A trip to Aulani a Disney resort and spa is an incredible family vacation. After taking our first trip there I have put together a list of things that would be helpful to know before the trip.
At Aulani you get the opportunity to meet many of the characters and they will sign your kids autograph book. I did not think to bring our autograph books so we never got any signatures, just pictures. Some of the characters we saw were Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Moana.
One of the things I wish I had known before our trip to Aulani was that the cast members participate in pin trading, just like they do in the parks. Had we known this we would have brought our pins. I’m sure we could have bought some pins in the general store near the lobby, but I didn’t realize we could pin trade until the last day.
Beach Gear Available
Snorkel Gear – I knew before we went that we would have to pay to use the snorkel equipment at the resort. What I didn’t realize is that if you pay to do the Rainbow Reef then you could borrow snorkel equipment down at the beach as well. That’s included in the price to snorkel Rainbow Reef. I brought our snorkel equipment with us and that took up quite a bit of room in the suitcase. I was still glad to have it when we left Aulani and ventured out to the other areas on our own.
No Floaties Available – I pack my own unicorn pool float when I travel so I had something to float around on out in the ocean, but most people did not know to bring something like this. I suggest buying some cheap floats and bringing them with you. They will definitely be cheaper to buy stateside than on the islands. And if you can’t get it back into the suitcase, it’s no big deal because it was cheap anyway.
Beach Chairs and Umbrellas for Everyone – Another item I packed that I could have potentially left home was our beach blanket. At Aulani, they have plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas. You have no need for a beach blanket. My beach blanket is awesome because it’s thin, lightweight, and has pockets you can fill up with sand to keep in weighed down.
Other Equipment they Provide – Boogie boards and sand toys were complimentary. Each day families can check these items out and just return at the end of the day when they were done. My kids used the boogie boards as skim boards since there were no skim boards available.
One thing I should have known about was how many activities are offered at Aulani. I skimmed the activities, but it just didn’t hit home how many there would be. I found myself rushing back from our excursion to the North Shore to get my kids back to Aulani in time for one of the teen activities.
You can look on their website to see what they are offering the week you are there. By knowing what you want to do in advance you can better prepare your off site ventures.
In order to capitalize on the included activities there was one day where we did all the activities we could in one day. That day we took a family animation class, built a canoe together, Jonah made slime at the kid’s club, and Noah and Eden participated in a teen club beach relay race. It sounds like a lot, but we still have plenty of time for the pool and the beach!
By the end of our stay I had figured out that there were Disney Photo Pass cast members floating around the resort taking pictures. I wish I had known this sooner. I would have taken full advantage of someone taking pictures of the kids and I. I’m single so often there is no one around to take a picture of the four of us. I take selfies, but it’s not the same.
When I realized I could get them to take our photos I went out and bought clothes for family pictures. Then at sunset we went down to the beach and had them take our picture. I bought the photo pass cd for $99. It had our sunset beach photos, photos of the canoe activity we did, and everything else we were photographed doing that week including the luau and breakfast with Mickey.
In case you are wondering where we bought clothes it was up on the North Shore at Surf & Sea. Their shop is awesome and you can rent paddle boards here. They also offer a military discount.
I was a little unsure exactly how our Aulani room was going to be set up and there were two things I didn’t realize. One, there’s a fridge no matter what kind of room you stay in. If you stay in a villa you have a full kitchen. In our villa I literally had everything I needed, including a blender. If I didn’t have an item then I could call and they would send it up immediately. Once I realize I had a fridge, I went to the nearby Walmart and bought snacks and breakfast items. (And maybe some booze.) Secondly, there are a washer and dryer in the villas. I was so happy to wash our clothes. Had I known we were going to have this option we would have packed way less.
*Anytime we have access to a washer and dryer in our room, I pack less than what we need for a trip. For example, for an 7 day trip we would only pack 4 outfits. On day 3 or 4 I wash all of our clothes. Sure, we wear the same thing twice in one week, but we are on vacation so who cares.
*If I have time I wash clothes again before we leave so I do not have a bunch of laundry when I get home.