Aulani on a budget...

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by mevelandry, May 17, 2018.

  1. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Good morning,

    Last year, my DH and I have started organizing Family trips with his parents.

    So FIL and MIL followed us for a WDW & DCL (Bahamas) Land & Sea in 2017.

    This year, they followed us on a Carnival Cruise to Key West and Cozumel.

    In 2019, we are planning a Amber-Cove and Grand Turk cruise...

    But... They are not getting any younger and when my FIL was younger, he promised my MIL that someday, they would go on a vacation to Hawaii.

    Life has been a little chaotic because their first born was autistic so my MIL stayed home for many years, and unfortunately, that child passed a few weeks before my husband and I started dating.

    They are amazing people and they deserve the best which is why I haven't talked to them yet but I think now is the time for them to realize their life long dream: Hawaiii...

    But since we went to WDW my MIL is totally in love with Disney...

    So... Aulani?

    I think they will say yes. But I also want to make sure I got a good plan because I know it's going to be expensive.

    Any single tip that we could use in order to make that trip affordable you could give me will be very much appreciated.

    I only have one condition: the weather has to be right. It would be a shame to get rain all day because we wanted to save a few bucks.

    I think that in the worst case scenario they would be okay with sharing a room with us but sometimes with promotions, I think a suite with a closed room is not that much more expensive...

    We would stay 5 days. (I think I saw promotions buy 4 get 1 free?)

    Thanks in advance!

    P.s.: Do they have some kind of transportation to get there? None of us has a drivers license for now. (I might work on that as well. We'll see. LOL)

    P.s.2: How much do you have to pay for a deposit?

    P.s.3: How soon can we book and if there's a promotion after that, can we apply it on the original booking?

    EDIT: I pitched the idea to my FIL and MIL. They said yes. Everybody was crying tears of joy. Now, we are going to work hard in order to save the money for the trip. :)

    Please take note that we can't rent DVC points, for a question of flexibility regarding cancellation.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  2. keaster

    keaster DIS Veteran

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    The one tip I would suggest is look into renting DVC points. If there are 4 of you a two bedroom would be great for space and privacy. Also you would have a full kitchen and could do some meals on the cheap in your room to cut costs. David's DVC rentals has a cost calculator to give you and idea of room prices.

    In terms of weather, April-October is the better bet for less rain that November-March.

    Aulani does not have a dedicated airport shuttle like Magical Express, but there are shuttle services/cabs that can you to and from the resort.

    We have been to Aulani twice, and we are taking my MIL this August for her first trip to Hawaii as well. I think you would all have an amazing time!
     
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  4. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I'm not familiar with DVC rental. How "safe" and "easily cancellable" are they?

    We'll be travelling with seniors (slowly declining health).

    So trip cancellation is something that needs to be easy.

    We are aiming for 2020.
     
  5. alohamom

    alohamom DIS Veteran

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    I agree with @keaster that you should be looking at April-Oct weather wise but the summer months of mid June to late August are more expensive and much more crowded. Your best bet for a winning combo of decent weather and lower crowds is May or Sept into early October.

    A large chunk of your expense is going to be airfare and May/Sept are great months for lower air fare too. Plus SOuthwest is going to start flying to Hawaii so you might just luck out on a sale or other airlines competing with lower prices.
     
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  6. keaster

    keaster DIS Veteran

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    Securing the reservation is pretty safe and easy, but Unfortunately there is no leeway in cancelling a DVC rental reservation. Under the FAQ on the website, they do have a link to purchase travel insurance, I'm just not sure how comprehensive it is.

    DVC rentals are definitely better suited for those who can plan ahead of time without making a lot of changes/cancellations.
     
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  7. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

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    Not sure where you are coming from, but considering travel time, 5 days is not long enough.

    We own at the Marriott Ko Olina in the same area, coming from the East Coast we always stay at least 2 weeks. Last summer, I was there a month (we stretched our 2 weeks out, splitting it up into a studio for 2 weeks then the one bedroom for another 2 weeks). The shortest we've stayed is 10 days (which, next trip we will likely do as it's just me and DH going next year).

    You could consider renting a week at another resort, using that time to sight see, then ending with a few nights at Aulani and just enjoy the amenities at the resort. Rentals at the Marriott are not expensive (check out redweek). Unfortunately, as it's been stated, rentals are not cancellable.

    I would highly recommend a rental car. We always have one. I normally get the best price with Costco, but last summer I got it through discount hawaii car rental ($900 for a month).

    You could look into travel insurance.
     
  8. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I should mention that we leave from Montreal-Canada... But there are ways to book tickets for around 600$ roundtrip or we can go from Plattsburgh too in order to save a little money here and there.
     
  9. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    We live in Montreal, Canada. We are travelling with seniors and we cannot be absent from work for more than 1 week at the time unfortunately. The 5 nights will be at Aulani. We will most likely add 1 night at the beginning of the trip and 1 night at the end of the trip in airport hotels in order to facilitate the transition for my FIL and MIL.

    Regarding cars: none of us have a driver's license (Montreal's public transportation system is that good!). So car rental is not an option right now... BUT, I am currently looking to see if I could get one at some point so who knows.
     
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  10. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    By the way... I'm a bit confused regarding Dining. They don't offer some kind of a Dining Plan, right?

    How much does it cost to eat at each of the restaurants? (We are 4 adults)
     
  11. keaster

    keaster DIS Veteran

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    You are correct there is no dining plan. There is one quick service (Ulu Cafe), a buffet restaurant (Makahiki) and a sit down (Ama Ama). Also some smaller places with some quick service food like chicken fingers, shaved ice, etc. There is also a plaza across the road from Aulani with some restaurants as well.

    Here is a link where you can click on each Aulani restaurant and see sample menus/pricing:

    https://www.disneyaulani.com/dining/
     
  12. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!

    The 1000$ question: Do they have Dole Whip?
     
  13. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    I can't seem to find the prices on the menu, though...
     
  14. keaster

    keaster DIS Veteran

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    When you click for example, on the dinner Makahiki menu it shows at the bottom (adults $49.000)

    And yes, they have Dole Whips!
     
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  15. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

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    There is also a shopping center across the street, walking distance easily if you don't do the car (I understand it may not be worth getting a drivers license just for that). They have a market with some grab & go options and hot meals as well, cheaper than the market at Aulani. Also a few casual dining options.

    Food at Aulani is pricey to me.

    Having a car, we tend to shop and cook (but we're there longer), grill lunch or dinner. Or if we eat out it's more often lunch. There is also Costco that we get food from, and Target too, in town. At least breakfast foods and stuff for sandwiches and salads.

    I think if you just go for your shorter trip, at most you may want to go to the market and get some essentials.

    I'd hate to go all the way to Hawaii and not experience the culture (like conveyor belt sushi, the flea market at the stadium, Waikiki, the Bishop Museum, Pearl Harbor, the North Shore). If I were to just stay at the resort, I'd go elsewhere like a nice all inclusive in the caribbean. We go out almost daily when we're there. That being said, we lived on Oahu for 3 years and my oldest was born there.
     
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  16. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Ahhhhh ok. Different template. Now I know where to find them.

    Thanks for your patience. :)
     
  17. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much for the suggestion!

    Yes, I noticed it was a bit pricey even for Disney so that shopping center could be very helpful in order to get some essentials. We would still eat at the restaurants in Aulani once in a while but maybe not 3 meals a day! ;)

    Also, my husband and his parents HATE dressing up (they prefer casual/beach casual clothing on vacation) so I don't think we'll visit the chic restaurants very much... or at all!

    How safe is 'Oahu? Is is safe to get out of the resort at night?
     
  18. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    By the way, you guys are AMAZING!
     
  19. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

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    Oahu is generally safe. Only place I wouldn't walk around alone is maybe some areas of Waikiki or Honolulu. Walking around Ko Olina is really safe.

    No one dresses up on Oahu that much! I used to wear shorts to church and be perfectly fine. Even fine dining places, nothing more than a sundress or capris. Definitely a jacket or sweater at night, the breeze gets cool at times to me. It's very casual.
     
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  20. Pete W.

    Pete W. DIS Veteran

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    This is absolutely correct. My wife and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary on 3 of the islands including a stay at Aulani and we ate at what you would consider 'chic' restaurants including 'Ama'Ama at Aulani and Mina's Fish House next door at the Four Seasons and I wore shorts, sandals, and Hawaiian or other casual collared shirts and I was never under-dressed compared to others. As long as you don't wear swim suits and tank tops to the fancier restaurants you'll be fine.
     
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  21. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Oh good to know. Never been in Hawaii so I don't know the difference between Hawaii and the Caribbean when it comes to the weather over there.
     

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