Visiting Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii was a dream come true for me! It combined both my love of Disney and love of the Hawaiian Islands in one perfect location. Here’s Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii review from a first timer. I was hosted as a travel agent for specialized training in the Hawaiian Islands.
By: Sarah Bergman
I grew up visiting Hawaii. I grew up visiting Walt Disney World. However – I am 32 years old and have never been to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. A combination of my two favorite things.
You all know that I was invited to Honolulu a few weeks ago to take part in an exclusive training opportunity for our travel agency. I was beyond excited – Hawaii is my favorite place, ever. (Sorry, Disney!)
If you haven’t been to the islands just yet, here are some suggestions for choosing the best Hawaiian island for your family vacation.
I remember getting the schedule in my inbox a few weeks before the trip and being a *touch* disappointed that a site tour of Aulani was not included in our activities. I only had three days, and Aulani would just have to wait.
On our last day of the conference, we were able to do some “one on one” time with various suppliers. Aulani was on that list!
I sat at the table and had seven minutes to pick the brain of Brett – the Cast Member who *had* to come to Hawaii to teach us crazy agents about the resort.
At the end of that seven minutes, he said: “Well, I have a car and a few hours to spare… how about we go over there once this wraps up?!”
About Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
The full resort name is Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i. You pronounce it “ow-lah-nee” and it means “a messenger of a chief – one who delivers messages from a higher authority.”
A cool fact about the name: Disney gave the honor of naming the resort to the locals! I can only imagine how nervewracking that would be to hand over all of that control.
The resort is less than 20 miles from the airport. Also, it is only about a 20-minute drive to the North Shore, and about 30 minutes over to Waikiki.
Aloha, Aulani guests!
Coming into the resort is, of course, amazing. You’re greeted by a Cast Member with an orchid and tuberose flower lea for the women, macadamia nut lei for the men, and an adorable Menehune necklace for the kids.
Menehune are mischievous little creatures from Hawaiian legend, and you can find them all over the resort.
I snapped a picture of one right outside the lobby.
Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii Review: The Aulani Lobby
I can’t shut up about the lobby of this resort. It’s STUNNING.
Aulani has one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary Hawaiian art, and each piece was made special for the resort.
The lobby has a mural across the top – one side is masculine, one side is feminine.
The front is old Hawaii, the back is the future of Hawaii: it’s just incredible.
Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii Review: The Rooms
After exploring the lobby, Brett took us into a few guest rooms.
Honestly, they are what you would expect from any Disney Deluxe Resort. The beds were cute and comfortable, the details were on point, and the views were SPECTACULAR.
Speaking of rooms: they are built at an angle to maximize the views. The view categories are ocean and partial ocean, poolside garden, island garden, and standard.
We saw a deluxe studio (pictured above), one bedroom villa, two bedroom villa and a deluxe grand three bedroom villa.
You guys – this villa!
There are only a few of them, and they are at the very end of the resort, closest to the ocean.
They expand the entire length of the building, and the balcony is longer than a bowling alley.
Seriously, you don’t get a better view than that.
Also?? That’s where the sun is going to set each and every night you are there.
Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii Review: The Resort Amenities
After he made us leave the three bedroom villa, we spent some time walking around the resort. We walked through the water playground (with pools, water slides, lazy river, and splash zones) and down to the beach.
The grounds are beautiful and extremely well kept.
We also poked into Auntie’s Beach House where you will get the most bang for your buck when it comes to this resort.
Auntie’s Beach House has children’s activities (age 3-12) that explore the mysteries of Hawaii.
There are tons of special surprises, games, story time, snacks, characters- I mean it’s insanely awesome. And included in your room price.
We didn’t get to look inside since they had children playing while we were there, but I did snap a photo through one of the windows of the seriously awesome dress-up dresses just waiting to be tried on.
Wouldn’t you know- there were a TON of characters out to visit with!
Since we were on an “unofficial” tour – Brett humored us and we stopped to snap a few photos.
Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii Review summed up
This resort is stunning. Beautiful.
It’s Disney without being DISNEY all caps, you know?
You are able to get the extreme level of service and hospitality that Disney is so well known for, including that touch of magic. You’re in the most beautiful place in the world, at a resort that respects and honors the culture and history of the island.
It really doesn’t get any better than that!
As for me, I’ll be back.
We are going to wait until my littlest one is at least 3 years old because that’s when she will be able to visit Auntie’s Beach House.
No-Guilt Travel Books Aulani
Patty is the agency owner of No-Guilt Travel, a travel agency that specializes in Disney vacation planning.
So let her know if she can help your family sail away, runDisney, or head to Disneyland or Walt Disney World this year!
You can email her at email@example.com for all your travel needs.
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)