Located on the western shore of Oahu, Hawaii, Disney Aulani Resort is a luxurious family-friendly retreat that offers a magical blend of Hawaiian culture and Disney magic. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a combination of both, there’s something for everyone at this tropical paradise. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about planning a trip to Disney Aulani Resort!
This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission for items purchased.
Getting to Disney Aulani Resort
There are several ways to get to Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii, depending on where you are coming from and your preferred mode of transportation.
- By plane: The closest airport to Aulani is Honolulu International Airport, which is approximately 17 miles away. From the airport, you can take a taxi, shuttle, or rental car to the resort.
- By rental car: If you prefer to drive yourself, you can rent a car at the airport or in nearby areas and drive to Aulani. The resort offers valet parking and self-parking for an additional fee. Turo is another ride-sharing app that is available on Oahu.
- By shuttle: There are several shuttle companies that provide transportation from the airport to Aulani, including Hele Hele. These shuttles can be booked in advance or on-site at the airport.
- By taxi or ride-sharing service: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available at the airport and can take you directly to Aulani.
Disney Aulani Resort offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences, including standard rooms, suites, and villas.
The resort offers standard rooms with either a garden or ocean view that can accommodate up to four people. These rooms come with a variety of amenities including flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and private balconies or patios.
The deluxe studios at Disney Aulani Resort can accommodate up to four people and come with a kitchenette, a private balcony or patio, and a variety of amenities such as flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The one and two-bedroom villas can accommodate up to nine people and offer additional features such as full kitchens, separate living areas, and in-room laundry facilities.
All rooms and suites at Disney Aulani Resort are decorated with traditional Hawaiian artwork and offer modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Guests can also take advantage of Disney Aulani package deals that include airfare, accommodations, and activities to save money. Additionally, the resort offers special promotions and discounts for Disney Vacation Club members and military personnel.
Dining and Restaurants
With several restaurants and bars on-site, Disney Aulani Resort offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste and occasion. Here are some of the most popular restaurants at the Resort:
‘Ama’Ama is an open-air, upscale restaurant located within the Disney Aulani resort, serving contemporary Island cuisine inspired by the bounty of Hawaii’s farms and the surrounding Pacific waters.
The name ‘Ama’Ama means “striped mullet fish” in Hawaiian, which is commonly found in Hawaiian waters and was a favorite of ancient Hawaiian royalty. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining options, with stunning views of the ocean.
The menu at ‘Ama’Ama offers a wide variety of fresh seafood dishes, along with steak, chicken, and vegetarian options. Some of the popular dishes include the ‘Ama’Ama seafood platter, featuring the catch of the day, ahi poke, shrimp cocktail, and crab legs, as well as the Kona lobster tail, served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
The restaurant also offers an extensive wine and cocktail list, with a focus on Hawaiian and tropical-inspired drinks.
Makahiki is a popular table service restaurant at Aulani that serves breakfast and dinner. The menu features an array of Hawaiian-inspired dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. For breakfast, guests can enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat buffet that includes both traditional American breakfast items as well as Hawaiian specialties like macadamia nut pancakes. Dinner is also buffet-style, with options like fresh seafood, carved meats, and vegetarian dishes.
This is the site of the only character breakfast at the Resort and the restaurant is located on the first floor, beneath the lobby.
Ulu Cafe is a quick-service restaurant at Aulani that offers a variety of grab-and-go options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu includes sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and other snacks, as well as specialty eats like Dole Whip and Mickey-shaped spam musubi.
Guests can dine inside the cafe or take their food to-go to enjoy by the pool or at the beach. Ulu Cafe also offers a variety of refillable mug and popcorn bucket options for guests to purchase and use throughout their stay at Aulani.
The ‘Olelo Room is a unique restaurant and bar located at Aulani Resort that offers guests a taste of Hawaiian culture and cuisine. The restaurant is designed to look like a traditional Hawaiian language school, with vintage posters and books lining the walls.
The menu features a variety of Hawaiian-inspired dishes, including poke bowls, kalua pork flatbread, sushi, and sliders. The restaurant also offers a selection of tropical cocktails, beer, and wine.
This is one of the few places onsite that has weekly live music.
Activities and Entertainment
One of the main attractions of Disney Aulani Resort is its activities and entertainment options. From swimming and snorkeling in the resort’s expansive pool complex to learning about Hawaiian culture through traditional crafts and storytelling, there’s something for every age group.
Be sure to pick up the Daily ‘Iwa or download the Aulani app to your phone to access the daily schedule of events. Here are the most popular activities and entertainment:
Ka Wa’a Luau
The Ka Wa’a Luau is a popular show at Disney Aulani Resort, offering guests an opportunity to experience traditional Hawaiian culture and cuisine. The luau takes place on the Halawai Lawn and features a variety of performances, including hula dancing, music, and fire dancing.
The luau starts with a cocktail reception where guests can mingle and enjoy appetizers while taking in the beautiful ocean views. After the reception, guests are seated at tables and served a family-style feast that includes a variety of local dishes such as kalua pork, island fish, and poke.
The Ka Wa’a Luau is held on select nights and reservations are required. Guests can also choose to upgrade their experience with premium seating and exclusive access to a private bar.
Make Your Own Ears
One of the most popular activities at Aulani Resort is the Make Your Own Mickey Ears activity. Kids can use their creativity and imagination to decorate their own unique Mickey Mouse ears using a variety of materials, such as glitter, stickers, and paint. The activity is a great way for kids to express themselves and create personalized souvenir to take home from their vacation. Parents can join in on the fun or relax and watch their kids have a blast.
Signups take place outside Community Hall starting in the morning.
Aulani Resort offers daily ukulele lessons taught by skilled musicians who are passionate about sharing their love of the instrument with visitors. These lessons are suitable for all ages and skill levels, from complete beginners to those with some experience.
During the ukulele lessons at Aulani, guests will learn the basics of the instrument, such as tuning and chord progressions, as well as how to play popular Hawaiian songs. The lessons are held in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, and the instructors are patient and encouraging, creating a supportive environment for guests to learn at their own pace. Whether guests are looking to pick up a new skill or just want to have some fun, the ukulele lessons at Aulani are a fantastic way to experience Hawaiian culture and music.
Aunty’s Beach House
Aulani Aunty’s Beach House is a children’s activity center at the Resort. Designed to provide a fun and safe environment for kids to learn and play, Aunty’s Beach House offers a variety of activities, including arts and crafts, games, storytelling, and character meet-and-greets. Children aged 4-12 can participate in supervised activities while parents enjoy some time to themselves.
Aunty’s Beach House provides a daily complimentary themed 1.5-hour block or you can book premium activities for a fee. There’s a two-step process for sign-up, first, you register your children either online or onsite and then you can book activities early in the morning onsite or online. Space seems to be limited and fills up quickly so plan ahead.
The Laniwai Spa at Aulani is the Resort’s spa facility that offers a variety of treatments and services to help guests unwind and relax. The spa features a range of treatment rooms, including outdoor treatment areas, a hydrotherapy garden, and a vitality pool.
Guests can choose from a variety of services, including massages, facials, body treatments, and salon services. The Laniwai Spa also offers special treatments for children and teens, making it a great option for families looking to indulge in some relaxation and pampering.
Mikimiki Fitness Center
For those looking to stay active during their stay at Disney Aulani, the resort’s Mikimiki Fitness Center is a great option. The fitness center is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines, weight machines, and free weights.
The gym also offers a variety of fitness classes, such as yoga, Pilates, and cardio classes, taught by certified instructors. Additionally, guests can take advantage of the resort’s jogging trail, which winds through the lush landscape and offers stunning views of the ocean.
Character Meet and Greets
One of the highlights of a stay at Aulani is the opportunity to meet and interact with beloved Disney characters in a tropical Hawaiian setting. Guests can expect to see a variety of characters from popular Disney films, such as Moana, Stitch, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and more. The characters are often dressed in colorful and festive Hawaiian outfits, adding to the Disney magical experience.
Guests can check the Aulani Daily ‘Iwa for a schedule of character appearances and activities, or use the Aulani mobile app for up-to-date information on character experiences.
Menehune Adventure Trail
The Menehune Adventure Trail is an interactive scavenger hunt that takes guests on a journey throughout the Aulani resort. The adventure is based on the myth of the mischievous Menehune, a legendary people in Hawaiian folklore known for building structures and causing mischief in night. The trail is designed for kids, but it’s a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.
To start the adventure, guests can pick up a Menehune Adventure Trail map and a special handheld device from the Pau Hana Room or the Community Hall. The device is used to activate special effects and animations as guests make their way through the trail.
Along the way, guests will encounter interactive elements like hidden Menehune statues, rock formations, and water features. As they complete each task, they’ll unlock clues to help them solve a larger mystery.
Guide to Disney Aulani Pools
Disney Aulani features several stunning pools that cater to guests of all ages and interests. The Waikolohe Stream is the resort’s main pool and features a lazy river that takes you through various caves, rock formations, and waterfalls. There are also water slides for guests to use. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, there are several other pools scattered throughout the resort, including the Wailana Pool and the Ka Maka Grotto. These pools are ideal for couples or individuals looking for a quiet, peaceful environment.
For families with young children, there is the Keiki Cove Splash Zone, which features smaller water slides, a toddler pool, and interactive water play areas. Kids will love the Menehune Bridge, an interactive play structure that includes water guns, slides, and other fun features.
The Rainbow Reef is another unique pool experience at Disney Aulani, allowing guests to snorkel with tropical fish and sea turtles. This is a great option for families who want to experience a bit of Hawaiian marine life without having to venture out into the ocean.
Nearby Attractions and Excursions
While there’s plenty to do on-site at Disney Aulani Resort, there are also a variety of nearby attractions and day trips that are worth exploring. Some popular options include hiking in the nearby mountains, exploring the nearby town of Kapolei, and visiting nearby attractions like Pearl Harbor or the Byodu Temple.
You can also book a variety of guided tours and excursions through the resort, including snorkeling trips, helicopter tours, and sunset cruises.
Guide to Shopping at Disney Aulani
Kalepa’s is a sundry store that offers a wide range of Aulani merchandise, including clothing, hats, bags, and other souvenirs. The store’s name comes from the Hawaiian word “kalepa,” which means “to navigate,” and the store’s theme is inspired by the sea and the art of navigation.
Some of the popular items sold at Kalepa’s include Aulani-branded t-shirts, mugs, pins for pin trading, and plush toys, as well as Hawaiian-themed jewelry and artwork. Visitors to Kalepa’s can also find beach essentials like sunscreen, hats, and beach towels.
Hale Manu is another retail store at Aulani that sells a variety of merchandise, including clothing, swimwear, accessories, and more. The store’s name means “bird house” in Hawaiian, and its theme is inspired by the island’s natural beauty and wildlife.
Hale Manu offers a unique shopping experience with its curated selection of Hawaiian-made items, such as handmade jewelry and artwork, as well as popular brands like Tommy Bahama and Reef.
Tips for Planning Your Trip
Book your stay well in advance, as rooms can fill up quickly, especially during the peak travel season.
Consider booking a package deal that includes airfare, accommodations, and activities to save money.
Don’t forget to pack REEF SAFE sunscreen and insect repellent, as well as comfortable shoes for exploring the resort and nearby attractions.
If you’re traveling with children, take advantage of the resort’s Aunty’s Beach House kids’ club, which offer age-appropriate activities and supervision.
Make dining reservations in advance, especially for popular restaurants like ‘AMA’AMA.
Self-parking is $37 per day or for the same price, enjoy convenient valet parking service. Each reservation is limited to a maximum of 2 cars, and rates are subject to change.
Military Discount for Disney Aulani Resort
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii offers discounted room rates and packages for active and retired U.S. military personnel. This includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reservists.
The military room discounts are available year-round but can vary by date. Discounts are typically 30-35% off standard room rates.
To get the discount, military members must show valid military ID at check-in. Eligible IDs include active duty, retired, veteran, and dependent cards.
Other military discounts at Aulani include 10% off spa services, select merchandise, and weddings/vow renewals. There are also special military packages.
Active and retired military can book the Aulani military discount by calling Disney directly or through certain travel agents. The resort offers limited rooms per night for the military rate.