Well hello beauties! I apologize this took so long, but unfortunately when you lose your phone in 3000ft waters (like and idiot), you tend to lose your photos too. UNTIL, you finally pull them all back down from that mysterious holding place we call “the cloud.” Anyway, while I was there and since I have been home, I have had a LOT of comments, questions and texts sent to me asking all about my thoughts on the Aulani Disney Oahu, Hawaii Resort. So since I didn’t have my phone for most of the trip, I can’t give you as many resort photos as I would’ve liked, but spending eight days there DID give me enough of my own thought about it. So here is my honest opinion, unfiltered.
1. This place is absolutely beautiful. All throughout the hotel, you can see Disney’s care for distinct design and overall obsession with perfection. As you walk in, music is playing and waterfalls are everywhere. You are instantly in heaven and feel the whisper of the ocean and excitement of paradise. There is a sense of piece and calm as you walk the resort after dusk as pale orange calming lights top the seams of the roofs and the sound of water and hawai’ian music is everywhere. Peaceful.
2. Although this is a Disney hotel, it is not entirely geared towards just children; hence the word “Spa” being in their full name. There are nice restaurants, pool side bars, two in resort water slides (and yes, they are actually really fun! One is dark the whole way), a lazy river and plenty of sun bathing space on their beach.
3. There is tons to do IN THE RESORT. Not only have they laid out the place in perfect sense, but they also literally utilized every square foot for something that you and your kids could enjoy.
4. The Adult Only sections were TO DIE FOR. Maybe this was just because I didn’t much time to myself (not complaining, this was a blast!), but they were so therapeutic. My favorite spot was the infinity pool. I am so mad I didn’t get a picture, it was literally overwhelming how beautiful it was.
5. They have their own closed off bay. This meant that there were barriers keeping out waves and large predators. This meant that I went out and laid back and floated in the deep areas of the bay for 30-45 minutes at a time each chance I got. It made me feel soooo peaceful and also less worried about some shark nibbling on my two cheeks. I recommend doing this daily, kid you not, people pay big money for this in iFloat therapy sessions and this was free. Well, essentially haha! 😉
6. The service was so on top of it. They are Disney so you couldn’t expect anything less. When I say every detail was covered, I am not exaggerating. Foods were specifically prepared in special ways, pools and the volcano and swim areas were artfully crafted and the bay was well engineered. It is all on point to make sure you enjoyed every ounce of it.
7. If you have kids, they ALWAYS have something to do. Each day there was an activity such as treasure hunts, pool games, beach games ect. and every night there was some sort of cool show happening in their garden theater area. When and if you need some time alone with your sweetheart, check them in to Auntie’s House and they have rooms on rooms on rooms of activities and solid security to keep your little ones both safe and entertained for days.
8. Parking was easy to navigate and the hotel was decently easy to find. Every time we left on adventures, it was fairly simple to get back to. Once you are there, they have parking and traffic down to a science so that there pretty much ISN’T ever traffic.
9. Their bar foods were ironically the best in the actual resort. If you get sick of expensive foods, head to the bar and order a burger. It was a unanimous favorite and only about $9 a burger. Which believe me, was so much cheaper than the rest of the hotels food.
10. Everything there is run off of your hotel room key card. That means you don’t need to carry anything else with you. Just don’t lose it because you credit card is directly tied to it. You’d hate to pay for Jose in room 205’s five course meal.
1. Because it IS a Disney resort, you get all Disney prices and foods. This meant that the food outside of the expensive restaurants and just poolside, was typically bland and SUPER over-priced. Try to eat outside the resort as often as possible if you want to both save on money and enjoy authentic Hawai’ian foods. I only had 3 meals the whole 8 days there that I actually really loved. One recommendation, grab their Cereal Covered French Toast from the ocean side restaurant or their Macadamia Vanilla Pancakes. You will be in food heaven. Otherwise, like I said, stay away from the bland quick service foods there.
2. Although I loved the bay and the protection of it, every ounce of the wild in me craved the natural waves and overabundance of sea creatures. Sometimes I missed a real beach. But this can be both good and bad.
3. The resort is HUGE, so if you forget something, good luck. But again, can’t really complain since they have so much to offer.
4. This resort is on the DRY side of the island. When I have been to Hawai’ian islands in the past, I have seen nothing but lush rainforests, sprawling vegetation and rocketing mountains. This side of the island was dry, bland, industrial and honestly just NOT PRETTY. When we left the hotel on certain days, we ALWAYS headed to the wet side of Oahu. That is where you will feel the Hawai’ian feeling.
5. Because you ARE on the dry side, most of the fun outdoors things to do were on the wet side of the island. So when you do leave, expect an average of 20-30 minute drive to each activity. Our dives and temple adventures were an average of 1.5 hours per route. Just know you are far away from many fun activities.
6. The lazy river closed at 6… WHAT? The pools closed at 8… and the adults only sections close at the same time. Grr. At least open them until 10? Frustrating when you want to enjoy the beautiful, star-filled nights in the infinity Jacuzzi.
7. IF YOU ARE NOT TRAVELING WITH KIDS…. I don’t think I would stay here. Like I said, pools and hot tubs close super early and there is VERY LIMITED space in the entire place where there is peace and calm without kids. If you are looking for some one on one time, I would say go with an adults only hotel.
As you can tell, there are far more Pro’s than there are Con’s. So at the end of the day, the question is would I go back? In a heartbeat. But knowing how my other vacations have gone, I would tell you to choose Maui first. If you are bent on Oahu, this would be one of the Resorts on the top of my list to stay at.
Aulani, I give you a huge high five for beautiful views, an awesome hotel and some seriously astonishing detail work.
As always, thanks for reading up! I hope this helped in your decision on booking an awesome vaca. Be sure to check me out on Bloglovin’, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.