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“Tips versus the Good/Bad”

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
58 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Tips versus the Good/Bad”
Reviewed 10 July 2012

I'm a DVC owner and I'm here, now, staying in a the 3 bedroom villa with other family members hanging out in a 2 bedroom down the hall. There are hundreds of reviews all generally/reasonably accurate so rather than re-hash all of it, I thought some core tips may be helpful to make your stay more enjoyable.

General Comments.
This is a nice property that does a good job of balancing the Disney rah rah with it being a Hawaiian Resort. The staff is good/helpful and if you are used to coming to a DVC location and using the "welcome home" aspect, you will not be disappointed. Rooms are well appointed, modern appliances, fully stocked like any other DVC property. In general, it's a nicely done DVC property given the DVC timeshare investment more value.

Tip 1 - Food
One exit down the highway is a full size, pretty new, Target with the Grocery section. There is a banner hanging off the side of building announcing its arrival so it's new and fully stocked. The prices are aligned with the island. Two exits down you will find an established Safeway. Both cater to locals and those who live in the many condos in the area. It is not like the grocery store across the way in Orlando. In addition, there is a Costco right by the Target. The Bell Desk has little cards with directions. Make your own meals is obviously the way to save money but you end up saving money just by getting a few cases of your favorite drinks and a 3 dollar big plastic cup as the all you can drink soft drink cup is 18 bucks.

Tip 2 - Utensils and dishes.
Simply put, ask for stuff and they will bring it up. Dishes, pitchers, whatever. Many people complained about it but they have a large stash and you can get pretty much anything on demand.

Tip 3 - Pool/towels/chairs
There is this rule where if you leave your seat for more than one hour, thy pack up your stuff and you collect it over where you get the towels. This is designed to deal with one and only one situation. People come out at 8a, grab seats, and leave for breakfast (or lunch or whatever). Some people have complained about this impacting the lazy river but in speaking to the workers, that rarely happens. If you have a reservation for breakfast at 8a, you can get towels, stake out chairs, eat and come back in an hour. More to the point the quiet pool is empty every morning so getting a nice spot over there is easy. Plus there is a great bar over there with poolside service. Go there, you'll like it. With kids, grab seats by the play area and you'll be set. This really is not a problem for the more sane of you. Lot's of high strung/high maint. people may get all cranky.

On the beach, simple stuff. Umbrellas are free. You go up, ask, they set up, you're done. The cove is public, no lifeguards, but totally calm for the kids. At the height of each day, chairs and umbrellas are no problem.

WiFi /Printing TIP
It's free. No sign up, no log in, nothing. Just Disney-Guest and you are on. It's spotty on the balconies but down by the pool Disney-Lagoon works fine. Fine means, you can get your Gmail, get CNN, etc, but download/upload, not so much. In the business center, they charge for stuff being printed by the page which blows. Each of the concierge folks will print something for you. Make it a pdf and email it to them. Specifically, Teresa, being super nice since she offered to do this for me when I asked where to get stuff printed. It's a nice touch.

Balconies don't have plugs. Ask for an extension cord, bring one, etc, and run it out there. Keep in mind the Air Conditioner goes off if you have the balcony door open for an extended time.

TIP/Caution: Room noise.
Apart from the main entrance to the condos, the doors inside are all doors with slats. It means that the kid who goes down for the nap, will here everything. It means in the 3 bedroom, big time suite, you can hear the bathroom at one end with every door closed all the way in the other end. Just saying. Light sleepers, etc, you can't really close a bedroom door and get a quiet. It's odd design but there you go.

Final thoughts
We dropped 1500 points (DVC people know this is a huge chunk) via a combination of saving/borrowing, etc for the two villas we had here. It's very well done. DVC members get free parking, others pay 30 bucks a day which, by the way, is the same for valet. You will really like the place if you are looking for a combination of pool/beach time to relax. You won't like it, if you are looking for a "Disney" experience like Orlando or California. The Disney stuff is low key. I would come again.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank Rick_TO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2012

Disney has done it again, absolutely beautiful resort! The perfect combination for adult relaxation with something for everyone in the family! Aulani would not be in the location on Oahu I would choose, but once on the resort you have everything you need and the views are spectacular. There are endless things to keep you entertained and happy! It is a bit of a drive to other sight seeing attractions compared to Honolulu or Waikiki but well worth it! Beautiful resort!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank travlinbirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
61 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2012

Everything you would expect from a Disney resort, great facilities, terrific service, and lots of creativity all in a fantastic location. For families I can't think of a better way to do Oahu. The pool alone will keep kids happy from morning to night. Add the snorkeling experience and protected lagoon beach and you won't want to venture beyond the resort. We did venture out on a number of days to take in the sights, but found our days at the resort to be just as fulfilling and more relaxing.

All in all, Disney does it again.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Joe J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toms River, New Jersey
Level Contributor
72 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2012

Traveled there May - June for 13 days in an ocean view standard room. Room sleeps 4 with a super soft king size bed plus a sleeper sofa.

Resort is only 9 months old has a Salt water pool, huge standard pool with two water slides in a mountain, a lazy river, plus a large kids play area. Highlights included the SPA my wife raved and said it's one the largest and nicest she has ever spent a day at. For the family the pools, ocean lagoon, and the staff just fantastic.

We did sight see but changed much of our plans as everyone preferred to stay at this resort.

Room Tip: All rooms are great. Ocean view means the room is angled towards the ocean but not directly facing...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bennisennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
175 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2012

My family stayed 3 nights (not nearly enough time) in mid June. We had an unforgettable time! I would like to congratulate and thank the Aulani for Auntie's Beach House. The time my kids spent there was some of the best of our entire 7 night stay in Hawaii. Auntie has outdone herself! The staff was warm and obviously so happy to work there. I could not believe that it was all for free/included in the rate. Which though astronomically high, was worth every cent!
The pool area is one of the best I have ever seen. The slide and lazy river pool was so much fun. Do not leave without trying the shave ice! All around, the staff was very friendly and professional.
The rooms:
Unfortunately, even though this is the one of the most expensive hotels we have ever stay at. There is nothing plush or luxurious about the rooms. We have stayed at other Disney hotels in Orlando and Anaheim. As expected, the Aulani has the same small, clean rooms. Even though I booked what I thought would be higher category DVC ocean view, studio. When I saw how small it was, I asked to be downgraded to a 2 queen, no view room instead. They claim that they are both the same size. Yet somehow, the 2 Q felt roomier. We lost the wet bar and view in the move. But with the money we saved, we did some extra paid activities in the hotel. Like snorkel in the awesome man made coral reef pool. The kids also had dinner with Chip and Dale. Both of these activities turned out to be their favorites at the hotel. Unless you are in a one bedroom DVC villa (we got a glimpse at one), the lowest category room in just fine. You will not be spending any time there. If you are doing the Aulani right. You will be out having fun.
The Spa:
While the kids were at Auntie's, my husband and I took in the spa. It was the nicest spa ever. Very environmental in their approach. I loved the outdoor pools. The staff was great. They are there to serve! Serve tea, water, blankets, muffins, anything you need. I wish I was there right now.
Eating:
We spent one amazing afternoon watching the NBA playoffs at Off the Hook restaurant which was right off the pool. Typical yummy, (not so pricey), bar food. Like in all Hawaii, the drinks are too expensive. But the bartender was great.
We also had one "fine" meal at 'Ama'Ama. The food was tasty. The problem is that for the price, you expect a more refined environment. Or at least have the guests change out of their pool clothes. There should be at least one adults only restaurant on site. I think that they might have missed the mark on that by not building an upscale restaurant in one of the towers. It would have been nice to have a high view of the ocean away from the excitement of the pool area. I wish we had gone next door to the JW for dinner instead.
Not overcrowded:
One of the reasons I so enjoyed my time at Aulani was that it did not feel crowded. We did not struggle to find pool chairs. Or wait very long for a drink. The reason for this might be because they have only opened one of the 2 room towers. I have no idea where all the guests from the 2nd tower will go when it opens. When it does, I anticipate overcrowding and a change in the chill, happy environment. I would go now, before it opens.
Not very Disneyfied:
The Aulani is all the buzz with locals and tourist alike. We heard a lot of excitement when we told people we were on our way there. It represents Disney
for those that have not been to the theme parks. Those people might come here and be disappointed. It is not a theme park! Sure there are a few characters walking around. But nothing like you would expect if you are looking for a extreme Disney experience. Even the gift shop is understated. We had a hard time finding Disney items to bring home. I get their non-commercial Hawaiian approach. I was not expecting to find the Disney Store. But a bit more selection would have been nice.

Room Tip: Unless you drink a lot of soda, the refillable drink cup is not worth the $20. Ask for a microwave i...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank flaura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Property: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Address: 92-1185 Ali'inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-4434
Region: United States > Hawaii > Oahu > Kapolei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Kapolei
Price range (per night): ₹ 28,188 - ₹ 57,478
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 819
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Aulani, a Disney Resort And Spa In Hawai`i
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa In Hawai`i Hotel Kapolei
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Oahu, Hawaii - Kapolei

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