It’s Time to Plan Your Summer Vacation – Top 10 Reasons to Visit Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii
1. It’s Hawaii. The land of sunshine, mai tais and surfers. Hawaii is always temperate, with over 271 sunny days a year and temps that hover around 78 degrees, Hawaii is the perfect summer getaway. So whether you are hauling out your umbrella in Seattle or sweating it out in steamy New York City, Hawaii is calling your name for summer vacation. Can you hear it?
2. It’s Disney. Disney does everything right. Seriously. Can you think of anything they’ve ever screwed up? Disneyland? Frozen? Cars? I know, right. So when they put their mind to creating a Hawaiian resort, um, they did it right.
3. The beach. The beach is gorgeous, as Hawaiian beaches tend to be. Aulani’s however has the added benefit of a breakwater making the waves so gentle they couldn’t knock over a toddler. A bonus if you happen to be in possession of one. It’s the perfect spot for kids (or nervous adults) to learn to paddle board. It’s easier than you think, if you can balance on two feet you can do it. If you’re not up for water sports the floating rafts provide hours of entertainment for young boys looking to impress nearby ladies with their mad flipping skillz.
4. The spa. Ok, the spa really should have been number one but I’m trying to pretend like it’s all about the kids here. As a luxury writer, travel and spa addict, I’ve seen a few spas in my day. I am not exaggerating when I say that the Laniwai Spa is one of the best. Forbes should be giving it five diamonds. From the entry when you choose a rock that is your “intention”, to the amazing treatments to the truly over the top and unbelievable relaxation pool shower area. Laniwai is truly, truly top notch.
5. Aunty’s Beach House. Designed after the successful Disney Cruise Line kids’ camps, Aunty’s Beach House is where all the cool kids want to be. It’s FREE. Yes, FREE and full of fab things for kids to do. It has it all from a charming outdoor space, to crafts with Aunty to making space goo with Stitch. It’s hard to imagine but you have to beg your kids to leave the camp to come out and play in the Hawaiian surf. So, um, it’s that good. Now note this is numbered right after the spa because you can LEAVE YOUR KIDS AT CAMP and GO TO THE SPA. I know, right? This is why Disney is taking over the world.
6. The water park and Rainbow Reef. Aulani has multiple pools, some infinity, some zero entry, some with slides, some with play zones. Russell Crowe wishes he had dreamed up this Waterworld. The crown jewel of the water parks are the two slides, one for tubes and one for slippery bodies. Once you’re out of the slide you can float around the relaxing lazy river. Or skip the whole slide business and just float for hours. Rainbow Reef is an enclosed and supervised snorkel and swim zone chock full of gorgeous reef fish. You can watch your kids as the discover Nemo underwater or just entertain those too little to get in with a life sized aquarium (the side is glass, I was so not in that water with them).
7. Characters everywhere. Ever go to a Disney park and have your kids waste, I mean spend, hours standing in line to get Goofy’s autograph? At Aulani the characters are everywhere and there are NO LINES. The character breakfast has a buffet of seriously tasty food and a photo opp with the mouse himself. His buddies wander the restaurant making breakfast way more fun than Snap, Crackle and Pop. During the day you’re likely to run in to anyone from Minnie to Chip and Dale. And yes, there is PhotoPass so if you’re not packing your camera (and hopefully you aren’t on the waterslide) you won’t miss a precious minute. And if you are like me, the family photographer, it’s nice to actually show up in a vacation photo every now and again.
8. The rooms. Also like the cruise ships, these rooms are built by some sort of crazy Disney engineering geniuses. What looks like a one bedroom/bath suite actually has a pull out in the sofa, and the TV. Yes, I said the TV. Check this out. You can comfortably sleep a family of five before you add a roll away or a crib. Pack and plays are stored in every suite. Even the bathrooms are divided by a door and feature two separate sinks in case you also are the proud owner of a teen girl who needs her own mirror, for hours. But wait, that’s not all, add a washer/dryer, full kitchen and a dining table.
9. The drinks. Aulani has a signature mai tai. I become so obsessed with it that I gave it its own photo session and dragged the cocktail recipe out of the bartender. Click HERE for the recipe.
For those under 21, the shaved ice is the next best thing to a mai tai. They have a zillion flavors, so you really need to have one every day to cover all of your options.
10. Pearl Harbor. Ok, this is clearly not part of the Disney property but it is a short 20 minute drive away. If you have gone as far as Oahu you really can’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor, it’s as emotional and extraordinary as you imagine it to be, perhaps more so. Read HERE for information on how to visit.
Disclosure: My family and I were the guests of Disney for the purposes of this review. Also, they did not pay me to say that they are taking over the world, this is a well known and documented fact.