Aulani this Summer - Honest Opinions

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by MacMama0930, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. MacMama0930

    MacMama0930 I've Found My Laughing Place

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    My family and I were almost ready to book Aulani this summer, probably the last week of July, but then I read reviews that said absolutely do not go there in the summer, way too crowded...So. I'm wondering, is it really that awful in terms of crowds? A little background - I've been too Disneyland many times, sometimes during very busy times like Christmastime and Halloweentime. We also just went to WDW last month and we always have a blast. I have never been one of those people who has let crowds ruin it for me at the parks. With that said, I get that the resort will be crowded, but the are the same people who are online complaining about the crowds at the parks the same ones who are complaining about the crowds at Aulani? Because if so, I don't think it will ruin it for us.

    However...I don't want to fight for space in the pool, or not be able to enjoy a sit down meal. The reason we are looking at this summer is because we've decided we probably shouldn't pull out our son next year as it'll be his first year in middle school and he's already anxious about school and falling behind. Thanksgiving in another option but flights are so expensive and often delayed, etc.

    So...give it to me straight...if Aulani is a no go in the summer...where else could we go? We live in California. We want to take a nice week long vacation this summer. Any other fun ideas? No cruises really port out of Cali this summer...
     
  2. Brancaneve

    Brancaneve That means Snow White in another language.

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    Hi! I just got back from Aulani and our family was there from November 15th to Thanksgiving Day (we flew back on Thanksgiving to save on airfare). We are from Northern California.

    We have been there in early June and now in Thanksgiving, and several years ago in February. While we were there last week, the hotel was almost at full capacity. I know this because I booked a room for my brother in law and his wife, and they got one of the last DVC hotel rooms and were only able to get two days!

    It was definitely more crowded than June but even then, we were always able to get pool chairs and the line for the slides were bearable. However, the beach area was pretty crowded and loud, but we swam to the very right of the lagoon and had a splendid time. As we left for the airport on Thursday, the hotel was very crowded as people started to arrive for the holiday weekend. If you go during Thanksgiving, I suggest missing one day of school and returning on Wednesday or Thanksgiving Day.

    Can you travel in early June as soon as school is out? Our school district ends the year at the very end of May and we usually travel as soon as the kids are done.
    We loved going at this time!
     
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  4. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    I can't speak to the crowds, but wanted to add that the summer months can be quite hot too. We were there in late September, which is the tail end of the summer season, and saw temps in the low to mid 80s which was a "cool down".

    If you decide to go for it, I would recommend booking a cabana or veranda (depending on party size) for any days you can. This will give you a reserved space for the day without having to get up early to stake out pool chairs.

    You can also try your luck getting chairs on the beach - these rarely (if ever) fill up and you can usually find open chairs there easily any time of day. DH and I did this and just walked back and forth to the pool - there's no line of sight to the pool if you're watching little kids, but its quick and easy enough to walk back and forth.

    As for meals, reservations are recommended no matter when you travel, so as long as you make reservations, you won't have to worry about not being able to have a sit down meal.

    And lastly, plan any excursion days for the weekend. You will avoid traffic on the island being a weekend, and you'll be away from Aulani which tends to be busier over weekend days due to locals.
     
  5. GooglyBear808

    GooglyBear808 Earning My Ears

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    I'd like to hear what people say about July crowds too as I just booked our DVC hotel room for 7/7 - 7/12/19. We were there the last week of June 2018 and some mornings I would head down around 0700 to reserve seats by the pool and there would be quite a bit of others doing the same thing. If crowds are heavier in July I would assume finding a free chair anytime after 0830 will be challenging.

    As far as other things to do: what about a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise on Carnival out of LB?
     
  6. cgattis

    cgattis DIS Veteran

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    We went in June (16-21 or so) last year, and while it was busy, I wouldn’t hesitate to return at this time. Yes, we wouldn’t have been able to find 4 loungers together poolside at noon, but we’d find two somewhere to drop our stuff and roll with it. On the day or two that we wanted to park it ALL day, we just made a point to go down early.

    We did run into tour buses here and here on occasion, but we tried to stay in front of them or way behind. I assume you’d run into those year round, too.
     
  7. MacMama0930

    MacMama0930 I've Found My Laughing Place

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    We’ve looked into that! I’m actually looking to possibly go to DL for a couple days and check out Star Wars Land and then hop on a cruise to Catalina and Mexico. My husband does get motion sickness and cannot go out on a fishing boat without becoming violently ill, so we’ve been hesitant to try a cruise but he said he’d be willing to try if it was just a 3-4 night cruise with all day port days...
     
  8. frank808

    frank808 DVC Member

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    If you have been to Disneyland and WDW during the July 4th week you will be ready for Aulani. My last stay at Aulani was 4 years ago but it was a madhouse. There were so many people that you had to go early to hold chairs. If you went down at 830 you would be hunting for an open lounger. Lots of people and crowds but if you are the type that is not really bothered by crowds, I think you will be fine. I just find a place to put slippers and clothes and hop in the pool. Aulani has installed these little cubbyholes to hold stuff so that helps. I am not a person that sits on a lounger to hand around the pool unless waiting for the kids.

    This past year I was at WDW from June 22-30 and found it quiet busy. Last year, we were at VGC from June 30 to July 8th and the parks were busy. I thought Dl and WDW was much more enjoyable and less crowded in the parks than at Aulani. This could be that the parks have a lot of room to spread people out, while at Aulani there are thousands of people hitting the pools, lazy river, etc. Also Aulani is a smaller footprint and the main attraction is the pool area. Also I live 5 minutes down the road from Aulani so that might jade my view a little.

    I say book it and enjoy your summer here.
     
  9. GooglyBear808

    GooglyBear808 Earning My Ears

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    @MacMama0930 Carnival offers 3-day and 4-day cruises. The 4-day stops in Catalina and Ensenada; where as the 3-day only stops in Ensenada. If you do decide to go have you husband take Bonine a few days before your sail date and everyday once onboard, should help alleviate some motion sickness!
     
  10. MacMama0930

    MacMama0930 I've Found My Laughing Place

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    We did decide to do a carnival cruise in a July! We’ll be doing the 4 night Catalina and Ensenada one. I’ve been reading a lot about the cruise line. Hearing mixed reviews. I would do a Disney Cruise if they offered one in the summer out of Cali. But they don’t. Have you done a carnival?
     
  11. GooglyBear808

    GooglyBear808 Earning My Ears

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    We have sailed with Carnival, multiple times! You'll be on the Inspiration or Imagination (basically both the same ship w/different names) depending on what day you leave (Sunday or Monday). Only advice I can give you is, don't go with high expectations! The ship is nice; there is plenty to do (Casino, shows, shopping, pools, jacuzzi, kids club for children, etc.). Carnival is a great line to start off cruising with. They are affordable and not considered a 'fancy' cruise line like Princess but I feel they are worth what they cost. We have sailed w/ Princess, Norwegian and Disney along with Carnival and I can honestly say each line has their pros and cons. Happy sailing!!!
     
  12. MacMama0930

    MacMama0930 I've Found My Laughing Place

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    I don’t have super high expectations. I’m sure my kids will think it’s amazing, which is really all I’m looking for. I hear great things about the Kids Club but I don’t know if we’d even use it. My kids aren’t that into being dropped off places! Haha. And really, I do want to spend the vacation will them. But I want to make sure there’s enough to do BESIDES the Kids Club that will keep my kids occupied.
     
  13. GooglyBear808

    GooglyBear808 Earning My Ears

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    Yes! There is plenty of things to do besides leaving your children in the kids club! The ship has a mini arcade; there are ping-pong tables (on Lido deck I believe); kid appropriate shows; bingo (yes, children are allowed to attend/play); and pools/slides! And, if I'm not mistaken that ship offers a Dr. Seuss character breakfast. FYI, you can check out the forums at cruisecritic.com and search under cruise line / ship / sail date and find a lot of useful information.
     

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