A Visitor's Guide to the Disney Aulani Experience

At Disney’s Aulani Resort, guests can find themselves connecting with the Hawaiian spirit, spending leisurely days at the beach, and connecting (or reconnecting) with their family and friends. You will find some of the most dazzling pools found throughout Hawaii. You can take a romantic walk along a beach path that takes you by multiple beautiful blue lagoons. At the excursion desk, you’ll be able to book activities that will allow you enjoy the beauty of the island of Oahu or take in an exhilarating hike.

Evenings and nights are just as fun. You can enjoy the locally-inspired cuisine at one of the restaurants. Afterwards, you can enjoy the live entertainment every night throughout the resort. It’s no wonder Aulani was rated the number one resort for families in the United States.

The Beautiful Location of Disney’s Aulani Resort

One of the things we love the most about Disney’s Aulani Resort is its location. It is located on the western side of the island of Oahu, which means breathtaking sunset views in the evening. Disney’s Aulani Resort is located within the Ko Olina Resort Community where you will find a beaches along blue lagoons, a championship golf course, snorkeling, shopping, restaurants, and so many more activities.

According to Hawaiian legends, Ko Olina (meaning “place of joy”) was the destination where the Hawaiian royalty came to get away, unwind, refresh, and revitalize themselves. Disney’s Aulani Resort is located between the lush mountains and the shimmering ocean waters. It is just far enough from the crowds of Waikiki, and yet close enough to enjoy all of the activities that the island of Oahu has to offer.

The Culture of Hawaii at Disney’s Aulani Resort

For many years now, the Disney Company has been known for it’s cruise ships, resort hotels, and theme parks. These destinations are a place where the Disney movie characters we have come to know and love come to life. Disney’s Aulani Resort is unique among Disney destinations. They have taken great effort to be sure that the traditional culture, history, and language of Hawaii is honored within the resort.

One of Many Murals Located Within Disney’s Aulani Resort

Rather focusing on the stories of Disney, Disney’s Aulani Resort was created to bring a deeply engaging Hawaiian experience to their guests through the Disney touches we revere.

Hawaii’s connection to nature and culture of its people is told through rich storytelling at Disney’s Aulani Resort. No matter your age, when you stay here and take time to notice the details, you can an appreciation and awareness of the Hawaiian islands and their traditions. Among one of these is the Hawaiian tradition of a village concept. Disney’s Aulani resort includes hotel rooms, meeting rooms, restaurants, surrounding the center meeting place of the recreation areas–all spread across 21 striking acres.

The imagineer behind Disney’s Aulani Resort was Joe Rohde. He took great care to make sure that the folklore of Hawaii was worked into every part of the resort. Magical surprises have been engineered into physical structures of the resort so that guests are engaged with the culture and legends of the Hawaiian islands.

Lobby of Disney’s Aulani Resort

The charm starts as you enter the lobby with its artwork along the walls and ceilings. As you move forward through the lobby to the open-air balcony looking down on the rock formations that interweave with the architecture, you see the themed recreation areas, the winding waterways, and the engaging Menehune Adventure Trail.

The Menehune are the “little people” of the Hawaiian tales. You can find them smiling as they hide and create playful mischief throughout the resort. Hawaiian legends say that the Menehune are said to live in the lush landscaping of the islands and like to come out at night and like to build things–like canoes, fishponds, and trails.

A mother and her children splash about in the water as other young Guests climb the Menehune Bridge
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

The folktales of Disney’s Aulani Resort tell us that the Menehune Bridge (a water splash and play area) was built overnight by the Menehune. If you look closely you can see them peeking out from behind the brush, trees, and rocks…and maybe even underwater. The more you take time to explore the area, the more you will be able to see.

In Hawaiian culture, the names of “Uncle” and “Aunty” don’t refer to their relatives. The names of “Uncle” and “Aunty” are instead given to adults who are honored, admired, and cherished. When staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort you will be able to find “Uncles” and “Aunties” that make appearances throughout the resort…including at dining locations, live entertainment, the kids’ club, and my personal favorite, the storytelling experiences around the fire pit in the evenings.

All of the staff at Disney’s Aulani Resort are native to Hawaii and can speak the language and engaged in the Hawaiian culture. They provide activities for guests of all ages that will help you be immersed in the folklore of the islands. You can try learning the hula, learn some of the Hawaiian language, and participate in some arts and crafts of the Hawaiian people.

The Special Disney Touches at Disney’s Aulani Resort

Disney’s Aulani Resort encapsulates the award-winning service and attention to the small details that Disney enthusiast has come to expect and enjoy. It provides a synergistic blend with the cultural, historical, and natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands. At Disney’s Aulani Resort you will find a highly personal level of service that is authentic and honors the traditions of its location.

The designers of Disney’s Aulani Resort desired that the needs of their guests would be able to be planned for and that the staff would be able to provide for these needs and provide an exceptional experience–all the while keeping the spirit of Hawaii in the forefront.

With so many activities available during a stay at Disney’s Aulani resort, it is easy to spend days without leaving the resort while being as busy or relaxing as you wish. During a stay at Disney’s Aulani Resort you’ll find a myriad of complimentary activities and amenities. Some of the activities you will find for families include:

  • Aunty’s Beach House – an interactive kids’ club.
  • Mo’olelo story telling with “Uncle” which is held around a fire pit in the evenings.
  • ‘Ohana Disney movie nights held on the lawn of the resort
  • Pool parties with the Disney characters.
An enthusiastic Cast Member interacts with kids, infants and their mothers inside Aunty's Beach House
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

Families

Disney’s Aulani Resort is a tropical wonderland for adults, children, teens, and tweens. It has special areas dedicated to vacationers of every age and every interest. From the Ka Wa’a luau, to the private saltwater snorkling lagoon, to the breathtaking Waikolohe Valley pools – there is no doubt that Disney’s Aulani Resort is a true family destination.

An overhead view of a bridge and a father and daughter on a 2-person inner tube floating down a lazy river
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

Adults

But what about those times when adults need some relaxation? If you’re an adult and seeking some “me” time, you can indulge yourself at the Laniwai – A Disney Spa. Here in this special oasis you relax with over 100 different therapy offerings.

Two couples and a party of 4 dine on an outdoor patio with palm trees and ocean views as the sun sets
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

In addition, you can treat yourself to a signature dining experience. Our favorite table service restaurant at Disney’s Aulani Resort is Ama Ama – located beachside with stunning ocean views. In the evenings, you can sip on a drink while listening to live music at one of the two lounges. If a round of golf is what helps you relax, you will find golf available nearby in the Ko Olina Resort area.

Teens

The Painted Sky was designed specifically for teenagers…and it is the only spa like throughout the islands of Hawaii. It is at Painted Sky that teens can enjoy a spa treatment in their special facility.