Aloha, adventure seekers! Get ready to embark on a tropical getaway like no other as we dive into the tips and tricks of staying at the magical Aulani Disney Resort.
Nestled on the breathtaking shores of Oahu, this Hawaiian paradise blends Mickey’s enchantment with the spirit of Aloha. So grab your leis, slip on your sandals, and let’s explore the tips secrets to make your stay at Aulani an unforgettable island escapade!
Essential Aulani Tips and Tricks
Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for staying at Aulani, especially if you’re a first-time visitor the tail help you get the most out of your vacation:
1. Visit from early November through mid-December.
Hands down, the best and cheapest time to stay at Aulani is from early November through mid-December, not including Thanksgiving week.
During this time, the average nightly rate for a standard view room between $504.88 and $563.80, if you book through Priceline.
If this timeframe doesn’t work, my favorite time to visit is around late-February. During this time, there is always a great vacation promotion going on, plus the crowds levels are very low, making it so easy to actually find chairs at the pool without getting up so early in the morning.
2. Don’t eat every meal at the resort
I can’t stress this enough. There’s so many great restaurants and eateries across the island that it’s 100% not worth it for you to only eat at the resort or Monkeypod across the street.
Instead, go out and explore some nearby spots to try some local favorites.
And since we are already on the topic of food, you absolutely need to get your poke fix from Foodland. The poke bowls from Ulu Cafe are good, but there are nowhere near the same level of taste and value than the poke you can get from Foodland.
3. Get the refillable mug
$22.95 might seem like rip off, but honestly, this is by far one of the best deals at Aulani.
With a refillable mug, you get unlimited refills of soda, coffee, hot chocolate, and tea from all of the drinks stations located around the resort.
One thing to note is that these mugs are only good for the duration of your stay. I haven’t personally tried bringing an old one from home so I’m curious to see if that works lol.
4. Get up early to get a great spot at the pool
Just like any other resort or hotel with a pool, finding chairs is by far one of the more stressful parts of a vacation at Aulani, especially if you’re visiting during a peak season.
That’s why I recommend that you get up and early and reserve your seats, since all seats are available at a first-come-first-serve basis.
That said, Aulani has been more strict about their seat saving policy so be sure that your entire party is at the pool within 30 minutes of saving them so that your seats aren’t forfeited.e
The best time is between 6:30 am and 7:00 am. This may seem early but you’d be surprised how many people are already out by then.
Plus, the pools don’t officially open until 8 am every morning.
5. Meet all the characters
Aulani is home to so many cool and unique character meet and greats, some of which you can’t find anywhere else in the U.S.
That’s why I recommend that you see at least Duffy and Shellie May, two iconic characters at Aulani.
You can get the full scoop of character meet and greets when their schedules and locations are released each morning at 8 am.
6. Have at least one resort day to relax
I get it, there’s so much to see, do, and eat around O’ahu that you’ll feel terrible if you don’t spend every waken hour exploring the island.
But, it’s also okay to actually relax and enjoy all of the pools and amenities around Aulani. Whether if it’s cruising down the lazy river or experiencing the hydrotherapy garden at Laniwai Spa, you deserve at least one full day of rest and relaxation at the resort.
Regardless of how long our stay is at Aulani, we always have one full day at the resort to swim and chill. Then we fill the rest of our days exploring and eating around the beautiful island.
7. Skip the Ka Wa’a Luau
I might get some hate for this, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the Ka Wa’a Luau at Aulani, especially since it was on the pricier side.
Don’t get me wrong, it was very well done, but it just wasn’t what I wanted in a luau. I really like the Disney element of the luau including the storytelling as well as the food, which included prime rib. But something was just missing. I mean, I wanna see someone climb a tree to get some coconuts or at least let me see the Kalua Pig.
That’s why I recommend that you go to the Paradise Cove Luau about 2 minutes down the road. This luau has great food, atmosphere, and entertainment. Not to mention the performers are extremely talented. I’ve only done four luaus on O’ahu, including the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Paradise Cove is my favorite.
8. Do your shopping at Target
Chances are, if you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time, you’ll have a rental car. If that’s the case, then you’re in luck!
Instead of buying drinks, snacks, and other sundries at Aulani’s gift shop or Island Country Markets across the street, instead drive about 8 mins down the road to the Target at Kapolei.
There you can stock up on drinks, snacks, food, laundry detergent, cosmetics, beach toys, etc, without paying an arm and a leg.
Whenever we stay at Aulani, our first stop, right after the Leonards Bakery Malasada Mobile, is always Target to stock up on everything that we’ll need during our trip.
Plus, it’s even a good place to grab some souvenirs to bring back home.
And if you need some stuff in bulk, there’s also a Costco kitty-cornered from Target.
9. Visit Aulani for the day
If you’re not staying at Aulani during your trip to Hawaii, I always recommend everyone to visit the property at least once. Because let’s be honest, Aulani is insanely expensive for what you get. But it’s still a really neat place to check out especially if you love Disney in general.
Although they don’t offer a one-day pass, there are some great things that you can do while on property such as spending a couple hours at the Laniwai Spa, going to the Ka Wa’a Luau, shopping, and even experience a character breakfast at Makahiki.
10. Watch the sunset from the Four Seasons side of the lagoon
When staying at Aulani, there is a nice grass area followed by some rocks towards the left of the Ko Olina lagoon that you may see a ton of people congregating during sunset. Instead of going there, head to the Four Season side on the right and you’ll find a flatter picturesque spot to take in the sunset, as well as get some great pics.
11. Skip the Ocenview room
Booking an Oceanview Room will cost at least an extra $100-$150 per night, and honestly, it’s not worth it.
Yes the views are amazing, but not for that price. At that point, you can use that money and get a bigger 1-Bedroom Villa with a garden view for the same price.
Skipping the Oceanivew Room is by far one of my favorite ways to visit Aulani on a budget and save money.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Here’s a quick rundown of some additional Aulani tips and tricks:
- For a party of two or more, Speedi Shuttle (the company Aulani contacts for transportation) is cheaper than Uber or Lyft when going to and from Aulani from the Honolulu Airport.
- Let your kids explore Auntie’s Beach House, a kids club that’s completely complimentary
- If you only want to rent a car for a day, then use the in-house Alamo rental car booth at Aulani
- Bring your own snorkel gear or get a cheap set from Target
- If you’re doing Rainbow Reef, be sure to just purchase it for the entire length of stay
- Make sure to get at least one item of Aulani-exclusive merchandise
With these tips and tricks, planning a trip and then preparing for Aulani can greatly enhance your overall vacation experience. By following these cool tips and tricks, you’ll be equipped to make the most of your stay.
From planning ahead and booking early to packing essentials and embracing the unique offerings of Aulani, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable adventure.
So get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and magic of Aulani, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Aloha!