TRAVEL REVIEW: AULANI DISNEY RESORT, HAWAII

TRAVEL REVIEW: AULANI DISNEY RESORT, HAWAII

sarah jane young, sheissarahjane, disney, aulani disney resort, mickey mouse, minnie mouse, hawaii, disney resort, travel blogger, mummy blogger, travelling with kids

SISJ FAMILY TRAVEL REVIEW: AULANI DISNEY RESORT, HAWAII >


ALOHA! Before I begin today’s post about my recent trip to the Aulani Disney Resort in Hawaii, I think it’s important that I share with you a little more about the spirit of ALOHA. The literal meaning of aloha is “the presence of breath” or “the breath of life”. While it’s commonly used as a greeting, the true meaning is much deeper than that. Aloha is essentially a philosophy and a way of living and treating each other with love and respect. It’s truly such a great mindset and if you’ve ever visited Hawaii, I think you would agree that there really is a beautiful sense of warmth, love and acceptance from both the people and the land itself. Last week we were lucky enough to visit the Aulani Disney Resort in Ko Olina, a short drive from Honolulu airport. If you’ve been following my journey over the past nine months, you would know this was a much needed escape for our little family. Just as we were boarding our flight to Hawaii, we learnt we were not pregnant – again. This meant our first cycle of IVF would begin while we were away. While we left with heavy hearts, it was so wonderful to learn that Hawaii is also known as ‘The Rainbow State’, as rainbows are a common occurrence due to the rapid weather fluctuations and thus becoming an integral part of Hawaiian culture. This has a special meaning to us, as the baby you have following a loss is known as a ‘Rainbow Baby’ – there couldn’t be a more beautiful part of the world to expand our family, as we start this new chapter of growth.

NOW, let’s get into my very detailed review and reflection of our time at the Disney Aulani Resort! We all had the most incredible time and they will be memories I will cherish forever – until we go back next time to make some more! SJ x

sarah jane young, sheissarahjane, disney, aulani disney resort, mickey mouse, minnie mouse, hawaii, disney resort, travel blogger, mummy blogger, travelling with kids

sarah jane young, sheissarahjane, disney, aulani disney resort, mickey mouse, minnie mouse, hawaii, disney resort, travel blogger, mummy blogger, travelling with kids, ASOS

sarah jane young, sheissarahjane, disney, aulani disney resort, mickey mouse, minnie mouse, hawaii, disney resort, travel blogger, mummy blogger, travelling with kids

ABOUT THE AULANI RESORT: Walt Disney Imagineers worked hand in hand with local artisans and cultural experts to create Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. Inspired by the natural wonders and rich traditions of Hawai‘i, Aulani Resort is the ultimate family getaway—celebrating the beauty, history and welcoming spirit of the island. Aulani is positioned on the beautiful beaches of Ko Olina on the leeward coast of O‘ahu.

ACCOMMODATION: We stayed in a one bedroom ocean view villa. The bedroom was separate which was fantastic – as this is one of our non-negotiables when we travel as a family. MG is still on a lunchtime nap, and we need to be able to put her down where it’s quiet/dark and into bed by 7pm. The room was spacious, clean and super comfy (with lots of storage for plenty of outfit choices, ha!). Our room also had a kitchenette (inc: stove, microwave, oven, sinks, fridge) and a laundry, so this allowed us to prepare about half of our meals in the room as well as dining out. While there are some fantastic places to dine (Ama Ama was our fave – right on the beach and a MUST at sunset), in and around the resort, it’s important to take your budget into consideration and this feature would be ideal for those who would like a balance of eating in/out, and maybe larger families. There is also room service available for all meals of the day. P.s there is a mini supermarket in the shops across the road too, as well as some basic snacks/milk/drinks in the lobby.

The are a variety of room types, from a standard room which sleeps four people, to the larger villas and suites which can sleep up to nine people. What works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another, but this is why the large variety of layouts is so great. For more info on rooms > { CLICK HERE }

THE KIDS CLUB & BABYSITTING SERVICES:  The Kids Club, also known as Aunty’s Beach House, is available for kids aged 3 – 12 years. Most of the activities are complimentary and it’s open from 8am – 9pm daily. There is also in-room babysitting available for kids aged from 6 weeks – 14 years. We chose not to do any babysitting on our visit for no other reason than we wanted to spend all our time together as a family – minus the massage mummy snuck out for! I cannot wait to return when MG is old enough to visit the Kids Club. We actually visited Aulani about five years ago (soon after it had opened), as our friends with primary school aged kids were staying there. I remembering going in to help pick them up after our dinner and we could hardly drag them away! I will also mention the Disney movie nights under the stars – THESE ARE AHHMAZING and the kids LOVED IT! *If you do wish to put you kids into Aunty’s Beach House, just note you will need to complete a form which you can find online prior to you arrival.

OTHER ACTIVITIES FOR THE KIDS: pool parties, fire pit storytelling, the community hall (game room, crafts, DVD’s to borrow – all rooms have a DVD player), star watching, scavenger hunt & adventure trail, A Lū‘au (we did this, it was so good and MG was up there dancing with all the big kids!), snorkelling, Keiki Splash Cove (ideal for younger kids and an adult), and a heap of beach/lagoon activities. Oh and the other, other activities for the kids? UM, THE ENTIRE RESORT! HA!

sarah jane young, sheissarahjane, disney, aulani disney resort, mickey mouse, minnie mouse, hawaii, disney resort, travel blogger, mummy blogger, travelling with kids, ASOS

{ One of the gorgeous photos taken by the Disney PhotoPass team of MG – saaawoon! }

HOLD THAT THOUGHT – THE DISNEY CHARACTER BREAKFAST (A MUST, MUST, MUST DO!): We did this twice! She was definitely very nervous the first time seeing all her fave characters in person, but we figured by a few days in she would get so much more out of it – so maybe wait until at least day two or three if you have toddlers so you can make the most of your experience. The second time we did it she was following Goofy around and kissed Minnie on the nose – IT WAS SO ADORABLE! She couldn’t control herself – I uploaded the cutest stories, I hope you saw them! The characters are on rotation, but you are absolutely guaranteed a big name and you have the opportunity to take a picture with Mickey Mouse with the pro photographer before you eat. I highly recommend this at least once or twice, even we were up dancing and singing!

AULANI SPA: Ok, buckle-up peeps – the Aulani Resort Spa is NEXT. LEVEL. Not only are there a ba-jillion treatments for the mammas to enjoy, there are also treatments designed especially for our men, for couples AND there are some family treatments (for ages five and up) – DEE-VINE. I had the Hana Pōhaku and it was absolutely incredible (once you go hot stones, you never go back!). This might be a good time to send off the little ones to Kids Club while you can have some relaxation time with your partner (or just sleep, either or!).

OTHER ACTIVITIES ON OFFER: There are several excursions you can book through external providers, but the concierge will absolutely look after you here if you’d rather wait until you arrive to book. We did a half-day on a catamaran dolphin watching and snorkelling tour which we all LOVED and I would highly recommend this. Aulani have about 40 activities suggested on their website, so click through here to peruse in detail > { CLICK HERE }

THE ALL-IMPORTANT SHOPPING (!!!): We only visited the Waikele Premium Outlets which is a 15 min drive from Aulani and has about 50 brand name outlet stores. We did get some goodies for MG, but I wasn’t blown away by the women’s fashion outlets and there was no make-up. My personal advice if you have the time would be to dedicate a morning or an afternoon and travel into Waikiki to the DFS Galleria and the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. There are shuttle services, public transport options, car rental and private drivers available. Just make sure you are getting a bargain, taking into consideration the Aussie dollar! Waikiki is roughly a 50min drive from Aulani (opposite ends of the Honolulu island).

STUFF FOR DAD (OR MUM, LET’S NOT GET TOO PC!): As a long-serving ‘Golf Widow’, I appreciate the necessity for the man of the house to ‘escape’ to the golf course sometimes! Don’t worry ladies, if you like to smash a few balls (as I do), there is also a driving range and putting greens for the kiddies to explore. I swear if my hubby had his way, MG would be touring the PGA at four years of age! The Ko Olina Golf Club is a stones throw away from the Aulani Resort.

sarah jane young, sheissarahjane, disney, aulani disney resort, mickey mouse, minnie mouse, hawaii, disney resort, travel blogger, mummy blogger, travelling with kids, ASOS

 

I cannot recommend the Aulani Disney Resort highly enough for your next family holiday. What I was surprised at is just how much it caters for you as individuals, parents and families. It is absolutely go-go-go, but then again you already know that if you had kids!

I hope today’s post has answered any questions you may have had, as I’ve seen plenty coming in on Instagram. Feel free to DM me as well and we can chat there if you require specifics. A BIG thank you to ALL of the staff throughout Aulani, you really made our holiday an experience we will never forget.

SJ x

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