Hawaii Aulani for first trip?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by lifesgr8, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. lifesgr8

    lifesgr8 Mouseketeer

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    I have never been to Hawaii. Thinking about taking the family for Christmas. For sure want to see Pearl Harbor and other cultural things. More of a sightseeing trip than a "relaxing" trip.

    So I wonder if the $1000 a night it would cost me for Aulani would be a waste as we wont be hanging out at the resort. Or is that normal for Hawaii so I might as well just stay at Aulani?

    Aulani is my first choice but, Im afraid I wont want to leave the resort.

    Any of you have experience with staying Disney vs. other properties in Oahu? I would rather have beach access where we stay as well.
     
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  3. Pakey

    Pakey <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/509

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    If you are planning a trip full of sightseeing, I would not pick Aulani. While a beautiful resort, I wouldn't pay that much to stay there (I own DVC and used points). You can find lodging for a lot less in a more convenient location for that sightseeing. Everything is a good drive from Aulani.

    When we stayed at Aulani, we spent that time at the resort. The resort is nice and the pool is fantastic. There are nicer resorts in Hawaii but Aulani is very nice for a destination resort.

    What I would do if I was you, I'd pick a hotel in Waikiki for most days and perhaps just go for your last night to Aulani where you can spend the time there and enjoy the resort and pool. The beach is ok there, not spectacular but the great thing is that it's not crowded. There are many hotels in Waikiki with beach access that will be more convenient for sightseeing. It's an easy drive from Aulani back to the airport.
     
  4. lifesgr8

    lifesgr8 Mouseketeer

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    Can you explain Waikiki to me? I own worldmark and am a member of RCI and II, when I look at the resorts available to me on those 3 websites....the resorts all look like high rise hotels in downtown honolulu. Which was a bit of a let down for me. When I looked at II I dont think I was getting a very good look at what resorts they have to offer as only 2 came up.
     
  5. gjl

    gjl Mouseketeer

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  6. mmmears

    mmmears DIS Veteran

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    Aulani isn't a good "base" for sightseeing since it's way off the beaten path and quite expensive, even for Hawaii.

    I would stay in Waikiki (yes it does look like high-rise Honolulu) for that part of your trip and then if you want a few Disney days to relax I'd move over to Aulani.
     
  7. Heather1979

    Heather1979 Mouseketeer

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    Keep in mind I haven't been to Waikiki for 7 years, but we stayed in Waikiki in a timeshare (not ours) for our honeymoon. It was a resort quest or something similar sounding. It was beautiful, we were on the 27th floor. Waikiki is NOT Honolulu, and there are some high rise buildins in Waikiki. My building was about 2 block walk to teh beach (not bad at all). If you are sihtseeing in Oahu, Aulani is near the airport, and pretty western if my memory serves me correctly. Pearl Harbor must be relatively close, but other things worth checking out are quite a drive and it is not centrally located. Hanauma Bay is a MUST do when you are there- get up as early as possible and get there for some awesome snorkeling!
     
  8. gjl

    gjl Mouseketeer

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  9. POOHsie

    POOHsie DIS Veteran

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    We have stayed on the beach at the Hale Koa military resort, and next door on the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We really liked the Hilton for its many offerings. Last time we stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki ocean-front. Next door to the Sheraton was the landmark Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a beautiful and classic old-timer that was lovely to walk thru and dine at. I could recommend any of these hotels. Aulani is so far in the other direction that, to me, it is a destination resort. Personally, I would go to the Waikiki area.
     
  10. Magic3forme

    Magic3forme Grand Slam club members

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    I wouldnt spend that much money for Aulani per night. There are plenty of other hotels, and a lot less expensive.
    We stayed at Marriott Ko'Olina. (free points). -- right next door to Aulani. (wasnt open yet.)
    it was a nice area, but it is off the beaten path a ways.

    There is so much to see and do, we didnt spend a ton of time at our resort.
    dont laugh but the water was a lot colder than I expected it to be.
     
  11. 1coolnini

    1coolnini Mouseketeer

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    Looks like everyone has the same opinion. If this is your first visit to Hawaii, Aulani is not the place you want to stay for your home base. Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful resort. I have booked and cancelled there several times!! However for the price you would pay I always end up back at the Hilton Hawaiian Village (Ali'i tower). As someone else has said....Honolulu is not Waikiki. Honolulu is a big city with lots of high rise buildings and office buildings. Waikiki is a stretch of beach with lots of hotels and restaurants. Many of the hotels are high rise as well. Trading in timeshare weeks can be difficult in Hawaii since it is such a popular destination. If you take your Aulani budget and do a bit of research you should be able to find a very nice beach front hotel room in Waikiki. One thing that is so appealing about staying in Waikiki is the walkability to great restaurants, beaches, entertainment,etc. You will not have that at Aulani. You will need to drive to do any shopping or visit restaurants outside of the resort.
     
  12. Kimberle

    Kimberle WL Vet

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    We spent 10 days in Oahu last summer. We choose to stay on Wikiki. We did not need to rent a car as many attractions are within walking distance or off the Trolley. We also took a couple bus tours. They pick you up right at your hotel. Traffic in Honolulu is very busy. Aulani it a good 30-45-60 minutes from Wikiki. You will need a rental car as the tours don't pick up at Aulani. (Unless Disney has arranged their own tours. I don't know about that.)

    There have been several threads on this same subject. Just do a search.
    Hawaii is beautiful, enjoy!
     
  13. trishypoo

    trishypoo Mouseketeer

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    We are planning a trip in August. Trying to decide if we want to stay 4 nights@ Aulani then fly to Maui for 4 or 5 nights. OR Do the NCL PRide of America cruise and then stay at Aulani for 3 nights after the cruise. ANy thoughts......:confused3
     
  14. dlrhine

    dlrhine <font color=teal>DIS Veteran who was away for a wh

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    We stayed at the Outrigger Reef and loved it and wasn't too bad price wise! Also the shorebird restaurant has a great breakfast. Is was easy to do the tours from that resort.
     
  15. Itinkso

    Itinkso Faith.Trust.Pixie Dust

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    We like the Pacific Beach Hotel on Waikiki and never needed a car when staying there. We would book tours to Hanauma Bay that would pick us up at the hotel. We've also rented a house in Kailua and then used a rental car to explore on our own; that was by far the least expensive way to explore Oahu.
     
  16. WDW_Diane

    WDW_Diane Mouseketeer

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    If you have never been to Hawaii before, I would say that your idea of going over to Maui for a few days is a great idea. It is a wonderful island with lots to do. We've been there twice.
     
  17. trishypoo

    trishypoo Mouseketeer

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    May I ask Where you stayed in Maui??
     
  18. Itinkso

    Itinkso Faith.Trust.Pixie Dust

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    Kaanapali Beach hotel on Maui is very nice. They have a lot of Hawaiian craft activities along with hula lessons and it is right on the beach! Kaanapali is close to Lahaina.
     
  19. WDW_Diane

    WDW_Diane Mouseketeer

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    We have stayed at both The Hyatt and Sheraton. Both are great, and if you're looking for more of a bargain, try the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.
     
  20. guynhawaii

    guynhawaii Mouseketeer

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    Aloha,

    A lot of great info here. Generally speaking, y'all are very correct. Aulani is a destination resort. If you intend to do a lot of touring (Pearl Harbor, North Shore, Waikiki, etc...) DON'T stay at Aulani. Stay at Waikiki. Depending upon how deep your pockets are, Sheraton Waikiki is ideally located for Waikiki hotels.

    For Maui, if you have children which enjoy pools I would most strongly recommend the Grand Wailea. For any pool junkie, it's heaven. And it has a great adult olympic size pool too, and a superlative beach.
     
  21. FlygirlHNL

    FlygirlHNL Earning My Ears

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    Aulani is pricey if you aren't going to enjoy the resort. Maybe you could stay there for a few days and in Waikiki for the rest of the time.
     

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