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Family Travel Guide to Aulani A Disney Resort and Spa

family travel guide to aulani resort and spaSummer is coming to an end, but it has been a summer filled with some amazing memories.  Doc and I became Disney Vacation Club members at the end of 2011 and we took our second trip to our home resort, Aulani. We get so many questions about the resort so wanted to share this family travel guide to Aulani A Disney Resort and Spa.

Aulani a Disney resort and spa travel guide

One of the most common questions we get relates to how much “Disney” one can expect at Aulani.  While each person in our family is a huge fan of Disney, we can honestly say part part of what we love about Aulani is that it is not over the top Disney.  Hawaiian music plays throughout the resort – not “It’s a Small World”. 🙂 We can rely on quality Disney service everywhere we go at the resort, give Goofy a high five as we pass him on a walkway periodically, and look at the daily schedule to arrange for Cal and Ava to meet characters and participate in the magic…if we want.

It’s the perfect “Disney” balance in our opinion.


There are so many amazing activities for families to enjoy at Aulani a Disney Resort and Spa. A favorite of many is the Rainbow Reef where you can snorkel with tropical fish or watch through the glass. Families with children of all ages can enjoy this because older ones can go in the reef for a full experience as another parent watches below with younger children.

family travel guide to Aulani A Disney Resort and Spa pools

The first year we traveled to Aulani, we traveled around the island  making sure we took it all in.  This year we realized the benefit of being a DVC Member…we don’t have to cram anything in on our trips.  Try to create that feeling on your vacation to Aulani a Disney Resort and Spa.

Your children will most likely want to play at the pool…

every day.  Let them enjoy it and enjoy how relaxed you feel as they run around happy.

family travel guide to Aulani A Disney Resort and Spa water park

When your kids need a change of pace, they can head over to the water park for endless hours of fun!  For those with older children, you can see the pools and water park from many of the rooms at Aulani, but make sure they are always supervised.

family travel guide to Aulani A Disney Resort and Spa lagoons  

Aulani is situated on the southwest corner of Oahu on the first of three lagoons in Ko Olina.  This picturesque area boasts walking paths and access to each of the lagoons so be sure you take walks and enjoy what each lagoon offers.  The first lagoon is perfect for swimming, but the second lagoon is where we head to snorkel with the kids.  The crystal clear water allows for great visibility in a safe environment.


Be sure  you check the Daily ‘Iwa each day for a full listing of events. This Aulani “newspaper” outlines all of the character meeting opportunities, activities for all ages, and special events throughout the day like outdoor movies, lei making, and aloha parties.


Aulani also has a wonderful treat for both children and adults in Auntie’s Beach House.  Children can go to special events at Auntie’s or simply play there while you enjoy dinner or some quiet time.  Auntie has a special magic so be prepared for your kids to ask to go back to her beach house each day.


While visiting Aulani, make time to do a Menehune Hunt.  I don’t really want to tell you much about menehune because part of the magic is learning about them and discovering this for yourself.  Once you are settled and have had a few days to enjoy the pools and lagoon, go to the Pau Hana Room to get everything you need for your hunt.  Technology meets tradition in this enjoyable activity.


An evening event we enjoy each year at Aulani is the Mo’Olena Fire Pit Storytelling. Uncle brings Hawaiian stories and tradition to life through stories, humor and song.  This is a chance to experience and learn from the culture.


Air travel makes bringing beach toys a bit challenging so each year we head to Target which is only a couple exits away and buy a small collection. We spend $10 at the most and before we leave, we gift it to another family that has just arrived.  When you travel to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa,focus on enjoying your time as a family and take in the Hawaiian culture and pay it forward.

If you have any questions about Aulani, feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.

Safe travels…

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  1. Aloha! love your post I actually live about 7mins away, it’s nice to see other’s come and post about it. The kids love the lagoons I taught my water babies to swim there because the water is so calm, the beach is just beautiful perfect teaching conditions. My mother in law is one of many Senior ambassador’s for Aulani (which I think is so cute) she speaks fluent Hawaiian not taught by books but by her Ohana (family). The Aulani truly brings the Aloha spirit to everyone who visits. Hope you guys get to come again. Malama Pono A hui hou (Take care until we meet again)

    • Thank you so much for stopping in Kymi! That was so sweet of you and we love to hear from others who love Aulani and that amazing corner of the island as well. 🙂 We will be back next summer for sure!

  2. I am definitely going to try to make it here one day! thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. I loved Aulani for my 4 and 2 year old. The only two things I would mention to families visiting would be:

    1. The food choices are somewhat limited in the resort. There are two restaurants and 1 fast service with limited hours. Last time we stayed there we got a kitchen for the nights we didn’t eat out.

    2. The waterpark though great is ONLY for children. If you are above 36″ you are not allowed to enter even to escort your toddler. It was hard keeping my little one last year away from it but she simply wasn’t confident enough to go on her own so that was one thing I wish was different.

    It certainly is kid paced. My kids enjoyed it we are going again this year 🙂

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