Negative reviews

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by catzle, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. catzle

    catzle DIS Veteran

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    I keep reading so many bad reviews. No chairs at pool (not getting up at 8), way too crowded. Lines to do everything, rooms, you can easily hear your neighbors. Food awful. A lot of money and time being spent. Thoughts.
     
  2. keaster

    keaster DIS Veteran

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    We've been twice now and hoping to book another trip in January. Both times we've gone mid March during our March break and didn't find it too crazy busy.

    Yes the pool chair situation is stupid, but it is at any resort I've ever been at. On both our trips we didn't stress it and had no problems getting chairs and umbrellas on the beach.

    I've heard the lines for Aunty's beach house can be long, but I can't comment on that as our daughter is older and we haven't utilized that offering at the resort. During peak afternoon the lines for the waterslides can get a bit long, think the longest we stood in line was 15 minutes.

    The only noise issue I had with the room is the toilets are LOUD when they flush, and yes you can hear when they are flushed above or next to you!

    We had a couple meals at the resort and had no complaints (we did the Makahiki breakfast buffet and the quick service at Ulu Cafe). The rest of the time we made meals in our room, dined at some of the offerings across the street, or ate at other places depending where we were that day.

    To me, this resort and Hawaii are heaven on earth. For us it's a long way to go, but so worth it when we get there :)
     
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  4. kdonnel

    kdonnel DVC-BCV

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    I count Aulani as one of the best resorts I have ever visited. Four stays down, hope to do many more.
     
  5. mouseclick1

    mouseclick1 DIS Veteran

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    We were there earlier this month. While I did find most of the food to be pretty average at best, everything about our breakfast at Ama Ama was amazing. If we do go back (which I hope we do!), I would like to try Ama Ama for dinner.

    The pool chairs are hard to come by if you wait too long to get down there, but there were plenty of seats available at the beach at all times throughout the day.

    I honestly questioned my husband at one point asking him if we even had neighbors on either side of us. I never heard anything come from either room. Turns out we did, but noise was never a problem.

    We loved our stay and hope to make it back someday!
     
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  6. POTCfan

    POTCfan Mouseketeer

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    I love Aulani. The pools are better than any other resorts pools that I've stayed at. Because of this, there are a lot of people that want to hang out at the pools - which probably creates some negative reviews because of the crowds and difficulty finding chairs. We recently went and never got the chairs where we wanted, but got chairs. And two of the days we were able to move to some better locations when people were done for the day.
     
  7. Belle_Ann

    Belle_Ann Earning My Ears

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    I was there earlier in April and never heard anyone in the rooms around me or even in the hallways. The toilet was loud but I never heard anyone else's toilets flush.
    Like someone else said, the chair situation is tough but I've had this issue at other resorts where the pool is a key feature. At least at Aulani they don't let you hold chairs before 8am. With the time change I was up early anyway and on some days we did sight seeing first. When we'd come back around 3pm people were leaving and we could get chairs. The beach always had plenty of spots too.

    I would say most food was average (not awful) but AMA AMA was very good.

    It was my first visit and I really hope we can go back someday. I loved the place and my kids were in tears when we had to leave (I pretty much was too )
     
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  8. helenk

    helenk I wish I was in Disney World

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    My daughter (30) and I just got back from our first trip to Hawaii. We spent 8 nights at Aulani and loved it. The cast members were wonderful, we thought the food was pretty good. We had dinner 2 nights at Makahiki I loved the crab legs, breakfast one morning at Ama Ama which I thought was very good, dinner one night at Ama Ama which was very good, we sat along the outer rim of the restaurant and got to watch the sunset, we both had steak that was cooked perfectly, and so tender. We grabbed lunch Off the Hook one day, good hamburgers. We got breakfast 2 days at Ule Cafe, my daughter loved the french toast and bacon, although the one day we ate lunch there she did not like the chicken tenders. The shaved ice at Papalua shaved ice was really good, I think we had shaved ice about 4 or 5 times.
    We were in a studio that was connected to a one bedroom villa and we hardly ever heard our neighbors. The pool chair situation was bad, but there were people in the pools at 8:00 so you had to get down early, or later in the day. We got chairs at the adult pool and the beach without any problems. I walked over to the lazy river a few times while leaving my stuff on my chair at the adult pool, it worked out fine for me.
    Without hesitation I would go back to Aulani again, it was one of the most relaxing vacations I have had in a long time.
     
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  9. marx

    marx DVC Home: AKV

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    Yes, there are issues with pool chairs (especially in the morning). Yes, Aunties can be a pain to deal with. Yes, the food in the restaurants is very expensive. Yet, I've been to Aulani three times and loved it. My favorite DVC by far, and my families favorite place to visit. We are saving points this year to make it back for 10 more days in 2018.

    The issues with the pool and Aunties are due to the crowds. We didn't experience this during our first trip (when only phase one was open). On the first day of our second visit to Aulani the pool chairs were all 'reserved' by 8am and the line for reserving activities at Aunties was an hour long. So, we spoke to the managers of both areas and worked things out for the rest of the trip.
     
  10. Elima2015

    Elima2015 Mouseketeer

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    Yeah, I have seen lots of negative reviews lately, too. We have been twice (2015 & 2017) and have loved it both times. It is a beautiful resort, very well done, very clean. We have stayed in a 1-br and a 2-br island garden views and thought the rooms were spacious, accommodating, great views. Never had a noise problem. For reference, our 2017 trip occured when the resort was at capacity.

    Our kids are younger (<5) and loved the open play at Aunties in the morning. We pre-registerd my older two for two activities and they had a blast! The only times I saw the "closed due to capacity" signs were during the free activities, so I'm guessing an hour later it wouldn't be an issue. We had plenty of movies to choose from for check-out in the Pau Hauna room. We played the Menehune Adventure Trail a couple times and never had a problem getting a tablet. Yes, the pool chairs were gone early. But, we just tossed our towels and flip flops out of the way on a rock or something, swam, and came back. We never had a problem getting chairs at the beach. And we saw chairs start to open up in the afternoon - so if you were offsite touring Oahu and returned mid afternoon, it seems reasonable to be able to find at least one or two chairs to set items on. The lines for the two larger slides were minimal in the earlier morning. So that is when we rode the slides over and over again and then headed to the beach after lunch. We had a rental car and I never had a problem finding a parking space. The food at Ulu was passable - we had a package that included food vouchers so we ate there daily. I don't think I would have paid cash to eat there more than once or twice. Character breakfast food was similar to those at DLR. Ama Ama is fantastic. Monkeypod across the street was delicious. We also used our car to eat outside of Ko Olina. There are great restaurants in Oahu. The food budget can be much less if you can eat in your room and get off-site.

    We would love to return.
     
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  11. sueg

    sueg <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    I posted a trip report Aulani - One & Done. We will probably not return to Aulani, but that is not a negative review of Aulani. It was just not a good fit for us.
    We are semi retired, empty nesters, who do not enjoy hanging at pools or on the beach. However, Aulani gave us a chance to visit our #1 destination -- Pearl Harbor.
    From our perspective, I'll address your concerns.
    Noise - we were in a 1 bedroom ocean view unit. We were far back in the resort, so honestly, it was a pool/ocean view with more pool. We did have a nice ocean view from the left corner of both balconies. The problem with noise, for us, was mainly from the activities/music at the pool which kept us from reading on our balcony during the afternoon. We were also located over a restaurant, where there was music in the evening. The music, while not unpleasant, permeated our unit. There was NO noise from neighbors or the hallways. I even commented to DH that Aulani was one of the quietest DVC units we have stayed in.
    Food - We were not overwhelmed with the high end dining at Aulani and in the immediate area. But the food was, generally, not bad with the exception of the pizza from the pizza place across the street. The happy hour meal at MoneyPod was reasonably priced and tasty. If you go to Anna Miller's (a place near Pearl Harbor that I learned of from the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Dreams Unlimited Aulani podcasts) you can have an old fashioned, reasonably priced diner type meal with breakfast being served all day. The breakfast at AmaAma was better than the dinner. But the view for both breakfast & dinner was THE BEST.
    Chairs - Yes, on the two mornings that I got our preferred seats, I went down before 8 A.M. But I wanted a very certain type of seat. I don't sit in sun due to prior problems. We had no interest in sitting by the pool. I wanted shaded, beach view seats, not on the beach & they were limited. As PP mentioned, there were always seats in the lounges on the beach. And a large part of the problem is people saving chairs for "the kids or Dad" whom you never see. It is unreasonable to think that Aulani can solve the problem of self centered vacationers.
     
  12. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    In our experience, chairs weren't terribly hard to come by but if you're particular about where you sit or how many chairs you need, then yes you need to go early. It was a touch crowded and we experienced a few lines, nothing irritating. We thought our room was small and dark, but nicely appointed, clean, and met our needs. Never heard our neighbors. As for food, Ama Ama and Makahiki were awesome and Ulu Cafe was so so. Everything is expensive, but that is just Hawaii.

    Might sound like my thoughts are somewhat negative but even so, we really enjoyed our time at Aulani and would definitely go back. I would not say it's my favorite beach resort ever or even my favorite Disney resort, but we still enjoyed it.
     
  13. DisneyWorldbuff

    DisneyWorldbuff Colorado

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    We went for our first trip to Aulani over Thanksgiving. I had dreamed of it for so long that I probably had unreasonable expectations going in. While I am very glad that we went, I would have to agree that for my family it was probably one and done. The travel, expense, and overall experience just wasn't worth it for my family. But, everyone is so different and tastes are so different that it's wonderful there are so many options out there for everyone. It is a beautiful resort and I'm glad I crossed it off of my bucket list.
     
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  14. ngl

    ngl Mouseketeer

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    What everyone defines as a vacation is very diffneret. We are from FL (DVCers) and live 1 hr from Disney so go there all the time as well as Vero. HI is a haul for us - Went to Aulani last year and going back next year. We have beaches here but still loved being in HI. Kids were 7 & 5 at the time and it was the entire "different" experience that made it great for us.

    All in all, it depends what your priorities are on vacation to find the right fit. I would NOT recommend this for couples. This is a family resort. While they have adult areas, etc., I think that is to cater to the grandparents, aunt/uncles, who many come on a family trip and want some time away but not their focus.

    With young kids, I never have the "pleasure" to stay in one place at the pool, beach, etc. We were constantly on the move all day, every day. We were there during the height of Easter week and never had a problem finding at least one chair, at any time of the day, to put our stuff down.

    Again, it just is really what your focus is.
     
  15. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Just for clarity (at least in my mind) did you think the pizza from the place across the street was bad or good?
     
  16. sueg

    sueg <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    I did not like the pizza from across the street (Pizza Corner?) We thought the restaurant was poorly organized, longer wait than the promised wait time & the "vegetable" pie was expensive for the quality. ($28) Claimed to be NY style pizza, but I grew up in NYC & DH & I live in NJ. This pizza didn't come close to our standards. In contrast, we really enjoyed the flatbread pizza at MonkeyPod.
     
  17. mouseclick1

    mouseclick1 DIS Veteran

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    We also ordered a Pizza Corner pizza and were not impressed. It was slightly better than the Off the Hook pizza, but not much. We did have a great dinner at Monkeypod. I ordered fish tacos and DH had a pulled pork sandwich and garlic fries. Everything was very good!
     
  18. sueg

    sueg <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    mouseclick 1 - From the picture in your trip report, you had the ocean view that we had hoped for. We were in the other tower and much deeper in so we saw a lot of pool, before we got to the ocean view, 9th floor - 1st room off the elevator.
     
  19. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Thanks for the response. We've had the pizza from there and thought it was pretty good. That was almost a year ago. Hope this isn't a sign that the quality has changed.
     
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  20. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    FWIW, we had Pizza Corner in September and also called it "pretty good". We enjoyed the garlic knots too. I do agree with PP that the set up of the place is chaotic at times. But considering the price and convenience, I have no qualms about recommending Pizza Corner.
     
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  21. sueg

    sueg <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    I want to put Pizza Corner experience in context, so I don't come across as a NY/NJ pizza snob.
    1. We were coming from Kunia Urgent Care, where I had been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. Clearly not on my A-game & possibly a little cranky.
    2. I mention the poor organization because DH went in, while I waited in the car, unable to find a legit parking space. (NOTE We always walked to the plaza from Aulani & only had the car due to the Urgent Care trip) He texted a 20 minute wait. It was over a 30 minute wait & that still would have been OK if the added time resulted in a well cooked pizza. It did not. The veggies weren't fully cooked and the crusted needed more oven time. This opinion was validated the following day, when the pizza actually improved with reheating.
     
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