I would like to thank Shaene C. (@Shaene_o_mite) for sharing his Aulani Experience with us through words and video below.
Disney to me has always been a magical place. It is a destination where the cares of the real world disappear and a place where imagination and dreams take flight. Generally I end up visiting the Walt Disney World resort 6-7 times a year to keep my sanity and enjoy myself immensely, but I also like to experience the Disney brand outside of the theme parks. I also like to take cruises on the Disney Cruise Line. I have sailed on the Disney Dream, Fantasy and Wonder and have had a great time on every single cruise I have sailed on. I am a Disney Vacation Club member and that provided me with the opportunity to visit somewhere ordinarily that wouldn’t be on my radar and that is Hawaii since Disney has opened up a new resort there. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa located in Kapolei on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and is part of the Disney Vacation Club opened up in August of 2011.
As I arrived at Aulani (it’s about a 25 minute ride from Honolulu International Airport) I was greeted by a wonderful cast member who placed a traditional Hawaiian Lei around my neck. I knew immediately this would be a vacation of a lifetime. The resort is beautiful. From the artwork in the lobby that tells a story to the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean to the lovable Disney characters that roam the property, you can tell that Disney spared no expense in building this luxurious resort. The resort has a relaxing feel in that no one has a care in the world. It is much different from the hustle and bustle of a resort located at a Disney theme park in that you are really there to experience the resort and nothing else. No fast passes, no lines and just relaxing and enjoying being on vacation.
The water activities at Aulani are great. You can snorkel in the pool area, take a ride on 2 great water slides and also relax as you float by on the lazy river. I think I spent the majority of my time riding the water slides myself. They also have rentals where you can go paddle boarding in the lagoon located beach side.
The dining options at the resort are an experience too. Just like at Walt Disney World, Aulani has its own character breakfast featuring Minnie Mouse and Goofy. It’s a fun atmosphere complete with singing, dancing and a visit by “Aunty”. The fine dining restaurant at the resort is Ama Ama and it is definitely a treat. It is a coveted reservation for dinner with everyone wanting to experience eating dinner at the restaurant as the sun is setting in the evening. I did both the character breakfast and dined at Ama Ama at sunset and definitely they are moments I will never forget.
Although you can stay at the resort and never be bored, Aulani also has an excursion desk where you can book adventures to explore all that Hawaii has to offer. While I was there I booked the Polynesian Cultural Center excursion. I boarded a bus at the resort and I was off. This adventure starts with a stop at the Dole Plantation. There I was able to see a pineapple plantation and get a dole whip outside of a Disney park. It was cool to see pineapples being grown and how I could actually grow a pineapple at home as well as all the different things that can be made out of a pineapple. From there we made our way down the North Shore of Oahu passing some beautiful beaches and even passing the site where they filmed the Jurassic Park movies. After about a 30 minute scenic ride, we arrived at the Polynesian Cultural Center. There I was able to see and experience the culture of villages including, Tonga, Tahiti, Marquesas, Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa, and Aoteroa. I learned to play a Ukulele and also the drums and even how to climb a tree. The evening was topped off by experiencing an authentic Hawaiian Luau and watching the signature show Ha: Breath of Life. It was truly a great experience.
My Aulani experience was truly a memorable one. I really could go on and on about all the different things that I did and experienced, but I would be writing for days. If you ever have the chance to go out to visit the Aulani resort, please do. You will not be disappointed!