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The lobby of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. Photo: Courtesy Walt Disney World

From the moment you are greeted with “Aloha,” receive your welcome lei, and step in to the Maka’ala (lobby) of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, you will know you are not at a typical Hawaiian resort—it is a place like no other; a story from beginning to end, a treasure hunt, “Uncles & Aunties” and ‘Ohana, luxury amenities, unbelievably friendly Cast Members, scrumptious Hawaiian delicacies, activities both day and night, and an idyllic setting. It’s all here in one magical place and it’s the stuff that dreams are made of! Let me tell you about a few of my favorite things at Aulani:

• Activities for every member of the family. Always wanted to learn how to play a ukulele? No problem! Hula dancing lessons? Strap on your grass skirt! A relaxing massage in an award-winning spa? Just pick your time! Want to learn how to stand-up paddleboard? Put on your bathing suit! Date night without the kids? Just bring ’em to Aunty’s Beach House! As you can see, there is something for every age group, and this is just a small sampling of the many, wonderful activities that Aulani offers. And of course, if lying on the beach all day is more to your liking, Aulani has got you covered too, with a palm tree-skirted, white-sand beach and lagoon that also happens to be the perfect place to watch the sunsets that Hawaii are famous for!

• Hawaiian Cuisine. The chefs at Disney are renowned for their delicious creations, and Aulani does not disappoint. We love trying foods that are traditional to the places we visit, so being able to sample a variety of Hawaiian dishes and treats was fabulous. My mouth still waters when I think of the basket of Hawaiian-style pastries we enjoyed with our breakfast at ‘Ama ‘Ama one morning. The Kalua Pork sandwich we had poolside was super yummy, and the Papalua Shave Ice, a very popular treat for Hawaiians, was a welcomed cool down in the hot sun of the afternoon!

Can you spot the Menehune? It is saidthe Menehune are mythical little people constantly creating mischief around Hawaii. If you look carefully, you can find Menehune all over Aulani—it’s rumored that there are more than 200 hiding throughout the resort! It is so much fun to spot and photograph all of the Menehune you can find throughout your stay. And they do show up in the most unexpected of places! This was a constant source of fun for us when we visited.

I must mention the Cast Members at Aulani—I’ve traveled all over the world, and I have to say that they are some of the friendliest people we have ever come across. So many of the Cast Members we encountered at Aulani were the perfect examples of the Aloha Spirit that Hawaii is known for. It was a joy to speak with them, and it was so obvious how proud they were of their Hawaiian heritage, and also of Aulani. They seemed so pleased to have us as guests at their beautiful resort!

Disney is the ultimate storyteller, and they have created the most interesting and beautiful story for Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. To me, it is all of the best parts of what I love about Disney in one beautiful and perfect location! I am counting down the days until we return…


Kristen deHaan is a member of the 2013 Disney Parks Moms Panel. Panelists have received/will receive a Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disneyland Resort or Disney Vacation Club vacation for panelist and up to three family members and/or park tickets for their participation on the Walt Disney World® Moms Panel. The views expressed in the Panel are those of the panelists, who are independent contractors. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online, its affiliates, its management, its agents or its employees and have not been reviewed or approved by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online prior to posting.

Tagged: Disney

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