A vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa is a tropical getaway. In a lot of ways, the vacation experience is similar to a Disney Cruise vacation – tropical beaches, lots of included entertainment, a complimentary kid’s club, etc. But one major question that comes up when booking an Aulani vacation is what do I do for food? While there is not a dining plan (like at the Disney parks) and the food isn’t included (like on a Disney Cruise), there are still a wide variety of options to choose from in a wide range of prices.
Resort Refillable Mugs – If you’ve visited Disney Parks in the past few years, you have likely accumulated a plethora of the resort refillable mugs. Aulani has fun refillable mugs as well! This past October, there were 2 different designs, each with 2 different color schemes to choose from. The mugs are $18.99 (plus tax) and can be used at the refill stations for the length of your stay. For our family of 4, we were all able to choose a different pattern and the mugs made it very easy to be sure we kept the kids hydrated while playing all day in the pool or at the beach. The mugs can be purchased at Kalepa’s Store or the Lava Shack. The refill stations are conveniently located around the pool area in Ulu Café, outside the Lava Shack and near One Paddle Two Paddle.
Table Service – Aulani has 2 table service restaurants, Makahiki Buffet and Ama Ama (the resort’s signature restaurant). Reservations are recommended for both restaurants and can be made online.
Makahiki is home to Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki, a Disney character breakfast. You’ll get to meet with Mickey and have your picture taken before you head to your table. While dining, you’ll meet Minnie and Goofy and get to see Aunty herself. Aunty will lead children in various activities and visit tables to offer happy birthday and happy anniversary greetings to guests. The breakfast buffet is $32 for adults and $18 for children (ages 9 and under). The picture with Mickey can be purchased for an additional fee. I highly recommend the character breakfast for either your first morning at the resort as a fun welcome or on your last morning as a fun way to end the trip.
Dinner at Makahiki is a bit more calm, with no visits from Aunty and no characters. There are plenty of options to choose from. From sustainable seafood to Asian-inspired entrees, there is something for everyone. The dinner buffet also features rotating carving stations and Hawaiian inspired beverages. Children will enjoy the Keiki Corner (at breakfast and dinner) featuring kid favorites like macaroni and cheese and mini corn dogs. The buffet dinner is $43 for adults and $21 for children (9 and under).
Ama Ama provides a signature dining opportunity in an elegant, oceanfront setting. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast includes traditional breakfast favorites like bacon and eggs, but also has a few dishes with a fun island twist. Try an Acai Bowl or a Chocolate Milk-dipped Haupia Bread French Toast stuffed with Bananas and Peanut Butter. Lunch offers American favorites with an island spin as well. You can have a burger served with sweet potato fries, or a Kalua-roasted pulled Pork Sandwich. Dinner here is an amazing experience with a menu that changes to highlight seasonal ingredients. Try the shaved Serrano Ham flatbread or Macaroni Au Gratin (with Keahole Lobster) for an appetizer. And for an entrée, be sure to ask what the daily sustainable catch is. The fish is fresh from the fish auction and prepared with the Chef’s Daily preparation. You never know what you might find! For dessert, the mocha chantilly cake and the lemon grass crème catalana are both heavenly ways to end your meal. Try to time your meal so you are dining as the sun sets. This restaurant has one of the best sunset views I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.
Quick Service – If the table service options sound like too much food for you after a day of playing or relaxing at the beach, there are plenty of quick service options to choose from.
The main quick service option is the Ulu Café. The café is located conveniently in the pool area and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is not a lot of seating right outside the café, but it is very easy to take your food to dine around the pool area, down to the beach, or even back to your room. There are grab and go options, like salads, sandwiches, yogurt, wraps, chips, bagels and more as well as made to order options. Breakfast options can include bacon and eggs, pancakes, or our favorite the smoked salmon flatbread. At lunch and dinner, there are flatbreads, sandwiches, and even sustainable fish entrees. Pizzas are available from 5 pm to 9 pm.
Another quick option is Mama’s Snack Shop which serves up hot dogs, wraps, and more. We enjoyed the Buffalo-Ranch fried chicken “tender dog” and the Coconut-breaded shrimp and fries. They even have an Island Cobb Salad available. For dessert, try the Macadamia Nut-Pineapple Cupcake or head next door to the Papalua Shave Ice stand to beat the heat! Be sure to try it with a snow cap – sweetened condensed milk poured on the top.
If you’re hungry down by the beach, head to Little Opihi’s for wraps, rolls, salads, fruit and most importantly, the Mickey shaped soft pretzel. They also have the Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches and Mickey Ice Cream bars for sale here.
Lounges/bars, Poolside Dining and Room Service – You are not limited to the quick service locations and the table service restaurants. Aulani has a very extensive room service menu available to order (please note that it is not complimentary like on the Disney Cruise Line). The bars and lounges, Off the Hook, the Olelo Room and the Wailana Pool Bar (located in the adult only pool area) have food selections to choose from as well. And servers can bring you a menu if you are relaxing by the pool and bring the food to you!
You can also get grab and go type snacks at the Lava Shack and inside Kalepa’s Store. If you have a villa and choose to cook some of your own meals, there are some grocery items available at Kalepa’s Store as well. Or you may choose to rent a car and head to Costco or Target, which are just a short drive away. If you have a treatment at the Laniwai Spa, ask about having your food brought in to enjoy it in the Kula Wai, the outdoor hydrotherapy garden. If you have rented a poolside cabana, you receive a fruit platter in the morning and a sweet treat toward the end of your day. Your cabana host can also take care of ordering food for you and bringing it to the cabana.
Ready to eat in paradise? Email me at Amy@TravelWithTheMagic.com or you can find me on Facebook so I can book your family’s Hawaiian getaway! You can also call me at 1-800-670-4312, ext 129. I can’t wait to plan your family’s MAGICAL vacation!