Within the first month of moving to Oahu, we heard of the wonders of Disney’s Aulani Resort. We also erroneously heard Kama’aina (locals) could obtain a day pass and we set out to frolic at Aulani for the day. I had the distinct feeling we were being watched, but wrote it off as my “rule following” self being paranoid. I found out, almost a year later, when visiting my childhood friend Javonna staying at Aulani, that Disney has a system of colored bracelets, which registered guests receive each morning marking them as such and allowing them to cruise through the resort. Ignorance is bliss.
With the arrival of family a couple weeks ago, came an opportunity to stay at Aulani on the house, courtesy of some family connections of theirs. Christie generously included Brendon and myself in the mix and off we went for an official stay at the resort. Here are our insider tips:
You can arrive at 8am on the morning of your stay, even if your room is not ready until 4pm. Enjoy the pools, slides and lazy river all day. Even check your children (3yrs+ & potty trained) into Aunty’s Beach House for FREE care at any point during the day. You can stay until 10:30pm the following day, even with an 11am check out time and again use all the facilities. Not too bad, when you consider their military/Kama’ania rates at almost $400/night minimum.
For scheduled activities at Aunty’s, such as science experiments, meals or surf lessons, the parents line up mighty early to get a spot for their children. Most come with an additional fee and really Brendon was fine playing the video games and doing crafts that he didn’t need the extra events. Maybe if we had stayed for a week. Children on the fringe of potty training are subject to a three strikes policy and after the third accident are not allowed to stay at Aunty’s any longer. Even Disney has their limits.
And here’s the best piece of insider knowledge we gained: Children 2yrs and under can have an all day pass to the water park even if they aren’t staying overnight as a registered guest. John who had just turned 3 and is on the petite side was granted a 2yr pass and enjoyed the second day with us, while the dads tried their luck at surfing. This probably is the one way for a family of five to stay in one room, bucking the four persons to a room policy.
The food was priced well for Oahu at the grab and go locations and pool side restaurants. I have my suspicions you can eat there even if you are a local outside at the beach lagoon and want to come in for a quick bite. I’ve heard rave reviews of the Character Breakfast and despite the sticker shock we made our reservations only to oversleep in the morning! Best to save something for next time anyhow.
A huge Mahalo!!! to everyone who gave me input on the staying at Aulani. It made our stay that much more enjoyable.