The Bounty of the Island — Dine with Disney characters at the resort with a three-course breakfast or dinner that includes live entertainment and a 'ukulele performance by Aunty! Adults (ages 10 and up) eat for about $50 plus tax and gratuity and kids (ages 9 and under) eat for $29 plus tax and gratuity for Breakfast. Dinner is about $75 for adults and $30 for children. Reservations for this character dining experience are highly recommended. Prices are subject to change.

Painted Sky: HI Style Studio

Guests ages 3 to 12 can show off their new island style after a makeover at Painted Sky: HI Style Studio (for a fee)! It's a great thing to do before taking photos or heading to a Luau.

Fitness Center

The Mikimiki Fitness Center is a 2,000-square-foot full-service facility that offers Technogym cardiovascular and strength training equipment, Peloton Bikes, free weights and a stretching area. The fitness center is open 24 hours a day and can be easily accessed using a resort key card. Guests of at least 14 years of age can use the facilities if accompanied by an adult of 18 years of age or older.

The resort also offers fitness classes and specialized training for additional costs.

Spa

Rejuvenate the soul at Laniwai — A Disney Spa. A full-service spa and salon, Laniwai allows guests to choose from a range of relaxing services, including skin care, hair care and massage. The Signature Lomilomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage that is passed down from generation to generation by healing elders. Guests can also enjoy other traditional massage therapies, herbal body remedies and facials. All of these treatments will cost an additional fee.

Couples treatments and family treatments are also available to book. Pregnant moms can experience a Hāpai Massage, which uses safe, prenatal techniques to increase relaxation and circulation, alleviate muscles and reduce water retention.

If you must reschedule or cancel your appointment, you should notify the spa at least six hours in advance to avoid being charged a service fee. A 20% service charge will be added to each spa service received.

For an extra fee, spa-goers can bathe in Kula Wai: an Outdoor Hydrotherapy Garden. Here, guests can cool off in fresh streams, mineral baths and the sea.

You'll want to arrive at the spa an hour early to enjoy the spa amenities. Keep in mind that most body treatments are enjoyed without clothing, but you can wear whatever is comfortable for you. Disposable undergarments are available. Robes and slippers are available in the men's and women's lounges just before treatments. Keep in mind that a 20% service charge is added to each spa service received. You may give additional gratuities at your discretion.

Disney PhotoPass Service

Snag a Disney PhotoPass card from a Disney PhotoPass photographer to save your precious vacation memories! You can view your photos at Kālepa's Store, where you can also purchase them. You can also purchase online. Many families like to capture their island glow with private portrait sessions, using Aulani Resort as the backdrop.

ATM

Guests can use an ATM located in the hotel lobby to withdraw cash.

Laundry

Laundry services are available for a fee at Aulani. Guests can use two self-service laundry facilities on the first floor of the resort.

For valet laundry services, you can fill out the laundry list inside your hotel room and attach it to the clothing you want to be cleaned. Charges will be billed to your room.

Disney Vacation Club Villas features a laundry area with a washer and dryer.

Parking

Self-parking is available at Aulani Resort. For overnight guests, self-parking is $40 per day (max of two vehicles per room).

Disney Vacation Club Members can enjoy self-parking at no charge for up to two vehicles when the reservation is booked with proof of membership.

Day guests get valet parking for $40 per day. Self-parking for day guests is $15 for the first hour and $5 for every half hour thereafter, up to $40. Some dining and experiences validate parking (you may use one receipt only).

Groceries

Inside the resort, Kālepa's Store offers a limited selection of groceries. If you're a Disney Vacation Club Member, you can submit an order form to have groceries delivered to your room.

Located near Aulani Resort, Island Country Market has a full-service deli and groceries. You can use complimentary shuttle transportation to Ko Olina Resort to shop for groceries. There is a shuttle stop just across the street from Aulani.

Don’t froget — groceries cannot be stored at the resort or delivered to your room before check-in. Make sure to check in first before purchasing perishable items.

Just a few minutes away from Aulani Resort, you'll find stores such as Target, Costco, Safeway and Longs Drugs.

Shopping

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - store

Located near the Maka‘ala lobby on the ‘Ewa Tower side, Kalepa's Store is a handy place to pick up gifts, sundries and vacation essentials.

Nature lovers will have the time of their lives at Hale Manu Boutique, an upscale emporium on the 'Ewa Tower side of the Maka‘ala lobby.

For any snacks and beverage needs, pay a visit to the poolside Lava Shack Snack Shop.

Off-resort shopping in Oahu is another great option! There are various specialty shops to explore in the area, including the Ko Olina Golf Shop, the Marina Shop and the Ko Olina Station & Center. The Ko Olina Station and Ko Olina Center feature resort retail stores and restaurants.

Other Add-on Activities & Excursions

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - canoe

At the Honolulu Tour Desk in the lobby, guests can book a number of island excursions. Discover the natural wonders of Oahu. From zipline courses, jet skiing and kayak trips to dolphin encounters, there is much to see and experience around Aulani. Take a surf lesson, explore the North Shore, go on little or big adventures or visit Pearl Harbor.

The Ko Olina Resort, next door to Aulani, offers a high-quality golf club with awe-inspiring views.

In ‘Imi Loa Nāa Hōkū (Explore the Stars), learn the same techniques that ancient Polynesian voyagers used to navigate to Hawai‘i. Use the stars as your guide! Fees apply for this experience as well.

Visit Aulani Resort’s website for the daily calendar of activities and events. You can also peruse the activities and sign up for them in the Aulani Resort app. You can also call (866) 443-4763 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

PT for assistance with your vacation and excursions.

What you would pay extra for at the resort:

  • Premium activities (including fitness classes, Surf's Up dance party, Supplied Air Snorkeling, hair braiding, fish feeding, and many crafts)
  • Snorkel sets: $25 per day for Aulani Resort Guests (includes one-day access to guest-exclusive Rainbow Reef, a life vest and mask)
  • Stand-up paddleboards: $45 per hour
  • Beachside casabella (2-seat lounger with awning): $80 per day (same-day reservations available on a first-come, first-served basis for use between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.). But regular beach chairs are free.
  • Casabellas at ‘AMA‘AMA — Unwind in a beachfront, 2-seat lounger with awning, located on the lanai (veranda) of ‘AMA‘AMA restaurant. It's a private and luxurious option for those who prefer a serene beach experience.
  • Private portrait sessions
  • ‘Imi Loa Nāa Hōkū (Explore the Stars)
  • Spa services
  • KA WA‘A – A Lū‘au on Oʻahu at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa (to make reservations or learn more, call (844) 284-7644 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Hawaiian Time. You can book online or by phone five months in advance, and we recommend you book as soon as your dates open up.)

These are optional activities that may be worth splurging on.

Transportation at Aulani Resort

When flying to Aulani, guests will arrive at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) airport. The resort offers a shuttle service (at an additional cost) that transports guests to and from the airport, as well as other island destinations! You can also inquire about limousine services or taxi services. The local bus has a stop a mile from the resort.

If you’re looking for a way to get around once you are on the island, you can rent a car in advance at the Honolulu International Airport or visit the Alamo car rental counter at Aulani Resort (located in the conference center).

Dining at Aulani Resort

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - dining

Disney's Aulani Resort offers some of the most innovative culinary creations on the island. On the property, guests can visit two sit-down restaurants, three lounges and several quick-service dining venues.

AMA’AMA restaurant 

AMA’AMA restaurant specializes in contemporary island cuisine. Located beside the Waikolohe Valley pool area, the eatery is just steps from the beach. It includes locally sourced fish and produce in its dishes, serving Hawaiian classics such as savory Pork Belly with “Scanlan sauce.” It also has some serene beach loungers for an additional fee.

Makahiki Restaurant

Overlooking a lovely koi pond, the Makahiki restaurant is a festive, family-friendly space inspired by the Makahiki season — the traditional Hawaiian celebration of the harvest. Guests can enjoy delectable food and local art, as well as amazing breakfast and dinner meals. This is where you can enjoy character dining at breakfast and dinner.

Ka Wa’a

Ka Wa’a — A Luau on O’ahu is an enchanting show and buffet dinner experience displaying the deep cultural roots of Oahu. Advance reservations for this event are required. Guests can choose between a preferred or general seating package at two different prices.

Ulu Cafe

Located on the first floor of the hotel, Ulu Cafe serves up ready-to-go convenience meals and freshly made hot entrées. If you’re not that hungry, grab a snack at a great price!

Off the Hook Bar & Lounge 

Equipped with flat-screen TVs and a bar, this place has it all! Guests can snag a quick breakfast, lunch or evening bite and enjoy a tasty beverage in this laid-back lounge. It’s right next to the pool!

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - bar and lounge

‘Ō lelo Room Bar & Lounge

Built to converse and connect, the ‘Ōlelo Room concocts tropical cocktails and savory appetizers. Enjoy these outside on the patio or indoors at the bar. On some nights when the weather permits, live music is performed outside.

Wailana Pool Bar & Lounge

Wailana is the Hawaiian word for calm or quiet, meaning this lounge area is perfect for a relaxing day close to nature. Indulge in familiar favorites, such as pizza, hot dogs, burgers and more while sipping on a refreshing beverage by this serene pool.

Mama’s Snack Stop

Near Rainbow Reef, you’ll find the poolside eatery, Mama’s Snack Stop. If you’re in the mood for a quick snack or even a Hawaiian-style fish dish, this is exactly the spot. There's even a keiki menu for kid-sized tummies.

Pāpālua Shave Ice

This colorful quick-stop stand sells the best Hawaiian sweet treat around — shaved ice! Customize your perfect frozen dessert here. You can choose from various shave ice bases and flavors, including mango, pineapple, coconut, lilikoi, orange, guava and more.

Little ‘Opihi's 

Try a treat from this cute, beachside kiosk near Makiki Joe's. This stand offers many fresh and frozen treats, such as fresh fruit, ice cream bars, Dole Whip sundaes and refreshing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

What to Consider Before Staying at Aulani Resort

Our ~Frogtastic~ Guide to Disney Aulani Resort & Spa - chip n' dale character experience

With all things considered, here are some of our top considerations when deciding to stay at Disney's Aulani Resort.

View 

Because the resort rooms are priced by view, it can become expensive to book a room with a picturesque, island or ocean view. If you don’t mind staying in a room with a less expansive view, or simply don’t plan on being in the room often, booking a standard view room is a perfect (and much more affordable option). While we're frugal frogs, we believe in being bougie on a budget — consider using your room savings when booking through Undercover Tourist to splurge on that view! (It is Hawaii, after all!)

Family

Disney Aulani Resort - family in lazy river splashing

While the resort offers a few adult-exclusive areas, including peaceful lounges and whirlpools, most of the resort activities are geared toward a younger crowd. This resort sprinkles Disney magic onto every corner, meaning most of its excursions and activities are designed for family-friendly fun. In true Disney fashion, there's something for every age group! Just be sure to look into activities — and make reservations, where required — in advance.

Time

There are so many things to see at Aulani Resort. Between the resort’s multiple pools and a wide variety of entertainment, you'll want to budget extra time to explore and enjoy the grounds.

Priority Reservations

Be sure to book your must-do resort experiences as soon as possible. If you want to attend the luau, book five months in advance. If character dining is important, reserve Makahiki – The Bounty of the Islands 30 days in advance online or by calling (808)-674-6200. Link your hotel reservation before booking. If the tadpoles want to spend time at Aunty's Beach House, you can pre-register between 2 and 90 days before your check-in date. Do it sooner rather than later. Do your pre-planning so your trip plans feel seamless while on vacation. But if you hoppen to be making a last-minute getaway, you can always try to ask about walk-up availability at restaurants. You just might get lucky.

We absolutely love Aulani Resort & Spa and we hope you will too! Have you stayed at Aulani — or are you planning to stay? What is your favorite part of the resort? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: What's Included at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Sep 26, 2023 at 7:14 p.m.
Anita Says...

Also remember the pool and pretty much everything closes down at 8PM. We had dinner and planned to soak in the pool only to find it all closed down.

Reply

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