6 night Stay - Guidance Please

sarajda

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Our family will be at Aulani for 6 nights in early August. Based on the DVC site and lack of room availability it looks like it will be crowded as heck. I want to make sure i make the necessary reservations and/or understand the processes/hacks for making it memorable for family. Can use some guidance please --

Here are our details:
  • 6 of us: 2 adults and 4 kids, ages (6,8, 9 and 15).
  • We will have spent 7 days on the Big Island prior to visiting Aulani
  • We have a 2 bdrm island view
  • I've reserved a pool cabana for 2 days, one on a weekday and one on a Sunday. I'd like to pare to 1 day.
  • I want to make sure to schedule a Pearl Harbor Tour (any hacks?)
  • Explore the Stars, Fire Pit Story telling are of interest. What else? Do i make reservations months in advance or at resort?
  • Luau, i'm less excited about following a less than impressive Polynesian Resort experience.
Again, your thoughts are appreciated.
Pearl Harbor tour we did by renting a car. Tickets for the Arizona can be reserved the day before on the website if it is open by then.

For a luau just walk next door to Paradise Cove! Also if you want a good meal close walk across the street to Monkeypod.

If you want character dining the dinner is much better than the breakfast, but offered less days of the week.

If you have a car Kualoa Ranch is also fun for movie tours and beautiful scenery. There’s a macadamia nut farm across the road from the ranch as well and several of the famous driftwood beach swings along the road for family pics.
 

rocketriter

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 14, 2003
I would add, if you're on Waikiki: the aquarium near the Honolulu Zoo is very nice. It's even smaller than the zoo but has exotic fish and is easily worth the hour or so it takes to go through it.
 

Disneymooner07

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
We just got back from six nights at Aulani. I would recommend steering clear of the luau at Aulani - for the price, it was a total ripoff. I’ve been to 3 or 4 other luaus in Hawaii before (Maui, Kauaui) and there was a lot more dancing than this luau had. Perhaps I’m a bit jaded because when we went to Aulani 3 years ago, they basically offered this same show for free and it was entertaining then, but nothing amazing. Now they just added some terrible food and lots of waiting in between and a few paltry kids activities that drag the whole thing out to 3 hours (not to mention the 30 minutes you end up waiting in line in the sun to get in) with still only about an hour of actual show. For almost $600 for general seating for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids), I thought it was a total ripoff. Character dinner at Makahiki was more worth the $200 as the food was better (though not great) but the character interaction was very good. Avoid the luau!!

You may also want to make time for the kids to do the Menehune Trail around the resort - my kids all begged to do it and it was fun for the whole family. Firepit is not time consuming, just go when you get a chance. Also, we snagged some awesome sunset photos on the beach with the photopass photographers - that’s a great perk! They had like 3-4 photopass photographers on the beach and you can get a whole bunch of photos!

Outside of Aulani, we did Manoa Falls, Haleiwa, Waimea Falls, surfing with SurfHNL, and lots of local eating and those were all super fun.
 
  • sarajda

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2019
    We just got back from six nights at Aulani. I would recommend steering clear of the luau at Aulani - for the price, it was a total ripoff. I’ve been to 3 or 4 other luaus in Hawaii before (Maui, Kauaui) and there was a lot more dancing than this luau had. Perhaps I’m a bit jaded because when we went to Aulani 3 years ago, they basically offered this same show for free and it was entertaining then, but nothing amazing. Now they just added some terrible food and lots of waiting in between and a few paltry kids activities that drag the whole thing out to 3 hours (not to mention the 30 minutes you end up waiting in line in the sun to get in) with still only about an hour of actual show. For almost $600 for general seating for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids), I thought it was a total ripoff. Character dinner at Makahiki was more worth the $200 as the food was better (though not great) but the character interaction was very good. Avoid the luau!!
    Seriously, for the luau walk next door to Paradise Cove. They do boat rides in the cove, you can made head pieces and bracelets, they have people drawing temporary tattoos on, spear throwing, a few other games, etc. the food is good, the show showcases dancing from all the islands, the sunset is usually beautiful.
     

    linco711

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 17, 2004
    Regarding activities at the resort...I enjoyed the Ukelele class and also painting a cel. And I like to go to the fire pit storytelling multiple times. Also make sure you do the menehune trail to see all the little suprises you might normally just walk past.

    I did the character breakfast by myself for my 50th birthday, but this year I am making my 83 yo mother go with me :)
    Sounds like a great way to celebrate! I’m sure your mom will love it too!
     

    gopper

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2014
    Regarding activities at the resort...I enjoyed the Ukelele class and also painting a cel. And I like to go to the fire pit storytelling multiple times. Also make sure you do the menehune trail to see all the little suprises you might normally just walk past.

    I did the character breakfast by myself for my 50th birthday, but this year I am making my 83 yo mother go with me :)
    Have a wonderful birthday!
     

    bobbiwoz

    I'm happy to dance with you!
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2003
    My DSis and I were disappointed with snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. However from there we did a shore road tour that had fabulous vistas.
     
  • seasheller

    seasheller
    Joined
    Jun 6, 2007
    Check if the Pearl Harbor tours are even available. We were there in September 2018 and they were closed for repair. We could only take the boat tour to the Arizona and even that closed three days later because the loading platform was sinking. But they have had seven months to fix everything so hope it is all open for you.
     

    KayKayJS

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 3, 2013
    My husband and I have done both Aulani's luau and paradise cove next door and both of us greatly preferred Paradise Cove. Aulani's was def better than the Polynesian's but not by much in my opinion. I felt like the activities were not great compared to Paradise Cove and I didn't like the food.

    We *did* do Paradise Cove VIP which was worth every penny. We don't have kids (first is due in Sept) yet but when we go back in a year or two with grandma in tow we will be doing Paradise Cove VIP again.
     
  • kyton

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 10, 2012
    Check if the Pearl Harbor tours are even available. We were there in September 2018 and they were closed for repair. We could only take the boat tour to the Arizona and even that closed three days later because the loading platform was sinking. But they have had seven months to fix everything so hope it is all open for you.
    They are still in the process of repairing the Memorial and there is no ETA on them being finished. They are still doing the launch ride out and around the Memorial for visitors.
     

    AussieDisneyfans

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2017
    We just got back from six nights at Aulani. I would recommend steering clear of the luau at Aulani - for the price, it was a total ripoff. I’ve been to 3 or 4 other luaus in Hawaii before (Maui, Kauaui) and there was a lot more dancing than this luau had. Perhaps I’m a bit jaded because when we went to Aulani 3 years ago, they basically offered this same show for free and it was entertaining then, but nothing amazing. Now they just added some terrible food and lots of waiting in between and a few paltry kids activities that drag the whole thing out to 3 hours (not to mention the 30 minutes you end up waiting in line in the sun to get in) with still only about an hour of actual show. For almost $600 for general seating for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids), I thought it was a total ripoff. Character dinner at Makahiki was more worth the $200 as the food was better (though not great) but the character interaction was very good. Avoid the luau!!

    You may also want to make time for the kids to do the Menehune Trail around the resort - my kids all begged to do it and it was fun for the whole family. Firepit is not time consuming, just go when you get a chance. Also, we snagged some awesome sunset photos on the beach with the photopass photographers - that’s a great perk! They had like 3-4 photopass photographers on the beach and you can get a whole bunch of photos!

    Outside of Aulani, we did Manoa Falls, Haleiwa, Waimea Falls, surfing with SurfHNL, and lots of local eating and those were all super fun.
    Hi Disneymooner07 - I read that you had surfing lessons with SurfHNL - I have actually been looking into them to book a lesson for my 11yr daughter for our upcoming trip in December. It seems you had a fun experience with them - would recommend them? thanks
     

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