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Old 08-07-2012, 02:18 PM   #1
logpey
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Smile Aulani Trip Report/Review

Gosdin Ohana presents
Aloha from Aulani

In my eyes nothing better than Walt Disney World, so in planning my familys first trip to Disneys Aulani Resort on the beautiful island of Oahu, I tried not to compare the two. It was pretty easy considering theres NO Castle, NO Epcot & NO Rides unless you consider the Waikolohe Pools, Lagoon & Menehune Bridge as such. After a short seventeen miles from the airport we arrived at the private KoOlina Resort & Marina where Aulani is located.

The minute we arrived we were greeted with Aloha Gosdin Ohana & given two gorgeous aromatic leis for me & my daughter & two Kukui nut lei necklaces for my hubby & son & cool pineapple infused water for our thirst. Our gracious host Teresa gave us a quick yet informative introduction to Disneys Aulani Resort; next bell services Jonathan whisked us away to our home for six nights. We were granted our request of a ground level- poolside garden view room facing Waikolohe Valley #130


It was perfectly located near the Laniwai Spa, elevators, & main door to Waikolohe Valley which lead to the beach & all outdoor activities. Beautifully large accommodations considering we booked a standard room, very roomy bathroom with double vanity. The room décor was superb in design with subtle hints of Disney, yet otherwise authentic to its Hawaiian roots. Our favorite part, besides Goofys voicemail welcoming my family to Aulani, was our private ground level patio- --with a little brick pathway that lead us to Waikolohe Valley.

We received our daily Iwa, listing current events & activities around the resort, such as: Kids club at Auntys Beach House, Pau Hana Room Activities like lei making which we enjoyed one rainy day, also its the place you pick up your handheld device for the Menehune Adventure, NEATO. There is also Painted Sky Teen Spa, M0olelo Fire Pit Storytelling with Uncle & Tip#1 de piece de resistance the Starlit Hui, I cant implore you enough to attend this show, our absolute Fav of the trip. Also just turn on your T.V to the resort channel & receive more information on Aulani activities.


We ate our continental breakfast everyday in the Olelo Room with a special package we pre-purchased. Its a small area & gets crowded quickly, they also have a small outside dining area, but its usually filled with Character meetings, which happened quite regularly, you have plenty of photo ops & Disneys PhotoPass photographers are stationed all over. Sometimes I forgot I was at a Disney Resort, and then Mickey or Goofy would walk by and I would smile. We dined at One Paddle Two Paddle & Off the Hook for lunch, prices were reasonable, AMA AMA was good but considering the amount your spending, it should be all that and a bag of Mouse Ears---with any new resort, it takes time to work out the kinks & Disney is no ordinary resort, in no-time it will be smooth sailing.Go Disney...


The gift shop at Aulani is where you buy & refill your refillable mug for$18.95. The shop is rather small considering the resort spans over 21 acres. Its also where you view & purchase your photopass. Basic Disney fare, with a few Hawaiian shirts & Aulani logoed items to purchase. Ladies, the Dooney & Bourke purses/wallets Aulani collection was slim to none, I was very sad about this, on the other hand, my hubby was very happy. Just a tiny bit of fresh food for sale, such as: sandwiches, salads, & I think sushi, they did have grocery items & all types of drinks from sodas to liquor, also expect to pay Disney pricing PLUS. This is Hawaii peeps!!!!!


My daughter Peyton & I enjoyed Laniwai Spa during our stay. Peyton received a terrific haircut, while I personally didnt care about my hair, I wanted rubbed by a masseuse. As a matter of fact--I received two massages on two separate occasions, they were exceptional. First I had their signature massage the Lomilomi & the next day the Shiatsu. I wasnt impressed with the spas outdoor area, hard to be tranquil when the JW Marriott delivery/trash trucks are beeping literally next door, But we very much enjoyed the interior of the Laniwai Spa & personnel, well done Aulani!
I recommend eating & shopping at the restaurants & ABC Island Country Market across the street within walking distance from Aulani in the Ko'Olina Shopping center. They also offer a free neighborhood shuttle. We enjoyed many lunches at Just Tacos Grill & Cantina, Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor & KoOlina Hawaiian Barbecue, also a full service deli at the ABC Country Island Market. We bought souvenirs, ate & shopped for our alcoholic beverages or Abracadabra as I like to call them. Fantastic prices compared to the resort. TIP#2 I highly suggest shopping at this market before checking in the resort, especially if you're staying in a DVC room, they offer makeup, floats, suntan lotion, medicine, clothes, hats, etc. We ate our first Pineapple Cheeseburger called The Ko'Olina Burger while there.

We loved the lagoon & lounge chairs, we spent more time in the lagoon than the pool, fair warning the pool & lagoon are cold. We also tried paddle boarding our first time & fell in love with it. We rented the equipment from Makiki Joes Beach Rentals, you can rent with your room key/if your credit card is attached or just buy a Disney giftcard & put the amount you wish on it, they can be purchased at the Lava Shack, a poolside store with food & outdoor refillable drink spot by the Waikolohe pool & next to the Papalua Shave Ice stand. Be prepared to pay the paddle board is $30 per hour. The main Waikolohe Pool we didnt really use, but the hot tubs were fab & a favorite of ours around sunset. We did however use the Waikolohe stream & slides, short wait & terrific fun. Be careful, the steps to the slide are obviously wet & very slippery, I know from personal experience (OUCH), I dont think it had anything to do with the three Mai Tais, LOL! Hey when in Hawaii-do as the Hawaiians. All in all, we had a fabulous vacay at Aulani Resort & Spa and would definitely return. Mahalo & Aloha!
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Last edited by logpey; 10-21-2012 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:24 PM   #2
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Glad to know you had a great experience at Aulani! I love it there; great as our staycations!
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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Thank you for your detailed and honest review! I have a much clearer picture of what to expect from Aulani. Hawaii has always been on our to-do list. When Disney built Aulani, it made us more interested. However, due to price to fly a family of 5 we don't want to be impulsive. We love to hear first hand opinions. For now, the closest to Hawaii our family has been is our stays at the Poly! Thanks again!
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:11 PM   #4
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Great review, thank you for posting! A couple of questions: were there activities at the resort for your teen daughter? I'm wondering if there will be things to keep my 13 yr old busy. Also, I hate to hear about how noisy the area outside the spa is, we will be there during the upcoming constriction so I'm anticipating it to be even worse. I have several days of spa treatments planned so I was happy to hear that you enjoyed the inside area. Can you tell me a little bit about the relaxation areas inside? Was your daughter able to join you?
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:12 PM   #5
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeylove View Post
Glad to know you have a great experience at Aulani! I love it there; great as our staycations!
Very enjoyable time, even though they had the most rainfall/hail in 20 years while we visited!
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinkermommyof3 View Post
Thank you for your detailed and honest review! I have a much clearer picture of what to expect from Aulani. Hawaii has always been on our to-do list. When Disney built Aulani, it made us more interested. However, due to price to fly a family of 5 we don't want to be impulsive. We love to hear first hand opinions. For now, the closest to Hawaii our family has been is our stays at the Poly! Thanks again!
I know, sometimes its hard to give a honest review for Disney, but I wasn't going to let it stop me from telling the truth! I agree on how expensive it is to fly to Hawaii, I was shocked by the prices & I sadly I paid them. By the way the POLY is my fave also, I've previously written a trip report for it! Have a great day!
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http://s809.photobucket.com/albums/zz17/logpey/ https://picasaweb.google.com/1069180...eat=directlink
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:10 PM   #7
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Question

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Originally Posted by counselormom View Post
Great review, thank you for posting! A couple of questions: were there activities at the resort for your teen daughter? I'm wondering if there will be things to keep my 13 yr old busy. Also, I hate to hear about how noisy the area outside the spa is, we will be there during the upcoming constriction so I'm anticipating it to be even worse. I have several days of spa treatments planned so I was happy to hear that you enjoyed the inside area. Can you tell me a little bit about the relaxation areas inside? Was your daughter able to join you?

She likes to lay out, swim & beach activities/water slides etc, so we were great there. She was too old for Kids club at Aunty's beach house, they would not let us in to tour because it was after a certain time of day, your can enter at any age during morning hours, but after that, their extremely strict, which we understood. They have Painted Sky--teen spa/hangout for teenagers, gotta try the yogurt' it's good. No boys were there at all & no one for my son to hang with. Plenty of physical activities like watersports or Menehune Adventure games were fun... As far as the outside spa area-- I was shocked to sit outside all by my lonesome----and not just once, a few times I heard beep, beep, beep on the other side of fence, literally! It brought me back to reality real fast, like garbage Friday at home... I joined my daughter in the beginning of her haircut, then I was called to the spa area (a different hall)for my massage, when my daughter finished, she went back to the room, where hubby & son were. Our room was right around corner from Spa, it was meant for us to visit more than once, or so that's what I told the hubby! Heha--- Take care I hope I answered your questions, if you have more, please let me know!

P.S. Request Chenoa --She was my spa masseuse and she was fab, loved her & she didn't talk too much, she was perfect! The inside of spa was Magnificent!!!
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2012 Sept/POR 2013 Feb/BCR CL 2013 OCT POR 2014 July/DCL
http://s809.photobucket.com/albums/zz17/logpey/ https://picasaweb.google.com/1069180...eat=directlink
Trip Report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=43064690#post43064690
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Last edited by logpey; 10-20-2012 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:22 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply. Funny about garbage Friday, I'll have to take my iPod to block out the garbage trucks and the construction noise My teen enjoys all those things as well so I'm sure she will be fine. You would think they would have beach activities for teens . I will be sure to request Chenoa, thanks for the tip.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:31 PM   #9
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Wink You're welcome!

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Originally Posted by counselormom View Post
Thanks for the reply. Funny about garbage Friday, I'll have to take my iPod to block out the garbage trucks and the construction noise My teen enjoys all those things as well so I'm sure she will be fine. You would think they would have beach activities for teens . I will be sure to request Chenoa, thanks for the tip.

Have a blast!
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:52 AM   #10
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thanks for sharing. do you remember what nights the Starlit Hui was? thanks
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:27 PM   #11
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Lightbulb Starlit Hui

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thanks for sharing. do you remember what nights the Starlit Hui was? thanks
I think during our stay the Starlit Hui performed Monday & Thursday @ 7:00-8:30pm. So wonderful, the whole experience!!You will LOVE it!
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:20 PM   #12
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Thank You for the wonderful and HONEST trip report. We are trying to find out EVERYTHING we can about Aulani - we are going in May and cannot wait!!!! I planned to do the Spa at least once - I heard about the lomilomi on "live with kelly" - lol - gotta try it!!!

Did you guys do or see the stingray pool snorkeling? Our son will be 13 - and he's VERY interested in doing this. Also, did you do any of the tours? We are looking at doing the catamaran experience. I'd LOVE ANY other info you have or any other details - such as the tips for the ABC store across the street - as we're DVC - we'll be in a villa - and plan on cooking some of the time - (we'll be there for 2 weeks).

Thanks again, glad you had an amazing time!!
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendypooh
Thank You for the wonderful and HONEST trip report. We are trying to find out EVERYTHING we can about Aulani - we are going in May and cannot wait!!!! I planned to do the Spa at least once - I heard about the lomilomi on "live with kelly" - lol - gotta try it!!!

Did you guys do or see the stingray pool snorkeling? Our son will be 13 - and he's VERY interested in doing this. Also, did you do any of the tours? We are looking at doing the catamaran experience. I'd LOVE ANY other info you have or any other details - such as the tips for the ABC store across the street - as we're DVC - we'll be in a villa - and plan on cooking some of the time - (we'll be there for 2 weeks).

Thanks again, glad you had an amazing time!!
Wow, two weeks, Lucky dog! Yes we saw the stingray pool & it looked ok, small area next to pool with experienced Disney employee on post, not a lot of people around it, but looked interesting. We actually planned on the snorkeling tank but had so much fun in lagoon & slides we thought why spend the money when lagoon was easy to snorkel in. The snorkel tank is next to the shaved ice stand & Lava Shack! No we did not do tours, we chose to do our own thing and really just chill at resort! You could get some grocery items at Ko-Olina ABC store (ko olina .com) but if getting a lot for two weeks worth, I would suggest buying them from a small area up the street named Kapolei and there you have a choice of Safeway, Costco & many eateries such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, etc. It's only a few short miles from Ko olina... Also along the way towards Aulani you will pass a Walmart --(easy to miss) just off Kunia Rd, 1/4 mike north of H-1 it's address is in Waipahu also one located in Pearl City by a home depot. (newer) if any other questions let me know, I will be glad to help, have fun..
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2012 Sept/POR 2013 Feb/BCR CL 2013 OCT POR 2014 July/DCL
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendypooh View Post
Thank You for the wonderful and HONEST trip report. We are trying to find out EVERYTHING we can about Aulani - we are going in May and cannot wait!!!! I planned to do the Spa at least once - I heard about the lomilomi on "live with kelly" - lol - gotta try it!!!

Did you guys do or see the stingray pool snorkeling? Our son will be 13 - and he's VERY interested in doing this. Also, did you do any of the tours? We are looking at doing the catamaran experience. I'd LOVE ANY other info you have or any other details - such as the tips for the ABC store across the street - as we're DVC - we'll be in a villa - and plan on cooking some of the time - (we'll be there for 2 weeks).

Thanks again, glad you had an amazing time!!
Just wanted to say that I'm going to Ko Olina (the Marriott resort) for two weeks in June (we own 2 weeks every other year, and love the 2 bedroom villas for our family). So if you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me! We cook in a LOT! Love to grill overlooking the ocean in the evenings, while the kids finish up swimming or rest from a long day on the beach or sightseeing.

We have gone 5 times before, and lived on Oahu for 3 years, so have it pretty much down as far as what we like to do (husband: run then work out, then relax!).

Aulani sounds great - we are planning on going over there to eat a couple of times. We want to try the buffet place (son loves sushi and sashimi!) and are glad to hear they have an a la carte menu now!
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:20 PM   #15
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I'm hoping the shopping will increase in size after the expansion. We go in February. Can't decide if I should visit the spa or get another Dooney & Burke purse. I bought a purse on our Disney cruise. I know, life is rough.
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