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Aulani Disney

The Complete (and Unbiased) Guide for First Timers

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Image: Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

This is the ultimate guide for preparing for a vacation to Aulani a Disney Resort & Spa!

Inside this guide, you'll find information that will help you to make a decision about whether Aulani is right for you.

Or, if you're already booked, you'll find strategies, tips, and information that will help you make the most of your dream vacation.

Ready? Let's go!

Disney Aulani

The award-winning AULANI, a Disney resort and spa is located on Oahu, Hawaii and is one of the most family-friendly beach resorts in the Hawaiian islands.

Aulani is not connected to a nearby Disney theme park, making it truly a standalone vacation destination.

Staying at Aulani can be both a jumping-off point to seeing the rest of Oahu or a standalone resort that IS the destination.  

Thoughtfully designed by Disney Imagineers, I like describe Aulani as a Hawaiian escape with delightful touches of Disney.

Home to one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary Hawaiian artwork, a stay at Aulani feels culturally enriching for those interested in immersing themselves in Hawaiian culture.

The motif is an impressive backdrop for a incredible family vacation that features:

  • Accommodations ranging from traditional hotel rooms to 3-bedroom villas
  • Access to glorious beach, lagoon, and protected cove
  • Kid-friendly water slides, lazy river, and pools for families
  • Pools for adults
  • Supervised kids’ club for ages 3 and up, run by certified kids counselors
  • A private, on-site snorkeling lagoon
  • Built-in entertainment and activities all day long
  • Luau
  • Impressive resort grounds
  • Full-service spa
  • Wide range of dining options, from casual poolside venues to fine dining
  • Appearances by beloved Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Moana, Stitch, and more

Where is Aulani Located?

What island is Aulani on?

The question "What island is Aulani on?" is a common one, and it's important to understand Aulani's geographic location.

Aulani is located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

It is on the Leeward Coast of Oahu, in the resort town of Ko Olina.

What island is Aulani on? Map of Hawaiian islands

Aulani is on the Leeward Side of Oahu

The terms leeward side and leeward coast are interchangeable.

You see, in Hawaii, the trade winds blow from the northeast to the southwest. These winds bring moist air that, when they hit the mountains, tends to cool and form clouds.

That's how you get rain and lush vegetation on the north and east sides of the islands.

This leaves the leeward side Oahu as dry and sunny, when compared to the north and east side of the islands.

In this image from Google Earth, you can really see the lush green on the north/east of the island, with Aulani's southwesterly location looking a lot drier.

Leeward Side of Oahu: See the lush green on the windward side to compare

Aulani's Town is Called Ko Olina

The town of Ko Olina is a master-planned vacation community that is home to a variety of luxury resorts, short and long term rentals, a golf course, and a marina.

This is definitely a high-end, luxury hotel area, as Aulani's hotel neighbors are Four Seasons, Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, and the upcoming Atlantis Ko Olina.

What is the Biggest City Near to Aulani?

Kapolei, Hawaii is the biggest city close to Aulani.

It is just a few minutes drive from the resort and has grocery stores, restaurants, gas, and other amenities.

In our list of Aulani tips, we suggest stopping in Kapolei for your groceries before arriving at Aulani.

What is Aulani's address?

Here's the physical address for Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa:

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
Ko Olina, Hawai'i
92-1185 Ali'inui Drive
Kapolei, HI 96707

How far is Aulani from Honolulu airport?

If you're flying into the Honolulu airport on Oahu, you'll want to know how far it is to Aulani.

Distance: 22.2 miles
Driving time: 30-60 minutes (depending on traffic)
Full directions here

How far is Aulani from Honolulu & Waikiki?

One of the most frequent day trips from Aulani is to visit Honolulu and the famous Waikiki Beach.

Distance: 30 miles
Driving time: 40-60 minutes (depending on traffic)
Full directions here

Aulani Map

When you arrive, you'll receive an Aulani resort map that will help you orient yourself to the layout of the hotel, its pools, and the beach lagoon.

Here are a few Aulani map options:

Also, here is an Aulani resort map overview (click to enlarge).

Aulani Map

Aulani Weather

Ahh...the weather in Hawaii...
Is there any place on the planet with more delightful weather?

Aulani's location on the leeward coast of Oahu means mostly sunny days, warm temperature, and very little rain.

Aulani Average Temperatures

MonthAvg HighAvg LowAvg Precipitation

Aulani Sunrise / Sunset Times

Another one of our favorite Aulani tips is to take advantage of the gorgeous sunsets. 

Use this chart as a general reference guide to know approximate Aulani sunset (and sunrise) times.

When you get to resort, you can refer to the Daily Iwa for the upcoming day's exact sunset time.

January7:12 am6:12 pm
February7:02 am6:30 pm
March6:39 am6:42 pm
April6:13 am6:52 pm
May5:54 am7:04 pm
June5:51 am7:16 pm
July6:00 am7:17 pm
August6:11 am7:01 pm
September6:20 am6:35 pm
October6:29 am6:08 pm
November6:44am5:51 pm
December7:03 am5:54 pm

Current Aulani Temperature

Aulani History

When did Aulani open?

Aulani opened on August 29, 2011.

It was the third "stand-alone" Disney resort...meaning it is not connected to any theme park.

It included 351 hotel room and 481 two-bedroom villas.

Aulani History Timeline

Here's a quick timeline of Aulani's history:

  • October 2007 - Walt Disney Co. announced plans to develop a hotel / timeshare resort in Ko Olina. [Source]
  • January 2010 - Disney announces the resort will be officially named Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai`i [Source]
  • August 29, 2011 - Aulani opened its doors to its first guests [Source]
  • October 2013 - Expansion brought in additional pool, spa, and toddler's play areas, moving the luau to its current location. [Source]
  • August - December 2019 - Aulani will close select pools and water play features (including the lazy river and Rainbow Reef) for refurbishment [Source]

Aulani Photos & Images

Aulani Concept Art

The following images were conceptual art released prior to 2011 by Walt Disney Co. to highlight what Aulani would look like when it was built.

Aulani Name

What does Aulani mean?

When Disney opened Aulani in 2011, the company said that the name "Aulani" has significant meaning.

Aulani expresses a connection to tradition and deep story-telling.
Translated from Hawaiian to English means, “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages.”Joe Rohde, Senior VP Walt Disney Imagineering, January 2010

Online Hawaiian dictionaries define aulani to mean "Messenger of a chief."

Aulani Parking

How much does it cost to park at Aulani?

If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member, parking is free for up to two vehicles.

If you aren't a Disney Vacation Club Member, you can still park at Aulani. Valet and self-parking services are the same price:

  • Self-parking: $37 per day ($12 per hour)
  • Valet: $37 per day

Is parking validation available?

Visitors (non-hotel guests) that spend $50 or more at an Aulani restaurant, the spa, or Aulani's merchandise vendors will receive free parking for up to 2.5 hours.

Aulani Car Rental

Is car rental available at Aulani?

Alamo has a car rental desk on-site at Aulani resort.

There are a wide variety of vehicles and vehicle types (minivans, SUV, convertible, Jeep, sedans, etc) available for daily or weekly rental at the Aulani Alamo desk.

For other options, Enterprise Rental Car has a reservation desk nearby at the Ko Olina Marriott Beach Club.

And of course, it is very common to rent a car at the Honolulu airport and drive it to Aulani.

Getting To and From the Airport

Is there an Aulani shuttle to and from the airport?

The resort does not provide a complimentary shuttle to and from the Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

It does, however, partner with Hele Hele Transportation to offer exclusive shuttle service.

For ages 3 and up, the Aulani shuttle costs $24 per person. $10 per person for ages 2 and under.

If you're leaving TO the airport from Aulani, Hele Hele shuttles leave a quarter after each hour (3:15, 4:15, 5:15, etc). The company recommends that you leave 3 hours prior to your flight departure.

Aulani Hawaii Airport

How much does a taxi cost to get to and from the airport?

There plenty of taxi service options to choose from if you're leaving to and from the Honolulu International Airport.

You can easily grab a taxi at the airport, but you can save a little bit of money by planning ahead.

Charley’s Taxi is a frequently used service because they offer a discounted flat rate of $55 for one way to/from Aulani & the Aulani Hawaii airport.

Aulani Kama'aina

Is there a special rate for Aulani Kamaaina guests?

The resort frequently offers special room rates for local Hawaiian residents -- also referred to as Kama'aina.

While discounts aren't always available it is worth checking if a promotion is running that invites local Hawaiians to enjoy a staycation on the Aulani property.

To see if Aulani Kamaaina rates are available, call Aulani Resort at (866) 443-4763.

At check-in, Hawaii residents must provide a valid government-issued picture ID showing their residency in Hawaii and must stay in the room reserved. If no acceptable identification is supplied, the non-discounted room rate will be applied for the term of the stay.

How to Contact Aulani

How can I reach Aulani front desk?

To reach the Aulani front desk, call the hotel operator at (808) 674-6200 and ask to be connected.

What is Aulani phone number?

Here is a list of important Aulani phone numbers:

  • Guest Information: (866) 443-4763
  • Vacation Package Reservations: (866) 443-4763
  • Hotel Reservations: (866) 443-4763
  • Resort Activities – Dining, Spa & Excursions: (866) 814-3569
  • Premium Experiences: (808) 674-6200
  • Weddings: (321) 939-4610
  • Disney PhotoPass™ Service: (407) 560-4300

How to Pay for Aulani

What method of payment does Aulani accept?

Just like most other Disney resorts, like Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, you can pay for your Aulani stay with credit card. Disney gift cards are also accepted.

What perks do Disney Visa card holders get at Aulani?

Cardholders of one of the Disney Visa from Chase cards will enjoy a few bonus perks:

  • 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 at the resort
  • 10% off snorkeling in Rainbow Reef, Aulani's private snorkel lagoon
  • 10% off kappa-inspired t-shirt printing
  • 10% off the purchase of an ‘ukulele immediately after you complete an ‘ukulele class

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(UPDATED) Disney Aulani First Timer's Guide 2019! Learn everything you need to know about Aulani, a Disney resort and spa for a 2019 Disney vacation
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