A few years ago, we took our two oldest daughters to Aulani, a Disney resort in Hawaii. To this day, it remains one of our very favorite trips. I’m often asked for feedback, so here it is!
We traveled in March and absolutely loved our time at Aulani. Now, you must know: I am NOT a Disney person. I was NOT a fan of Disneyland when we went there a few years prior to Aulani. However, Aulani provides the perfect balance of Disney and relaxation --- that’s what I’m talking about!
At Aulani, we stayed in a condo with a kitchen. We loaded up on groceries and goodies for the kids from the store across the street. Let’s face it: snacks ALONE could break the bank if you stay for a week! The washer and dryer were a big bonus as well: Rog still can’t figure out how I wash swimsuits when the girls each bring seven. But seriously: who wants to put on a wet swimsuit?! Guys: they just don’t get it.
Aulani gets the party started early! Which means the registration line for kids’ activities at Aunty’s Beach House forms EARLY --- like moms-in-their-bathrobes-with-coffee early. Yes, the activities are that amazing. It is worth it to stand in line! Maybe it’s the time difference, but I would see families up and around by 6 AM, easily! So, get up, get your chairs, and register those kids. You can thank me later!
Food and drink: that’s where you find the “Hawaii prices.” Aside from stocking up on groceries, a couple of restaurants topped our list. Right across the street is the Monkey Pod restaurant. Monkey Pod is famous all around Hawaii and it’s well-worth the hype! Their happy hour is perfect with kids. Our other family fave was the bar at the resort. Yep, you heard me right. The girls would go to Aunty’s Beach House where they’d get fed (major bonus) and we would enjoy a couple of appetizers and cocktails. The girls even joined us a few nights, relaxing and playing. The appetizers were a hit with the girls.
The pools at Aulani are great for kids. They even have adult areas! The beach was less of an attraction for us. The girls swam like fish in the pools, but I know many families enjoyed the calm water in the cove close to the resort. The lazy river and slides at the pool are in the shade, so we didn’t spend much time there.
Disney offers lots of little extras that make the entire experience worth the trip. When you go, don’t miss movies on the lawn or the resort luau. The character experiences are few and far between, which I loved. The lines to see Disney characters were short and quick: pop in, take a photo, and be on your way. It really is the perfect Disney service without the chaos.
Rog and his girls are already discussing another trip; they enjoyed the resort SO much!
Aside from the resort, we rented a car for a trip to Pearl Harbor, a short drive from Aulani. This is an absolute MUST, definitely on my list of top-five life-changing travel experiences. It was truly amazing and humbling, to say the least. The girls got a lot out of the visit. You have to see it with your own eyes.