Aloha, Aulani: A Resort Primer

by on January 17, 2018

TouringPlans welcomes guest author May Flaum.

When I plan a vacation to Walt Disney World my desk is like a war room complete with plans of attack, alternate arrangements, current restaurant menus, and more. I build and optimize touring plans, I read blogs daily, and I love every planning minute of it. That said, sometimes it is wonderful to plan a trip quickly, easily, and without multiple notebooks and Excel spreadsheets.

If my budget isn’t tight and I get to pick said vacation? My pick is Disney’s Aulani on the island of Oahu. It really is an ideal vacation place for so many people of all ages – and perfect if you want a Disney fix but travel with someone who doesn’t love the parks. As someone who has been fortunate enough to visit the resort a few times, I’d like to share with you my strategies for planning a trip to Aulani.


Let’s address the elephant in the room: budget. There are a lot of ways you can flex the cost of an Aulani trip. But the bottom line is this: Hawaii is an expensive and popular high-demand destination. Take a look at airline routes, costs, and Aulani (and other hotel) rates to begin your planning process.

If you’re able to swing a trip to Oahu but not stay at Aulani, you still might want to visit for a half day. You can book the character breakfast, shop the gift shops, and walk through the resort, out to the lagoon, and around the Ko’olina resort area. Note that character meets other than at breakfast, as well as all amenities, pools, and slides are for the exclusive use of registered resort guests.

If only a short stay is possible, or if you want to explore more of Hawaii, then save Aulani for last. Visit other areas of Oahu or even other islands first while staying at a less expensive hotel, apartment rental, or time share. Then head up to Aulani first thing in the morning and check in. Your room likely won’t be ready, but bell services will store your bags, there is a lounge with shower you can access until your room is ready, and you’re able to use all amenities including pools and slides. You are able to utilize all resort amenities all day on both check in and check out day – use that to your advantage.

If the budget allows of course, my ultimate recommendation is to stay at Aulani for as long as you possibly can and simply enjoy all that this marvelous resort has to offer.

What to book in advance?

Read the rest of this entry »

Bucket List: How Many Days Should I Visit Aulani?

by on March 2, 2017

How many days to visit Aulani

Do you have a Disney Bucket List? Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa (hereafter just called “Aulani”), is a fantastic resort and something one many people’s lists. One of three Disney resorts not attached to a theme park, it is the only one not in the continental U.S. Because there’s no theme park to visit, one question that inevitably  comes up for us is “how many days do I need to visit Aulani?”

Visiting Aulani is like cruising Disney Cruise Line. You need to make time to take everything in. So how long is that? The pithy answer is “as long as you can take.” Why is it pithy? Because there are some considerations  and outside factors that will have a huge influence on how long you can stay.


Read the rest of this entry »

Menu Monday: A Tribute to the Dole Whip

by on January 19, 2015


My Dole Whip Float

It’s fresh and creamy, it’s cold and sweet, it’s literally paradise in a cup. It’s a Dole Whip! If you haven’t heard, this treat is as popular as some characters and attractions at Disney World and has the long lines to prove it. For those of you who haven’t sampled this famous Disney treat; and for those of you, like myself, who are craving one right now, check out this Tribute to the Dole Whip!

So what is a Dole Whip? A Dole Whip is pineapple-flavored soft-serve and the perfect blend of sweet and tang; but I must warn you, it’s addictive! In fact, during one of my trips to the Magic Kingdom last year, I waited in a thirty minute line for a Dole Whip and even got a sunburn in the process. But hey, I have no regrets. It was totally worth it!

Unlike other popular sweet treats at Disney World, like Mickey Premium Bars or cupcakes, Dole Whips can’t be found just everywhere. For many years, Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Aloha Isle in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom were the only locations where this snack was offered.

Fortunately, it seems that Disney has taken pity on us Dole Whip-crazed guests, and I’m glad to report that there are now more places than ever to enjoy a Dole Whip while at the Walt Disney World Resort. Let’s take a look at a few of the old, as well as the new, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! October 2014 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on October 31, 2014

MMM positiveToday marks the end of October, and what a month it was. Our long national nightmare finally came to an end as Disney announced that the Sorcerer’s Hat would finally be leaving Hollywood Studios. Also leaving DHS will be the Legend of Jack Sparrow, bringing the total amount of attractions at the park down to something like two (give or take). A new lumberjack show made its debut at Epcot, nets around the Tree of Life came down at Animal Kingdom, and Marvel announced it would be making Disney approximately 100 billion dollars over the next five years. All of this and I somehow managed to sail on my first ever Disney Cruise. This may go down in the history books as the greatest month of all time, at least until next month.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you.)


I Know What You Did Last Summer Mickey plush.

Read the rest of this entry »

TouringPlans #Everywhere – Meet Schedules

by on September 30, 2014

t_logo_fbHave you ever wanted a chance to hang with TouringPlans staff in locations throughout the globe? Sunday, October 12, is your opportunity. This is the day of TouringPlans #Everywhere. We will have our people posted at every Disney location in the world on the same day, blogging and tweeting for your reading pleasure. And we’d love to see you while we’re at it.

Here is where everyone will be available. All times are local. DCL meet ups may change due to what’s happening on the ship that day – watch Twitter for updates.

If possible, please RSVP via email to the person who’ll be there so we’ll have an idea what to expect:

Meet Up Locations

Disneyland Paris – meet Brad Huber (developer and Saints fan) at 3:00 pm at the Market House Deli on Main Street in Disneyland Park. Email

Read the rest of this entry »