There’s no better combo than Disney and Hawaii—and the Disney Aulani Resort is proof of that. For the Christmas holidays, Disney Aulani Resort and Spa served as an unforgettable destination for our family. Immersed in a festive atmosphere and Hawaiian culture, we were amazed at the countless activities and holiday cheer, making it an instant family favorite. Read on as I recount our adventures at this enchanted resort so you can get helpful tips for your own Disney Aulani visit.
What Do You Need to Know Before Going to
- Aulani Disney Resort?
- A Destination for Your Bucket List
- A Lavish, On-Theme Stay
- A Plethora of Pools
- A Dining Extravaganza
- A Lū‘au at Aulani
- Ala Moana Center: Venturing Outside Aulani
- A Memorable Christmas Vacation
A Destination for Your Bucket List
Get ready for an island getaway like no other at Disney Aulani Resort, located in the resort community of Ko Olina on Oahu. Traveling with kids (especially small children) can be stressful for parents, but not in this place. You can genuinely relax and unwind without worrying about whether your children are having fun or are safe.
From the moment you pull up to Disney Aulani, the stunning architecture and friendly staff greet you with a warm welcome, complete with leis for women, kukui nut necklaces for men, and Menehune necklaces for the children. The grand and richly detailed lobby, with its vaulted ceiling and spacious layout, sets the tone for the incredible views that await you throughout the resort. We stayed during the holidays, so the resort was decked out in festive lights and decorations, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.
This fine luxury resort offers world-class service, a superb spa, delectable dining selections, and abundant activities to make your stay memorable. My husband and I enjoyed seeing the resort through our daughters’ eyes and felt the magic around every corner.
A Lavish, On-Theme Stay
When it comes to booking your stay at Disney Aulani, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. The hotel rooms and suites reflect the splendor of the Hawaiian Islands. With four options ranging from a standard room that accommodates up to four guests to a spacious 2-bedroom suite with an ocean view, there’s something for everyone.
If you belong to the Disney Vacation Club, you can choose between a cozy studio with a kitchenette and a deluxe villa with a kitchen, living area, and private bedrooms. Whichever room you pick, you can expect tasteful and artful decor that embodies the Hawaiian culture, combined with a luxury hotel’s high-quality furnishings and fixtures.
Our room was a real treat with its beautiful wood fixtures, which gave it that authentic Hawaiian vibe. We saw the entire waterpark from our room’s balcony area that led to the ocean. Every morning, our daughters would wake up eager to step out onto the balcony and take the majestic view.
A Plethora of Pools
Aulani has many pool options, with nine choices available to guests. Each pool area has its own set of attractions and activities:
- Ka Maka Grotto: a family pool with an infinity edge overlooking Ko Olina Beach.
- Keiki Cove: a pool designed for kids 5 and under with rainbow water jets and a tidal pool-inspired splash zone.
- Menehune Bridge: a splash zone for kids 48″ and under with water slides, spinning gourds, and a play structure.
- Waikolohe Pool: the largest pool at Aulani with a lounge area, a body slide, and Disney character parties.
- Waikolohe Stream: a family water area featuring the Lazy River, a body slide, and a thrilling tube adventure.
- Wailana Pool: a tranquil pool with a water wall and tropical shade trees.
- Whirlpool Spas: located in four areas of the resort, with family-friendly and adult-only options.
Guests may also enjoy the Rainbow Reef, a private snorkeling lagoon, and the Shaded Retreat, a private cabana with amenities, for an additional fee.
Our family had a blast with the Lazy River and loved the excitement of the rapid rushing adventures.
A Dining Extravaganza
Dining at Aulani is nothing short of an enjoyable experience. Despite having fewer selections than other luxury resorts and spas, each Aulani Disney resort restaurant offers top-notch cuisine and services. Local specialties like fresh poke bowls can be found at various restaurants. Off the Hook serves casual dining, while Ulu Cafe provides grab-and-go selections. The Wailana Pool Bar serves coffee in the morning and transforms into a full bar by day and night. Kids (and kids at heart) can cool off with some refreshing shaved ice at Papalua. ‘Ama ‘Ama, where we enjoyed our Christmas dinner, offers a contemporary island dining experience.
A Lū‘au at Aulani
Our Disney Aulani adventure was made even more special with the Lū‘au experience. Sure, there was a long line, but the unforgettable blend of entertainment and dining was worth the wait. Before the main event, guests can enjoy pre-show activities such as temporary tattoo stations (our kids got wave tattoos) and floral craft stands.
The highlight of the night was a Lū‘au performance, showcasing the legends and lore of ancient Hawaii through song, dance, and storytelling. A delicious buffet-style dinner with authentic island cuisine was served during the show, with a cute bento dinner option for kids. We were able to fully immerse ourselves in the culture, relax, and enjoy a unique experience.
Ala Moana Center: Venturing Outside Aulani
When we visit the Disney resort in Hawaii Aulani, we leave the hotel and visit places nearby. On our fourth day, we went to Ala Moana Center. This large open-air shopping mall boasts over 350 shops and restaurants, making it the world’s largest shopping center. Visitors can find various stores, ranging from luxury brands to affordable options. Additionally, there’s a large food court with options for every taste, from Hawaiian plates to international cuisine.
The mall has several parks and open spaces, making it a great place to relax and people-watch. The kids rode on carousels and snacked on various gummies. Ala Moana also has an outdoor beach area, perfect for sunbathing and swimming. That’s how big it is! I highly recommend going to Ala Moana for retail therapy, to try local food, or relaxing in a beautiful setting.
A Memorable Christmas Vacation
Our Christmas vacation at Disney’s Aulani resort in Kapolei, Hawaii, was amazing. The festive atmosphere, endless activities, and cultural experiences made this trip one that we’ll never forget.
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