Dreaming of traveling to beautiful Hawaii – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is on the island of Oahu in Kapolei. This is part of the Ko Olina Resort, making what is already an exceptional resort even more special. Aulani sits on the first of four man-made lagoons that make up the 2 miles of coastal white sand beaches of Ko Olina Resort. The resort covers 21 acres across the waterfront and is surrounded by incredible beaches, golf courses, shopping areas, and water sport opportunities.
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, was designed and built with the Hawaiian culture at its core. Many Aulani experiences tell the story of Hawaiian culture. Disney worked with more than 80 local Hawaiian artists whose art is displayed throughout the resort and hired many people from Hawaii to work at the resort. The Hawaiian ambiance has been masterfully created at Aulani.
Joe Rohde the chief Imagineer behind Animal Kingdom grew up above Waikiki in Hawaii and was the creative lead on the Aulani project. After finding out that Disney had finally decided to open the resort in Hawaii he knew and so did Disney that he was the man for the job.
When creating Aulani, Disney spared no expense. They created a cultural advisory board that worked hand in hand with Joe Rohde every step of the way while designing and building the resort. This cultural advisory board was made up of local community leaders, hula masters, Hawaiian artists, and Hawaii cultural experts.
MikiMiki Fitness Center- Means energetic in Hawaiian.
Laniwai Spa- Means freshwater heaven and boy this Disney Spa sure is.
Little Opihi’s- Meaning shellfish, this beach shack serves sushi and other fun beach side snacks.
Disney’s cultural knowledge and influence of their choice not to use the classic tiki torch. All the lighting fixtures revolve around the kukui nut that traditionally was burned on the islands of Hawaii as their choice fuel.
The Layout of the Resort
The layout of Aulani is made for families because of its compact convenient layout. The resort is shaped a bit like a “U”. The lobby, shopping, and Makahiki restaurant are at the bottom of the U. The two sides of the U are where the rooms are located. And the beach at the end of the U. In the open middle, called Waikolohe Valley, is where the other restaurants and pools are located.
Arriving at the Resort
Aulani is about 20 miles away from the Honolulu Airport. There a few transportation options for how to get to Aulani from the airport. You can book a van service with Hele Hele Shuttle for $24 per person (one way) for a shared van service. Or you can book a private car service with Platinum Limousine, costing about $192-$275 (one way, includes gratuity) depending on the number of passengers and size of the vehicle. Another option is to take Charley’s Taxi for a flat rate of $55 from the airport to Aulani.
Aulani has 351 hotel rooms, including 16 suites, as well as 481 two-bedroom Disney Vacation Club villas and 21 Grand Villas. The room was beautifully decorated with floral prints and yellow and green tones. You feel the Disney touch everywhere in the room, my favorite part of the decor in the room was likely the Hawaiian-themed Mickey lamp on the table.
The Pools and Wristbands
The Aulani boasts several pools and whirlpool spas. Each day guests need to check in with the Disney employees by the pool to receive a wristband for pool privileges and to obtain towels.
The largest pool, the Waikolohe Pool, is 8,200 square feet. Waikolohe means “mischievous water” in the Hawaiian language. The Waikolohe Stream is a lazy river that features stunning rock formations, caverns, and fountain springs. This pool also includes two fun slides: the Tubestone Curl, and the Volcanic Vertical, which is a thrilling tunnel body slide. There are life guards everywhere and the pool area has that Disney, family-friendly atmosphere.
Menehune Bridge is a 2,100 square foot play area for younger children. This area includes two waterslides, interactive water elements, and a climbing play structure. Little ones will also learn about Hawaiian culture as they encounter the Menehune, the legendary “little people” responsible for mysterious happenings on the islands. Keiki Cove is an interactive splash zone for kids five and younger and is inspired by the tidal pools surrounding Aulani.
Ka Maka Landing includes Ka Maka Grotto which is a family pool at Aulani that features an infinity edge overlooking Ko Olina Beach. At nights guests are treated to an after-dark experience with thousands of glittering lights.
Guests ages 18 and up can relax in Wailana Pool which is separate from the main pool area. The beautiful pool features a water wall that empties into the deep end of the pool. There are also four whirlpool spas by the Waikolohe Pool, Waikolohe Stream, Ka Maka Grotto, and one for guests 18 and older at ‘Alohi Point. The adult-only whirlpool spa has two levels with infinity edges that overlook the ocean.
Fun Fact – Aulani houses the largest collection of Hawaiian art in the world!
Disney Aulani is an amazing resort for families, Hawaii provides the perfect backdrop for cultural, activities, relaxation, nature and so much more.