First time to Aulani - Tip/Tricks?

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by carsonsdmom, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. carsonsdmom

    carsonsdmom Earning My Ears

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    We are headed for our very first trip to Aulani first week of October and couldn’t be more excited! It’s my me and the DH woth our 10yr old. Would love any tips, tricks, feedback you are willing to share. We aren’t really doing any excursions off property because we’ve done them before. Just really looking forward to taking advantage of everything at Aulani.
     
  2. kyton

    kyton Mouseketeer

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    I would recommend eating at least once at both Roy's and MonkeyPod - our family loves both places and they are within walking distance.
     
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  4. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Another vote for Monkeypod. We also enjoyed Pizza Corner and had enough leftover for an easy and cheap lunch the next day. Also, we walked down to the Marriott and enjoyed just wandering around. They have a nice looking casual restaurant called Longboard's that overlooks their beach/lagoon. We didn't eat there, but it looked inviting.

    The spa at Aulani is amazing and would be a must do on any future trips for us. Also, try Ama Ama at breakfast at least once. The mac nut pancakes were one of my favorite things I ate the whole trip. I was bummed we waited until the last day to eat there! We also enjoyed dinner at Makahiki, but the seating immediately after the character portion was over. The restaurant was only half full by then, and much more peaceful and enjoyable.
     
  5. rocketriter

    rocketriter DIS Veteran

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    If your points allow, try for a higher room facing into the grounds rather than outward. The view, the music, and the sunsets will greatly enhance the value of your room.
     
  6. tankin

    tankin Mouseketeer

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    Aulani is our home resort so here goes...
    1. Rent a car. The resort is pretty isolated unless you're just there a short stay.
    2. Monkeypod is a must for us. Always our "good bye" dinner before we get on the airplane.
    3. Flights back to the US are, mostly, overnight. The resort has a "locker room" so you can spend the day at the pools before heading to the airport. Just ask for a lounge key at the front desk after checking out.
    4. For us, spa is a must do. One of my favorites anywhere at any price point.
     
  7. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Just to add, the lounge can often be crowded with a wait for a shower as people prepare for their late afternoon/evening flights home. Its also one-time use, so not something you can go back and forth to (at least not when I was there). What might be a good option is doing a spa treatment the morning of your departure day. With a spa treatment, you have full access to the spa's locker room and facility all day and it was much less crowded. Also really great amenities - they smell so good!
     
  8. rtravels

    rtravels Mouseketeer

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    Hi, just a quick correction on this--this happens a lot and I'm not trying to be snarky. I'm Hawaiian so just gently reminding you that Hawaii is a part of the U.S. I think you mean 'mainland.'
     
  9. Mikamarii

    Mikamarii Earning My Ears

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    Go to monkey pod. The happy hour deals are fantastic and I’m a big fan of their beers. Food is so good.
    We have always rented a car. It’s worth it for trips to target and Walmart. Even in a studio we try to have breaky in the suite everyday. Saves some money. Also being Cdn there are so many cool things about shopping at American stores. Each US trip I’m still blown away about buying beer next to the milk.
    If you get a car try and make the drive to the eastern side towards sea life park. The drive was amazing. Movie quality.
    Avoid Honolulu during rush hour.
    Hawaiian shaved ice at Aulani is so good. We share one everyday and first and last day are always with mickey ears and condensed milk.
    We had an island view (forget which tower) but we faced the lawn. Every Tuesday and Thursday we watched the luau from our balcony. Pretty cool stuff.
     
  10. keaster

    keaster DIS Veteran

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    Just an update on the lounge. We went to get a key for it around 6:30pm last night to change clothes before our 10pm flight. The front desk informed us it closes at 6pm now (a recent change in the last couple months) as they now use the lounge for other events. We were very disappointed as we have used this lounge our last couple trips before late night flights. I've sent an email to DVC member satisfaction in hopes that this change will be reconsidered.
     
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  11. gregf71

    gregf71 Mouseketeer

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    A few things from our recent visit two weeks ago...
    • Ama Ama breakfast: Buttermilk pancakes and/or the Loco Moco....both fabulous!
    • Ulu Cafe (breakfast): Caramel Pillow pastry (especially when they are fresh and warm)
    • Ulu Cafe (dessert): Lilikoi Cheesecake
    • Shave ice: Get the condensed milk on top...sooooo ono!
    • Seats by the pool: Get out there before 10am
    • Sunsets: Go out to the point, left of the lagoon as you are facing it, at least once
    • Shopping: If you see something you like/want, then get it; some things sold out while we were there
    • Malasadas: If you have a car, hit the Leonard's MalasadaMobile in Waipahu
    • Read my trip report in this section (still in progress, but lots of details).
     
  12. spacecanada

    spacecanada DIS Veteran

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    - If you're staying in a villa, stop at Target, Costco, and/or the natural foods store nearby for groceries.
    - Have fun with the PhotoPass photographers every time you see them.
    - Bring your camera to character meets, as there isn't always a photographer at each one - the koi pond area rarely had a photographer.
    - You can find the best and most accurate character meet schedule at the towel hut nearest the adult pool. Take a photo of it (on your phone or a digital camera) to refer to later.
    - The resort is full of Hawaiian culture and stories: take the tours to learn more, visit the fire pit story telling, and participate in some of the activities in the Pau Hana room to appreciate all of those details. Disney storytelling at its finest.
    - You can rent DVD movies in the Pau Hana room and take them up to your room to watch.
    - Enjoy dinner at 'AMA'AMA during sunset - it's beautiful.
    - Another vote for shave ice! We had one every day.
     
  13. Riburn3

    Riburn3 Earning My Ears

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    I second renting a car.

    I’m the kind of guy that typically likes to park it on the beach during the entirety of my stay and rarely leave the resort, but even then it’s worth having just to be able to run and grab some essentials or take a trip up north for some even better shaved ice at Matsumoto’s.

    We will typically load up on water, beer, sandwich supplies, breakfast material, chips, etc, and long term that saves you a small fortune. This comes with the caveat that you need a villa style room for the fridge (not sure if other rooms have a full fridge).

    It’s also great for exploring other places to eat. I have nothing against any of the options at the resort, but after even just a couple of days you’ll be longing for some variety (and cheaper options).

    Lastly, it makes it so you can do excursions without paying an arm and a leg for Disney transport. If you think driving in Honolulu is scary, I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s still a normal US freeway system and Aulani is off the beaten path so driving around there is brainless, as is the majority of Oahu. Even Honolulu is really easy if you avoid rush hour.
     
  14. Caracoles

    Caracoles Earning My Ears

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    We visited in January with the same goal of just enjoying the resort and we had a wonderful, relaxing vacation. Our kids are 4 and 9 and their favorite part of the trip was spending time on the beach. They loved getting a bag of beach toys and building in the sand, and our oldest especially liked playing with the other boys when he got tired of his little sister. ;) The water in the lagoon was warm and safe for them, with tiny waves but perfect for them and for us, because we could hang out in chairs near the water but we didn't feel like we had to be in the water with them at all times. We're from the PNW, so going to the coast here is an entirely different experience.

    They also visited Auntie's a few times and enjoyed it, the 9 year old more so than the 4 year old, but she's kind of shy. They did the Stitch's Space Goo activity and spent time there while we went to the spa. Our son asked to drop in one day, so he did that while I took our daughter around to meet characters. We had great character interactions and got lots of photos. The Photopass photographers were all around and were fun to work with. Ask them what time they will be at the beach for sunset pictures and get some family photos.

    Visit the Pau Hana room to do the scavenger hunt around the hotel. There are also sometimes traditional artists there - we met one who took time to demonstrate and talk with the kids and she was amazing.

    We didn't have any problem getting chairs at the pools, but we usually just got one and put all our stuff on it. If we were at the pool, one or both adults were in the water with the kids, and we moved around depending on what area the kids wanted to be in.

    Like others, I would recommend that you get groceries for the room to the extent you can. We rented a car from Costco one way from the airport, and stopped at Safeway on the way to the hotel. I'm not sure if you will have a kitchen, but if so definitely take advantage of it. You'll save money and you can eat on your own schedule, which may be really off depending on where you're coming from. Even with a small fridge, you can have snacks and make easy breakfasts and sandwiches on some of your days. Also, if you want drinks you'll save a ton by stocking up on beer/wine/liquor at the grocery store.

    Our room was toward the middle of the horseshoe facing the pools and we thought it was a great location. We loved sitting on the balcony with coffee in the mornings and drinks in the evening, with the sounds of the water and music while the kids were sleeping. Ahhhh, I'm ready to go back!!!
     
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  15. adamak

    adamak DIS Veteran

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    Get poke from Safeway or other supermarkets. Enjoy them by the pool or your balcony with a Kona beer. I have multiple people asking where we got that. So good. Fresh and cheap and much better food than the food court.

    Allow PLENTY of time to get back to airport during peak hours. Our flight to Maui was at 8 am. The taxi service insists we leave at 4:30am. I always leave early but thought that's crazy. Not at all. We were stuck in the highway around 5:30 am. And the driver said it was normal. We barely got there on time (arrive at 6:45am). Oh, and TSA line was bad at HNL too.
     
  16. JackieBal

    JackieBal Earning My Ears

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    Everything sounds so amazing - Aulani is on my bucket list, just gotta save up some $$$$!
     

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