Vacation Planning Disney's Aulani Hotel and Resort, Oahu Hawai'i

My Aulani and Oahu Planning Guide for July / August 2014

We are officially booked!  After 2 years of planning we have saved and set aside our Vacation Club points to take a 10 night stay in Hawai'i at Aulani Resort and Spa on Oahu Hawai'i.
late July - early August 2014

I will be traveling with my husband and 3 step children.  Twin 14 year olds and an 11 year old.
Like many of you, when I know I have a vacation coming up I look for websites and blogs searching the internet for tips, tricks and secrets to stay money savvy.  This will be my 4th trip to the Island of Oahu so I already have great insight on things to do around the island.  The big difference this time for me is having 3 kids in tow!  

We have booked a 2 bedroom Villa Garden View.  Again, we are Disney Vacation Club members so keep this in mind when reading this.  We figure not to use our points for next year that we would need to book an ocean or pool view but it is not the "standard" view.   We hope to at the least not be staring at a wall from our lanai.  Seriously.. staying in Waikiki just a couple years ago, the hotels are so close that many face each other by just feet!  Not very private!   Now I know that Aulani will offer a better view even at it's worst!  I plan to take pictures and I will share them here on my site!  Until then words and links will have to do.

Tips I've Learned of the Hotel 
-Avoid the check in line.  Check in online prior to arrival!
-Book restaurant reservations way way ahead! I booked mine back in February and some time slots were already taken!  You can always drop nights but I have read of people upset they could not get into restaurants because they did not make a reservation in advance!  When booking the specialist on the phone recommended 180 days out!   wow right!
-Wi-Fi is on available on all Aulani Property Grounds.  If you want to use it on the Beach you will need a password from the front desk
-You can use the spa for the day when buying any treatment or paying $45pp 
-Disney Movie Nights are Tuesdays and Fridays
-In the Villas they do stalk them with basics.  Some dish soap, paper towels etc.  But if you are planning to stay more than a couple nights it will not get you through.   You will have to go to the store or order groceries.  Costco, Safeway and a Super Target are all a close drive.
-Maid service like other Disney resorts do not come every day to vacation Club rooms.  This is your home away from home!  We like it this way.   
-The loop around the 3 lagoons is 2.5 miles (I like to walk and my husband runs)
-If you are a Vacation Club member you do not pay the $35 a day parking fee
-Kid activities may fill up fast so look into it early (pre book if available not sure)
-Only 1 alcoholic drink at a time per adult.  So if you are thinking of grabbing 2, one for you and one for your spouse, think again!  (this is actually a common policy throughout Oahu)
-The Day Care Center is free for those with young ones. Line starts early
-If you see your towels have been folded on your lawn chair by the pool or beach - UNFOLD IT IMMEDIATELY! - this means you are on the clock for your belongings to be moved from the chairs to make room for all guests and prevent people from holding chairs who are not really using them.  Some guest get confused and think it is just great service which it is ..just more for others than for the guests using the chairs!
-There is a happy hour 1/2 priced appetizers
-Be prepared for weekends to be not just busy but.. Time Square on New Years Eve busy

Things I've learned so far of Aulani Immediate Area 
Walking Distance:
-Country Store ABC Store
-Paradise Cove Luau is walking distance on the other side of the Marriott next door.  Not to be confused with the other Marriott 3 lagoons down.
-There are pools for crabbing somewhere on the other side of the Marriott next door - so pack water shoes
-Monkey Pod Restaurant in walking distance good reviews
-There is a Starbucks in the Marriott right next door.
-15 Eats in walking distance

Things I've learned so far of the Ko Olina, Oahu area
-Costco, Target and Safeway all in this area
-There is a Historic Train that rides once a week to Ewa Beach
-Genki Sushi  Prices start at $1.50
-Kaneaki Heiau Ancient Hawaiian Ruins
-Ma ili Beach Park
-White Plains Beach Park Great beach for the day it has bathrooms!
Katie's Tip:  In the winter the waves are much bigger than in the calmer water summer months

My Packing List To Date
General not exact yet.  Because Hawaii can be expensive it is smart to pack some things that may cost a bit there.  Also we have a washer and dryer so I will have to keep this in mind when packing clothing.  Last, a first for me, I am packing for 3 teen and pre teenagers.

-flip flops and comfy walking shoes
-water shoes for tide pooling with kids next to Marriott and around island
-sweater/sweatshirts I hear A/C is cold in rooms and restaurants
-a baggie of dishwasher tabs
-shampoo/conditioner more for us girls :)
-lotion for sun dried skin
-sun block
-small first aid kit
-ear buds for pool
-sound proof head phones for airplane
-nail kit
-tooth paste, mouth wash and brushes
-hair brushes and accessories
-small sling bags to pack snacks and things on the go

Carry on
-snacks for plane
-games, books and magazines for plane
-hair elastics
-pen and paper (you have to fill out forms on the plane to enter Hawaii a pen comes in handy)

Here are a few of my favorite sites I have found so far that offer a unique and detailed look at the Aulani and surrounding area

Interactive area map

Please add comments to any info tips or thoughts!   Thanks


  1. Sounds like you've really done your research!! Hope you have a great time! I visited Kauai in Oct and I never wanted to leave!

  2. Just returned from a week at Aulani, your tips were very helpful. Online check was wonderful! FYI - with all the excitement of arriving, you may miss the online check in desk. It is located outside the front doors (in the portico area) & also the same area where they provide refreshing cold water day and night. Lots of Disney photographers all over resort. They will give you a photo pass just like at Disneyland. I wish we would have taken advantage of their professional photos. I saw so many cute family poses in the water, at the beach and around the resort. We only took a measly 20 or so...some families took 100s. They offer a DVD of your pictures for $99 whether you take 1 or 500 pictures. They also include Aulani stock photos with your DVD. Printing of your photos is extra of course. We took advantage of Aunty's Beach house. Our 7 & 8 yr old boys LOVED it! Hubby and I loved having couple time! You can only register for the same day activities on the day of the activity (I'm talking about the included with your resort stay activities at Aunty's). Best deal was $8 lunch or $8 dinner for kids to eat at Aunty's. Kids loved the food and would have liked to have eaten there everyday. :) We enjoyed a few nice dinners w/o kiddos! :) Meal's are limited so you have to sign up early on same day. No advance registration for meals either. Line ups started around 7:30 am while we were there and very efficient. Staff comes out around 7:45 am and hands out registration tickets for activities. Tickets are filled out in line and then staff comes back through the line and collects them at 8 a.m. when Aunty's opens. If you are not purchasing meals, you are finished with registration and free to go. If you are paying for meals, you wait in line to pay for your meals. Monkey Pod was excellent and you can make advance reservations on Open Table website. We also ordered pizza to be delivered from Pizza Corner located in same shopping center as Monkey Pod. Very yummy pizza. If you plan to take a trip out to Dole Plantation, stop and pick up dinner on the way back to resort at Maui Mikes in Wahiawa. Excellent fire roasted chicken, check out website. If you are familiar with 99 Ranch markets, try out Don Quixote's in Waipahu, great groceries prices and lots of cheaper souvenir stuff and you could buy a TV too ;) It was an adventure! Enjoy your stay, we left plenty of sand for you! :))))


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