Continuing on with our special column from our photographer Drexelle and her little DisneyExaminer Knightly, we continue the “Adventures of Mommy Mouse and Baby Knightly” with an extensive closer look at what it’s like to visit the newest Disney resort in Hawaii as a family with baby!
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
1) the views
2) the Disney spirit
Just like every other Disney place you love, right when you step in,
there are still:
your favorite Disney friends
the friendly and warm cast members
all the attention to detail
and clever hidden mickeys!!!
3) the rooms!
Oy, having troubled to many a hotel room to find one missing component that was vital for breastpumping or baby care, we were SOOOO excited when we checked out our room at Aulani.
The minute Knightly entered the room and we let him crawl – he was SQUEALING with laughter. It was the most precious thing. After having been stuck in a plane for 6 hours then at the airport for another 2 dealing with rental car and then another 1 hour of driving, he was STOKED to finally be able to crawl around. He loved the textures on the carpet and every detail of the room.
Below is their Disney Vacation Club Ocean View Deluxe Suite. Beautiful!:
Hello view <3
what every room comes with:
- Fridge WITH Freezer!!!! I was able to easily put our ice pack for his milk straight in the freezer all the time without worrying about it melting and being frisked by TSA when we got to the airport for having a melted ice pack for breastmilk (it has happened…sigh)
- Sink WITH dishwashing soap and scrub!
- Ample trashcans (one inside a drawer – perfect to trash the dirty diapers)
- Paper towels
- Ample shelves/storage
- Blow dryer
- Big bathtub with removal showerhead for bath time
- Blu-ray player
- Ample towels
- Soft bath robes for mommy and daddy <3
- Pack and play with soft clean Winnie-the-Pooh fitted sheet – The one in our room was broken but an Aulani cast member had it replaced within less than 5 minutes (AWESOME service). Knightly enjoyed his bedtime and naptime there:
4) the activities
There are lots of pools to play around in with Aulani, including waterslides, waterplay, lovely coves and, our personal favorite with Knightly, the lazy river!
Aulani provides infant life vests and lifesavers in cabanas right next to every pool that the family can easily grab and use anytime.
They have pools that are low enough for baby to just sit and play in. They’ve even got a special pool area with water spouting out of the ground in fun ways so they can just run around and enjoy.
Plus, there are lifeguards EVERYWHERE watching out for the kiddos.
Aulani even has its very own private and safe Supplied-Air-Snorkeling experience. No certification needed and anyone 8 years and older can go and enjoy inside the resort. Sadly, Knightly was not old enough…but someday.
Enjoy a private beach with calm waves for Aulani and the nearby resorts just a few steps away from the pools!
There are available beach rentals right there so you can easily snorkel, paddleboard, boogie board, and more.
True to Disney, there are daily opportunities to visit and take photos with your favorite Disney characters.
Aulani releases a daily ‘Iwa that’ll tell you all the available shows, crafts, live music and storytelling opportunities and more available at the resort.
My personal all-time favorite was Laniwai, Aulani’s amazing spa. I confess it is the BEST spa experience I have ever had. Ever.
Disney does not disappoint in creating a relaxing and healing experience for every guest that visits the spa. Last year in 2012, Laniwai was awarded Best Spa for Families by SpaFinder Wellness Readers’ Choice Awards and Conde Nast Traveler Hot List. You look it online at Yelp and it’s got 5 stars.
And I couldn’t agree more.
For parents with infants, you can book the Makana, which is a special massage treatment given to one parent as the other learns the art of baby massage. This is what we had originally booked (or so I thought) until the hubby surprised me and switched the massage to Laniwai’s Signature Lomilomi massage.
It was heavenly. It was healing. I <3 Lomilomi
They have TONS more services for kids, teens, expecting parents, and parents as well. You can complimentary have your kids cared for at Aunty’s Beach House while you two get a massage! Which leads us to…
what if just us adults want to hang out?
- Aunty’s Beach House | A complimentary amenity for kids 3-12 yrs (Knightly was too young, boo). But you two can go on a date night or enjoy some island activities while your kiddies are cared for. It’s free!
- Childcare in your room | You can arrange childcare in your own hotel room from 6AM-midnight! Check out rates here.
5) baby friendly
We absolutely love how baby friendly Aulani was. Here are some other reasons Aulani makes vacationing easier with your baby:
- Stroller accessible
- Baby Gear | If you need any baby gear (strollers, swings, car seats, etc), you can rent and have them delivered straight to your room from Paradise Baby Company.
- High chairs, booster seats, outlet covers for babyproofing, bottle warmers and bed rails can be checked out
- Nearby poolside cabanas can have you leave diaper bags, strollers, or just take a nap for baby or for one of the parents
6) the food
I’d have to say hands-down the BEST thing about Aulani is how easy it is to even enjoy a good meal with your baby.
Knightly made himself quite at home at every restaurant.
There were fairly poor reviews for Aulani’s food when we searched online so we didn’t put our expectations high. But, still, we were at Aulani and we wanted to try the best they had to offer.
Our personal recommendation
Reserve the character breakfast dining experience at Makahiki Restaurant
(Important note: Be sure to skip the character dinner, which is mediocre and especially disappointing for the price.)
But the BREAKFAST was YUM! Yes, you may find healthier and more delicious options out there – but you’ve got to try it for the yummy food and great experience!
Your little one gets to start their morning being greeted by Mickey with a private photo opportunity!
As you enjoy the loco moco and other yummy Hawaiian and American breakfast dishes, characters come to greet your little one at the table:
PLUS, you’ve got Aunty (their signature Aulani character) come to entertain, sing, and have your little one come and play, which seriously helps keep them sitting and eating without too much fuss so you can actually enjoy your meal!
Time to make music with Aunty!
our next recommendation
Make a reservation for one hour before sunset at Ama Ama, the fine dining restaurant at Aulani. Click here if you want to see when sunset will be when you go!
The view is just beautiful and so peaceful. Even your baby will enjoy!
The dishes were yummy (not like to die for unfortunately) but SERIOUSLY for the experience, service, and ease of having your baby there while eating at a fine dining restaurant – still quite yummy. And if you don’t like it? Ask for another one (thank you Gordon Ramsay for teaching us that). The servers are very understanding.
The catch of the day was my favorite <3 Healthy and delish.
Oh, and enjoy the drinks – all the fruits in them are locally grown!
And, as always, be sure to tell them if you’re celebrating something special – Disney always has a way to make their signature mark on your day.
A complete list of Aulani’s dining options are available here.
okay, but what if you want organic, non-MSG, natural and healthy food for your baby?
* * *
so, for baby, what so what should you pack for Aulani?
Some ideas of what you might want to bring:
- Beach shade
- Waterproof shoes
- Sippy cup
- Swim diapers
- Favorite baby snacks (all fruits you bring on the plane will be taken from you when you leave Hawaii – they took our bananas)
- For the plane | quiet toys and iPad with baby apps (for the plane: our favorite baby apps right now are mostly from Duck Duck Moose and BrillKids)
- Come for baby
- Disney costume (like this ADORABLE one designed by Mommaloha from Etsy, order our Lilo & Stitch costumes here)
what can you buy for baby at Aulani?
Below are the baby goodies available at Aulani’s Kalepa store gift shop | open 7am-11pm daily:
- Similac advance formula
- Baby Gerber oatmeal cereal
- Huggies diapers and sensitive wipes (no chlorine-free option)
- Infant Advil
- Handful of baby-safe toys
- One Aulani onesie
- Milk | They usually have whole milk but it was SOLD OUT when we were there (boo). They do have Silk soy milk but no almond or goat’s milk.
We were sooo sad to go. Honestly, I almost cried when we left, but it was the perfect 1st vacation for our family and baby Knightly. Thank you, Disney!
‘Til our next adventure <3
With all our love,
Mommy Mouse + baby Stitch (Knightly)