Disney’s Aulani: How to Plan Your Hawaiian Vacation!

Disney's Aulani
Those are my toes!

ALOHA! Let me tell you about the most beautiful place I’ve ever been (I’m sure you’ll never guess based on the title of this blog). It’s lush with palm trees, a gentle warm breeze pushes through them and you can hear the rustle of the wide leaves above. The sound of crashing surf is ahead of you and it smells like coconut, pineapple, and a hint of salt. This place oozes relaxation and slowing down. It truly is paradise. Welcome to Disney’s Aulani! 

Disney’s Aulani: 101 – What It Is (and how it’s not the same as Disney parks!)

2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year globally. Now, I know I tend to lean toward dramatic because I’m an Aries, but I think calling a real global pandemic challenging might be an understatement. Despite the fact that it’s summer (“…the idea of summer, sun, and all things hot” – I can’t help but hear Olaf!), we’re socially distancing, wearing masks, and aren’t partaking in all of our normal activities. Because SAFETY FIRST. All of this to say, I think we could use a little light and fun in our lives. And for me, fun is planning a magical vacation! 

Or really any Disney vacation for that matter.

Let’s Talk Planning

Part of an incredible trip is the anticipation of going. I love the planning phase! In the “before”, we get to decide our itinerary, what to wear, and then get excited about everything we look forward to. We watch YouTube videos of where we’re going, listen to music from that place, and try to cook meals that remind us of our upcoming vacation. Do you do this, too or is it just us? Honestly, tell me in the comments. I’d LOVE to know your pre-vaca rituals! 

When you’re shelling out BIG money for a vacation – Disney isn’t always cost efficient and Hawaii is a trip we save for – don’t you want to maximize every possible moment? I would hate to get to Aulani and feel like I didn’t know what it had to offer. How could we possibly plan our days without knowing what we could be doing?! 

So with a little over a year to go, we’ve started doing our research. Marc and I traveled to Aulani: A Disney Resort and Spa on Oahu in 2013 and while we’ve been to some amazing places, this is BY FAR the most stunning! We need we’d return. Even then, 2 years before Caleigh came into the world, we toured the childcare spaces (like Aunty’s Beach House!) because our plan was to have a baby and bring her back to this Eden. 

Our current plan is to return in August of 2021. So let’s get ready! Here’s what you need to know:

Disney’s Aulani for Kiddos (Keiki!)

If you’re going as an adult couple (OMG you will NOT regret this!), skip down to the next heading! But, if you’re planning to take your little ones, read on.

Firstly, don’t be hesitant about taking keiki to Disney’s Aulani! This resort (and if you need some help getting them there, check out our blog post on how to travel with toddlers!), while stunningly gorgeous, is 100% KID FRIENDLY. There is so much to do for your kiddos! I posted a video I made where I am outlining ALL of the offerings from Aulani, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Keiki Cove Splash Zone – Caleigh LOVES water play, so an area specifically designed for ages 5 and under that is meant to work like a tidal pool is RIGHT up her alley (and it’s included with your stay!)
  • Menehune Adventure Trail – an interactive “map” of the mischievous Menehune found on property
  • Paining with Light – a beautiful and fun way to capture one-of-a-kind memories!
  • Rainbow Reef Fish are Friends Day Experience

I share ALL of these offerings in detail in the video, and while my choices are tailored to fit my family (Caleigh will be 5 when we go!), there are even MORE things to do if you have older children who can venture off on their own without your supervision!

This resort is set on a lagoon, Ko Olina, and is a bit sheltered from the rest of the island, so Disney planned for guests NEVER to need to leave the space. It is entirely possible that you and your family stay on property every single day and still don’t get to everything!

Disney’s Aulani for Adults

If you’re going as adults or plan to utilize the childcare services at Aunty’s Beach House for a little adults only time, prepare your heart because there is SO much to choose from!

You could easily spend your time lounging by the gorgeous pools, but might I suggest:

  • a traditional cocktail at the Olelo Room Bar – this is an outdoor bar by the upper poolside where the theme is the language of Hawaii. There’s acoustic music in the evenings by fireside.
  • a Laniwai Spa Service – THIS IS A MUST DO FOR ALL HUMANS WHO VISIT DISNEY’S AULANI. It is the BEST spa I’ve ever been to. It bears repeating: PLEASE LOOK AT THE SPA OFFERINGS AND TREAT YO SELF.
If you know, you know.
  • Scuba lessons at Rainbow Reef
  • Explore the Stars! We did this in 2013 and it was romantic and educational. Looking at the stars on a clear night from a white sandy beach? Paradise.

Disney’s Aulani Community Hall

Regardless if you’re planning for a family or an adult trip, you will want to stop by Aulani’s Community Hall for a daily itinerary of what the resort has to offer (think like a cruise bulletin) and a peek around. It’s a gorgeously appointed space and houses many of the activities mentioned above! It’s the starting place for the Menehune Adventure Trail and where you can sign up for all of what Aulani has to do!

How to Get There

We live on the East Coast, so going ALL THE WAY out to Oahu with a 5 year old non-stop is not our idea of a good time. Because we love all things Disney, we’re planning to break the trip up by stopping at Disneyland for a few days before embarking on the second half of our journey!

I am currently working on an Aulani Wish List for our 2021 trip so I can take ALL of these resources and make sure we’re planning a truly magical week on Oahu. When that’s done, I’ll be sure to add it as a video here so ALL of our Aulani content can be found together!

So, now it’s your turn! What questions can I answer for you about Aulani or really any Disney vaca?

I hope you’ll Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hop on our email list! We have new content weekly and I send a love letter every Wednesday with behind-the-scenes, an update on what’s new, and general stories to connect with you and learn more about how I can help you live the most magical life.

Thank you for reading (and watching!). Let’s plan for paradise!

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