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Mickey heads to Hawaii

Disney’s new Aulani Resort & Spa is a showcase for Hawaiian culture. Located on 21 acres of oceanfront property in Ko Olina, just 27 kilometres from the Honolulu airport, this resort isn’t just for kids


Day: At the heart of the resort is Waikolohe Valley, or “mischievous water,” which will keep the little ones out of mischief. Designed around a lava outcropping are an 8,200-square-foot pool, a lazy river and a waterslide that twists in and out of rock formations. Menehune Bridge is an interactive water play area for younger kids, while the Menehune Adventure Trail keeps older kids occupied on a high-tech scavenger hunt.

Evening: When the sun sets, kids can take part in the Po La’ila’l sunset ceremony, which honours nature with chanting and music performed on Pu shells. Or head to the fireside Mo’olelo for a night of storytelling — complete with puppetry, props and magical effects — around a traditional Hawaiian fire pit.

Hidden Gem: Kids ages three to 12 can leave their parents at the door in Aunty’s Beach House, where they can learn to hula, create arts and crafts, and play games with Disney characters. Tweens and teens can head to the beach for team-based games and scavenger hunts, or hang out in Painted Sky Spa (no adults allowed) with a yogurt bar, mixology station and computer access.


Day: Snorkel with native Hawaiian fish, including angelfish, butterfly fish and tangs, in the private 3,800-square-foot Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon. Then head to the Makai Preserve conservation pool, where you can learn about — and pet — gentle stingrays.

Evening: The Starlit Hui blends traditional Polynesian and modern entertainment — from hula dancers to Disney characters. Or sit in the garden and watch a classic Disney movie under the stars, beside the ocean.

Hidden Gem: If you want to explore the island, try any number of excursions offered at the resort, from dolphin spotting on a catamaran to surf lessons from the Honolulu City Firefighters. For the adventurous, kayak on Kailua Bay and hike on a nearby island and bird sanctuary, or go on a nighttime ghost tour of the island’s most haunted places.


Day: Unwind in the adults-only Laniwai Spa, a “freshwater heaven” designed around the Hawaiian reverence for nature. The spa features an outdoor co-ed hydrotherapy garden, complete with herbal pools, reflexology path, rain showers, and hot and cold whirlpools. Try the signature Kilikili treatment, which consists of a traditional Hawaiian Lomilomi massage under jets of warm water.

Evening: Chill out in a sunset-facing hot tub; then sip a Pineapple Papaya Cosmo or Big Wave Golden Ale in the ’Olelo Room lounge, inspired by the “art moderne” style of the 1940s. Or, sample oysters, prawns and lobster with the signature Feast of the Sea platter at Off the Hook, an open-air restaurant.

Hidden Gem: Separated from the main pool is Wailana Pool (and pool bar), a relaxing retreat for adults.

Or, for a romantic dinner for two, drop the kids off at Aunty’s (or reserve one of the resort’s babysitters) and head to beachside AMA AMA, featuring contemporary, sustainable Hawaiian fare. Try the signature dish: a salt-crusted catch for two.

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