I've had so many people ask me about our Disney Hawaii trip so I thought I'd do a quick blog post to share my thoughts. First off, the resort is fairly new, which is probably why so many people were asking me how I liked it. It's on the island Oahu, which was our first time to that island.
We are avid Hawaii travelers. It's our go-to winter vacation. It's safe for kids and not third world, so we can actually drink the water. Plus, we live in Utah, so the time change isn't terrible. That being said, we have been to all the islands except Oahu (don't judge... we have lots and lots of travel miles, thanks to our Capital One Venture card). So this year, we wanted to try Oahu. A few years ago we found a fabulous travel agent (I know... who knew they still existed), but she finds us the best deals in Hawaii every time and I'm a travel deal hunter so that says something. If you want her email, just leave your email in the comments below and I'll send it to you.
So let's get down to the nitty gritty. What did we love? Well that's the long list.
Room: Our room wasn't huge. It was just a standard room, but it did come with a kitchenette. Who doesn't love that when traveling with kids? You instantly save money having cereal and toast every morning. And yes, it was equipped with glasses, bowls, silverware, etc. The cleaning lady would even do the dishes for us each day. Suh-weet!!!
Also, the bathrooms are big and even has a bigger than normal toilet room. Now, I'm a mom of three, so I know exactly why they did this... it's so you can fit their (complimentary) pack n' play in the bathroom if you have a baby that has an early bed time and needs a dark quiet room. Genius! I swear they hired moms when they built this hotel. They even have little stools in the bathroom so kids can reach the sink.
Swimming: There are a million pools. Pools with tube slides. Pools with playgrounds. Splash pads. Tons of hot tubs. Adult-only hot tubs. A lazy river. The list could go on and on. But you get it... there are a TON of pools. But not just that... there are a million life guards. My kids are 5 and 7 and know how to swim, so I wasn't overly protective, but extra eyes is always a bonus. All tubes and resort fees were included in our room fee, so there were no additional costs.
Beach: The beach is man-made, which means the sand was perfect. Not one rock to stub your toe on. They also made the beach waveless and was shallow for quite awhile so your kids could play and play. There are tons of chairs and umbrellas on the beach as well so I spent countless hours reading my book with a great ocean view.
Food: I already touched on the kitchenette, but our room also included a complimentary meal for each of us each day. You could choose whether you wanted to use if for breakfast, lunch or dinner. My kids can't eat full entrées, so we started getting only two plates and all sharing. By the time our trip was almost over we had to start eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort bc we had too many meals saved up.
Child Care at Aunties Beach House: My kids aren't teeny tiny so this wasn't a big deal to us, but if we had brought our 18 month old, I guarantee we would have used this more. This is Disney's version of child care. They have movie rooms, craft rooms, snack rooms, xbox rooms, etc., all of which are nice and open with lots of hallway walls made from windows so nothing creepy is going on in a dark room. Plus, they make everyone, wash their hands with real soap (not sanitizer) and put on a waterproof GPS watch that only Disney can get off so your kid is not getting sick (hopefully) or lost. They also have TONS of staff, high fences, alarms, cameras, locked doors, etc. so even if your kid is normally an escape artist, he's not getting out here. It's perfect if your sweet 2 year old turns into a little devil at restaurants. You know what I mean... kicking, screaming, throwing food. I'm not the only one traumatized by this am I? Instead, you'll drop your sweet little guy off and have a nice quiet dinner at one of their awesome restaurants a few yards away, then you'll be right back to grab them for hugs and kisses. Perfection!
Cost: So here is the part you really want to know, right? Our room was $300/night. We got our flights for $200 round trip. Gasp... I know! We had to drive 6 hours to Las Vegas, which was kind of a pain, but it was too good of a deal to pass up. So we decided to spend a little more to try out the Disney resort and I must say, $300 is a steal for what they offer. The price includes your room (with kitchenette), pool and beach access, free child care from 9am to 9pm, one complimentary meal for each family member a day, free activities, movie nights, treasure hunts, luaus, etc. The only hidden cost we saw was the parking, which was $35/day. Of course, this totally upset my husband and it took him days to stop talking about it and I'll admit we wouldn't have rented a car if we had known that, as you don't really need to leave the resort and they do have a car rental service at the hotel if you wanted to do a day trip. Besides that though, it was bliss. Pure bliss, actually.
So what's the downside? There has to be something, right? Well besides the parking I talked about above, my only complaint would be the amount of people there, but it's Disney. When is Disney not crowded? Never! So, just know it's crowded, but like Disneyland, the fun far surpasses the crowds.
*All images are from Aulani Disney Resort website.