Aloha AulaniHelping you make the most of your stay.
On your way to the resort
If you can fit it in and aren’t too exhausted from your travels, we recommend a stop at Costco or Target on your way to Aulani. They are just a few miles away from the resort and picking up some snacks and beverages here can save you a lot of money.
Arriving at Aulani
Upon arrival, you likely want to go to the front desk, regardless of whether or not you did online check-in. They can provide you with the information you need to make the most of your stay. They will also give you room keys (good for charging purchases and getting your pool bands) and can provide an access card to the Luana Lounge should you need a place to change clothes. This is also a required stop to get your parking pass if you brought a car. Personally, we’ve forgotten to do this and our car didn’t get towed, but that was only for a single-night stay so we can’t speak for what may happen with a longer stay.
Depending on your room type, check-in time is either 3PM or 4PM. Standard rooms and suites are at 3PM while all other rooms are 4PM. You used to be welcomed with a lei for adults and sometimes a menehune charm necklace for kids, but this was suspended during COVID and hasn’t returned. Whether your room is ready or not, you will still be given your room keys and access to the pools.
While online check-in is supposed to let you use your phone or magic band to get into your room or make purchases, we’ve found it to be spotty and always grab a physical room key card in case other things fail. We also like to tuck the room key into a rash-guard or swim-short pocket so we can hop out of the pool and grab a drink or snack w/o our phone or band.
Only the adult checking you in will need to provide an ID along with a credit card if you didn’t do online check-in. While you used to have to present proof of COVID vaccination, that is no longer necessary. There are no more COVID restrictions at Aulani or across the island.
The closest restroom is surprisingly far. Facing the front desk, go to your right all the way across the lobby passing Kalepa’s store, then around the bend to the right and it’s on the left, opposite the Hale Manu store.
Every reservation gives you and your party access to the resort amenities on every day of that reservation. This includes the time before you get a room assignment and the rest of the day after you check out. If you arrive early and your room isn’t ready, get changed into your swim suits, drop your bags at the bell desk, and head down to the pools with your room key.
Once you get to the pools, your very first action should be to claim some chairs. It’s tempting to get the bands and towels first, but those lines can sometimes take a surprising amount of time and chairs can sometimes be scarce. Once you’ve found some chairs either leave a member of your group there or scatter some of your belongings to claim them. Once that’s done, it’s time to get the wrist bands.
This is how the cast members know that someone is actually staying at the resort and not just crashing the pools. Even if you aren’t planning on swimming, you need a band to hang out by the pools. You need to get a new one every day as the colors change daily. Get the bands and any towels you may want by going to one of the two kiosks around the pools. In the image below, both kiosks are labeled as number 17. You can also get bands and towels at the Rainbow Reef kiosk (number 22), but that’s only useful if there’s almost no line as people go there to reserve cabanas and book Rainbow Reef, so if anyone is in line it could be a while before they get to you.
At the kiosk, you will need to show your room key to get your band(s), but one room key will suffice for all guests on the same reservation. If you have a little one who isn’t into wearing the band, you can ask the cast member to make it loose and then slip it off and hold on to it yourself in case you are questioned. While at the kiosk, be sure to pick up any towels or life vests you may need. If you are a DVC member and want the sparkly band that says “DVC member,” be sure to have proof of your DVC membership with you. The member band itself doesn’t get you much, sometimes they won’t ask for your member card at a retail shop before giving you your discount, but you can’t count on that.
At this point, drop off your towels at your chairs and go have fun! One warning about the towels though, roughly once an hour, a cast member will come by and pick up each towel and fold them neatly over the back of the chair. This is how they know if chairs are actually being used. If they come by on their next round and the towel is untouched, they will take all the belongings off to lost and found. In short, if you ever see your towel has been folded and hung over the back of the chair, take it down lest you lose your seats and belongings. When we are off swimming, we make sure to stop by our chairs at least once an hour to take down the towels, and sometimes we make a reciprocal arrangement with whomever is sitting near us for added security. It seems that Disney really focuses on this in the morning and gets more slack about it as the day goes on. Note that if you are getting to the chairs before 8AM, someone from you group must stay at the chairs or the cast members will take your things.