Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii
LAST UPDATE: 3/20/23Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is on 21 acres of oceanfront property on Hawaii’s island of Oahu. See below for any Aulani Resort discounts, information on FREE Aulani Resort activities, as well as our advice for getting to Hawaii, saving money on groceries near Aulani Resort, great activities and daytrips on Oahu, luaus and more!
Aulani, located on the island’s western (leeward) side in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina, is Disney’s first mixed-use family resort outside of its theme park developments. The resort overlooks breathtaking crystal blue lagoons and sandy beaches, with a total of 481 two-bedroom-equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas and 351 hotel rooms including 16 suites.
- Aulani Resort Overview
- Booking a Vacation at Aulani
- Discounts on Aulani Vacations
- FREE Activities at Aulani Resort
- Daytrips and Excursions on Oahu
- Dining, Drinking and Luaus at or Near Aulani Resort
- Saving Money on Groceries & Beach Items
- Transportation to Hawaii and Aulani Resort
- Childcare and Babysitting
- Spas at or Near Aulani Resort
- Prices in Hawaii
- Taxes on Oahu
Aulani Resort Overview
Aulani Resort & Spa, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, is an oceanfront resort offering activities and amenities that aim to engage every member of the family. Aulani is also designed to respect and connect with the local culture of the Hawaiian islands. The Walt Disney Imagineering team researched Hawaii and worked with local architects and cultural experts as part of the resort’s creative design process. The resulting design is a village celebrating the Hawaiian customs and traditions that lead to a life filled with joy and in harmony with the natural world.
At the heart of the resort, an open-air lobby building — Hale Aloha — draws its design inspiration from a traditional Hawaiian canoe house, visually connecting families to the sea and beyond. Window designs, wall graphics and other details welcome families with tales of adventure, myth, legend and more, while twin streams flow through the building before uniting as a single cascade into the center garden below. Wood, thatch, lava stone and coral are among the materials represented in the resort’s two 15-story guestroom towers, each oriented perpendicular to the ocean to maximize ocean views. Façade murals add to the distinctive look of each tower and portray some of the stories and legends of the islands.
To further incorporate Hawaiian traditions, cultural programming including music, dance, history, and arts and crafts; a story-driven, technology-enabled adventure game; a lu’au and other surprises come together to create a Hawaiian destination that’s uniquely Disney.
The Aulani Resort offers an extensive and elaborate pool and water play area, an 18,000-square-foot spa, a children’s club (Aunty’s Beach House) and dining at two full-service restaurants and several convenient quick-service dining options. To learn more about this resort, you can read Kris Borchardt’s November 2016 review of her stay at Aulani.
The pool area, known as the Waikolohe Valley, includes:
- A large 8,200 sq ft pool (Waikolohe Pool) with a zero entry area, and tunnel body slide
- A lazy river (Waikolohe Stream) pool that twists through caverns and glides through tropical landscape
- A themed family pool (Ka Maka Grotto), featuring an infinity edge, a misty grotto with beautiful sunset views and an after-dark experience with glittering lights
- A kids’ splash zone (Keiki Cove) that’s designed to resemble a tidal pool, with images of tidal pool creatures on the pool floor, rainbow water jets and hidden menehune – the legendary “little people” of the islands
- Rainbow Reef, a private saltwater snorkeling pool stocked with tropical Hawaiian fish, is located in the resort and is good for beginner snorkeling
- Wailana Pool, another family pool, is separated from the main pool
- Four whirlpool spas, two with beautiful sunset views (one is reserved for those 18 and older)
- Ulu Cafe, a poolside dining venue serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – and featuring an outdoor patio with resort and ocean views
- A shave ice stand (Papalua Shave Ice), grab’n’go shop and a hot and cold item snack stand (Mama’s Snack Stop)
- Deck space, chairs, chaises and cabanas surround all of the resort’s water features, and numerous chaises are available at the resort’s sandy cove beach.
Booking a Vacation at Aulani
“Rack” (full price) rates at Aulani start at $549 a night (plus 14% hotel tax) for a standard hotel room. Rates vary by season of the year. Generally speaking the rates are lowest when kids are in school, and highest in summer, at Christmas and during other holiday periods.
Parking is an additional $37 per day for either valet or self-parking.
Vacations at Aulani can be booked in various ways:
- For a full-service travel agency that specializes in Disney and can help you plan your stay at Aulani, fill out a quote form with Small World Vacations. They give you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly!
- If you prefer to self-book your vacation, Travelocity and Expedia offer online booking for Aulani.
- If you want a hotel + airfare package, Alaska Airlines Vacations and Funjet Vacations offer air-inclusive vacations to Aulani.
- It is sometimes possible to book an Aulani stay by renting Disney Vacation Club points from an owner. This is the only way for non-owners to book one of the fabulous DVC studios or villas at Aulani more than 60 days in advance. The best way to do this is through David’s Vacation Club Rentals.
Discounts on Aulani Vacations
Spring Aulani Offer
Get up to 25% off when you book a 5-night or longer stay in select rooms at Aulani. Get up to 20% off when you book a 4-night stay in select rooms at Aulani. Offer available for stays most nights March 31 – June 9, 2023. Travel must be complete by June 10, 2023.
Offer subject to end at any time.
The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Standard change/cancel policies apply. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Does not apply to Suites or 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Offer excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.
- To book this offer, we recommend filling out a quote form with Small World Vacations. They give you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly!
Renting Disney Vacation Club Points
When available, renting Disney Vacation Club points from an owner is a great way to save money on an Aulani stay. (It is also the only way for non-owners to book the studio or villa accommodations more than 60 days in advance.)
- The best way to rent Disney Vacation Club points is through David’s Vacation Club Rentals.
Annual Passholder Discount
Aulani offers an ongoing discount for ALL Disney theme park Annual Passholders, no matter which Disney theme park. Discount is typically 10% but sometimes up to 30% with special offers, which will be noted below when available. This includes Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Resort.
- To book with the Annual Passholder discount, you can log into the Passholder site or fill out a quote form with Small World Vacations and request Annual Passholder rates. Small World Vacations gives you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly!
Disney Visa Cardholder Offers
Spring Aulani Disney Visa Cardholder Offer
Get up to 30% off when you book a 5-night stay or longer in select rooms at Aulani. Get up to 25% off when you book a 4-night stay in select rooms at Aulani. Offer available for stays April 14 – June 4, 2023. Travel must be complete by June 5, 2023.
Offer subject to end at any time.
Offer excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Standard change/cancel policies apply. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Payment must be made with a Disney Visa card, and cardholder must be a registered guest in the room. Offer excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.
- To book the Disney Visa Cardholder Aulani Offer we recommend filling out a quote form with Small World Vacations and request the Disney Visa Cardholder Aulani Offer. They give you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly!
Aulani has an ongoing discount for active duty military: 25% off, subject to availability.
Spring Aulani US Military Offer
Eligible members of the US Military get up to 30% off for most stays of 2 or more nights, Sunday through Thursday nights, from April 16 – June 1, 2023. Travel must be complete by June 2, 2023.
Offer subject to end at any time.
Offer excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Standard change/cancel policies apply. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Eligible military service member/spouse must present a valid military ID upon check-in and must stay in a room on the reservation. Offer excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.
- To book with the Military discount, we recommend filling out a quote form with Small World Vacations and requesting Military rates. Small World Vacations gives you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly!
Kama’aina (locals/Hawaiian resident) rates may be offered seasonally. You will have to show a Hawaiian resident ID (drivers license) at check-in.
- When available, Kama’aina discounts are listed here.
- To book Kama’aina discounts, you can go directly through Disney or fill out a quote form with Small World Vacations and ask for Kama’aina discounts. Small World Vacations gives you full service, including a personal travel agent you can contact by email or direct phone number, and we recommend them wholeheartedly!
FREE Activities at Aulani Resort
When booking a stay at Aulani, you can enjoy a wide range of activities at no additional cost!
In addition to the beach and the resort’s themed pools, Aulani offers many complimentary experiences:
- Mo‘olele Storytelling: Guests of all ages gather round a fire pit as “Uncle” brings legends of the island to life.
- ‘Ohana Disney Movie Nights: Watch family-friendly Disney movies under the stars, as well as enjoy pre-movie games, activities and trivia competitions.
- Aunty’s Beach House: Kids are invited to explore this special area designed just for them as they engage in Hawaiian activities, games and crafts. In the evenings there are activities for the whole family. There are also premium activities available for a fee. Reservations are required for Aunty’s Beach House.
- Menehune Adventure Trail: On this high-tech scavenger hunt, guests explore Aulani to solve riddles, search for statues and discover surprises.
- M‘ka‘ika‘i, the Art of Aulani: This guided walking tour showcases the art of Aulani.
- M‘ka‘ika‘i, the Nature and Wildlife of Aulani: On this guided walking tour, learn about the native plants, nature and beauty of Aulani.
Daytrips and Excursions on Oahu
Aulani Resort offers a variety of excursions including snorkeling, hiking, and visits to Hawaii tourist spots like Pearl Harbor. However, exploring the island on your own is usually much less expensive than Aulani’s standard excursions, as well as more flexible. We highly recommend it, and have some suggested activities and daytrips below.
For self-guided exploration, a rental car is a must. The resort’s location is remote and there is very limited public transportation. The nearest bus stop is 1 mile from Aulani and major attractions are located 30 minutes to 1 hour away by car. Read our information on rental car discounts.
If you prefer to rent a car only for only part of your stay, Alamo has a rental car desk at Aulani (location code is HNLR72).
If you plan to drive around Oahu, be aware that traffic is often very bad, particularly along the south shore/Waikiki/Honolulu. Avoid driving into the Honolulu area on weekdays between 5:00-8:00 am and out of Honolulu between 3:00-6:30 pm.
- Daytrips and Activities on Oahu
- Go City Oahu Pass
- DVC Member Discounts Outside Aulani
- Standard Excursions Offered by Aulani Resort
Daytrips and Activities on Oahu
Snorkel at Hanauma Bay
For a more authentic alternative to Aulani’s artificial lagoon (Rainbow Reef), drive about 1 hour to Hanauma Bay, which is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life conservation area and one of the world’s best places for novice snorkelers. Within the bay’s pristine and clear waters, visitors can swim through a stunning coral reef with more than 450 species of vibrant tropical fish. You can drive down on your own and snorkel all day for $25.00 per adult, and kids 12 and under are FREE. There is also a $3.00 parking lot fee, cash only. You will need snorkel equipment of your own, or you can rent some on the beach for $20 per person. An advance reservation is required to view the mandatory 9-minute safety video. This must be paid for in advance and once the reservation has been made, you cannot change it. (There are a limited number of tickets available for walk-in each day, but they must be purchased and used that day and they sell out quickly.)
Hanauma Bay is very popular, and you’ll do best to get an early reservation. Only 1,400 visitors per day are allowed in, and there is limited space for parking even if you have a reservation. You’ll want to add extra driving time for traffic if you are coming from Aulani (or need to drive through Honolulu), but if you have 2 or more people in your car you can use the HOV carpool lane and bypass the worst of the traffic.
In our opinion, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay was a highlight of our trip. We’ve snorkeled at several coves on the Hawaiian Islands, and Hanauma beats them all, hands down. You’ll see many types of fishes, urchins and varieties of living coral in a short span of time. Much of the bay is fairly shallow, which gives you an “up close and personal” view of all that you see. For more information, read Kris Borchardt’s November 2016 review of Hanauma Bay snorkeling.
Consider a visit to Kualoa Ranch, located on the opposite coast of Oahu, about 45 minutes’ drive from Aulani. Many movies and popular television shows were filmed at the Kualoa Ranch complex, and the area is a popular tourist destination that offers a wide array of reasonably-priced recreational activities, including catamaran sailing, ATV tours, horseback riding, a “secret island” beach and film set tours. Kualoa Ranch is on land once inhabited by the Kahuna members of Hawaiian society, who served as advisors to Kualoa’s resident royalty. The ranch acreage includes a lush valley, natural streams and mountains with beautiful ocean views, and an 800 year old Hawaiian fishpond.
- The Go City Oahu Pass includes multiple activities at Kualoa Ranch, plus over 30 other Oahu activities and excursions. If you buy a 3-, 5- or 7-day card, you get a FREE bonus attraction.
- Kualoa Ranch offers military and kama’aina (local resident) discounts.
Explore the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)
You can easily spend a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, located on the northeast coast of the island, about an hour from Aulani, and open daily except Sundays and Wednesdays. The PCC is focused the cultures of the 1,000+ Pacific islands that make up Polynesia. The park is divided into six different villages representing islands of Polynesia and their customs: Aotearoa (New Zealand) Village, Hawaiian Village, Tahitian Village, Fijian Village, Samoan Village and Tongan Village. Each of the villages allows visitors to experience cultural practices of that particular island. Some of the activities include fire pit cooking, coconut husking, hula lessons, fire-starting, paddling a canoe and fire knife dancing.
General admission includes the villages and the Huki: A Canoe Celebration canoe pageant, Hawaii’s only water-borne show. For an additional fee, one of the best luaus on the island, featuring a buffet and spectacular show (HA – Breath of Life) with over 100 performers, can be added to your admission ticket.
- The Go City Oahu Pass includes general admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center, plus over 30 other Oahu activities and excursions. If you buy a 3-, 5- or 7-day card, you get a FREE bonus attraction, and one of the choices is the Alii Luau and Dinner show at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Visit Pearl Harbor
The most popular thing to do at Pearl Harbor is to visit the Visitor Center and USS Arizona Memorial. Other options are the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.
The Visitor Center and USS Arizona Memorial are operated by the National Park Service. They are FREE to visit and parking is free, but you must get a ticket for the boat over to the Memorial. Tickets can be reserved in advance online (there is a $1 program reservation fee per ticket); see the USS Arizona Memorial Program website for complete details about ticket reservations. There may be some standby space at less busy times, but reservations are highly recommended. Paying your respects at the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor — the final resting place of many of the 1,177 American sailors who were lost in the Pearl Harbor attack on the ship — is intensely moving for most adults, but can be boring for young children. It may be worth taking children 10 and older, especially those interested in history.
There are fees to enter the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park. The Battleship Missouri and the USS Bowfin are interesting for some younger children because they can tour through the massive ships, but children under 4 are not permitted on the Bowfin. Children who are very interested in planes and/or history will enjoy the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Be aware that you cannot carry ANY bags (fanny packs, wrist purses, handbags, diaper bags, backpacks, camera bags, etc.) into the Pearl Harbor sites. You can carry a camera in your hand or around your neck. Put your personal items in your pockets or car trunk before departing for Pearl Harbor (don’t put things in the trunk when you get there, as theft from car trunks is a big problem in Hawaii and thieves could be watching). Alternatively, you can store things for $6 per bag at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.
Strollers can be taken into the Visitor Center (except the theater), but all pockets and compartments must be empty. Strollers CANNOT be taken on the boat over to the USS Arizona. You are allowed to leave a stroller outside the theater in the Visitor Center while you take the boat to the Memorial, but no one will be watching it. No strollers can be taken onto the Battleship Missouri or USS Bowfin.
- If you plan to visit the Battleship Missouri, there are military and kama’aina (local resident) rates – ask at the box office and show ID.
- If you plan to visit the USS Bowfin, there are senior, military and kama’aina (local resident) rates – ask at the box office and show ID.
- If you plan to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum, there are military and kama’aina (local resident) rates – ask at the box office and show ID.
- If you plan to visit everything at Pearl Harbor and do other activities on Oahu, the Go City Oahu Pass includes the Battleship Missouri, USS Bowfin and Pacific Aviation Museum, plus over 30 other activities and excursions.
Hawaii is a great place to do this! There is so much to see (amazing fish, rays, eels, turtles), and the water is wonderful and clear on the west side of the island, where Aulani is located. There are also interesting wrecks and caves in the area. Unfortunately the lagoons at Aulani (and throughout Ko Olina) are not good for off-the-beach scuba diving as they are too shallow, but open water dives are amazing. Hawaii Nautical is the local scuba diving company in the Ko Olina area. If you are not already a diver, there is a 3-hour “Scuba Diving for Beginners” excursion from Ko Olina Marina (very close to Aulani) where you can learn to scuba dive.
Go City Oahu Pass
If you plan to do much self-guided sightseeing on the island, be sure to check out the Go City Oahu Pass , which includes admission to over 34 attractions, including a Grand Circle Island Tour, Hanauma Bay snorkel excursion from Waikiki with equipment included, multiple activities at Kualoa Ranch, general admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and lots more. It allows you to skip the line at top sights and saves you up to 55% on regular admission rates.
Go City Oahu Passes are available in 1- and 2-day increments, but only 3-, 5- and 7-day passes give you access to bonus attractions such as a Dolphin Encounter at Sea Life Park, Alii Luau and Dinner show at the Polynesian Cultural Center, or a semi-private surfing lesson. 1- and 2-day cards include the Polynesian Cultural Center; just not the Luau and Dinner show.
Instant delivery! You can now get your pass instantly when you download it as a mobile pass after checkout. You will also receive a link to the pass in your order confirmation email. Along with your pass, you will receive printable and mobile versions of your guidebook containing information about each attraction including location, getting-in instructions, phone number, and hours of operation. Simply choose the “Instant Delivery” option at checkout.
- Get 10% off your Go City Oahu Pass order with MouseSavers special deal! You must use Promo Code MOUSESVR10 at checkout to get this offer. No expiration date. This offer may end at any time. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer, but may be combined with special sales!
- Costco.com sometimes offers a very good discount on the Go City Oahu Pass. You don’t have to be a Costco member to buy through their site. (Non-members pay a 5% surcharge, however.) There is a shipping charge when ordering from Costco.com. Thanks to Peter L for info.
DVC Member Discounts Outside Aulani
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members may qualify for some discounts on Oahu, away from Aulani. We don’t list them here because they are subject to frequent changes: the best way to see the current offerings is to check the DVC member website. To get the discounts you’ll need to show your blue DVC membership card.
Standard Excursions Offered by Aulani Resort
A variety of standard excursions including snorkeling, hiking, and visits to Hawaii tourist spots like Pearl Harbor are offered by Aulani’s Tour Desk. The primary advantage of doing these excursions is that most of them depart from Aulani, so you don’t need to drive. However, you will generally pay a considerable amount more than if you did them on your own. You can certainly book Oahu excursions directly with various tour operators (Viator’s Oahu Page or HawaiiActivities.com’s Oahu Page are both good place for learning about and booking dozens of different Oahu tours), but very few of them depart from Ko Olina; they usually have pick up available, but sometimes only from Waikiki hotels or the cruise ship terminal. There are some exceptions; there are several snorkel and dolphin-watching tours now that are run from Ko Olina Marina, which is an easy walk from Aulani, and there are a few helicopter and jeep tours that leave from Ko Olina. Many Ko Olina excursions can be booked directly through HawaiiActivities.com’s Ko Olina Page (some are also available on Viator’s Ko Olina Page). Tours that happen in and around Honolulu are probably better booked directly through Aulani in order to get the transportation.
These excursions are operated by third parties (not Disney) and are booked independently from any room or package reservations. They are payable in full at the time they are reserved. Most have a 2 or 3 day cancellation policy. Excursion reservations can be booked online, by phone at (808) 674-6320, added to your reservation by your travel agent, or you can book in person in the main lobby at Aulani.
Excursions from Aulani change frequently, check the current list of excursions to see what is available. Prices are typically $60-$500 per person; call or ask your travel agent for pricing on specific excursions).
Dining, Drinking and Luaus at or Near Aulani Resort
Food and Restaurants
Makahiki offers a casual 3-course breakfast (with Disney characters daily) and a casual 3-course dinner. See below for sample prices for Makahiki. We strongly recommend making advance reservations for Makahiki, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. If you can’t get reservations online for your desired time, check when you get to the resort. We found that there was some table space reserved for walk-ins.
‘Ama ‘Ama offers a 4-course, fixed price dinner menu featuring contemporary island cuisine. There is a plant-based option available for every course. Reservations are recommended and can be make online or by calling (808) 674-6200.
In addition, there are two beachside/poolside bars and an indoor/outdoor lounge, all of which serve limited bar food.
There are also several quick service locations: The poolside Ulu Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – and features an outdoor patio with ocean view; the others, including the beachside Little ‘Opihi’s, and Mama’s Snack Shop offer snacks like gourmet hot dogs, chicken fingers, wraps and ice cream sandwiches or frozen yogurt. Papalua’s Shave Ice offers only that, in a variety of tropical flavors. You can get a few pricey “grab and go” wraps and salads in the two resort stores, and there is room service.
Across the street from Aulani is Island Country Market (an upscale version of ABC Store), which has a deli area with very reasonably priced take-out food. There is also a selection of health-conscious fare, also reasonably priced. Its grocery prices are high — about the same as Disney’s Aulani gift shop prices — though it has a lot more selection.
Next door to Aulani, the Four Seasons Resort at Ko ‘Olina has several restaurants, including the casual outdoor poolside Waterman Bar and Lounge, which offers shared bites, Hawaiian and Asian inspired salad and rice bowls, along with burgers and sandwiches. They also have a very decent kid’s menu with chicken nuggets, teriyaki, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and more. For a fine dining experience there is Mina’s Fish House, a “line-to-table” restaurant featuring local fresh caught seafood in a casual open-air environment overlooking the ocean beach, or Noe, which offers updated takes on traditional Southern Italian dishes. Reservations are recommended for both Mina’s Fish House and Noe.
If you’re looking for more dining options, Roy’s Ko ‘Olina is located at the Ko ‘Olina Golf Club, close to Aulani. Roy’s is a well-regarded chain of high-end “Hawaiian fusion” restaurants.
If you are on a tight budget, skip the Four Seasons Resort and head across the street to the Ko ‘Olina Station Shopping Center, a 5 minute walk. There are several dining options including MonkeyPod Kitchen Restaurant, a popular evening spot with live music, creative cocktails and cuisine crafted from local ingredients sourced from Hawaii’s farms. Appetizers range from garlic oil truffle fries to a raw bar mixed plate, salads and pizzas, including several vegetarian options, and entrees include burgers, fish tacos, noodle dishes and fresh caught fish dishes. MonkeyPod Kitchen is known for it’s cream pies, and if you have room after dinner you’ll want to try a slice. If you want a cup of Kona coffee, head to nearby Island Vintage Coffee. You’ll also find a Black Sheep Cream Company ice cream shop, Tropic Poke and Mekiko Cantina in the shopping center. While you can spend significantly less at these restaurants than you might at Aulani’s full-service choices, you can still expect to pay $18-$35 and upwards per adult, excluding drinks.
Bars and Lounges
Aulani has three bars: two outdoor pool/beach bars (Off the Hook and Wailana Pool Bar) and one indoor/outdoor lounge in the lower level, below the lobby (Olelo Room). Most of the featured cocktails are around $15, and in our experience they are terrible. Their recipes all seem to be cloyingly sweet, yet flavorless.
You will do slightly better (lower price and it’s harder for them to screw the drink up) if you order a very simple liquor-on-the-rocks or liquor-plus-mixer type drink (Baileys on the rocks, gin and tonic, etc.). Avoid complex mixed drinks like Mojitos. Beer is at least a safe bet. Wine is high-priced (5 times retail, so a glass will cost you about the retail price of a bottle of the same wine), but at least the selection is good.
Across the street from Aulani is Island Country Market (an upscale version of ABC Store), which has an excellent wine selection. Prices are a little high, but compared with buying wine at Aulani, it’s a bargain.
Aulani has its own luau, KA WA’A – A Lū’au at Aulani. The luau is about 3 hours long and currently only for guests staying at Aulani. Performances are held on select nights, weather permitting. Seating will be assigned upon arrival. The price for general seating is $170 per adult and $99 per child (age 3-9), plus tax. The price for Preferred seating is $199 per adult and $119 per child (age 3-9), plus tax. The prices include gratuity. Check out Kris Borchardt’s November 2016 review of Aulani’s KA WA’A Lū’au.
Paradise Cove Luau is also a good choice, located immediately on the other side of the next resort over from Aulani (the Four Seasons at Ko Olina), so it’s very close to Aulani and requires no transportation. We like this luau about as well as the Aulani one, and it’s only slightly further away.
- You can book the luau in advance at HawaiiActivities.com, directly with Paradise Cove, or through the tour desk at Aulani. The price is the same either way, but HawaiiActivities has a loyalty program that gets you points that can be applied toward other bookings, so if you have other Ko Olina activities you want to book through them, that’s a little extra savings.
Saving Money on Groceries & Beach Items
If you are a Costco member, you will definitely want to stop at the Costco in Kapolei, about 4 miles from Aulani. It is by far the best place to stock up on essentials, and it offers a nice variety of Hawaiian specialties like kalua pig, pork lau lau, ahi poke, Portuguese sausage, Hawaiian sweet bread, lomi lomi salmon, Kona coffee, POG (passion fruit/orange/guava) juice, pineapples and more. You can even buy leis and exotic floral arrangements. Costco also usually has the best gas prices on the island.
Another good option is the Target in Kapolei, also about 4 miles from Aulani. You can pick up basic foods and beach items like snorkel gear, sand chairs, beach umbrellas, etc. Having your own gear can save you a fortune compared to the cost of renting beach equipment from Aulani.
Even if you don’t plan to have a rental car, you can walk over to Island Country Market, across the street from Aulani. The food prices are about the same as what you’ll pay at Aulani, but there is a lot more selection. We don’t recommend doing a lot of grocery shopping here: it would be like buying all your groceries at 7-11, price-wise. However, the market has a very nice selection of wines and offers things like inexpensive, basic snorkel sets.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members get 10% off Aulani beach rentals, Rainbow Reef snorkeling and full-day cabana rentals. To get the discounts you’ll need to show your DVC membership card.
Transportation to Hawaii and Aulani Resort
Getting to Hawaii
Links to major airlines that fly to/from Honolulu from North American mainland cities:
- Air Canada
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- United Airlines
Read our information and advice about how to save on airfare.
Transfers to/from Honolulu Airport
There are no Disney-provided transfers between the Honolulu Airport and the resort. We strongly encourage you to rent a car (check our rental car discount information). Otherwise you’ll have to take a taxi, which will be costly because the resort is 17 miles from the airport.
If you prefer to rent a car only for the drive to/from the airport, or for only part of your stay, Alamo has a rental car desk at Aulani (location code is HNLR72).
Parking at Aulani is $37 per night for either self-parking or valet parking.
- Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members get FREE self-parking for up to 2 cars per room.
- If you spend $50 on spa services at Laniwai Spa, you can show your receipt(s) to the valet and parking is complimentary for up to 4 hours. You may be able to get your parking validated if you dine or shop at Aulani Resort and spent a minimum amount. This is great for locals who want to visit the resort.
Checking In and Out
You can check in at any time, but standard rooms and suites will not be ready until 3:00 pm; studios and villas will be ready at 4:00 pm. Check-out time is 11:00 am.
Bell Services can store your luggage if you arrive early or depart late.
Aulani guests can make a reservation to use the Ko Olina Club Lounge at the Honolulu Airport. It is available exclusively to confirmed guests and owners staying at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa; Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club; Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu and the Beach Villas at Ko Olina. There is no charge. They have Wi-Fi, charging stations as well as snacks and soft drinks available for purchase. The lounge is located on the 1st Floor Garden Court area of Terminal 2. This can be handy if your flight time does not sync up well with Aulani’s check-in and check-out times.
Childcare and Babysitting at Aulani Resort
Childcare for kids ages 4-12 at Aunty’s Beach House is available between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. Parents can reserve 1.5 hours of FREE themed activities on Uncle’s Side of the house, or pay for 2 hours of premium activities on Aunty’s Side. Complimentary activities include interactive games and arts and crafts based on the theme of the day. Premium activities, such as Surf’s Up, A Surfin’, Fishin’ and Dancin’ Party with Disney friends, are offered for a fee.
Aunty’s Beach House offers activities for the whole family from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Families can choose from an assortment of FREE and premium activities, such as learning to play the ukulele, a lesson in animation, or taking photos in front of surfing scenes and other backdrops.
Reservations are required for Aunty’s Beach House. Reservations can be made up to 2 weeks in advance. You can make a reservation online, or by calling (808) 674-6943 from 7:00 am – 9:30 pm daily. Every child will receive a keiki band at a charge of $18 plus tax; you can keep the keiki band, or return it for a full refund before you check-out from Aulani. If you think you are going to return it, hold on to your receipt.
Babysitting services are available for ages 6 weeks to 14 years in your villa or room from Kama’aina Kids Sitters.
Spas at or Near Aulani Resort
Access to the Laniwai Spa complex, including the outdoor Kula Wai hydrotherapy garden with private vitality pools, co-ed mineral baths, a reflexology path, six different “rain” showers, whirlpool jet spas and more, is complimentary with any 50-minute spa treatment. You must be 18 or older (14 and older with an accompanying adult) to use the Kula Wai facility. Read more about the spa in Kris Borchardt’s 2016 review or read MouseSavers.com founder Mary Waring’s spa experience.
For younger guests, there is the Painted Sky: HI Style Studio (ages 3-12). Kids can get styled for a luau or like Moana, a mermaid and more.
Spa treatments at Aulani’s Laniwai Spa can be booked online or by phone at (808) 674-6300.
- Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members may qualify for discounts or free upgrades to Laniwai Spa treatments. Be sure to ask when booking — they do not volunteer this information! You’ll need to show your DVC membership card when you arrive at the spa.
The Four Seasons at Ko Olina across the street has a spa.
Prices in Hawaii
Get ready for some sticker shock: Hawaii is expensive, and Aulani is no exception. Here are a few of the resort’s prices from mid-2022 to give you an idea:
- Lunch from Wailana Pool Bar – Burger $21, Fish Taco $23, Spinach Salad $19, Hot Dog $17, French Fries $11, Kid’s Meals $12, plus tax/tip
- 3-course Character Breakfast at Makahiki – $45 for adults (ages 10+) and $28 for kids (ages 9 and under), plus tax/tip
- 3-course dinner at Makahiki – $68 for adults (ages 10+) and $28 for kids (ages 9 and under), plus tax/tip
- Beach rentals – Snorkel Set: Full Day $25; Stand-up paddleboard: $45/hour; Double Chaise Lounge Chair: Full Day $80, plus tax
- Pool Cabana – Full Day (9:00 am – 6:00 pm) $450, plus tax and optional gratuity for attendant; furnished and includes 32″ TV, refrigerator, Wi-Fi access, fruit bowl, bottled water, ceiling fan, for up to 6 registered guests
Taxes on Oahu
General Excise Tax (similar to sales tax) of 4.712% applies to almost all transactions on Oahu, including food, gas and medicine.
If you are using DVC points for your stay at Aulani, be aware that a Transient Accommodations Tax of 9.25%, times 1/2 of the per-point Aulani maintenance fees, times the number of points used, must be paid at the resort. This applies to those renting points as well. In short, you’ll be paying tax of roughly 26.5 cents per point used. For example, if you stayed for a week in Adventure Season in 2011, in an Oceanview 1-Bedroom Villa, the total points required would be 322, times ~26.5 cents, for a total tax of ~$85.33 due at checkout.
If you are paying cash for your stay, the tax on your room rate is just a hair under 14%.