I’ve stayed at Aulani 6 times since it opened and it holds a very special place in my heart. The first remote broadcast of our show (The DIS Unplugged) happened there in 2013 (yes, I’ve lost a few pounds since then).
I got to bring my Mom there and fulfill one of her bucket list dreams to visit Hawaii. The memories I’ve made at Aulani make it a place that is very special to me. Now, as a DVC member, I’m looking at it in a whole different way.
On my last visit in November 2017, I stayed in a one-bedroom villa on the DVC side (paying cash). The rate was a steep $750 per night. While I love the hotel rooms at Aulani, this villa was amazing. All the amenities you want from a DVC resort, and all that space makes a huge difference. But that’s not the main reason I want to go back to Aulani.
Aulani is not like any other resort I’ve ever experienced. – I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels. Aulani is different. Aulani isn’t a cheap caricature of Hawaii. The research, effort, and respect that went into building this resort is evident everywhere you turn. The pool is without a doubt the best of any Disney resort. The rooms are spacious, well-appointed and comfortable. The service is in line with Disney Cruise Line, which brings me to my second point
DCL on land – If you love Disney Cruise Line, then you’ll love Aulani. First, I’ll mention that Disney Vacation Club, Aulani and Disney Cruise Line all fall under the same management umbrella, and there is a sense of consistency between the products. I’ve often said that Aulani is like DCL just on land. There’s an excursions desk in the lobby that can help you book experiences all around the island (or even day trips to other islands). Oh, let’s not forget the spa. UN-BE-LIEV-A-BLE. Expensive, but amazing.
The cultural immersion – Imagineer Joe Rohde (the man responsible for Animal Kingdom, among other projects) was the lead Imagineer on Aulani, and it shows. Disney wanted to be sensitive to the Hawaiian culture as locals were nervous that Disney would come in an create some Disney-fied bastardization of their culture. Joe Rohde was determined NOT to do that. He met with local leaders, did the research necessary and made sure that authentic Hawaiian culture was woven into the fabric of the resort, not just merely slapped on to placate the locals. The result is the most authentic Hawaiian resort you’ll find anywhere. That’s not me saying that that’s the locals who say that. They tend to see Aulani as a celebration of their culture. I think that speaks VOLUMES about this place and the incredible lengths that Disney went to in order to make this special. A great example of that is the Olelo Room – the lounge located in the main building. All of the cast members working there speak the native Hawaiian language – something you don’t find in many places on the Hawaiian islands.
Location – The island of Oahu is home to some of the most famous places in Hawaii – Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, the North Shore. Personally, Oahu is my favorite of the Hawaiian islands that I’ve visited. It has everything – if you want shopping and dining, Honolulu is the place. You want natural, authentic Hawaiian beauty – head up to the North Shore. There is so much to see and do on Oahu that you could easily spend a week or more exploring and never run out of things to see. A ‘must do’ for me on every visit to Aulani is to rent a car for the day (convertible of course) – and drive up to the North Shore for some lunch and shopping, stopping at some beaches along the way, as well as some great spots to take photos. A visit to the Dole plantation (cheesy, but fun) – then head back to the North Shore to hang out at the Turtle Bay resort (of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame) to watch the sunset. I’ve done that pretty much every trip.
NOT getting a hotel bill. As I mentioned, I’ve been to Aulani multiple times, and while I love it – I die a little inside every time I get the bill. Hawaii isn’t cheap. Disney isn’t cheap. Combine these two and well, you get the idea. One of the best parts about DVC is that I don’t get ‘the bill’ when I check out (except for things I charged back to the room).
As you can tell, I’m a HUGE fan of Aulani. I know it’s a long flight (and the flights can be expensive), but if you want to do something REALLY special with your DVC points, this is the place to visit.
9 thoughts on “5 Reasons why I’m excited to use my points at Aulani”
I would completely love to visit Aulani. We were considering doing it this summer as part of our trip out to California, but we just couldn’t swing it financially. Our biggest issue that keeps us from visiting is the cost of flights. We can typically fly from Buffalo, NY to Orlando for around $200 per person – so either $400 for my wife and I, or $600 with including our duaghter. To fly to Hawaii from Buffalo will typically start at $1000 and often higher. So now our travel budget goes from $600 to $3000. A trip to WDW often doesn’t cost a lot more than $3000 (with our ticket costs spread across multiple trips). The flights for Florida are low enough that we’ll hop a flight to Orlando for a long weekend. We honeymooned in Hawaii, and while we liked it a lot we did not LOVE it. Neither of us our big fans of beaches or pools, but we do love a nice resort – so we definitely would like to eventually get out there.
That said, we’ve been discussing WHEN we can finally get out to Aulani, but with our daughter 2 years from college, and a major European trip planned for next year – so reality says it will be a few years, but thinking maybe for our 25th anniversary in 2024? Seems a long ways away.
Going in just 39 days but whose counting 🏝☀️
The travel time and distance has always kept us away from Hawaii but we have finally decided to visit Aulani so we’re going this December for two weeks.We’ve been watching a lot of the old DIS Hawaii vlogs to get us up to speed and we are pretty excited to see what looks like an amazing resort.
I love Aulani. My husband and I went w/o any children and had a wonderful time. we did do a jump flight over to see the active volcano and my only suggestion would be to do this one as an overnight. book either first or last and stay overnight. we missed the activeness as it was foggy in the morning and by the time it cleared out we had to go catch our evening flight
We loved our vacation to Aulani and we were so happy to have my parents travel with us. Because of DVC and the ability to combine our points with my sister’s family we were able to have a very special vacation. We took advantage of our points to break up the long flight home with a stay in a Grand Villa at the Grand Californian. Truly a trip of a lifetime!
I just added on at Aulani. Aulani points on the resale market are a bargain right now. I priced out a room in cash and realized it would take less than 2 trips to pay for itself.
I agree that Aulani is the ultimate Disney resort. We went in 2016 & I cannot wait to go back. Being a DVC owner is a huge plus. The flights are prohibitive, I agree. Hawaiian Airlines did offer a BOGO if you used their CC & earned points. If you are good with CCs, then look into that. My husband & I both opened one. They are the best with hospitality anyways (took United to Maui once). Otherwise, if you can make it happen, then do it! There will be no regrets – I promise!
We are planning a 2020 trip to Hawaii with 20 people. I also live in Buffalo but between my Southwest points and Hawaiian airlines visa points will fly for very little money out of pocket. When I figure in the money saved by not having to buy three 7 day passes at WDW the total cost of the trip is not that bad. Having never been there before we can’t wait to see the sights and experience the culture
Aulani is, as I have often told people, Paradise within Paradise. It is such a beautiful, relaxing place to be. The Cast Members treat you so well, the grounds are beautiful and immerse you in the Hawaiian culture. The sunsets unmatched, the pools and hot tubs are fabulous and the Laniwai spa heavenly. There are shops and good restaurants within walking distance if you’d like to explore and day trips up the North shore to sit on the beach and watch the surfers is great fun. You can hike up to the top of Diamond Head and get a lot of exercise while learning something of our history. The Hawaiian people are so nice and very friendly. My wife and I absolutely love it there and look forward to our return. DVC makes it very doable.
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