Two nights at Aulani - what not to miss?

GatorMomInNC

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Planning a 10 night vacation to Hawaii in June 2019 - first visit for my kids but not for my husband and I. Last time we went we didn't see Maui, so this time we are spending 5 nights there, 2 nights in Kauai (our favorite), the night before we fly out on Wakiki, and 2 nights in Aulani.

My kids and are are big Disney fans - annual passholders and gold on DCL. My husband isn't too happy because we are booking free with points for every other night of the trip - and have enough for 2 more nights at another resort- but we have to pay out of pocket for Aulani, and it is expensive! But the kids and I have been wanting to go since it opened. It will be our first 2 nights of the trip after we fly in.

Is there anything we should definitely not miss at Aulani? What would you recommend to do if you only have 2 nights? Last time we were in Hawaii I never did the Luau, I was thinking I would do one this time - is Aulani's super special?
 

olafLover

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 28, 2017
Look into renting DVC point's it will save you a lot of money!
We didn't do the Luau in Aulani (it's not every night, so make sure it's while you're there before making the decision) but we did one on Maui, as we heard those are the best (not sure why, but we loved the one we did).
 

nkereina

Last chance to lose your keys.
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
I've not done the luau at Aulani either, but also have read that two of the luaus on Maui are the highest rated luaus in all of Hawaii - Old Lahaina Luau and Feast at Lele. They are near each other in Lahaina. OLL is a traditional Hawaiian luau with communal tables and optional grass seating, food served buffet style. Feast at Lele is a blend of all Polynesian cultures and they coordinate each course with each culture. We did Feast at Lele and loved it. There, they also do fire dancing and the food is served to you. You also have your own table. Highly recommend.

As for Aulani, I would plan to enjoy the resort the whole time without excursions. We loved breakfast at Ama Ama and had a quiet dinner right after the character meal at Makahiki. Both were great. The spa was also a highlight for us if you have the time without the kids. You don't say how old the kids are, but the younger ones like Aunty's Beach House.
 
  • adamak

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2000
    Don't do luau in Oahu. Do it in Maui instead. North shore is not to missed IMHO if you have a car. But given you only have 2 nights, I'd chill. Go to Monkey Pod happy hour (across the street) and have a relaxing time. Just enjoy the beach. Not sure how old your kids are, but the Auntie something (club house) is very popular with kids. Book some of their activities if age fits. Lazy river is great too.
     

    thedogatemyhomework

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 9, 2015
    the 2 character dining experiences (breakfast and some days dinner too) might be better to do than the luau at aulani. they are about the same cost as the character dining at the disney parks...so depending on budget...and if the dinner one is available on either of your 2 nights.

    I don’t believe they have moana at any of the parks yet, and duffy (and friends) isn’t really available in the US outside of aulani anymore.

    since its your first few days maybe rainbow reef (not the best snorkling experience...but its definitely a lot safer/easier). mickey shaped shave ice is fun.
     
  • GatorMomInNC

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2011
    So I am looking into renting DVC points as Olaflover suggested. I apparently won't be able to do it until next month. I can't tell if I will save money or not though as I can't figure out how it works.
     
    Last edited:

    bobbiwoz

    I'm happy to dance with you!
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2003
    So I am looking into renting DVC points as Olaflover suggested. I apparently won't be able to do it until next months. I can't tell if I will save money or not though as I can't figure out how it works.
    If you rent from someone who owns at Aulani, you can rent now for June. Any DVC Member who does not own at Aulani can book exactly 7 months before the check in date.
    This is a company that sponsors the Disboards. I have used them to rent out some DVC points. There are others.

    https://www.dvcrequest.com/
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    Keep in mind that there is not a lot of "Disney" at Aulani. Yes, there are characters at the pool during various times and a very nice character breakfast. But Aulani is really all about the Hawaiian culture and relaxing. You might enjoy looking for the Minihune's scattered around the resort. Also, the luau there is fun.
     

    rocketriter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 14, 2003
    With such a hectic schedule from island to island, I suggest using this as a time to relax. If you want to rent a car, then take an informal, unguided drive along the north shore and stop for lunch at a shrimp truck. But otherwise, just hang around the resort. Enjoy Aulani dining (and the Monkey Pod across the street). Lounge by the pool. Send your kids to Auntie's while you slurp a tropical drink. Listen to the evening music that floats over the pool and the beach. Use this as a time to take a deep breath.
     
  • disneymomtonln

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 24, 2017
    My family really enjoys the Mo'olelo fire pit storytelling. It is short, but in a beautiful setting, and the stories are always interesting. My kids love singing along with Uncle. We also enjoy The Menehune trail, if you have time do both the inside and outside trails. When you do the inside trail you get a small surprise at one of the stops.
     

    Riburn3

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 4, 2018
    I second what others have said. Enjoy the resort, do a character breakfast, and just relax. Most of what the resort has to ever is great so see what activities they have going each day and go from there.

    I usually reserve a day or two with an executive Lanai overlooking the beach. I've also done one of their cabana rentals but still prefer the Lanai.
     

    spacecanada

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2011
    I don't think anyone has mentioned this, but arrive as early as you possibly can on your arrival day, and depart as late as possible on your departure day. Leave your luggage in your car or at bell services and ask for a pass to the day room (if you want an indoor space). That way you get three full days there!

    I would also echo recommendations for the Makahiki character dinner, plenty of pool time, paddle board rentals, meet characters (the most complete character schedule is at the towel hut near the adult pools), fire pit storytelling, stargazing at night (the paid event is great), plenty of fun photos, Rainbow Reef, and shave ice! Since the resort is focused on Hawaiian culture, be sure to take one of the guided tours of the property to learn more about it, and see just how much detail there is to the Disney story behind Aulani.

    Kids will like the iPad scavenger hunt, too, if it's still available. Only one of the trails was open when we were there, but we had fun with it as just adults. It's interesting to see all the little details, and extra magic Disney added to the resort, to further tell the stories from Hawaii.

    Really, do as much as you want; whatever interests you! It's all fantastic! (We didn't do the luau because of food allergies and the chefs advised against it.)

    Also, character meets with Goofy near the river entrance are extra fun because he will actually get in the water and goof around -- and all captures with PhotoPass.
     

    GatorMomInNC

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2011
    I want to thank everyone for all the info. Since Southwest FINALLY came out with their flights to Hawaii, I am all booked. All flights with points, and as I said before, 8 of our 10 nights using points.

    But I am paying out of pocket for Aulani. I originally booked at Hotels.com and used about $250 in credit my husband had, but still was paying $1100 on top of that in cash. I didn't want to book through David's Vacation Club, as suggested here, until I had all my flights booked, since booking through David's is non refundable. But once I locked down the flights I contacted David's. They had very little availability, apparently, but lucked out and got 2 nights in a studio - for $820!! So total savings of over $500!

    Thanks so much, love the DIS!
     

    corgi_monster

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2007
    Be sure to try the Mickey shave ice and spam musubi! It's quintessentially Disney+Hawaii . . . although it's definitely NOT the best shave ice or musubis in town.

    I think taking a pic with Moana and/or Stitch is pretty special as well.

    The Aulani gift shop is the only place in the world where you can buy Olu, a friend of Duffy.
     

    CampbellzSoup

    Son. Husband. Father.
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2014
    If I was going to Aulani for a once in a lifetime experience here’s your checklist:

    Ride all the pool rides

    Get your exclusive Hawaiian character photos - have your Hawaiian gear too!

    Get beautiful photos on the beach at sunset

    Get a shaved ice!

    Get a fireside story

    Go to the luau

    Have a meal at AMA AMA

    Go in rainbow reef

    Those are the essentials I would do, some might disagree but if I’m going once I’m gonna do it all!
     

    Brian Rodriguez

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2018
    I have done the character breakfast twice and it was great both times. Got a lot of pics with Minnie and Pluto while eating and good pics with Mickey before we sat down. I find that there is a lot of Disney at Aulani. There are characters and a lot of hidden gems. You do get the feeling you are at a Disney resort and the service shows that. I really do like the stores too because the merchandise is fun.
     

    CrackersAndCheese

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2018
    My husband and I really enjoyed watching the singers at the Olelo Room in the evenings. We'd get a cocktail, split some sushi and just relax as the sun set.

    Dole whips/floats can be found and are amazing on a hot, sunny day!
     

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