Never been to Hawaii...much less Aulani! Help me!

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by Kristen Constable, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Kristen Constable

    Kristen Constable Disney Fanatic....

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    We are planning on May/June 2020 trip. I’m so used to knowing what to expect (cost wise) with WDW. How on earth do I make a budget?

    How many days will be a good amount? I read somewhere that you really have to allow yourself time to adjust for jet lag?

    Is $9000 a good budget? There’s no meal plan available, right?

    There’s 4 of us...2 adults and 2 kids (13 and 9).
     
  2. newdeal

    newdeal DIS Veteran

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    Don't go to Aulani to stay at Aulani. Go to Aulani for Oahu. Rent a car and see the island, this will pay for itself when it comes to not having to eat at Aulani. Look into renting DVC points to pay rather than paying for a room, you might save some money that way as well. I can't talk much to budget because I am a DVC member so staying is not that expensive when it comes to just maintenance fees on the points and we generally pay for flights with credit card points so don't end up paying much there either. If you are on the east coast flying out of Toronto is generally a better deal than anything else. We are flying first class this time, the round trip ticket was $1300 canadian (about $1000 american) round trip from Toronto. We have a stop in Chicago on the way there and then lie flat seats for the 9.5 hour flight. The last time we went the flight was cheaper leaving from Toronto and stopping in Chicago than it was to just take the same flight starting in Chicago. We like going Friday to the following Saturday because jet lag is terrible. Even in that many days I often don't get completely used to the time change. Luckily most things are open early because they are used to jet lagged tourists, and also since its nearer to the equator than I live the days dont get as short in the winter as I am used to back home
     
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  4. MamaRoo

    MamaRoo Earning My Ears

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    I disagree. When you’re paying the Aulani premium, stay at Aulani and enjoy all that it has to offer. I wholeheartedly agree that you should explore the island and maybe other islands as well. I like to do a split stay. Stay in a low cost condo or cheaper hotel while I’m exploring, and while I’m at Aulani (I’ve actually never been to Aulani, but have stayed at other high end resorts on the islands), i like to stay there, enjoy the resort, splurge on the pricey meals and drinks and relax.

    I like at least 10 days, 14 would be ideal. I find that it takes a few days to fully relax, and a week just isn’t enough.

    As far as the budget, what do you want to do/see while you’re there?
     
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  5. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    We did a combination of what PP's are suggesting - we spent 16 days in Hawaii, with time in Maui, Kauai, Waikiki and 6 nights at Aulani. The Aulani portion of our trip was last and I planned sightseeing for every other day so we would have ample time to enjoy the resort. We wanted a combination of exploring Hawaii, relaxing, and enjoying Aulani which was a destination for us, and I think we accomplished that.

    I do agree that you should rent a car and spend a lot of time exploring Oahu, whether you do a split stay on the island or stay at Aulani the whole time. We love Aulani but I think one should have a desire for a Hawaiian vacation rather than an Aulani vacation, if that makes sense. We didn't think the beach or resort alone was enough to offset the cost and travel involved, if you aren't also interested in the rest of Oahu or Hawaii. Even Disney constructed the resort under the assumption that Aualni would be a place to stay for Hawaii vacationers, as opposed to Aulani being the main destination.

    As for budget, that's hard to say. We are two adults and flew from the east coast in coach. We spent 3 nights at a Marriott in Waikiki, 3 nights at a Westin in Maui, 3 nights at a Marriott in Kauai, and 6 nights at Aulani. We did a lot of excursions and didn't cook our own meals. Our total, including money spent there, was about $15,000. If we go again, it would be a shorter trip with fewer excursions so I'd budget about $7000 for it. We'd likely do 10-12 days next time and we did find that it took about 2 full days to adjust to the time difference, where we weren't zonked by 8pm and up at 4am.
     
  6. pharmama

    pharmama DIS Veteran

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    We are headed there next week and are a family of 5 (kids are 13, 9 and 7 so one of them no longer counts as a kid for most activity costs). We rented DVC points for a 1bd villa (~$4200, 6 nights). I have already booked/paid for the Luau (VIP- $730), a snorkeling/snuba sail (not thru Aulani ~$1000) and ziplining at Climbworks (~$900). We are doing the Menehune Mischief Dinner which will cost another ~$250. We are staying one night in Waikiki on arrival (~$250) and I got a pretty good price on a minivan for the week by stalking the rental sites multiple times per week for several weeks ($190). I am also doing a spa morning as my birthday treat that will end up probably around $300. We do plan to eat a fair number of meals in the villa to try and keep food costs down a little and I know additional costs will come up for premium activities and other things at the resort and on the island. So we are at around $8K without airfare or most of our food and other incidentals.

    Airfare is hard to say. We used miles for our tickets. You are planning far enough ahead that you could make a concerted effort to earn miles for some or all of your airfare by finding out which airline is the best option from your departure destination then signing up for that airline's credit card or a generic travel points card if you don't already have one (each adult can sign up separately too to maximize your sign on bonuses etc.). There are lots of tips for how to maximize miles and which cards to sign up for out there if you want to go this route.
     
  7. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    FWIW with airfare, we come from the east coast and flew from Buffalo to Atlanta to Honolulu on Delta. We also had the choice of flying through Chicago or Newark on United (I think). The prices were comparable at roughly $900-1100 per person round trip. We opted for Delta because it had the most amenities on the long haul flight.

    I'll also add that we booked our flights shortly after the airline released the fares, about 10 months in advance. They consistently went up in price after that. We traveled in September which is a slower time of year for Hawaii. We have found that if you are near a major city that has nonstop flights to Honolulu, it might be worth driving out of your way for because that is usually the best price. In our case, Toronto has nonstop flights and is a few hundred dollars cheaper, but also includes the border crossing and a hotel stay before and after as well (usually).
     
  8. Brancaneve

    Brancaneve That means Snow White in another language.

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    My suggestion is to stay in Waikiki for a few nights and take care of the sightseeing (Diamond Head, Shopping in Waikiki, Hanauma Bay snorkeling, etc) and then go to Aulani and enjoy the resort from sun up to sun down. Believe me, you will not want to leave!
     
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  9. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    We did this and it worked it out well. We didn't get a rental car for the Waikiki portion of our stay to avoid traffic and costs, and we took organized bus tours to Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor. Everything else was walkable for us. Once we got to Aulani, we had a rental car and were able to explore the North Shore and windward side, without having to deal with driving around the craziness of Waikiki.
     
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  10. adamak

    adamak DIS Veteran

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    Check out prices now for May 2019. Everything is online. That will give you a good ballpark. Priced these out :
    Flights from your town
    Inter-island flights
    1 week rental car
    Hotel costs (1 room or 2, kitchen or not)
    1 luau
    1 tour (that way you can multiply the cost accordingly)
    Eating out is expensive, but similar to WDW (actually you can definitely go cheaper in Hawaii if you research).​

    I would strongly advise going to another island if you have time / money. And if you only stay in Aulani, get out and see the rest of the island.

    There is no meal plan. Aulani is just a resort. Restaurants are overpriced. Get a room with kitchen. I actually enjoyed getting fresh food from grocery store or farmers market there and cook.

    Jetlag. Depending on where you're coming from. I'm from E coast, and the first morning I always woke up at 4 ish am their time. If you want to see sunrise, plan for the first or 2nd day. We always ate at Monkey Pod first night so we forced ourselves to stay up till at least 9 pm.
     
  11. ILovePixieDust

    ILovePixieDust Mouseketeer

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    I also like doing the split stay - stay in waikiki to get all the touristy things done (I like the Hilton Hawaiian VIllage) and then go to Aulani and enjoy the resort!

    I will go against most though and say that the more economical way to stay is actually booking a hotel room/studio and NOT booking a room with a kitchen. I think it is a bit of false economy. Even with renting DVC points for a week the difference between a hotel room and 1 bedroom unit is $3400 for a week in May 2019. Thats $485 I can spend a day on food and I can spend way less than that for a family of 4 eating out and there is no clean up or cooking for me to do!!
     
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  12. Brancaneve

    Brancaneve That means Snow White in another language.

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    That is awesome! I think that is the absolute best way to go!
     

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