Is Aulani really this good?

Noah_t

Mouseketeer
DVC Gold
Joined
May 8, 2019
I just spent one week at Aulani and I am constantly about to push the offer button on some Aulani DVC points. I really, really enjoyed my stay and fell in love with this place. Our kids 5 and 6 loved the kids club, we all agreed the pools were the nicest we have ever been in and this was during the renovations so we didn't even get to do the lazy river. That infinity pool and hot tub with the simulated star lights! Wow.

What I worry about though is that maybe I just have not travelled enough. Maybe I need to diversify my traveling and sow my seeds before putting down roots (timeshare roots at least). I would love to hear others opinions. Do you believe Aulani to be as special as I currently feel it is? Is it possible there are there many more amazing places with that same kind of magic or as unthinkable as it currently is, better resorts?
 

jamdonnut

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
We went to Aulani in February and yes it was totally magical so much so we are still buzzing about it now despite it being 19 hours flying from the UK! I personally would never do timeshare as I feel there is a whole world out there so I rarely go anywhere twice but everyones needs are different and it works very well for many people. It is 100% a wow resort and Hawaii is just incredible but only you know whether DVC will suit you or not. Good luck making the decision!
 

kyton

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Our family travels to Oahu at least once a year, most years we try to visit twice a year. This is travelling from Australia so close to 10hrs each way. We’ve done this since 2012 - combined with trips before kids, my husband and I have been on Oahu 26/27 times and we still love it every single trip.

We aren’t DVC and wouldn’t ever buy into a timeshare only because it would lock us into that chain in our opinion. We love Ko Olina and normally stay there each trip but we equally adore Waikiki and spend the same amount of time there each trip - which would rule DVC out of any equation.

Only you would know whether the love of Aulani would equal the cost of DVC plus airfares from wherever you are based for every visit.
 
  • alohamom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 31, 2003
    I would have to agree with @kyton and @jamdonnut on this. While I LOVE Aulani and would live there if I could, I personally dont want to be tied down to timeshares. Being Canadian, the fluctuation in the exchange rate of the dollar makes it so that I would not be able to long term forecast the cost of the fees.

    Having said this, you have to go back and experience the lazy river! It is one of the main reasons we love Aulani so much. We have been in other lazy river pools including the ones at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach and the one at Aulani is 100% the best one ever.

    Book another trip and make your choice after that, you might find it isnt as great the next time around or it helps you make your mind up
     
    Last edited:

    dachsie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 13, 2014
    If you are going to invest in a timeshare, do one that you can book thru RCI. Then you can choose wherever you want to go. But I will say this, I wish I had not gotten a timeshare now. You cant get rid of them if you don't want them anymore.
     

    _19disnA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2018
    Even with RCI, you will have an awful time trying to resell it. (My parents used to have one through RCI ...not Disney.....and it was virtually impossible to get rid of once they were no longer able to travel.) There is virtually NO resale market and you are basically stuck with the ongoing fees if you can't dispose of it. While Disney may be more reputable then most, the timeshare industry in general has a LOT of fast-talking shady characters associated with it. Personally, I would NEVER own a timeshare no matter who it is associated with.
     

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    Well, it depends on your travel style. I have been going to WDW for over 2 decades and do not plan to stop any time soon. I purchased DVC because, for me, it was a great deal. I had been wanting to go to Hawaii practically all of my life. Purchasing DVC and using my points made that possible. If I had paid OOP for my Aulani trip, it would have been over $12,000. Depending on how many points you buy, after a couple of trips, your DVC has been paid for(except the annual dues of course). I don't own at Aulani but I would buy with them if I planned to do several vacations there. Don't forget that just because a certain resort is your home resort, does not mean that you can only use the point there. Aulani is not my home resort but I was able to book 7 months out. Plus with DVC, they do partner with RCI so that you can use your points at their resorts too. Do you research and as for resale, DVC has an amazing resale market.
     
  • Mommy2Logan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2019
    That's for you to decide but personally I wouldn't want to be locked into anything. So many things could change over the years...quality of the resort, Ko Olina lagoon policies, hurricane damage, dramatic increase in airfare, etc. OR you and/or your kids could simply outgrow it. Fast forward 8 years and you really want to take the kids to Europe but you've got your DVC points to use at Aulani. What do you do?
     

    Lauren in NC

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 13, 2010
    The DVC resale market is VERY different than most timeshare resale markets. I'd suggest you go visit the DVC board on the forums here, if you haven't already.

    In general, while you can use your Aulani points at other Disney resorts, it's getting harder and harder to find available rooms at the 7 month mark. I'm not sure what the booking patterns are like for Aulani, but can you, in general, plan your Hawaiian vacations out around 11 months in advance? Can you pay for the DVC contract in full (I hope you're looking at resale, not direct) or would you have to finance it? Do you know exactly how many points you'd need for your ideal vacation, and how often you'd vacation, and the associated member dues? All things you want to think carefully about before you make an offer!
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    There may be nicer/better resorts in the world (whatever that means to you), but it doesn't necessarily mean you'd connect with it or feel as comfortable there.

    We stayed at 4 resorts, including Aulani, during our time in Hawaii. I would argue that the Westin Maui or even Marriott Kauai were superior to Aulani in terms of the pools, location, rooms. Service was pretty even. Aulani was special to us being Disney, but taking the emotion out of it and looking at it from a cost/benefit/logistical standpoint, Aulani probably ranked 3 of 4 on the resorts we stayed at. We've also stayed at several all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean as well as Atlantis in the Bahamas. Aulani measures up in some big categories like service for us, but there's still things we like better elsewhere. For instance, the beaches in the Gulf and Caribbean are superior to those in Hawaii (my opinion, save for windward side of Oahu). Also, Aulani's isolated location doesn't lend itself well to exploring Hawaii, and I can't imagine NOT doing that when traveling all that way and spending all that money.

    For these reasons, I won't buy into DVC at this point. If I'm ever tempted, it would be at WDW where we have the opportunity to go more frequently. Rarely do we have the money and time to travel from the east coast to Hawaii, but that's an easier thing to do if you live on the west coast. But I would much rather not be tied down to a contract, and just rent points if/when I decide I want to visit.
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    So many things could change over the years...quality of the resort, Ko Olina lagoon policies,
    It will be interesting to see how Atlantis impacts Ko Olina and surrounding resorts. It would make me hesitant to buy in at this point, but it could also make Aulani contracts quite popular if the area starts to grow as a result.
     
  • Noah_t

    Mouseketeer
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    May 8, 2019
    I agree with most that timehares generally suck and have even owned one once before. It was virtually impossible to use effectively. Knowing all this i bought a DVC contract at Bay Lake 6 months ago and so far am pretty happy. It came with enough points I was able to rent out and substantially lower my initial investment. I think maybe Disney's track record and history of being able to rent it out might make this a good purchase. Will have to decide if thats true in 10 years.
    What i am enjoying hearing about is all the feedback from people who have stayed at Aulani as well as a host of other nice resorts to hear your comparisons. Honestly though I think I am so addicited to Aulani i just want to live it howerever i can. Thanks for alll your feeback peeps.
     

    abdgeek

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 29, 2012
    I just spent one week at Aulani and I am constantly about to push the offer button on some Aulani DVC points. I really, really enjoyed my stay and fell in love with this place. Our kids 5 and 6 loved the kids club, we all agreed the pools were the nicest we have ever been in and this was during the renovations so we didn't even get to do the lazy river. That infinity pool and hot tub with the simulated star lights! Wow.

    What I worry about though is that maybe I just have not travelled enough. Maybe I need to diversify my traveling and sow my seeds before putting down roots (timeshare roots at least). I would love to hear others opinions. Do you believe Aulani to be as special as I currently feel it is? Is it possible there are there many more amazing places with that same kind of magic or as unthinkable as it currently is, better resorts?
    I’m a DVC member who owns at Aulani and a number of other DVC Resorts. I have also traveled the country almost extensively (ABD, DCL, RCI) all using my points, of which I have a lot. I have stayed at a lot of high end hotels and your assessment of Aulani is correct. It is just that good. I always island hop when I go to Hawaii every 2 to 3 years. I stay, at Aulani and then use my DVC points to book RCI properties on the other islands. I find that being at Aulani is like being at WDW. That means excellent customer service and the Disney difference. Unfortunately, because being a DVC member has elevated the way I travel I now have a higher set of minimum requirements for anywhere I stay. Yes, you can find some of the same features at other resorts, but you typically have a much higher price point for the privilege.

    If you plan to visit Hawaii often enough to justify buying at Aulani, I say go for it. In the years I don’t travel to Hawaii, I use my Aulani points to do ABD, DCL, or stay at RCI or concierge properties somewhere. Whether you purchase direct from Disney or choose the resale market depends on whether the restrictions placed on how resale owners can use their points will bother you. When I purchased DVC years ago, I didn’t buy it to go to WDW every year. I bought DVC to travel everywhere Disney travels—and that’s a lot of places.
     

    Delena82

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 11, 2019
    Aulani is amazing! It’s really fun for all ages. I’ve stayed there once and won’t stay anywhere else.
     

    bobbiwoz

    I'm happy to dance with you!
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2003
    We use our DVC points at Aulani but do not own there. Do research before buying, go to the DVC boards here.

    We think Aulani is a special resort, we are in our 70’s and have traveled a lot.

    Enjoy however you chose to travel!
     

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    That's for you to decide but personally I wouldn't want to be locked into anything. So many things could change over the years...quality of the resort, Ko Olina lagoon policies, hurricane damage, dramatic increase in airfare, etc. OR you and/or your kids could simply outgrow it. Fast forward 8 years and you really want to take the kids to Europe but you've got your DVC points to use at Aulani. What do you do?
    That is not how DVC works at all. They don't have to just use them at Aulani. They can use them at ANY Disney resort plus with the partnership in RCI, they can use them all over the world(including Europe). DVC points for Aulani would just give them the benefit of booking Aulani 11 months out instead of 7.
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    They can use them at ANY Disney resort plus with the partnership in RCI, they can use them all over the world(including Europe).
    I'm not a DVC owner, but I've read the opinion on the DVC forum several times that using points with RCI is a poor use of points because of the value. Same for Disney cruises. Just mentioning it because its something for someone to look into while researching whether ownership is right for them.

    But yes, being able to use them at any Disney resort definitely helps that and opens up a lot more options.
     

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    I'm not a DVC owner, but I've read the opinion on the DVC forum several times that using points with RCI is a poor use of points because of the value. Same for Disney cruises. Just mentioning it because its something for someone to look into while researching whether ownership is right for them.

    But yes, being able to use them at any Disney resort definitely helps that and opens up a lot more options.
    Another benefit of DVC points is you can always sell them, either yourself or through a 3rd party if you can not use them. So they will never go to waste.
     

    Fred M

    DIS Dad #860
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2019
    My wife and I are in Sacramento and we bought our first DVC points at Aulani in 2015. The main reason we got DVC was that it makes taking vacations easier because we've already prepaid the lodging. If it was up to me, I'd always find something else to spend the money on, like redoing the back yard or working on a remodel on the kitchen, rather than a much needed vacation. Prepaying that lodging through DVC "forces" me to take a great vacation. That alone is the best thing we've ever done.

    We only get to WDW every 2 or 3 years, but we're at Aulani once every 12 to 18 months. If we paid cash, we would get some variety of different locations, but my wife and I love the resort. We love being in Ko Olina. Aulani is relaxing. We're not much of a "go go go" family when on vacation. Aulani fits our style.

    We can get direct flights and cheaper flights from Sacramento to Honolulu when compared to flights to Orlando. So having a great place to stay in Oahu combined with the option of staying on site at WDW every 2-3 years made DVC with points at Aulani an easy sell for us. If it was the reverse, if we went to WDW every 12-18 months and Hawaii only once every 2-3 years, we wouldn't have Aulani as a home resort.
     

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