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22 Amazingly Awesome Things About Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa

This past month, I had the amazing opportunity to help Disney celebrate the one-year anniversary of their new resort in Hawaii — the Aulani Resort & Spa in Ko Olina. It’s hard to find words that adequately describe the experience; Hawaii’s scenery is one of those things where you find yourself, mouth agape, partially drooling, trying to process that yes, you’re not seeing things, THAT VOLCANO REALLY IS BEFORE YOU. So I’ll let the photos do the speaking. Let’s just say, it was the best birthday party I’ve ever been to.

PS: My companion, Babble.com editor-in-chief Catherine Connors, also wrote about the experience from her POV here.

 

 

Click-through for 22 reasons to visit Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa. —Andrea Zimmerman, Manager of blogs & social media at Disney Interactive

 

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  • This view from your hotel room 1 of 22
    This view from your hotel room
    We're not in Kansas anymore, folks!
  • Lei upon entrance! 2 of 22
    Lei upon entrance!
    Keeping with Hawaiian tradition, you're greeted with a lei upon entrance to the resort. And there's plenty of time to meet Mickey and Minnie -- appropriately dressed in resort wear, of course! Check your daily 'Iwa (delivered to your hotel room) for locations and times.
  • Mouse-shaped pancakes! 3 of 22
    Mouse-shaped pancakes!
    Disney doesn't leave out one detail.
  • The Aulani starlit Hui. 4 of 22
    The Aulani starlit Hui.
    A magical evening under the stars for kids (and kids at heart), full of hula and live music. And if you missed the characters earlier in the day, don't worry because they all make an appearance for a live dance party! And until you've seen Chip & Dale shake their chipmunk butts, you haven't lived.
  • The resort rooms. 5 of 22
    The resort rooms.
    Standard rooms come with a deep-soaking tub, lush robes (OH, the robes), super-comfy beds, and my favorite: the private balcony overlooking the resort. Somehow, checking email while overlooking the Hawaiian coast is a lot less painful ;)
  • Laniwai Spa. 6 of 22
    Laniwai Spa.
    To call the spa "an experience" is an understatement. Upon arrival, you're encouraged to choose a meditation stone -- I picked "listen," fitting no? -- which is the theme you're supposed to reflect on. Part of the spa is open-air so there's plenty of places to lounge with a book, drink hot tea, meditate on life, you get the drift. But the most incredible part....
  • Kula Wai, the only outdoor water circuit in Oahu. 7 of 22
    Kula Wai, the only outdoor water circuit in Oahu.
    People, there aren't enough words. I spent an uninterrupted half hour in these waterfall-esque conditions and I'm quite convinced I might be changed woman.
  • Body scrubs. 8 of 22
    Body scrubs.
    Every spa treatment ends with a free body scrub! Go for the pineapple. You'll want to lick yourself afterward and the silky-smooth skin ain't so bad, either ;)
  • Rainbow Reef. 9 of 22
    Rainbow Reef.
    Snorkel among a bevy of tropical fish found in Hawaii, including angel fish, butterfly and tangs. And don't forget to be on the lookout for underwater hidden Mickeys! If snorkeling's not your thing, you can still see all the fish from an outside viewing area (where this photo was taken.)
  • The lazy river. 10 of 22
    The lazy river.
    For when you feel like being lazy.
  • Aunty’s Beach House. 11 of 22
    Aunty's Beach House.
    Hands down, the best resort kids' club I've ever seen. The details blew my mind, like this craft room made to look like an auto shop or the magical "rain" that pounds against the windows in the kids' movie room. Best part: Admission to the Aunty's Beach House is included in your resort stay!
  • Refillable Mugs. 12 of 22
    Refillable Mugs.
    See that mug in my right hand? You can refill it 24 hours a day for FREE. By the time I left, the resort had no Diet Coke left. (The same policy exists at Disneyworld and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it really is a magical policy.)
  • Aunty’s Character Breakfast at the Makahiki. 13 of 22
    Aunty's Character Breakfast at the Makahiki.
    Disney characters stop by your tables while you drink unlimited guava juice and nosh on a buffet bigger than Goofy himself.
  • The Hawaiian sunset. 14 of 22
    The Hawaiian sunset.
    I think this photo speaks for itself, no?
  • Dinner at AMA AMA restaurant. 15 of 22
    Dinner at AMA AMA restaurant.
    Set against the beach, this open-air restaurant serves up everything from fish tacos to seafood paella to the most gorgeous sunset views of the Pacific Ocean you've ever seen. Promise.
  • The desserts at AMA AMA. 16 of 22
    The desserts at AMA AMA.
    Why, YES, that is a bowl made of sugar.
  • Lei-making. 17 of 22
    Lei-making.
    Local artisans teach you the art of making traditional Hawaiian leis. These are orchids and tuberoses -- meant for leis -- but really, you just want to put your face in them.
  • Interactive sting-ray experience. 18 of 22
    Interactive sting-ray experience.
    Let me repeat: INTERACTIVE STING-RAY EXPERIENCE.
  • Guava juice. 19 of 22
    Guava juice.
    This stuff is made from the nectar of the gods. I had at least 35 glasses.
  • Adventures by Disney Excursions. 20 of 22
    Adventures by Disney Excursions.
    A two-hour Kualoa Ranch horseback riding adventure to the land of the LOST! Seriously! LOST was filmed here and so was Jurassic Park! And with views like this, you can see why. (think: GREEN. LUSH. Did I mention GREEN?)
  • Helicopter Excursion. 21 of 22
    Helicopter Excursion.
    A flying tour of Waikiki beach, Pearl Harbor, and a hidden waterfall only accessible via helicopter! It was all very Bachelorette. (Note for folks with queasy stomachs: You might want to opt out of this one.)
  • The views. 22 of 22
    The views.
    Who has words, when you're looking at scenery like this? Aulani, you can bet I'm coming back for more.

 

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