Father and son run into the water at the beach in front of the Aulani Resort.

Why O’ahu is the Perfect Playground for Families

One Part Natural Wonder, One Part Modern Luxury, This Trip Adds Up to Be Magic for All


There’s been something of a resurgence in recent years of Hawai’i as the end-all, be-all Big Kahuna for family vacations. Specifically, the island of O’ahu. What makes this island so perfect for every age? Is it because of its lush settings, crystal-blue water and jaw-dropping views? Is it because of the magic instilled in the island from the native cultures of old?

The truth is, all of the above, and then some. It certainly helps that a wave of new luxury resorts has emerged on the pristine beaches of Hawai’i, making it possibly the most perfect place for a family getaway. Few destinations in the U.S. can offer such a rich mix of relaxation and unique, cultural experiences for both kids and parents. 

Your Own Slice of Paradise

One such resort that captures the beauty, history and magic of Hawai’i with modern accommodations, luxurious amenities and activities that cater to all ages is Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i. They have gone above and beyond to make sure every second of your trip is memorable. At Aulani, you can dive right into vacation mode the second you arrive, thanks to their Luana Lounge. With its spacious seating areas, spotless locker rooms and fully-stocked showers, the Luana Lounge allows you to freshen up or change into your swimsuit as soon as you set foot at the resort, meaning you can make the most of your trip, instead of being stuck in early check-in limbo.   

Once you do check in, you quickly realize how much of the Aloha spirit is packed into the 21 oceanfront acres of this resort. Every room is uniquely angled to offer a distinct view of paradise. And the room itself boasts all the amenities needed for the perfect home-base between the day’s undertakings. These include a tea kettle, coffee maker, mini-fridge, robes, portable crib, Blu-Ray™ DVD Player, and a full selection of H2O bathroom products.

Interior view of the Laniwai Spa at the Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.
Laniwai: Luxuriate as you soothe and rejuvenate your mind body and spirit at Aulani Resort's full-service spa, salon and fitness center. (Photo courtesy of ©Disney)

Adventure Everywhere You Look 

Between activities on and off this resort, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in O’ahu. Your to-do list may have included a trip to the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Diamondhead or the bustling city of Waikiki, but once your kids (and you) discover all that this resort has to offer, your itinerary could change.

Backed by Disney’s Imagineers, Aulani has taken the magic of the island and infused it with the mouse-eared ingenuity it is famous for. Between all the pools, coves, reefs and grottos of Waikolehe Valley and the private snorkeling lagoon of Rainbow Reef, guided art and nature tours, and the unique shows and performances that blend traditional Hawaiian and modern entertainment, there’s no shortage of activities for all ages. You could go weeks before you remember there’s a whole island outside the resort!

Not only that, but Aulani offers a free kids’ club thanks to Aunty’s Beach House, meaning your child can still have a fun-filled day discovering the wonders of Hawaii, while you discover the Laniwai spa, the thrills of napping in a beach chair, or time to reconnect with your spouse over a mai tai at the Wailana Pool Bar.

Family on a sailing excursion near the Aulani Resort
Family Adventure: With help from a travel agent or an Aulani Resort concierge, families can embark on an adventure to explore the manmade and natural attractions, including Pearl Harbor and Rainbow Reef. (Photo courtesy of ©Disney)  

Food Fit for a King

However you work up an appetite during your stay, there’s a buffet of dining options for your enjoyment, besides the buffet. Aulani offers a unique blend of incredible experiential dining fit for any mood or palette, and quick-service dining that allows you to refuel between activities with good-for-the-soul dishes and convenient grab-and-go snacks. So, whether the family wants to have breakfast with their favorite Disney characters, chicken tenders and pineapple soft-serve while poolside, or an authentic Hawaiian beachside dinner with fresh ingredients, your next meal is only limited by your appetite.

Additionally, you’d be remiss to miss out on KA WA’A, the Luau you didn’t realize you were dreaming of. Part lavish feast, part mesmerizing show, KA WA’A is an enchanting evening of authentic Hawaiian tradition and delicacies that’s likely to be the pinnacle of your trip. There is a high demand for a seat at this experience, so book in advance and arrive early!

Women performing traditional Hawaiian hula dancing
Unique Dining Experience: In addition to a variety of dining options, the Aulani Resort also features KA WA'A, a luau that highlights authentic Hawaiian tradition and delicacies. (Photo courtesy of ©Disney)

The Perfect Souvenirs: Memories

At the end of the day, a vacation is only as wonderful as the memories you take from it. The challenge of selecting a destination perfect for all ages can make vacation planning stressful, not to mention finding the perfect resort to call your home base. Thanks to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, you can rest easy knowing there’s more than enough magic to be had for the whole family and special memories to last a lifetime.

Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable family vacation to a Hawaii? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with a specialist in selling Aulani Resort Vacations who can customize an itinerary you’re going to love.

Mother holding her daughter as they enjoy a waterfall in a small plunge pool at the Aulani Resort.
Ultimate Souvenir: With help from a travel agent, you can plan your next family vacation at the Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, where families create lifetime memories. (Photo courtesy of ©Disney) 


As to Disney artwork, logos and properties: ©Disney


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