First of all, apologies for taking two months to write this post. We are expecting our second child and I have been far too exhausted and nauseated to blog much. But I am now into my second trimester and have been feeling significantly better this past week.
You may remember that I had high hopes of taking our toddler son to Auntys character breakfast at Aulani resort and was told I couldn't reserve until the day before as a non resort guest. So, very early the day before (like 7:00am!) I called eager to get our name down. Keep in mind we were in Hawaii very much off season. Much to our dismay, we were told it was totally full and that we basically had no hope of getting in. What a bummer. It was the one thing I was really hoping to do during our trip.
My mother and I still wanted to check out the resort as it is a place we can use our timeshare points at if we so desire (a lot of points may I just add, but do able.)
Aulani is located in the resort town of Ko'Olina and it is a gorgeous area. I am not a fan of the island of Oahu and I can honestly say the only way I would have interest of returning to it is if I was staying in this area, far away from the craziness of Waikiki. Still a ways away we could see the towering resort looking grand and beautiful and oh so welcoming. Upon pulling up to the valet we were instantly greeted with the wonderful and well known Disney friendliness. They pointed us to the parking lot and explained where everything was.
After parking we walked through the main entrance where we were greeted with friendly smiles from a staff member and a glass of refreshing lemon cucumber water. I talked to a few employees about what we could see and do as visiting guests and then we began to wander. Again, I have to comment on the quality and friendliness of the staff members here. It really did remind me of being in Disneyland in that people were so helpful and happy everywhere we went. Absolutely wonderful.
The decor of the resort was beautiful. We have never seen a resort that looked more 'Hawaiian' which I know is exactly the feel they were going for. It was elegant yet comfortable, and all the art work and designs on the walls were interesting and fun to look at. Great job by Disney!
We checked out the pools, including the long lazy river and kids play area. I can't even explain how badly we wanted to dive in there! Something else we noticed were the lifeguards located literally every 10 feet. Safety is obviously top priority at Aulani. There were plenty of chairs to lounge in around the pools, and they weren't those cheap plastic ones. They were thick, padded and had pillows on them. No joke. There were water filters with cups located everywhere, as well as ice cream stands, burger joints and full restaurants.
They also had a private beach with a sheltered lagoon for calm waters and more chairs scattered everywhere.
After wandering a bit we stopped by the resort gift shop to pick up a few souvenirs. This is the only point in which I was disappointed as the shop was way tiny then I would have expected. They really weren't offering much. Lots of t-shirts, towels and bags, a few magnets and shelf displays, but not a whole lot else. I actually found myself not buying anything, which was shocking (even for my husband.) We settled on a Squirt stuffy (from Nemo) for Noah as we figured that was kind of Hawaiian like.
We took one last glance at the balcony overlooking the resort and talked about whether we'd like to stay there in the future. The general consensus of our group of seven people was yes, if we were to return to Oahu we'd probably stay there. But we weren't sure if we'd prefer that or heading back to our nice quiet city of Kona on the Big Island. Were small town Hawaii people.