Travel with Val: Disney's Aulani Resort Is Not Just A Hawaiian Epcot
Disney's got a new resort in Hawaii, and it is worlds away from their other theme parks. Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
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Disney is bringing its family brand to a resort that is located worlds away from a theme park.
Located on the west coast of the Island of Oahu in the Ko Olina resort area, Aulani is less about Mickey Mouse and more about Menehune, legendary Hawaiian “little people” who can be found mostly at eye level for their target guests: children with their families in tow.
The iconic company is making an effort to blend Hawaiian culture with Disney culture, and there is enough authenticity to keep this 359 room resort from becoming just another Epcot version of a distant land.
For Disney purists, there is a comfortable familiarity with the company's Orlando sister resorts, as Aulani is the 11th addition to the Disney Vacation Club inventory, with 481 villas.
Some of the "Disneyfied" touches at Aulani include a protected snorkeling lagoon on the property just steps away from the ocean, as well as requisite waterslides, a lazy river and interactive water play areas that are gentler versions of theme park favorites.
Younger kids can explore Hawaiian traditions at their own club called "Aunty’s Beach House." Indeed, Aulani is so ohana friendly, or "family" friendly, that the Laniwai spa has a special space for teen treatments.
The taste of Hawaii also extends to the restaurants and snack bars on the property.
To see Hawaii beyond the resort, Adventures by Disney, the company’s tour operator arm, guides the excursions.
The next "Travel With Val" report will have a panel of moms sharing how to best afford and navigate a trip to Aulani.