When heading to Disney’s Aulani resort and spa on Oahu, you may be wondering what to pack for your adventure in Hawaii. We traveled there last month and learned that buying a few key items before you leave can save some money and maximize your time relaxing in paradise. There are also some things you can leave at home to save room for souvenirs. Here are our tips on packing for Disney’s Aulani.
- Waterproof pouch for your phone
The pools at Aulani are fantastically fun and beautiful, as is the beach. You’ll want to have your phone to capture some of the memorable moments. Getting your phone wet or worse, it sinking to the bottom of the pool or ocean, can damper on your vacation.
The answer? A waterproof phone pouch.
While they have them at Aulani, save money by getting them on the mainland before you leave. You can also test it out to make sure that it is waterproof, as well as become familiar with using it.
We tried a few different ones and this pouch was our favorite and it floats. I was especially happy to have this when on the canoe ride.
- Snorkel equipment, especially if you can find a sale
One of my favorite experiences on our vacation was swimming with sea turtles at Paradise Cove, which is a short walk from Aulani. We were really glad to have snorkel equipment, which we got on Amazon here.
You can find gear at the ABC store across from the resort but again, buying before you go is easier on your budget. That’s especially true if you can find a sale.
- Water shoes
Water shoes come in handy if you’re wandering to Paradise Cove to check out the sea turtles and I was glad that we had them at Waimea Falls, too.
My teen wasn’t excited at the idea of full on water shoes. She ended up with Tevas that wouldn’t come off in the water (make sure they have an ankle strap) and protected her feet.
- Swim suits and cover ups
I was glad that we brought several swim suits per person. They didn’t dry on the balcony quite as quickly as I would have liked/hoped. I was glad we had a few suits, making that a non-issue. We also found that the rash guards from Lands End worked really well for protecting us from the intense Hawaiian summer sun.
- Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
The sun in Hawaii can be intense. Be prepared! If you’re heading out on a boat, know that spray sunscreens are often not allowed. We packed Coppertone Whipped Sunscreen and it worked really well for all of us. (Find tips on sunscreens here.)
- Enough clothes to allow for the heat.
Before we left for Aulani, several different people offered packing advice along the lines of don’t pack too much. I took that to heart. And I was sorry. The thing is – Hawaii is hot, and we were active.
If you plan on sticking to just the resort, you don’t need a lot. If you are planning to explore Oahu and/or do things like hike Diamondhead or go ziplining, you’re going to want to change. At least, we did. We were hot and sweaty. That means you could go through a few outfits per day.
Of course, the counter to this is if you have a washer/dryer in your villa. But we had a studio villa. Those and the hotel rooms do not have washers and dryers. There are some at the resort, but I didn’t travel to Hawaii to hang out in the laundry room. I’d rather pack more and be up to my eyeballs in laundry when I’m home than be figuring out coins and new machines and missing out.
What to leave at home
- Beach towels
You can get as many as you like at the pool. I brought one just in case. It was unnecessary.
- Mouse Ears
Please, stop glaring at me through your computer, Disney fans. I’m not saying you can’t bring your ears. I brought mine. But I didn’t end up wearing them much at all. I saw a few other people with them during our entire stay, and the hotel was very full.
If wearing them makes you happy, by all means, go for it. Short on space? Leave that at home, and don’t worry that you’ll feel left out without them.
- Fancy clothes or dress up items, unless you want to.
Aulani is very casual. I wore sun dresses because they are easy and comfortable, not because I had to. Ama Ama is the nicest restaurant. The dress code requires shirt and shoes/sandals, and does not permit “shirts with inappropriate words or pictures”
One caveat to this is that the PhotoPass photographers are along the beach at sunset and you can get a great family photo. You probably still don’t want to go dressy, but nice outfits that coordinate (or at least don’t clash) will be great for that holiday card photo.
Even if you forget something, it’s extremely likely that you can get it at either the ABC store across the street from Aulani or the Target one freeway exit away.
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