Visiting the Aulani Disney Resort in Oahu is an absolute must for any Disney fans and Disney regulars, but also those wanting to experience the island of Oahu in Luxury! From having breakfast with your favourite Disney characters, snorkelling in Aulani Disney Resort’s very own reef to relaxing in the spa or on the Resorts private beach, there is so much to do and see at the Aulani Disney Resort in Oahu that planning your stay is essential if you want to tick off as many items from your Bucket List as possible!
Firstly, when we arrived at the Aulani Disney Resort we noticed that it has a very similar vibe and design to Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort (as you would hope) and also Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. We stayed in a standard room in the Resort, but as it is a Disney hotel the quality of even the standard room couldn’t be faulted! Our room came with a flatscreen TV, complimentary bathrobe, private balcony and other amenities! Our room looked out over the lush and green resort with ample pools, palm trees and had a fantastic view of the turquoise blue ocean.
On our first day we headed to the pool, where you must get a new wristband each day, and secured our spot by the Grotto infinity pool that look out over the ocean. Throughout the day we wandered around the resort, dipping in and out of the lazy river (Waikolohe Stream), taking turns on the two central water slides, and watching the children play at Menehune Bridge the interactive children’s play area/ splash zone. For Lunch we visited “Mama’s Snack Shop” pool bar which had plenty to choose from including fresh Polynesian fish and chips! We also made the most of the Shave Ice offered on the Resort, a famous Hawaiian snack, that came in all types of flavours and was shaped like Mikey ears!
Though parking can be expensive at the Aulani Disney Resort, we thought it was worth it to hire a car at the airport to explore the island of Oahu. Oahu is home to the infamous Honolulu and Waikiki Beach that is overlooked by the extinct volcano, Diamond Head. We headed over to Waikiki Beach on day 2 to experience some authentic Hawaiian surfing – though we never really got the hang of it! There was plenty of shopping to do in Waikiki / Honolulu and we spent a couple of hours wandering through the shops before heading over to Diamond Head and hiking up the extinct volcano as the sun set! The view at the summit of Diamon Head is breath-taking and you can see over all of Honolulu – the hike was fairly easy but is steep and requires climbing a lot of steps!
On Day 3 in the Aulani Disney Resort we planned to take a swim in the man-made reef on the resort, Rainbow Leaf. This was great for the younger children as the man-made reef was detached from the sea meaning they didn’t have to contend with a current or waves. There were plenty of tropical fish in the reef that we got to swim up-close with and take some fantastic pictures of with our underwater cameras! After snorkelling I headed over to the fantastic Spa and Hydrotherapy centre where I experienced a luxurious full body massage. There was also the option to have a family treatment with little ones, but mine were too busy playing at Menehune Bridge! After a lovely morning swimming in Rainbow Leaf and enjoying the Spa, we headed over to the Private Beach/ Lagoon. The Lagoon is a beautiful white sand beach with calm turquoise waters where you can swim, sunbathe, splash, and hire equipment like paddle boards to paddle out into the lagoon! For this evening’s entertainment, we made our way over to our canoe to experience the Ka Vaa: Luau at Aulani! The Luau highlighted Hawaiian culture, dancing, food, clothing, and traditions in a magical night. This was a 3-hour spectacular and journey through Hawaiian history accompanied by a gigantic buffet feast!
On day 4 we again ventured off the resort to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – the only off-beach snorkelling experience on Oahu! After spending the day at Rainbow Leaf, we felt we were ready to experience snorkelling in the open ocean and try to find the Hawaiian state fish humuhumunukunukuapua’a or trigger fish (which is often found at Hanauma Bay)! Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve was great for the whole family as those who wanted to snorkel could take advantage of the reefs right off the beach and those that didn’t could splash around in the shallow waters and sunbath on the golden sand! I recommend renting your snorkel gear at the Aulani Disney Resort before heading to Hanauma Bay as it can be quite expensive there! On our way back to the Aulani Disney Resort we stopped by Makaha Beach where we could see the pro-surfers catching the big waves rolling in and locals were having BBQs on the beach! Back at the resort, we were treated to our own amazing dinner as we had booked our table at the lovely Makahiki-Bounty of Island restaurant that focused on using fresh and local Hawaiian produce in their 3-course meals!
On our final morning in the Aulani Disney Resort, before we started our Hawaii Island hopping adventure to the Big Island and beyond, we had booked the ultimate Disney experience: character dining! The character dining took place at the buffet-style restaurant Makahiki in what is known as “Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki”; Aunty makes her way around the buffet and is accompanied by Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Stitch, and others! This was a great way to spend our final morning and really captured the “Disney experience” whilst in Hawaii! After breakfast, the kids went to Aunty’s Beach House (a huge kids-club for children aged 3-12) and while the children enjoyed the fun and games at Aunty’s Beach House, we made use of the excellent fitness facilities before relaxing in the sea-front Jet Spa’s that are adult only! For dinner on our last evening, we decided to treat ourselves to the finest dining Disney has to offer at the resort’s beachside ‘AMA’AMA restaurant that features fresh and gourmet seafood roasted in the wood-burning oven and cuisine from around the world!
Our 5-day experience at the Aulani Disney Resort was the perfect amount of time to make use of the fabulous facilities at the resort and explore the island of Oahu! The resort had the perfect blend of adult and child entertainment, though travelling to the Aulani Disney Resort without children would also be a fabulously entertaining holiday…after all Disney’s Magic brings out the child in all of us! After finishing our Oahu adventure, we headed to Honolulu airport to continue our Island-hopping journey across the Hawaiian Islands!