By Aulani Diva
As a travel agent I tend to pick apart a lot of resorts as I have been to many. Perhaps I expect more than the average person. I am also a DVC member and the Aulani is our home resort and first visit. I can honestly say we were not in any way disappointed in anything. We loved every minute and any time we left the resort we couldn’t wait to get back.
We rented a SUV at the HNL airport and drove to the resort which took us approx 40 mins (the traffic was not bad). When we drove up to the entrance of Ko’Olina, the gate guard asked our hotel and name and then we proceeded in to a lovely residential/resort/golf course area. It was clean, well manicured and reminded me a lot of Wailea in Maui. We quickly found the hidden entrance into Aulani and were promptly greeted with lei’s and a really cute fish made of leaves for my daughter. A lady took us inside while our bags were handled. She showed us the lobby area and because we already had done online check in, pointed out where to go to get to our room. She knew my daughter liked Minnie, as we had mentioned this was Minnie’s vacation home. So she took us out to a landing where you could look over and see Minnie signing autographs. Our daughter was SO excited!
Our 1 bedroom ocean view did not disappoint. The villa was on the 14th floor. Everything was high end and the bathroom being separated so there was technically 2 bathrooms (1 with a rain shower and 1 with a soaker tub which was awesome). Our lanai was huge and we sat out on it many a night. We knew from reviews to go immediately and get our Aulani refillable mugs. It’s an awesome deal for $18.99! Unlimited soda, lemonade, ice tea, hot tea, coffee and hot chocolate for entire stay.
From there we proceeded to drive to Kapolei (5 mins away) for groceries from Safeway and Costco. In retrospect, after visiting Target, I would now just go to Target for my groceries as they had a better selection of items (except perhaps meat for the BBQ). The resort has 4 grills that are behind Aunty’s Beach House and my husband cooked out there frequently. The evening entertainment was FREE and great! Basically the Starlit Hui is a luau without food. It ends with a huge dance party where all the characters come! absolutely amazing!
There are stories around the fire pit every night with Uncle. Those are great. Also there are movies outside under the stars a few times a week. Grab a mat, bring some snacks and a big movie screen on the back lawn shows Disney movies.
You can find out about all the entertainment by collecting the daily news from the store in the lobby. The beach is great and there are free beach toys and free umbrellas! We had no issue finding a spot to sit at the pool. The pool parties with Goofy and Mickey are so fun! The character picture taking is every afternoon and your kids will get so much more time with the characters than at the parks. The character breakfast was yummy and Aunty comes around singing with the characters.
The poolside amenities are also great! There are lots of little areas to grab snacks. For those visiting with kids, Aunty’s Beach House for the kids is 5 star child care. Our daughter is only 2 so she couldn’t stay alone, but from 8am to 10 am everyday we could take her. She loved all the staff who remembered her name each morning. All the little rooms filled with games, crafts, Disney movies, computers dress up toys are so fun. Characters are known to stop by and we did see Stitch and Donald. A couple of times a week they also do a Disney Jr show around 8:30 am with the songs from Disney Jr. I can’t say enough about how great the Beach House was.
On our last day there was a room with couches, TV’s and computers along with changing rooms/showers to use since you don’t have your villa after 11 am. Great idea and we used it!
We will be back Aulani! Across the street there are a couple of restaurants (MonkeyPod Kitchen just opened and is very nice). There is also a clothing store, an ice cream store and a very nice ABC store country market. I can see a couple of years from now more eating areas and coffee shops as that area is definitely calling for it. Cant wait until the next time!….watch for me in November as I will video blog from Aulani