Even if you haven’t been a parent that long, the realization that kid-friendly venues can be difficult to find is probably not wasted on you. Indeed, a lot of people are realizing that kid-friendly venues can be hit or miss. Even the ones that are advertised as something that the kids will enjoy can be truly sparse on entertainment options. It’s all about what the event planner can create. The best thing that you can do is just keep your eyes peeled for interesting travel spots that’ll not only keep the kids occupied, but also provide something for the adults to enjoy.
One of the best companies around when it comes to kid-friendly venues is Disney, so it’s no surprise that they’ve created quite a buzz already over their new Hawaiian resort. It’s called Aulani, but if you were hoping that everything is going to be all things Disney, you might be in for a shock.
You see with this resort, Disney wants to focus on the natural beauty and wonder of Hawaii. However, there are still nods to the characters that most identify with Disney, such as Mickey Mouse and his friends. Hawaiian culture is really what you’re going to get with this resort, and it’s definitely not something that’s being marketed as a cheap getaway. We have no problem with this, from a travel perspective. In order for the market to truly be interesting, there has to be a wide variety of different services. Some will be priced inexpensively, while some will truly be luxurious portals of paradise. We think that when it’s done right, luxury is definitely worth paying for.
This is actually a good strategy move for Disney, because they need to remind the public at large that they really can do luxury well, while still making something that the whole family can enjoy.
Aulani is located in Kapolei on the west side of Oahu, which is only a mere hour’s drive from Waikiki. The resort features 840 units, which are a mix of regular hotel rooms as well as Disney Vacation Club time shares.
So, what about the kid-friendliness factor? Well, you’re going to see Mickey Mouse and his friends, sure, but the truth is that this is a perfect getaway for a family with kids that really want to get out and explore things. This is a great time to get in a history lesson without making the kids feel like they’re in a classroom. This is also a perfect time for new learning experiences in the language department, since the entire staff is also fluent in Hawaiian. Yes, you’ll still be able to speak English but you’ll also be able to pick up what it truly means to be Hawaiian — a rare experience that might be just what your family is into. If you are already learning a language at home, this is a great cultural experience that will leave memories behind you’ll cherish forever.
While this isn’t a traditional wonderland scenario for your children, it will give them the opposite to experience a little bit of luxury, have a little fun, eat well and feel like they’re being just like the adults. We have nothing against the traditional theme parks, but sometimes kids have to realize that not everything will be perfectly tailored to their needs.
There is a very good kid’s club available of course called Aunty’s Beach House. It is designed from the ground up to look like a traditional Hawaiian home, even though there are modern day touches as well. The kids can watch movies (Disney movies, naturally — and there’s quite a selection), play dress-up or even play video games. The older kids can surf the Internet in their own separate area.
Before we go on to the other kid-friendly stuff in Aulani, let’s not forget the pool. If there’s one thing that Disney’s really good at, it’s definitely being able to design a great pool. They have an 8,200 square ft pool that is sure to impress the whole family. On top of that there’s a 950 ft long lazy river where the kids can go tubing down the river and look at forests and caverns. There’s also a saltwater lagoon, a rock formation with lava tube slides, and there’s even an aquatic jungle gym. Yes, we said it — an aquatic jungle gym. Who said that Disney doesn’t know how to go over the top isn’t looking close enough.
The price tag might surprise you, but it makes sense given that Disney’s attempting to go luxury here. Even the smallest 420 sq ft room is going to be $399 a night, and the top suite is going to be 2,449 a night. The middle of the road ocean view room is going to be 549 a night. For mainland hotels, that could be seen as a bit much. However, for Hawaii this isn’t too far out of range. So you’re not going to really find “bargain” being presented here.
However, Disney is giving you a luxurious all-inclusive resort that every member of the family can enjoy and appreciate. We think that’s definitely worth it, but we’re willing to hear what you think. Would you go to Aulani?