13 Aulani Tips: A Guide to Disney’s Aulani Resort

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Are you planning a trip to the magical paradise of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Nestled on the stunning shores of Ko Olina, Oahu, Aulani promises an enchanting experience. It is the perfect combination of the captivating charm of Disney with the breathtaking beauty of Hawaii. To ensure you make the most of your trip, I’ve curated a collection of invaluable Aulani tips and tricks.

I will guide you through several categories of tips for planning your stay including:

  • Tips for Aulani Resort
  • Tips for Other Things to Do on Oahu
  • Tips for What to Pack for Your Trip

Let’s dive in!

13 Aulani Tips for Your Disney Vacation

To help you make the most of your Aulani vacation, I have compiled 13 Aulani Tips. By utilizing these tips, you will be sure to have the most magical Hawaiian Disney vacation!

1. Book a Lei Greeting

Book a lei service when you arrive in Hawaii

Before your arrival in Hawaii, book a Lei greeting! There is no better way to start your Aulani vacation than to be greeted with a warm Hawaiian welcome. These welcomes come in the form of a beautiful lei.

A lei is a traditional Hawaiian garland made of flowers or other materials and is given as a symbol of affection, greeting, or celebration. Take a moment to embrace the aloha spirit and wear your lei proudly throughout your stay. It will truly help you immerse yourself in the island’s welcoming atmosphere.

TIP: I recommend finding a company that will greet you right at the airport!

2. Know What Things Are Complimentary and What Are Extra

Knowing what is included in your vacation package is a great Aulani tip.
Credit: MMVMA

My next Aulani tip is to know what’s included in your vacation stay. Aulani is not considered an all-inclusive resort. However, there are many things that are included with the cost of your stay. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what things are included in your vacation package and what things you can add at an extra cost.

As a part of your Aulani vacation, you have access to Disney’s world-renowned service, character experiences, 5 pool areas, a private beach, and more than 30 complimentary activities.

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3. Check the Daily ‘Iwa

Checking the daily 'iwa is a great Aulani tip.
Credit: MMVMA

It’s essential to stay informed about the daily activities, events, and offerings. Aulani provides a daily newsletter called the ‘Iwa, which contains valuable information about the resort’s schedule, dining options, entertainment, and special promotions. Furthermore, checking the ‘Iwa each day will ensure you don’t miss out on any exciting experiences or updates.

TIP: You can also download the Aulani app! With the app you can use a navigational map of the resort, check the daily ‘iwa, and search for daily activities!

4. Meet the Characters

Meeting Characters is a great Aulani experience!
Credit: MMVMA

Another Aulani tip on my list is to meet the characters at the resort. One of the most enchanting aspects of a visit to Aulani is the opportunity to meet beloved Disney characters in a unique and tropical setting. Interacting with your favorite characters can be a truly magical experience for guests of all ages.

Aulani offers various character greeting opportunities throughout the resort. Check the daily ‘Iwa or inquire at the front desk to find out the schedule and locations where you can meet and take photos with Disney characters. In addition, be prepared to bring your autograph book and camera to capture those memorable moments.

TIP: A perfect way to interact with your favorite characters and enjoy a fabulous 3-course breakfast is to snag a reservation at the Makahiki Restaurant. They host a daily character breakfast which is a great way to start the day!

5. Attend a Luau

Experience an authentic Hawaiian luau while on your Aulani vacation.
Credit: MMVMA

No visit to Aulani is complete without experiencing the vibrant and entertaining luau. The resort offers a traditional Hawaiian luau experience where you can indulge in a delicious feast while being captivated by live music, hula dancing, and a mesmerizing fire-knife performance.

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of Hawaii as you savor the flavors of the islands and enjoy a truly unforgettable evening of entertainment. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance, as this popular event tends to fill up quickly. Attending the luau is a fantastic way to embrace the spirit of Hawaii and create lasting memories during your stay at Aulani.

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6. Get to the Pools Early

Getting a spot at the pool early is a great Aulani tip.
Credit: MMVMA

With its stunning pools and exhilarating water slides, Aulani is a paradise for water enthusiasts. My next tip is to make the most of your time at the pool by arriving early. Getting to the pool area before the crowds can provide you with the opportunity to secure preferred spots, such as lounge chairs or shaded areas, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Arriving early also allows you to maximize your time on the water slides and indulge in various water activities without long wait times. So, grab your swimsuits, sunscreen, and towels, and be one of the first to dive into the refreshing oasis of Waikolohe Valley. Getting to the pool early ensures that you have ample time to splash, slide, and relax in the water wonderland of Aulani.

Why not top off your Disney Hawaiian vacation with a couple of days at Disneyland?! Check out the two California theme parks that make up Disneyland before your next trip!

7. Float on the Lazy River

Enjoy an afternoon on Aulani's lazy river.
Credit: MMVMA

The next great Aulani tip is to take the time to enjoy Waikolohe Stream. Waikolohe Stream is a serene and relaxing experience where you can leisurely float along the gentle currents, taking in the beautiful surroundings and soaking up the Hawaiian sun.

You’ll have the opportunity to fully appreciate the serenity of the lazy river before it gets busier later in the day. So, grab a tube, sit back, and let the gentle flow of the lazy river carry you away into a state of relaxation.

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8. Check Out Aunty’s Beach House

Booking Aunty's Beach House in advance is a key Aulani Tip
Credit: MMVMA

Aulani’s Aunty’s Beach House is a kids’ club offering a plethora of exciting activities for children aged 3 to 12. From arts and crafts to interactive storytelling, children can enjoy supervised playtime while parents indulge in some well-deserved relaxation or exploration of their own.

TIP: You should definitely register for Aunty’s Beach House before you travel! Your pre-registration can be done 90 days in advance online!

9. Take Your Kids on the Menehune Adventure Trail

Find the statues and solve riddles along the Menehune Adventure Trail
Credit: MMVMA

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of the Menehune, mischievous little beings from Hawaiian folklore, by exploring the Menehune Adventure Trail. This interactive scavenger hunt takes you on a journey through the resort, allowing you to discover hidden surprises and uncover the secrets of the Menehune. Grab a handheld device from the Pau Hana Room or the Community Hall, and follow the clues to solve puzzles and uncover the magical wonders hidden throughout Aulani.

This self-guided adventure is perfect for families and offers a delightful way to explore the resort while engaging in a fun and interactive activity. Whether you’re hunting for Menehune statues or unraveling riddles, the Menehune Adventure Trail adds an extra layer of excitement and discovery to your Aulani experience. Don’t forget to collect your special surprise at the end of the adventure as a memento of your magical journey.

10. Indulge in All the Snacks

Enjoy a refreshing snack while visiting Disney's Aulani Resort
Credit: MMVMA

Aulani is not only a haven for relaxation and adventure but also a paradise for food enthusiasts. From delectable desserts to mouthwatering savory treats, the resort offers a variety of snacks that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Make it a point to explore the different dining options and snack venues throughout the resort. Whether it’s the Ulu Cafe, Papalua Shave Ice, or the Lava Shack, each location presents a unique array of snacks and treats that showcase the flavors of Hawaii. Indulge in iconic Hawaiian delights like malasadas, shave ice, Dole Whip, or the refreshing flavors of tropical fruits.

So, don’t hold back and let your taste buds embark on a journey of culinary exploration at Aulani. Indulge in the delightful snacks and experience the true flavors of the Hawaiian islands during your stay.

Want to try another unique Disney destination? Consider Tokyo Disneyland for your next adventure! And we already have you covered with the Best Time to Visit Tokyo Disneyland!

11. Book a Family Photo Session

Meet Mickey Mouse all ready for the beach at Disney's Aulani Resort
Credit: MMVMA

Preserve the memories of your Aulani vacation with a professional photo session. Aulani offers photography services that allow you to capture the magic of your time at the resort in stunning and professional-quality images. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to document your family’s journey, a photo session can be a wonderful way to create lasting keepsakes.

Book a session with Aulani’s photography team, who are experienced in capturing the beauty of the resort and the joy of your experience. Choose from various settings, such as the beach, pool area, or lush gardens, to create the perfect backdrop for your photos. The photographers will guide you through the process, ensuring you feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera. Remember to schedule your session in advance to secure your preferred date and time.

TIP: If you don’t want to spend the extra cash on a private photo session, make sure to grab a PhotoPass card from one of the many PhotoPass photographers at the resort. Anytime you see one of these photographers on the property let them snap your pictures. You can then purchase in a bundle or by the print!

12. Pamper Yourself With a Spa Day

Enjoy a day at the spa while on your Aulani vacation.
Credit: MMVMA

Another great Aulani Tip is to indulge in ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation by spending a day at the spa. Laniwai – A Disney Spa is a haven of tranquility where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in a world of serenity.

Treat yourself to a variety of luxurious spa treatments, such as massages, facials, body wraps, and more. The spa offers a range of services designed to soothe your body and uplift your spirits, leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed. Take advantage of the spa’s hydrotherapy garden, which features a vitality pool, whirlpool, and six unique rain showers for an immersive and invigorating experience.

With its serene atmosphere, professional therapists, and exquisite treatments, spending a day at Laniwai is a true indulgence for the senses. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, or a little bit of both, spending a day at the spa is an excellent way to enhance your Aulani experience.

TIP: Be sure to book your spa appointments in advance to secure your desired treatments and preferred time slots.

13. Discover the Rest of the Island

Aloha from the island of Oahu and Disney's Aulani Resort
Credit: MMVMA

While Aulani offers a paradise within itself, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the rest of the captivating island of Oahu. Venture beyond the resort’s boundaries to discover the rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse attractions that await you.

Rent a car or join organized tours to visit iconic landmarks like Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head State Monument, or the historic town of Haleiwa. Immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring local markets, trying traditional Hawaiian dishes, or attending cultural events.

Oahu boasts stunning beaches, lush hiking trails, and scenic viewpoints, so be sure to experience the natural beauty that surrounds you. Whether it’s catching a famous North Shore wave, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, or enjoying a scenic drive along the east coast, Oahu offers a plethora of unforgettable experiences. Take the time to plan day trips or extend your stay to truly immerse yourself in all that this beautiful island has to offer.

Aulani Tips: Find Other Things to Do on Oahu

While in Oahu make sure to make a stop at Pearl Harbor.

This may be one of my more unexpected Aulani tips. But while Aulani provides an idyllic setting, exploring the rest of Oahu allows you to delve deeper into the island’s history, landscapes, and local communities. So, grab a map, embrace the spirit of adventure, and embark on a journey of discovery beyond the confines of the resort.

Here is a look at some of my other Oahu favorites that you should definitely consider during your visit!

Visit Pearl Harbor

Visiting Pearl Harbor is a poignant and educational experience that offers a profound understanding of World War II and its impact. While at Pearl Harbor, you can also tour the USS Missouri Battleship, known as the “Mighty Mo,” and step aboard this iconic vessel where the Japanese surrender was signed, marking the end of the war. Plan your visit in advance and allocate enough time to fully immerse yourself in the history and significance of this historic site.

>>>Visit the USS Arizona Memorial and Tour the USS Missouri Battleship Here!<<<

Surf on the North Shore

For those seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure, a trip to Oahu’s North Shore is a must. Renowned for its world-class surf breaks, this stretch of coastline is a surfing paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the North Shore offers waves for every skill level. Visit iconic surf spots like Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay, where you can witness the incredible power and beauty of the ocean firsthand.

TIP: If you’re new to surfing, consider taking a lesson from one of the local surf schools. They cater to all experience levels. Find my recommendation HERE!

Tour the Dole Plantation

No visit to Oahu would be complete without a trip to the famous Dole Plantation. Located in the heart of the island, the Dole Plantation offers a delightful and immersive experience for pineapple enthusiasts of all ages.

Take a tour of the plantation and learn about the history of pineapple cultivation in Hawaii, from its humble beginnings to becoming a worldwide symbol of the island. Discover the various stages of pineapple growth and cultivation, and gain insight into the plantation’s farming practices.

Don’t miss the chance to ride the Pineapple Express. This narrated train journey takes you through the plantation’s scenic fields, providing fascinating facts and trivia along the way. You can also immerse yourself in the lush Pineapple Garden Maze. It’s the world’s largest maze of its kind. See if you can navigate your way through its twists and turns.

Book Your Dole Plantation Excursion Here!
>>>Dole Plantation Tickets<<<

TIP: After your tour, have fresh pineapples shipped home. That way you will have a sweet treat waiting for you when you return from your trip!

Breakfast at Duke’s

The best breakfast on the island! Named after legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, this iconic beachfront restaurant offers a fantastic dining experience with breathtaking ocean views.

Begin your day by indulging in a hearty breakfast at Duke’s. You will savor a delectable array of Hawaiian-inspired dishes. From fluffy pancakes topped with fresh tropical fruit to savory omelets filled with local ingredients, the breakfast menu at Duke’s is sure to satisfy every palate.

Hike Diamond Head Crater

For outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, hiking Diamond Head Crater is an absolute must-do activity during your time on Oahu. Located just a short drive from Aulani, Diamond Head is an iconic volcanic crater that offers breathtaking views and a memorable hiking experience. Lace up your hiking shoes, grab some water, and embark on the trail. You’ll find yourself heading to the summit of Diamond Head.

The moderate hike takes you through a series of switchbacks, tunnels, and stairs. It provides a glimpse into the geological history of the island. As you ascend to the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Waikiki Beach, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding landscapes.

Aulani Tips: What to Pack For Your Aulani Trip

The stunning lobby of Aulani Resort
Credit: MMVMA

Packing for your Aulani trip requires a careful balance of essentials for a tropical getaway. Here’s a list of items to consider including in your suitcase:

Beachwear: Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits, cover-ups, and flip-flops. You’ll spend plenty of time by the pool or at the beach. Make sure you have enough options for your entire stay.

Sun Protection: The Hawaiian sun can be strong, so pack sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. Consider bringing rash guards or UV-protective clothing for extra protection.

Comfortable Clothing: Opt for lightweight, breathable clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and skirts. Pack a light sweater or cardigan for cooler evenings. You will also want a pair of comfortable walking shoes for exploring the resort and nearby attractions.

Camera and Electronics: Capture the magical moments of your Aulani vacation by bringing a camera or smartphone with a good camera. Don’t forget to pack the necessary chargers and adapters for your electronic devices.

Medications and First Aid: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip. Additionally, consider packing a small first-aid kit with essentials like band-aids and pain relievers.

Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially in a tropical climate. Bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day and minimize plastic waste.

Beach Accessories: Pack a beach towel and beach bag. You also may want to pack a dry bag to keep your belongings protected from water and sand. Beach toys for the kids are also a must!

Entertainment and Comfort: Don’t forget to bring books, magazines, or any other forms of entertainment for relaxation. You can enjoy these things by the pool or during downtime. Additionally, a travel pillow, eye mask, and earplugs can enhance your comfort during the journey.

By packing wisely, you’ll ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay at Aulani. You will be fully equipped to make the most of your tropical paradise vacation.

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Aulani Tips: Frequently Asked Questions

Palm trees dot the landscape of the Aulani Resort
Credit: MMVMA

Where is Aulani Located?

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is located on the western coast of the island of Oahu in Ko Olina, Hawaii. It sits approximately 17 miles (27 kilometers) west of Honolulu International Airport and about a 30-minute drive from Waikiki.

Should You Rent a Car When Visiting Aulani?

Aulani provides transportation options for getting around the resort. However, renting a car can offer more flexibility for exploring the island of Oahu. It allows you to visit nearby attractions, venture to different beaches, and experience the island at your own pace. However, if you prefer not to drive, there are also shuttle services and organized tours available.

How Many Days Should I Stay at Aulani?

The ideal length of stay at Aulani depends on your personal preferences and the activities you wish to experience. Many guests find that a 4- to 7-day stay allows for a good balance of relaxation and exploration. This timeframe provides ample time to enjoy the resort’s amenities. It also gives you time to venture out and explore the island of Oahu. However, you can adjust the duration based on your schedule and desired level of relaxation or adventure.

Is Aulani an All-Inclusive Resort?

No, Aulani is not an all-inclusive resort. The resort offers a wide range of amenities and activities. However, not all services and experiences are included in the base price. Some activities, dining options, and additional services may require an additional fee. As stated earlier in our Aulani tips, use a Disney Vacation Planner to help navigate what is included in your vacation!

Aulani Tips: Now Book Your Aulani Vacation

Enjoy the Hawaiian sunset.

Now that you have a perfect list of Aulani tips, let’s get your Hawaiian Disney vacation booked!

As an Authorized Disney Travel Planner, I would love to put all of my experience and expertise to work for you! And when booking your Disney Aulani trip with me, my services are always free!  Click the button below and let’s get started planning your Disney vacation!

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Final Thoughts: 13 Aulani Tips for Your Disney Vacation

Disney’s Aulani is a remarkable destination that seamlessly blends the enchantment of Disney with the natural beauty of Hawaii. By following these Aulani tips, you can enhance your vacation experience. Thus ensuring that every moment is filled with joy and unforgettable memories. So pack your bags, prepare for an adventure like no other, and get ready to create lifelong memories at Aulani, where Disney magic meets Hawaiian paradise!

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