For Disney fanatics, Aulani is a slam dunk. Even for those less fanatical about all things Disney, visiting Aulani is a perfect family-friendly vacation destination. Aulani pairs true Hawaii culture and history with Disney’s expertise in family travel. This post will take a look at the top 15 things to do at Aulani Disney resort and discuss why this may be the perfect family vacation for you!
Aulani has Disney characters, Hawaiian crafts, sand, pools, and sun. And, since it’s a Disney resort, you’ll be able to relax knowing that your children aren’t annoying others just by being kids. No matter your kid’s ages, or whether you a beach-lover or a foodie, a crafter or a thrillseeker, you’ll find something to do at Aulani and you don’t even have to leave the resort!
Whether you are looking for inspiration or practical information for your visit to Aulani, this post has got you covered!
Best Things to do at Aulani Disney Resort
1. Spend time on the beach at Aulani
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a beachside resort hotel on the U.S. Hawaiian island of Oahu. Oahu is an amazing place to visit in itself as the weather is wonderful- hot, but not too hot.
The beach at Aulani is amazing. Its water is perfectly blue and the sand on this stretch of beach is just right for building sandcastles. Being that the beach is in a protected lagoon you don’t have to worry as much about having your littles in the water (though there is still a little current).
Planning tip: Bigger kids will have fun playing in the lagoon on paddleboards or boogie boards, and little guys can play with complimentary sand toys. Use these planning essentials to help plan for a perfect day at the beach (or pool!).
2. Swim in the pools at Aulani
One of the best things to do at Disney Aulani resort is to enjoy Aulani’s two large pools, plus its adults-only pool. Waikolohe pool has zero entry for your littlest guys to splash around, plus 8,200 square feet for swimmers of all ages to explore. Also, check out the calendar for pool party times, typically held at the Waikolohe Pool, which will feature Disney characters, songs, and dancing.
The Ka Maka Grotto is a beautiful infinity-edge pool looking over the beach. It also has a really fun cave for kids to explore. They’ll find little ‘sea creatures’, shells, and rocks in the cave walls, and they can peak through the little windows. Kids who need to warm up or parents who want to relax will also appreciate the hot tubs.
Planning tip: Aulani even supplies lifejackets!
3. Play on the Water Slides and in the Lazy River at Aulani
Check out the two awesome waterslides that begin at the top of Pu’u, the little ‘mountain’ in the middle of the resort, and go all the way down to the lazy river.
The first water slide, Volcanic Vertical is a closed-in body slide, and the second, Tubestone Curl, is open-air and uses tubes. Neither water slide has any height requirement, but kids cannot ride on laps. They need to be old/brave enough to go alone.
There are double tubes available for Tubestone Curl, so little guys can ride their own side of the double tube with a parent next to them if you chose. The lazy river is also a ton of fun- relaxing, but lots to see. You’ll go under bridges, past beautiful foliage and flowers, and can look for Menehune (little mythical dwarf people that can be found all over the resort).
4. Enjoy Keiki Cove at Aulani Disney Resort
Even the tiniest visitors to Aulani will enjoy the Keiki Cove, spray area. Little guys will enjoy the beauty of the water fountains, and bigger kids will have fun running through the water, and looking for Menehune and sea creature details in the surrounding wall.
Planning tip: Kids of all ages are welcome to play in this area, but it was designed to be perfect for kids under 5 years old.
5. Best things to do at Aulani Disney resort: Check out Menehune Bridge
Menehune Bridge is the ultimate water play area for kids under 48” tall. It’s got kid-sized waterslides, bridges, nets, and stairs to climb over, and so many fun details to explore. Menehune Bridge is sure to be one of the best things to do at Disney Aulani resort for all of the littles in your family.
On our last trip to Aulani, my kids didn’t leave Menehune Bridge until they were too exhausted to stand. This was probably our 2-year-old twins’ favorite activity at Aulani. This fun structure is truly unique to Aulani and such a treat for little thrillseekers and water-lovers!
6. Enjoy a Beach Picnic at Aulani
Traveling east, and with kids means you’ll likely be up early. Start by enjoying the quiet of the early morning on the beach.
Planning tip: Beach picnics are one of my family’s favorite Aulani rituals. Pick up breakfast from the Ulu Cafe and have a picnic down at the beach. Ulu cafe has quite a variety of nice breakfast dishes. My favorite is the acai bowl, and my kids love breakfast sandwiches.
7. Treat yourself to
Papalua shave ice
One must-do activity is getting shave ice at the onsite Papalua Shave Ice shop. And don’t forget to order it with Mickey Ears!
All flavors are delicious but my favorites are lychee, mango, and strawberry with sweetened condensed milk on top.
8. Take advantage of Aunty’s Beach House
Aulani has a great kids program for kids 3 (and potty trained) to 12. They do tons of fun crafts, sing songs, and dance, and it has a room upon room with tons of different toys, movies, video games, and activities.
The adults in your group will be able to take a couple of hours or the whole day to eat a nice meal at ‘Ama ‘
9. Listen to
Mo’ololo fire pit storytelling at Aulani
Head down to the fire pit for a short storytelling session, held a couple of times a day. The storyteller employed by Aulani is really very animated and just excellent all around. The stories are typically Hawaiian mythology and can the attention of guests young and old.
Moana even comes to help tell stories sometimes!
10. Attend a Ka
Go to a traditional Hawaiian Lu’au! The Aulani version includes pre-show activities for kids and a wonderful dinner of traditional Hawaiian fare (plus additional kid-friendly options) and dessert.
Finally, enjoy a show including storytelling, dance, songs, fire,
Planning tip: Make sure to plan ahead as
11. Take a walk throughout the grounds of Aulani Disney resort
From the resort, you’ll find a great paved trail that follows the beach. It’s a beautiful walk that allows you to see a large stretch of the beautiful public Hawaii beaches. Plus, children who still need a nap might have more lucky napping away from the excitement of the resort.
12. Make reservations for a character breakfast at Makahiki
The character breakfast at Makahiki Aulani is no secret. It’s a favorite activity for Aulani guests and Oahu locals alike. And its an experience you’ll definitely want to have with your kids.
The buffet breakfast has a huge selection and is delicious with includes tons of awesome kid-friendly options, and Disney themes (Mickey Mouse waffles and bananas cut to look like dolphins- so fun!).
The Disney characters aren’t just standing around. It’s more of a breakfast party! There are tons of songs and activities, and kids are even invited to come up and participate in making music.
Planning tip: You’ll want to stick around for an obligatory family photo with Hawaiian themed Mickey Mouse taken right after breakfast.
13. Best things to do at Aulani Disney resort: Have a drink or appetizer at the ‘Olelo Room
This fun little restaurant is right next to the koi pond.
They have a great selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and food that is upscale, yet casual. The menu includes lighter fare, but you can certainly make it a meal if you choose. They frequently have live music at the ‘Olelo Room as well.
14. Go snorkeling at Rainbow Reef
Go snorkeling at Rainbow Reef, Aulani’s manmade snorkeling lagoon. It’s a great way for kids to have their first snorkeling experience in shallow water and with more control of their surroundings. The lagoon is full of thousands of colorful fish, including Dory and Nemo!
Planning tip: If snorkeling isn’t your thing, or your kids are not yet big enough, check out the ‘Fish are Friends’ experience which allows them to help feed and care for the fish. Or, simply watch the fish and the snorkelers from the underwater viewing window.
15. Participate in ‘Ohana Disney movie nights
Watch a movie under the stars on the big screen. Several nights a week, Aulani sets up its lawn for movie nights! The evening starts with a few pre-show activities including trivia and games, then a Disney movie on the big screen!
Planning tip: These events are popular so be sure to arrive early for the best seats. For jetlagged kiddos that won’t be able to stay up until it’s dark outside, borrow a movie from Pau Hana Room and watch it in your room. They have a very large selection of movies to borrow and rooms include a player.
Things to do at Aulani Disney Resort: Conclusion
These are just a few of the hundreds of things to do at Disney’s Aulani resort. This place is just jam-packed with kid-friendly activities and fun.
If you do happen to want to get out of the resort you are only 30 minutes away from Honolulu and Waikiki Beach and about 45 minutes away from the North Shore, with so many more activities in the middle.
Visiting Oahu and Aulani
Thanks so much to Amy from Two Little Pandas for this awesome list of the 15 best things to do at Disney’s Aulani
Amy is a mom to twin boys and two large dogs, an over-planner and a lover of travel, adventure, and food. Her blog, Two Little Pandas is a Pacific Northwest-based travel and lifestyle blog, focusing on helping twin parents adjust to their new lives and learn how to get out and explore, and finding the best destinations for families with young children.
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