Answering all your questions about the details of our Oahu / Aulani (Disney Resort) family vacation! If you missed last weeks recap, find it HERE!
Okay! Last month we all packed our swimming suits and planned an extremely last minute trip to Oahu / Aulani...that resort in Hawaii by Disney. But seriously...A lot of people didn't know there was even a Disney resort in Hawaii! Surprise...Mickey and Minnie are working on their tropical tans.

Back to last minute - When I say this I mean from the time I booked our flight / room to the time we left it was two weeks. Quick turnaround.

A few weeks ago I asked you guys to share with me any questions you might have had about our trip...and I'm finally getting to my promise to answer all those. If I miss something, please! Just throw your question in the comments or send me an e-mail and I'll get that answered!


1. Is it worth the cost?

Let's get down to the hard cash right off the bat. Was it worth it? This is such a hard question. You have to look at your own situation. For us, yes. 100% worth it. The girls were beyond happy. We escaped 10º temperatures. We hadn't gone on any sort of long, family vacation since Kaye was 3 MONTHS OLD!!! The condo we stayed at was beautiful and the beaches were amazing. Aulani had one million things for the girls to be excited about and Russell and I found tons of time to relax. So, for us, the cost was worth it. We took advantage of every day!

2. Sleeping situation with multiple kids.

This one always stresses me out...even though I try to tell myself that it shouldn't. Because shouldn't. It's not like any of our children have ever stayed up all night long. I have to sleep!

At the condo we had a three bedroom unit. One room had two twins. One room had a queen. The master had a king with a walk-in closet. Elli stayed in a pack 'n play in the walk-in closet...because we're good parents. The girls shared the bedroom with the twin beds. Uncle Kody had the queen bedroom.

We put Elli in as separate of a space as possible whenever we travel because it's just what works best for her / us. I wouldn't say she's a sensitive sleeper at home, but when we travel she seems to have an acute sense of someone's presence in her space. Even if we're super quite / tip-toeing. She just knows. So, having the door of the master closet between her and the master bedroom was super nice.

With Kaye and Sawyer - They share a room at home, so we knew it was going to be exciting for them to share a space again. No issues!

At Aulani - Poor Elli was put in the bathroom (which is separate from the toilet / shower in the 1-bedroom unit). The bathroom is right next to the master with a sliding door separating the two spaces. Honestly, she was so exhausted by the end of the day, she slept so well. She was basically asking to go to bed.

The girls slept in the living room. It has a pull down bed (smaller than a twin) right under the TV and a full size (maybe queen?) pull out from the sofa. Kaye loved the idea of sleeping in that tiny bed, so that's what she did. So Sawyer enjoyed diva status in her very own queen bed.


3. What activities did you do?

We did all the things! Okay, not all the things. We were definitely limited with Elli. Truly, we thought we would have Uncle Kody babysit Elli A LOT more so we could take the girls to do fun activities all around Oahu...But we ended up spending tons of time at the pool and beach because that's what they wanted to do every day...not to mention it was just. So. Easy.
Here's a list of activities we did :

- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Beach / Pool time
- Lots of Piña Colada drinking (my personal favorite activity)
- North Shore to watch surfing
- Snorkling
- Lots of water sliding
- Character breakfast at Aulani (make reservations early)
- Aunty's Beach House every day per the girls' request (pro tip : fill out registration paperwork prior to resort arrival)
- Dinner at Monkeypod

I will say - In my research there were places like Leonard's Bakery that lots of blogs said was a MUST...but, that's just not really our thing. We didn't travel to Hawaii to eat a doughnut or masala...we traveled for the weather and water!

You can also do tons of hikes. Hikes to waterfalls. Hikes to volcanos. But do you know what would have happened? Sawyer would have claimed to have broken her legs. Both of them. Elli would have been screaming to walk at a snails pace. And Kaye would just be our #1 favorite because she's the best. Ha! So...we kept it safe. Activities with a quick / easy exit strategy in case anything blew up in our faces.

Here's a list of activities I do recommend if you have older kids or no kids :

- Pearl Harbor
- Shopping at Waikiki
- Luau!
- Makapu'u Lighthouse hike
- Botanical Gardens
- Kualoa Nature Reserve - (think Jurassic Park / zipline / electric bike tour / horseback)

Moving on to all questions Aulani (Disney resort)

4. Did the characters wander around or were there long lines to meet them?

The characters 100% wandered around. We spotted them not so often that it wasn't special, but often enough that the girls never felt like they were missing out.

As far as actually meeting characters - You're either going to want to be a Vacation Club Member or sign up for a character meal. If you're not a Vacation Club Member you're going to be standing in line for a looooong time to meet the characters. That wasn't for us, and luckily the girls weren't interested in standing in line either.

The best news - The characters pop into Aunty's Beach House throughout the day. The girls got to meet Stitch / Minnie / Daisy / Muana all on different days. We also happened to be in the right place at the right time several times to meet Mickey and then Goofy without having to stand in line.

At the character breakfast the girls met Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, and Aunty. And between the marathon meet and greet they gorged on

Speaking of food...

5. How was the food?

Okay - A bit to say on this. Because we have all these children we knew food was going to be a large expenditure on vacation if we decided to eat out. So...we decided to go happy medium. We stayed in a 1-bedroom unit, so our space had a full kitchen with a dishwasher. (And it gets fully cleaned every day...including dishes!) I cooked breakfast each morning which included pancakes, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, toast...Those sorts of things. Lunch consisted of either leftovers or something easy like PB + J sandwiches with fruit or mac + cheese. For dinner I would cook fish with rice and veggies, fish tacos, chicken...and I think I made breakfast for dinner once. We also ate at a local Mexican restaurant which was super delicious. I don't recall the name, but it's right across the street from the resort and also by Island Vintage Coffee (go here for the acai bowls!).

If you're going to be eating out for the duration of your stay the food at the resort was just fine! We ate a character breakfast at Makahiki as well as dinner on our final night. It's a buffet which is just the right speed for our girls. They've never done a buffet before, so the idea of picking out all their food plus desserts blew their minds.

If you want table service go to 'Ama'Ama. We didn't go because it just wasn't quite the right speed for what we were looking for. There's a dress code and I'm not sure the girls would have really appreciated the ocean view. However - It looked beautiful and I'm sure Russell and I would have enjoyed!

There are several bars around the resort and I particularly enjoyed the ones close to the pool for easy access to my piña coladas. We ordered food a couple of times for lunch so we didn't have to go back to the room.

If you're looking for places to eat close by there are several restaurants across from the resort like Monkeypod and the Mexican restaurant I mentioned earlier. You can also pick up food at a little grocery store or grab a latte and acai bowl at Island Vintage Coffee - yes please!

6. Why did you go there rather than Disney World?

We've never been to Disney World, but we're not counting it out! We went to Hawaii because we weren't looking specifically for a Disney vacation. We wanted warm weather and the ocean. Not only that, but it's less expensive for us to fly to Hawaii than it is to Florida! We also weren't looking for any park time / rides. We just wanted relaxation and about a million fruity cocktails.

7. Do you recommend spending only a few nights at Aulani and the rest somewhere else? Why?

For us - splitting our ten days between two resorts was really nice! It changed things up...even though we only moved about 200 yards to a different lagoon. Aulani was WONDERFUL for the girls. They have special touches all over the resort and everyone goes above and beyond to make you feel truly special. Not only that, but you can give your kids a certain amount of autonomy because they have these wristband trackers on...totally brilliant. I mean...we weren't about to let them run all over the resort, but it definitely gave us a tiny bit of peace of mind.

To summarize - Some families can and do spend their entire vacation at the resort. I think it depends on your level of commitment to the Disney brand and your #vacationgoals.

8. How much did it cost?

Okay! Yes! So, when you're looking at the site there's a section called Rooms & Offers. I booked based on the information there, so we ended up getting 30% off of our package.

When we planned this vacation we had a budget in mind and kept it at that. We didn't come home with any souvenirs. We didn't buy any clothes. And I cooked most of our meals. We probably saved a lot just by doing those three things...and I have zero regrets. I girls need zero more knick-knacks (that they are going to lose) and zero more items of clothing.

9. Plane ride tips! How long was the flight?

Tips and tricks for the kids. I don't think there is a magic bullet for this one, but I do know one thing about kids - They love unwrapping things. love. It's how they can watch videos of people opening toys on YouTubeKids. Riiiiight?! So, my answer is surprise toys. I know you didn't want to hear it, but I said it.

I bought the girls two surprise toys each. One was an LOL and the other was some squishy thing I found at target. Both were huge hits and between those, markers + new coloring book (I buy the big package of markers and pick five for each girl to keep in her backpack), and shows on the iPad...Kaye and Sawyer were pretty low maintenance. Also, never underestimate the power of snacks. Pack all the snacks and then throw about 15 more snacks in a secret snack bag.

For Elli - The magic bullet was a pillow, her favorite blankie, Aladdin on an iPhone (the perfect size for her to hold), and these little Wixi Stix that come in a travel case. I bought them for Kaye and Sawyer...and they played with them on the way home, but Elli loved balling them up...and then I'd sort them out...and then she'd ball them up again. They are waxy, so they stick together. You can create shapes out of them and bend them however you want. Fun for all.

Snack List : Goldfish / Kids Kind Bars / Veggie Straws / string cheese / animal crackers / fruit snacks / crackers / fruit leathers...And if I'm feeling extra cool we bring a small bag of popcorn for each girl. You can also purchase those bags of popcorn at the airport.

For the adults : Yes...I packed extra snacks for our Farmer. And it's a good thing too, because he ate quite a few. One little extra we included in our bag was this little speaker. It was amazing! We brought it to the beach / pool. Don't worry, we were totally respectful and kept the volume quite low. But it was so nice to have some music playing. We didn't have to charge it at all while we were there and it synced up perfectly with our phones. So easy. We'll be bringing it with us on all future trips.

10. Did you guys use the babysitter besides Aunty's Beach House? 

We did not use a babysitter...Unless you count us bringing Uncle Kody along. But he was only there for the first part of the trip. When we checked into Aulani we said goodbye to Uncle Kody.

Aulani does have a babysitting service. I have no idea how it works, but I do remember reading that you have to make reservations in advance.

How was Aunty's Beach House? (talk about no pictures inside / tons of supervision / parents allowed to hang out in the morning)

Aunty's Beach House was THE BEST. It truly was...jaw-dropping. Take me back to being a kid and I would have kicked and screamed if my parents would have tried to take me away. No thanks...I'm staying with Aunty.

They have different themed rooms and a large outside patio / yard.

You can check your kids in to Aunty's Beach House at 9:30 am. When you arrive there is an entry room where you check in your kids with their wristbands. Your kids are welcomed through the locking dutch door, required to wash their hands, and then are free to participate in anything and everything.  There is an arts and crafts room / game room / dress up room / tech room / and then there are various spots around the house where kids can color, make leis, watch a movie or go outside and play. The outside area is completely enclosed by a tall fence with a big kids play structure as well as a toddler play structure.

However...From 8 am until 9:30 am you can / have to join your kid(s) at Aunty's. This is the only time you can take pictures inside Aunty's. I forgot once when we were picking the girls up and I was kindly asked to put my phone away. You guys - the supervision is spot on. You will be beyond impressed.

During the 8 - 9:30 am time there is usually some sort of lead dance party where characters show up. The girls had a did Elli. Speaking of, this was the only time Elli could play at Aunty's. She's too young! Three years old is the minimum age. Okay...moving on from Aunty's...

11. Condo details!

Big request for condo details! We stayed at the Beach Villas at Ko'Olina. This is right on one of four lagoons and's just beyond stunning.

This is the specific condo we stayed at. You guys - It was just so beautiful and comfortable and the view of the ocean from the lanai! Yes...I'll take one of those every day. But, there are quite a few to choose from with more or less bedrooms, so you can pick the one that fits your family.

Our condo was great for us because it had everything we could have needed : high chair, pack 'n play, beach toys, chairs, beach towels, boogie boards, washer / dryer, beautiful kitchen, comfortable beds...a blender for my beloved cocktails. All the things. Not one complains...especially because it was so kid-friendly.

12. Do I want to go back for an adults-only trip?

Would I go back? I'd go back tomorrow. Or today. How fast can I pack?

But truly - I'd go back on an adults trip. I'd go back with for a family vacation. I'd go back on a girls trip. I'd go back. Yes.

We met several families that said they come back to the Ko'Olina Beach Villas every year. It's just what they do. Everything is so convenient. It's 100% completely relaxing. It's easy access to the airport (25 minute car) and Costco / Target are minutes away. Not walkable, but like a 10 minute drive.

Okay! Does that wrap things up?! Again, if you have any questions about anything, don't hesitate to send an e-mail!

Follow along with our travels : 

Heads up! While all opinions are my own, I have included affiliate links within this post. This doesn't mean you pay a penny more for clicking the link, it simply means I receive a small commission. If you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to ask! Thank you!