Gosdin Ohana present’s
“Aloha from Aulani”
In my eyes nothing better than Walt Disney World, so in planning my family’s first trip to Disney’s Aulani Resort on the beautiful island of Oahu, I tried not to compare the two. It was pretty easy considering there’s NO Castle, NO Epcot & NO Rides unless you consider the Waikolohe Pools, Lagoon & Menehune Bridge as such. After a short seventeen miles from the airport we arrived at the private Ko’Olina Resort & Marina where Aulani is located.
The minute we arrived we were greeted with “Aloha Gosdin Ohana” & given two gorgeous aromatic leis for me & my daughter & two Kukui nut lei necklaces for my hubby & son & cool pineapple infused water for our thirst. Our gracious host “Teresa” gave us a quick yet informative introduction to Disney’s Aulani Resort; next bell services “Jonathan” whisked us away to our home for six nights. We were granted our request of a ground level- poolside garden view room facing “Waikolohe Valley” #130
It was perfectly located near the Laniwai Spa, elevators, & main door to WaikoloheValley which lead to the beach & all outdoor activities. Beautifully large accommodations considering we booked a standard room, very roomy bathroom with double vanity. The room décor was superb in design with subtle hints of Disney, yet otherwise authentic to its Hawaiian roots. Our favorite part, besides Goofy’s voicemail welcoming my family to Aulani, was our private ground level patio- –with a little brick pathway that lead us to Waikolohe Valley.
We received our daily Iwa, listing current events & activities around the resort, such as: Kids club at Aunty’s Beach House, Pau Hana Room Activities like lei making which we enjoyed one rainy day, also it’s the place you pick up your handheld device for the Menehune Adventure, NEATO. There is also Painted Sky Teen Spa, M0’olelo Fire Pit Storytelling with Uncle & Tip#1 “de piece de resistance” the Starlit Hui, I can’t implore you enough to attend this show, our absolute Fave of the trip. Also just turn on your T.V to the resort channel & receive more information on Aulani activities.
We ate our continental breakfast everyday in the ‘Olelo Room with a special package we pre-purchased. It’s a small area & gets crowded quickly, they also have a small outside dining area, but it’s usually filled with Character meetings, which happened quite regularly, you have plenty of photo op’s & Disney’s PhotoPass photographers are stationed all over. Sometimes I forgot I was at a Disney Resort, and then Mickey or Goofy would walk by & I would smile. We dined at One Paddle Two Paddle & Off the Hook for lunch, prices were reasonable, AMA AMA was good but considering the amount your spending, it should be all that and a bag of Mouse Ears.
The gift shop at Aulani is where you buy & refill your refillable mug for$18.95. The shop is rather small considering the resort spans over 21 acres. It’s also where you view & purchase your photopass. Basic Disney fare, with a few Hawaiian shirts & Aulani logoed items to purchase. Ladies, the Dooney & Bourke purses/wallets Aulani collection was slim to none, I was very sad about this, on the other hand, my hubby was very happy. Just a tiny bit of fresh food for sale, such as: sandwiches, salads, & I think sushi, they did have grocery items & all types of drinks from sodas to liquor, also expect to pay “Disney pricing PLUS.” This is Hawaii peeps!!!!!
My daughter Peyton & I enjoyed Laniwai Spa during our stay. Peyton received a terrific haircut, while I personally didn’t care about my hair, I wanted rubbed by a masseuse. As a matter of fact–I received two massages on two separate occasions, they were exceptional. First I had their signature massage the Lomilomi & the next day the Shiatsu. I wasn’t impressed with the spa’s outdoor area, hard to be tranquil when delivery/trash trucks are beeping literally next door, poor planning on their part. But we very much enjoyed the interior of the Laniwai Spa & personnel, well done Aulani!
I recommend eating & shopping at the restaurants & ABC Island Country Market across the street within walking distance from Aulani in the Ko’Olina Shopping center. They also offer a free neighborhood shuttle. We enjoyed many lunches at “Just Taco’s Grill & Cantina, Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor & Ko’Olina Hawaiian Barbecue, also a full service deli at the ABC Country Island Market. We bought souvenirs, ate & shopped for our alcoholic beverages or “Abracadabra” as I like to call them. Fantastic prices compared to the resort. TIP#2 I highly suggest shopping at this market before checking in the resort, especially if you’re staying in a DVC room, they offer makeup, floats, suntan lotion, medicine, clothes, hats, etc. We ate our first Pineapple Cheeseburger called “The Ko’Olina Burger” while there.
We loved the lagoon & lounge chairs, we spent more time in the lagoon than the pool, fair warning the pool & lagoon are cold. We also tried paddle boarding our first time & fell in love with it. We rented the equipment from Makiki Joe’s Beach Rentals, you can rent with your room key/if your credit card is attached or just buy a Disney gift card & put the amount you wish on it, they can be purchased at the Lava Shack, a poolside store with food & outdoor refillable drink spot by the Waikolohe pool & next to the Papalua Shave Ice stand. Be prepared to pay the paddle board is $30 per hour. The main ‘Waikolohe Pool” we didn’t really use, but the hot tubs were fab & a favorite of our’s around sunset. We did however use the Waikolohe stream & slides, short wait & terrific fun. Be careful, the steps to the slide are obviously wet & very slippery, I know from personal experience (OUCH), I don’t think it had anything to do with the three Mai Tai’s, LOL! Hey when in Hawaii-do as the Hawaiian’s. All in all, we had a fabulous vacay at Aulani Resort & Spa and would definitely return. Mahalo & Aloha!
- Ko’olina & Aulani (islandbohemian.com)
- Disney’s Aulani Resort (theyawns.com)
- Disney hotel in Hawaii offers Mickey, water fun and steep rates (seattletimes.nwsource.com)