This Fall, Disney opened up a new Resort in Oahu called Aulani. I am a big Disney fan, so we made a point of going to see it, stopping for dinner after our dayout visiting the sights of the Island. Aside from how gorgeous the property is, my first impression was definitely: “Where’s the Disney touch?” Aside from the gift shop, the resort was almost Disney-free. Apparently the resort was meant to celebrate Hawaii, though as a guest I think I may have missed the Disney touches.Although Mickey Mouse came out to say hi at one point, only hotel guests are allowed to take a picture with him. Big sad on that one.
We walked the property checking out the fun tube route and waterside, the wading pool and the infinity hot tub looking out over the manicured beaches. All very impressive. I know from the website, the on-site activities are impressive, so I think that part of the resort would be fun to experience. As a plus, the resort does cater to younger kids with their kids club.
The resort is quite far away from Honolulu and Waikiki, so most of your meals would probably have to be on property, as a guest. There are 4 restaurants and 2 bars – and all are very expensive. As a guest, you could expect your stay to be very expensive based on food alone.
We dined at the Makahiki buffet restaurant, which was a pricey $43 per person. Despite the hefty price tag, the food was very impressive. The assortment was large, as each section of the buffet was kept small and refreshed often. From fresh seafood and sushi to many hot meal items including some traditional Hawaiian dishes, we definitely made the most of our meal. The desserts were particularly impressive, including the mini lava cakes. Yum. There was also a kids buffet, featuring food that kids may eat more of such as pizza and macaroni.
If you’re very hungry and willing to make the drive, the meal is worth it – thankfully, if you eat on property, at least the parking is free!
I think a stay at Aulani would be amazing, but only if you go expecting to pretty much stay on property or if you rent a car. I think having to dine on property at the Disney prices is crazy, but perhaps it would be worth it for all the amenities the resort offers. What do you think?
Tomorrow is Disney Day in Canada! Two new Disney stores in Canada will open simultaneously in Mississauga and also here in Vancouver at Metrotown. I had a chance to get a special preview of the new store to let you know what to expect.
The Disney store is a re-launch in a whole new location in Metrotown – this time on the bottom floor under the food court, by the Bay (park in the underground parkade under the food court for easiest access). The location is better and is re-imagined, from the 3 foot height of a child. And boy was it ever! It felt like a little piece of the Disneyland magic had appeared in the mall. The mural was even customized to feature Vancouver landscapes mixed in with Disney characters, so take a look to see what you can recognize when you are there.
Marketed as “the best 30 minutes of a child’s day,” the new store featured neighbourhoods which cater to the imagination – from the Princess Castle that, with the wave of a wand, will signal a Disney princess to tell a story to the CARS-branded Ridemakerz station where you can build your own car. There are cute stops along the way, including a colouring station and theatre.
Aiden’s favourite station was the plush helicopter – it was a toddler’s dream. There were buttons everywhere to press (I wish they were louder, he could barely hear the response sounds) and wheels to turn and a fun tunnel to crawl through. He was fascinated by the spinning helicopter, saying “Whee” anytime he started it up.
As far as the merchandise goes, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The much larger store carries a wide variety of merchandise, both marketing the most recent Disney movies as well as Classic Disney characters. I was really happy at this change, as we only know Disney through books, and thus are most familiar with Pooh. I was also really pleased that they had more boys’ clothes. There are walls and walls of stuffed toys in all sorts of sizes, so you have many choices!
The only obvious omissions to merchandising were wall art and infant clothes, though both are available online. These were also missing from the previous Disney Store iteration, which made me disappointed when I was nesting before Aiden was born. The store should also consider placing their ceramic mugs higher up, as little grabby hands almost broke two today!
Disney Store Opening Photos
Tomorrow, you too can celebrate the new Disney store! The opening ceremony begins at 9am and the first 500 guests get free gifts (more gift options here). On April 16th, there will be an official grand opening as well, with more gifts and appearances by Mickey and Minnie.
Don’t expect to find any helpful info on the Disney store at the Metrtotown website. Instead, you can keep in touch about upcoming store events via the main @DisneyStore account or Facebook page.