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I could go on for days about what makes Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa so wonderful, but instead here are my top 5 favorite things about Aulani.
The ability to relax all day and never leave the resort
We ventured off the resort for a few meals nearby, and a day trip into Honolulu. Other than that, we stayed put at Aulani and relaxed. Every person is going to approach their vacation differently, so this may not apply to everyone. We were there to lay in the lounge chairs, play in the pool, and just relax. Aulani is now 2 for 2 in our book as being the most relaxing vacations we’ve ever taken.
A fabulous luau experience on property
When Aulani first opened they offered a free evening show, including ukulele players, hula dancers, and Disney character fun. They soon realized that people were going elsewhere (and paying) to experience an authentic luau and began to put together their own. We went to the Aulani luau on this visit, and it didn’t disappoint. While there were Disney elements, they weren’t overdone, and it gave the authentic Polynesian feel we were looking for. In addition, there was amazing food!
Cast Members and Character interactions
Just as you’d expect to find at any other Disney property, the Cast Members are amazing. They are friendly and go out of their way to help you have a great experience. We had several that we interacted with multiple times during our stay, and they would spend time chatting with us and making us feel at home. The character interactions are abundant (more so than they were in 2012), which makes it easy to see several each day. There is a dedicated phone line that you can call starting at 8:00 a.m., and it will tell you which characters you can expect to see as well as their locations and times. They also offer character meals for breakfast and dinner (on select nights) at Makahiki. We tried both and had fabulous experiences with characters as well as full stomachs! There are now PhotoPass photographers all over the resort to help you capture these special moments.
The wide variety of activities offered each day
Aulani is unique in that it offers guests different activities to choose from every day, many of which are free. We took part in the ukulele lessons, as well as painting t-shirts (there was a small fee), character drawing lessons, and borrowing DVDs and board games from the Pau Hana Community Room. Fire pit storytelling and the Menehune Trail are unique experiences you won’t find at other Hawaiian resorts! You’ll want to check the daily Ewa, which can be picked up every evening in the lobby, for the following day’s schedule of activities around the resort. Aulani has Aunty’s Beach House for guests 3-12 years, offering a place for your kids to safely enjoy activities tailored just for them. There are also options just for teens, as well as “pool parties” with characters (we saw Goofy leading the party one day!).
The theming of the resort is authentic
It’s Disney, so you know it’s going to be well thought out, right? Bring in Imagineer Joe Rhode, and you know it’ll be good! Joe grew up on Oahu, not too far from where Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa now stands. He and his team spent years developing the perfectly themed resort, and it shows. Take time to look around at the details. Aulani houses one of the largest collections of Hawaiian art in the world, so don’t just hurry by. Soak it all in and enjoy the work that went into giving you the most authentic experience possible.
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