A Whole New World at Hawaii’s Alauni, a Disney Resort / LUXURY TRAVEL MAG /
TRAVEL EXCLUSIVE NEWS / New York
By Richard Bunting
Richard Bunting Discovers the Magic of a Disney-Branded Adventure in Hawaii
When you become a parent, the so-called magical world of Disney is suddenly thrust back into your life. So, when my wife and I were planning our Hawaiian holiday – an adventure we wanted our 15-month-old daughter to enjoy as much as we would – Aulani came to the front of mind.
A Disney resort and spa, Aulani is located on the west coast of Oahu, an easy 40-minute transfer from Honolulu’s international airport. We arrive ready to relax, but also braced for an onslaught of life-sized Disney characters, such is the compromise of parenthood. Thankfully, the reality of Aulani is much different. The resort is thoughtfully designed with Hawaiian culture in mind and the Disney characters – an important inclusion, to be sure – are gently woven into the experience.
The foyer is grand and plush-costume free, providing a sophisticated welcome, and the intricate frescos are a nod of recognition to some significant players in Hawaiian history.
From Disney history, it is Mickey’s lovable pup, Pluto, we spot first. He is wandering below our balcony, which we have made a bee-line for in an effort to get a lay of the land. The balcony is a highlight of our huge one-bedroom villa, which also boasts a large living/dining area, a massive bedroom and an impressive bathroom, spread out over two rooms. A one-bedroom suite can sometimes close in on you when there’s a child in tow, but that certainly isn’t the case at Aulani. Decor is fresh and light with splashes of Hawaiian print driving home the holiday vibe.
Our belongings unloaded, we head downstairs to see if we can track down Pluto and friends. We are hoping to catch a glimpse of Goofy, Stitch and, of course, Minnie and Mickey, but instead discover a network of pools, waterslides built into manmade mountains, and a mesmerising lagoon that I am certain is calling my name.