Thoughts on Aulani

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by theseacallsme, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. theseacallsme

    theseacallsme Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone! I just got back from an amazing trip to Aulani, and I figured I'd share my thoughts.
    For the record, I was there from 9/21-9/28, and it was just my husband and me.

    Activities:
    • Take a look at the Daily 'Iwa to see what resort-based activities you'll want to do. They have paper schedules available daily, but I preferred to look at everything offered during our stay, which you could do by checking online (that way, I could see if something I wanted to do was offered later in my trip, and plan accordingly). Here's the link: https://www.disneyaulani.com/about-aulani/daily-activities-schedule/
    • The art tour is a must-do. If you've DVC, take advantage of the DVC members art tour; otherwise, take the regular one. We learned so much and appreciated the design of the resort so much more after learning about it!Disney really pulls out all the stops when it comes to design.
    • I did the Ocean Yoga activity one morning. It was really challenging, but super fun! I recommend it for anyone who loves yoga. It was an additional charge of $20.
    Laniwai Spa:
    • Book a treatment at the spa, Laniwai, and spend as much time as possible there! You can go in early and stay after your treatment for as long as you'd like, although you can't leave and come back in, so plan accordingly. We brought our kindles and relaxed in the outside area for quite awhile (they provide lockers as well if you want to store anything, and you can order food if you get hungry). Laniwai was easily our favorite part of our stay! Also the spa bathrobes are SO comfortable; I splurged and bought one to bring home!

    Pools:
    • The adult pool areas are a must-do if you don't have kids. The adult hot tub overlooks the beach, and the adult pool has a bar right next to it.
    • The lazy river gets very crowded, but it's nice and long!
    • The pool hours aren't optimal--they don't open til 8am (which is a bit late when you consider how jet lagged anyone coming from the mainland is), and they close at 8pm. I would have loved it if the adult pools were open just a little later, like til 10pm.

    Food:
    • Ulu's cafe is VERY expensive! It's Disney prices on top of Hawaii prices! The food is OK but rarely worth the price.
    • We invested in the Aulani mugs as we were there for a full week. We loved being able to make mixed drinks with the sodas (with alcohol purchased at Target!) They aren't chipped like the ones at WDW, fyi.
    • We rented a car & got groceries at Target (there are tons of stores, including Target and Walmart, within a 10 minute drive of the resort--the town is called Ko Olina).
    • We did the character breakfast at Makahiki, which was really fun. It would be a great choice for kids--there's a ton of choices at the buffet, and they get to do some fun activities with Auntie and the characters.
    • My favorite meal was 'Ama 'Ama. Very expensive but very worth it for a splurge! Try to time it with the sunset (usually around 6:20ish at night)
    • We were going to do the resort luau but it was cancelled due to rain (it takes place outside), so be warned that it's weather-permitting
    • We ate at Monkeypod and Roy's and thought both were overpriced and not very good (both are walking distance from the resort)
    • We had breakfast at My Cafe and dinner at Plantation Tavern, both in Kapolei; both were delicious and a great value for the price

    Wifi/Movies:

    • The wifi wasn't very strong, so be warned! We couldn't stream anything very well, so we ended up getting a few movies at the Pau Hana rec room to watch before bed--they're free to take out, and you can return them to the front desk or concierge.
    Stores:
    • The main gift store, Kalepa's, had high merch turnover! Make sure to check it every day as you never know what they'll have gotten in ('Olu plushies were there and gone within a day!). They also have a small but mighty sale section which I took advantage of!
    • There's a higher-end gift store, Hale Manu, which has the Aulani exclusive Dooneys. I also randomly found a cute notebook there on sale for just $4, so you never know!
    • If you don't want to do a spa treatment, you can buy lotions & other delicious things at the spa.

    That's it for now! If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer :-)
     

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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  2. newdeal

    newdeal DIS Veteran

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    I agree about Monkey Pod...never understood why anyone liked it. As for Roys when we went we had a prix fixe menu and it was really good and not that expensive at all compared to some of the other places where we got less food for more money (I am looking at you Ama Ama)
     
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  4. southerngirl528

    southerngirl528 Dreamin' of Maui

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    We go to Hawaii annually (and feel so blessed to do so!), spending most of our time on Maui, which also has 2 Monkeypod Kitchens on island. We first ate at the one in Ko Olina across from Aulani and both DH and I were like, "Meh!". We ate there twice during one trip, including an aloha hour, and both times we were very unimpressed. What I have discovered over the years is that for us anyway, they have TWO outstanding items we really, really love..... their incredible Mai Tai with the lilikoi foam topping (yum! Lilikoi!) and their Hamakua mushroom and garlic flatbread!!! They are SOOOOO ono!!! (delicious!) :thumbsup2

    My DH and I love AMA AMA for breakfast and lunch. Not dinner. The portions are huge and shareable for the items we love. And we love Olelo Lounge and Off the Hook in the evening for the incredible live Hawaiian music and the pu-pus. We do prefer Olelo's pupu's.
     
  5. kyton

    kyton Mouseketeer

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    We prefer Roy’s at the Golf course but still always visit MonkeyPod on our first night every trip (usually 2 times a year). For us the chicken wings, Saimin and fish & chips are all must orders.

    My husband prefers Ama Ama for breakfast whilst I like it for dinner.
     
  6. frank808

    frank808 DVC Member

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    The city is called Kapolei where Target, Walmart, Costco, My Cafe is located. :)

    Aulani is in Ko Olina resort area.
     
  7. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    We felt the same. I was a little surprised at the lack of options compared to WDW resort QS.

    We did the same and thought these were worth it, and we never buy them at WDW. The drink stations were conveniently located, and it was worth it to have at the pool especially.

    Sorry you didn't enjoy Monkeypod! That was one of our favorite places during our time at Aulani, and we ate there twice. Lots of very unique things on the menu - DH still dreams about the jalapeno mashed potatoes! They also have great prices during happy hour. For anyone else who goes, book a reservation on OpenTable before you walk over from the resort. We did this and the quoted walk-up wait was 45 minutes but we were seated right away!
     
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  8. skittles67

    skittles67 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the tips! We are planning an anniversary trip in 2020. I have started looking into everything Aulani I can find, lol.
     
  9. theseacallsme

    theseacallsme Mouseketeer

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    ooh thanks for clarifying!
     
  10. theseacallsme

    theseacallsme Mouseketeer

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    honestly we were just underwhelmed as monkeypod had been pretty hyped up

    the mugs were sooo convenient! personally, i rarely have "resort days" at wdw, so i don't need the mugs, but they were so perfect for our stay
     
  11. theseacallsme

    theseacallsme Mouseketeer

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    my biggest advice:
    SPA DAY SPA DAY SPA DAY SPA DAY!!!!!!!!
     
  12. theseacallsme

    theseacallsme Mouseketeer

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    i'd love to try ama ama for breakfast. my husband is a bit of a foodie and quite disappointed in roy's. i think i just ate a crab cake as i wasn't terribly hungry (and it was lukewarm). may have just been an off day for them.
     
  13. theseacallsme

    theseacallsme Mouseketeer

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    i believe the prix fix was an option but we didn't want to do it as we didn't want apps & dessert
     
  14. pharmama

    pharmama DIS Veteran

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    There was a prix fixe option when we were there a couple weeks ago but we also didn't do it since we had a different plan for dessert.

    We were also underwhelmed by Roy's, especially for the price. My fish was overdone and tough. Others also thought the food was just OK (though the mango-feta crostini appetizer was delicious. And needed way more than 4 little crostinis). And it was VERY slow.
     

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