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Shuweb
10-21-2011, 02:27 AM
Hello, I am new here - in fact, this is my first post on this board. I joined this board in order to get more insight from those who have been to Aulani. My family is going there very soon, and we are excited! This is a much needed vacation for my whole family.

I am a picky traveler. In fact, the quality of the resort can make or break my experiences. If you'd like to see some of the places in the world that I have been to, please check out my personal site called Shuweb.

But enough about me. I am writing this because I have read some rather unfavorable reviews on the resort on other forums, namely TripAdvisor and Yelp. So I just need to know - are the complainers making more noise than the happy travelers, or are there significant service improvements to be made there?

If you have been to the Aulani, please reply. Some specific questions:
- where did you go for breakfast? I assume you don't need reservations? One person indicated that it did.
- how is the overall service? Are they understaffed based on your impression?
- how are the restaurants? People indicated that there was a long wait for the food.
- how are the shows? Are they appropriate for kindergarteners? By the way, my daughter LOVES Mini Mouse.
- how often do you see the characters on the resort? Do they not show up besides the character breakfast and nightly shows?

I'll keep reading through the many posts, but if you can answer them... Please do!

Disneyfn420
10-21-2011, 09:00 AM
I stayed at Aulani for 4 nights before a cruise. We did a lot of sightseeing too so wasn't at the resort non stop. Everyone in my party, and there were 11 of us LOVED it. The staff was totally Disney, friendly, helpful, went out of their way to help etc.

I am DVC so we had a full kitchen. We bought food to eat for breakfast. For dinner I ate mostly at One Paddle Two Paddle...that was my only complaint with Aulani was lack of quick service food choices. But since we only ate there a few nights it wasn't a big deal. There are plenty of places nearby to eat. We did do the character breakfast one morning. It's just Minnie and Goofy going around. And Aunty. Mickey takes pics when you first get there. It still was fun.

When we went the place seemed empty. Hardly anyone in the pools. You could walk up to any restaurant and get reservations. The only time it was crowded was the Character Breakfast and that was also a Saturday so could have been locals going there just to eat.

I didn't see the main show they have as we had a luau booked the night they do it but I heard it's amazing.

I saw the characters many times when it wasn't on the schedule. They do have assigned times for meet and greets though.

If you have anything I forgot, let me know. Hope it helps!

Hello, I am new here - in fact, this is my first post on this board. I joined this board in order to get more insight from those who have been to Aulani. My family is going there very soon, and we are excited! This is a much needed vacation for my whole family.

I am a picky traveler. In fact, the quality of the resort can make or break my experiences. If you'd like to see some of the places in the world that I have been to, please check out my personal site called Shuweb.

But enough about me. I am writing this because I have read some rather unfavorable reviews on the resort on other forums, namely TripAdvisor and Yelp. So I just need to know - are the complainers making more noise than the happy travelers, or are there significant service improvements to be made there?

If you have been to the Aulani, please reply. Some specific questions:
- where did you go for breakfast? I assume you don't need reservations? One person indicated that it did.
- how is the overall service? Are they understaffed based on your impression?
- how are the restaurants? People indicated that there was a long wait for the food.
- how are the shows? Are they appropriate for kindergarteners? By the way, my daughter LOVES Mini Mouse.
- how often do you see the characters on the resort? Do they not show up besides the character breakfast and nightly shows?

I'll keep reading through the many posts, but if you can answer them... Please do!

Grumpy6264
10-21-2011, 11:49 AM
My family and I are going to Aulani at the end of March and early April 2012. I have been looking at the reviews as well. There are some negative reviews, but there are more good reviews than bad reviews. Of the 35 reviews on TripAdvisor, 30 are 4 or 5 stars, the other 5 are average or below.

We are looking forward to our stay. It sounds like a wonderful place.

Pakey
10-21-2011, 12:02 PM
Schuweb, this is a Disney discussion board and you are not likely to get many reviews that are going to be negative about anything Disney related. I think the other forums you mentioned are going to be more objective.

bwvBound
10-21-2011, 08:04 PM
If you have been to the Aulani, please reply. Some specific questions:
- where did you go for breakfast? I assume you don't need reservations? One person indicated that it did.
- how is the overall service? Are they understaffed based on your impression?
- how are the restaurants? People indicated that there was a long wait for the food.
- how are the shows? Are they appropriate for kindergarteners? By the way, my daughter LOVES Mini Mouse.
- how often do you see the characters on the resort? Do they not show up besides the character breakfast and nightly shows?

I'll keep reading through the many posts, but if you can answer them... Please do!We stayed 8 nights in Sept in 1BR Unit Ocean View.

Breakfast: We ate in our room every morning. No reservations needed; food tasted great.

Overall Service: Very friendly with many staff members in the lobby waiting to help. In fact, we would have preferred less help from staff but with more aids for the "DIY" folks:
* on arrival: don't try to valet park my car but do direct me to available parking for check-in.
* provide luggage carts for guests who are carrying a large load in from Costco. (I don't want bell services for my food stuffs ... but a cart to help carry our boxes from self-parking, through the lobby, to our wing, up the elevator and down a long hallway would have been great!)
* BBQ grills. Again, I don't want a chef cooking my steaks ... I wanted to do this myself.

Restaurants: We ate at Ama'Ama for lunch once during our visit. It was very pleasant with no waiting for a table at 2PM. (We were walk up.)

Shows: We found the 'Story Telling with Uncle' only once. It was quite enjoyable. In fact, we really wished we had found it more often but there were some nights it didn't meet when/where advertised in the Daily Iwa. (We were there over the Grand Opening and the schedule went a bit sideways sometimes.) We also watched a movie on the lawn -- again, quite pleasant but I wish I had brought a pillow!

Characters: Yes, we saw Stitch, Goofy, Mickey and Minnie often from our lanai. They were available on the walk ways along the lazy river. Sometimes there were lines ... but not always.

Enjoy your planning!

Shuweb
10-22-2011, 01:50 AM
Good point.... But I assume a fellow DVC member would not let astray another, I hope.

Thanks everyone for your input. I will be there shortly before the new year, so I will report on it in full detail with photos when I get back.

On a side note, the funny thing is that I always avoided Oahu for the longest time because I viewed it as the "budget" island or that people just went to change planes. But this trip marks the second one in the last year and a half.... Like I say, the resort makes all the difference.

I'm looking forward to it!

Schuweb, this is a Disney discussion board and you are not likely to get many reviews that are going to be negative about anything Disney related. I think the other forums you mentioned are going to be more objective.

taaren
10-23-2011, 04:28 PM
Thanks for the input Disneyfn420 and BwvBound! I just booked a weekend in December, unfortunately Oceanview (studio) since that's all that was left at this late date but it took us awhile to make up our minds to go for sure ...
Do you have any recommendations on room requests? I would have preferred Island view since I can see the Pacific Ocean from my driveway and I love looking up the mountain when I'm on the other islands, but ... as long as I have the ocean view and we are going mainly to enjoy the pool/resort, is "Close to Elevators" the best request?
We're also contemplating the character breakfast since my son loved Goofy's Kitchen so much this last trip to DLR ... would you recommend making reservations or can we play that one by ear?

disneynutz
10-23-2011, 06:15 PM
Good point.... But I assume a fellow DVC member would not let astray another, I hope.

I think you will find that most people who have purchased a DVC interest at Aulani or any DVC resort for that matter, tend to think positive and down play any problems that they may have because they have a financial interest in the property. Who do you know would spend money on a resort with problems and then admit to it to the world?

:earsboy: Bill

carlbarry
10-23-2011, 08:18 PM
I think you will find that most people who have purchased a DVC interest at Aulani or any DVC resort for that matter, tend to think positive and down play any problems that they may have because they have a financial interest in the property. Who do you know would spend money on a resort with problems and then admit to it to the world?

:earsboy: Bill

I don't know . . . I read a LOT of complaints from owners!

bfosbenner
10-23-2011, 11:01 PM
I think you will find that most people who have purchased a DVC interest at Aulani or any DVC resort for that matter, tend to think positive and down play any problems that they may have because they have a financial interest in the property. Who do you know would spend money on a resort with problems and then admit to it to the world?

:earsboy: Bill

:rotfl2:
That statement reminds me of expensive import car owners... :rotfl:

slowly
10-25-2011, 03:32 AM
We stayed during Aulani's first weekend wich was during Labor Day weekend. Being as objective as possible, even with money vested, here are my positives and negatives:

Negatives:

The food really wasn't that great for the price you pay. This after having all three breakfast's comp'd!
They didn't say "Welcome Home"! Joke but true.
Only a few characters. If that's what you are looking for.
I didn't make too big of a deal BUT they never called me when our room was ready. We walked up after 4:00 pm and by golly they said it was ready. This after they sd they would call the first thing when it's ready!


Positives:

We live 15mins away and it seemed like we left for another paradise island resort!
The pool areas are fantastic especially the water slides and the lazy river with my DW.
Service was pretty good considering it was their very first wknd.
Mirrored the activities and kid's club to that of DCL. There is a daily events letter like the Navigator.
Ample beach front area for your enjoyment.
Safety, safety and safety! There are life guards every 20 ft around the pool area including the lazy river.
Did I mention 15 mins away??!!


I must say that staying there truly made us feel like our DVC dollars were well spent. This is the hottest ticket in town. If you have a rental car there is an area prior to the exit to Aulani where there is a Costco, Safeway, Target, Kmart and various restuarants to choose from so you won't feel strapped to your wallet or the resort.

taaren
10-25-2011, 02:40 PM
Positives:

We live 15mins away and it seemed like we left for another paradise island resort!
The pool areas are fantastic especially the water slides and the lazy river with my DW.
Service was pretty good considering it was their very first wknd.
Mirrored the activities and kid's club to that of DCL. There is a daily events letter like the Navigator.
Ample beach front area for your enjoyment.
Safety, safety and safety! There are life guards every 20 ft around the pool area including the lazy river.
Did I mention 15 mins away??!!


I must say that staying there truly made us feel like our DVC dollars were well spent. This is the hottest ticket in town. If you have a rental car there is an area prior to the exit to Aulani where there is a Costco, Safeway, Target, Kmart and various restuarants to choose from so you won't feel strapped to your wallet or the resort.
Okay couple of questions from a neighbor islander. Went to Manoa in the 90's so I know what to eat in Honolulu, but what is awesome to eat that's cheap near Aulani? (I don't mind L&L and Zippys, but is there equivalent 'special' stuff like Waimanalo shave ice, Teddys, etc?). Would you think the character breakfast is worthwhile? We saw 6 or so characters at Goofys kitchen and they interacted a lot but the cruise ship character breakfast was pretty much photos only, so if Aulani is like Goofys I'd love to take my son but if its just pics we can snag those around the resort for free. Any must-do activities? We're mostly going for the pool and have great snorkeling here but considering the Disney lagoon for DS5 since he can do lots of laps in the pool but still would be nervous to let him snorkel in the ocean.

slowly
10-26-2011, 03:13 AM
Okay couple of questions from a neighbor islander. Went to Manoa in the 90's so I know what to eat in Honolulu, but what is awesome to eat that's cheap near Aulani? (I don't mind L&L and Zippys, but is there equivalent 'special' stuff like Waimanalo shave ice, Teddys, etc?). Would you think the character breakfast is worthwhile? We saw 6 or so characters at Goofys kitchen and they interacted a lot but the cruise ship character breakfast was pretty much photos only, so if Aulani is like Goofys I'd love to take my son but if its just pics we can snag those around the resort for free. Any must-do activities? We're mostly going for the pool and have great snorkeling here but considering the Disney lagoon for DS5 since he can do lots of laps in the pool but still would be nervous to let him snorkel in the ocean.

If you trek down to Waipahu, there is Taniokas which is pretty darn awesome and the line on the weekend is out da door! They specialize in poke, fresh fish, gotta try the fish patty musubi's. Elena's, also in Waipahu has great pork adobo fried rice. In Kapolei, there is Genki which is cheap but quality not soo good. Assagio's Italian is pretty good. There are some good Pho places and one next to the movie theater in Kapolei. There is always $1.50 hot dogs from Costco. A bit pricey but very good is Roy's at the Koolina Golf course which is across the street from Aulani.

The character bfast is not so hot even for the characters. For the price you can get a better meal at Zippys! We went during their first true wknd during Labor Day and the best thing they had was the miso soup. There are only three characters that walk around and Mickey is only at the entrance in the lanai area where you have an opportunity to take pictures before your table is called.

The snorkel reef, which you pay for, is a safe activity for your DS. My DD8 loved it. It's a huge salt water aquarium with live fish that is a good break from the pool since the water is colder. The kid's activity area(Aunty's House) is a great area which is mirrored after DCL. They give each child the same bracelet as DCL. This is free except for lunch if you want them to feed your DS. I think it was $12 for the meal.

rparmfamily
10-26-2011, 05:28 AM
We stayed during Aulani's first weekend wich was during Labor Day weekend. Being as objective as possible, even with money vested, here are my positives and negatives:

Negatives:

The food really wasn't that great for the price you pay. This after having all three breakfast's comp'd!
They didn't say "Welcome Home"! Joke but true.
Only a few characters. If that's what you are looking for.
I didn't make too big of a deal BUT they never called me when our room was ready. We walked up after 4:00 pm and by golly they said it was ready. This after they sd they would call the first thing when it's ready!


Positives:

We live 15mins away and it seemed like we left for another paradise island resort!
The pool areas are fantastic especially the water slides and the lazy river with my DW.
Service was pretty good considering it was their very first wknd.
Mirrored the activities and kid's club to that of DCL. There is a daily events letter like the Navigator.
Ample beach front area for your enjoyment.
Safety, safety and safety! There are life guards every 20 ft around the pool area including the lazy river.
Did I mention 15 mins away??!!


I must say that staying there truly made us feel like our DVC dollars were well spent. This is the hottest ticket in town. If you have a rental car there is an area prior to the exit to Aulani where there is a Costco, Safeway, Target, Kmart and various restuarants to choose from so you won't feel strapped to your wallet or the resort.


We also live about 15 mins away, and stayed during the opening week, and have since stayed 2 more times and I can say they have improved in many areas. I think they are working out the kinks nicely. :)

Shuweb
10-26-2011, 08:43 AM
You may be right. All the more, I ask that people to give some honest opinions for everyone's sake. For people like me who live on the mainland, the average cost per day for the vacation comes out to something like $1K a day. It's not cheap, so even though I am all booked and paid for, I want to know what to expect.

I think you will find that most people who have purchased a DVC interest at Aulani or any DVC resort for that matter, tend to think positive and down play any problems that they may have because they have a financial interest in the property. Who do you know would spend money on a resort with problems and then admit to it to the world?

:earsboy: Bill

Shuweb
10-26-2011, 08:59 AM
You know what they need? They need a Princess or two, maybe Ariel... for all the little princess to be!

But seriously, I'm really looking forward to my trip, so thanks everyone for your input. This vacation is as much for me to unwind as it is for my daughter to enjoy a little Disney, and for my wife to get away from the day to day routine. It will also be the first for my daughter to really spend some quality, but lazy time on the beach, playing in the water, building sand castles, etc. I truly look forward to this being a wonderful getaway for us all.

No doubt, I will be posting pictures and giving detailed accounts of each day. You'll see it in a couple of months!