Hawaii Mom Blog: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa - The "Happiest Place on Oahu"




November 30, 2015

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa - The "Happiest Place on Oahu"

Located approximately 40 minutes away from Waikiki, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is in an enchanting world of its own.  Our family was fortunate to finally get a chance to experience why this four-year-old resort, with 351 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club Villas, is a favorite for both kama`aina and visiting guests of all ages.

As soon as our family stepped into the lobby, we were enveloped by the beautiful art and architecture.  
Maka`ala Lobby
Kanaloa and Kane - two Hawaiian gods thought to be responsible for discovering fresh water sources throughout Oahu.
Although our check-in time for our villa was not until 4pm (3pm for standard rooms and suites), the resort allows you to check-in at any time, so we arrived at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa early enough so we could enjoy the pools when they opened at 8am.

After a very pleasant and informative check-in, during which time everyone in my family was issued key cards (the adult cards could also be used to bill charges to your room), my husband and I received lei, and the kids were given Menehune necklaces, we dropped off our luggage with Bell Services and headed straight for the pools (we were already dressed in our swimwear, but if you need to change, you can get a key card to the Luana Lounge, which has restrooms and showers).

Menehune Necklace - Menehune are mischievous little people in Hawaii's legends
The pools at Aulani are incredible (you can read more about the fantastic pools here), and we spent hours on the slides, the lazy river, and in the different pools.

Guests can also swim in the beautiful Aulani Beach at Ko Olina lagoon (guests can rent complimentary beach toys, umbrellas, and even boogie boards!), but my kids were having so much fun at the pools - the only time I stepped on the beach was to take pictures of the stunning sunset.

Aulani Beach at Ko Olina Lagoon
While at the pool, I received a text a little after 1pm advising that our room was ready, so we bribed the kids away from the pool with the promise of shave ice after we settled into the room.

We had a beautiful poolside 1-Bedroom Villa with a king bed, a queen sofa-sleeper, and a pull-down bed.

Pull-down bed (notice the Taro leaves in the carpet)
The villa has a huge bathroom with two vanities, a rain shower, and a whirlpool tub.

Rain shower

The beautiful room, decorated in tropical furnishings (complete with a few hidden Mickeys), was spacious, and evoked a sense of ancient Hawaii through various details, such as the Taro design in the carpet, and the butterfly joints throughout the room, which are reflective of a method used in ancient Hawaii in repairing calabash bowls.

A Mickey welcome!
The large living space provided ample room for our family to relax and watch TV (another large screen TV is in the bedroom).

The Villa included a variety of amenities to make a stay convenient and comfortable - a washer and dryer, Blu-ray player (Blu-rays could be rented from the Pau Hana Room), and even a step stool so little ones could reach the sink to wash their hands or brush their teeth (we always bring our own step stool to hotels, so we were pleased that the room already had one).  Those with toddlers or infants will be happy to know that Pack 'n Plays and High Chairs are also in the room, and diaper pails, bottle warmers, and bed rails are available upon request.

Complimentary Blu-ray rentals available from the Pau Hana Room
I loved that our room was poolside - just a short jaunt over to the Menehune Bridge.

Poolside access
We could sit on the lanai and watch our kids come and go, and it made access to our room quick and easy.

Even though the room was equipped with a fabulous full kitchen, including a rice cooker, we decided to experience the dining options on property - `Ama `ama, Makahiki, and several quick-service eateries.

If our family had a longer stay, I would definitely take advantage of the kitchen to whip up some meals and save money.
Full kitchen and dining area!
Even though the resort was full of people (good luck finding a pool chair mid-morning), it was astonishingly quiet at night while we were winding down to go to sleep, and both my husband and I agreed that it was the best sleep we've experienced of all the hotels we've staycationed at on Oahu.

Because our stay was for just a night, and check-out is at 11am, we didn't want to depart Aulani so early, so at check-out time I dropped off our luggage with Bell Services once again, got a Luana Lounge access key, and headed back to the pool.

The pools are where we spent a majority of our time, but there are so many other things to do at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (be sure to pick up the Daily `Iwa for the calendar of events) -  Aunty's Beach House, a kids club offering all sorts of activities; Mo`olelo Fire Pit Storytelling, where Uncle shares Hawaiian legends; Menehune Adventure trail - a cell-phone-assisted scavenger hunt throughout the property; and so much more!
Mo`olelo Fire Pit Storytelling
You'll find activities just for kids, teens, adults, or the entire `ohana - hula dancing, ukulele lessons, walking tours, Hawaiian crafts - a one-night-stay is definitely not enough to experience all that Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa has to offer.

The Disney team sure did an incredible job instilling the Disney magic and combining it with the aloha spirit when creating Aulani and all of its features.

Common Disney elements such as hidden Mickeys, character dining, and Photo Pass, along with vast amounts of Hawaiian elements - the architecture, food, and culture, together with cast members who exude the aloha spirit, all came together to create an unforgettable experience.
Stitch was being kolohe (mischievous)!
Our staycation at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was way too short, but just enough so we could experience some of the magic that makes guests so happy when at any Disney location. My kids were ecstatic at the pools and when encountering the Disney characters. And seeing how happy my kids were was simply an incredible feeling.

If Disneyland is considered the "Happiest Place on Earth," I believe, and I'm sure many other families would agree, that Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the "Happiest Place on Oahu."

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
92-1185 Ali'inui Dr
Kapolei, HI 96707
(866) 443-4763

Thank you to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa for hosting our family's room.  Parking, gratuties, and meals were paid on our own.

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