Inside the Free Kids Club at Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii, Aunty’s Beach House
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The most unique included amenity at Aulani, a Disney Resort, in Hawaii, is the kids club called Aunty’s Beach House. Open daily, this 5,200-square-foot kids club is included in your room rate and consists of a half-dozen different play zones where kids from little to big will actually want to spend their time without you — maybe even more of their time than you expected!
Disney Aulani‘s Aunty’s Beach House is open to potty-trained children from 3 to 12 years old. It’s near the pool complex on the ground level of one of the towers.
Aunty’s Beach House is open daily from 8am to 9:30pm for open house, where parents and kids can play together, but kids can’t be left unattended during that time. This is a good time to register your kid and get their required special Magic Band, which is about $13. That amount can be refunded at the end of your stay if you return the undamaged band and keep a copy of your receipt. Like on a Disney cruise, this band is how your child checks in and out and how they track where your child is in the club.
Be sure and bring your photo ID to register your kids for the kid club. You can also complete some of the registration online ahead of time, but you need to do it at least two days before your trip or the systems may not sync and you’ll have to duplicate your efforts in Hawaii (that happened to us).
At 9:30am each day, parents are kicked out and the real fun beings, though parents can walk in and out of the club to help drop off and retrieve kiddos.
Look Inside Aunty’s Beach House
Aunty’s Beach House is not your ordinary kids club. There are many different rooms where kids can find what strikes their fancy. There’s a TV room with padded stools to sit on and a dress-up costume corner in case they feel inspired by what’s on the screen.
There’s also a computer room with games, along with a toy kitchen and other fun indoor centers.
When it’s time to get creative, there’s a room with long tables perfect for crafts and drawing.
My kids’ favorite spot was the shaded outdoor area with two separate climbing structures that served as club houses.
The kids under 5 were not allowed on the larger of the two structures, so it became the de facto big kids’ club, which my tween loved. Outside was her favorite spot and where she said she played most of the time.
Rumor has it that Disney characters drop into Aunty’s from time to time, but my kids didn’t experience that on their stay, so don’t get your kids’ hopes up too much for that element.
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How to Make Sure Your Kids Get a Spot
While I’m told the Beach House can get too full to accept additional kids, we didn’t see that happen on our stay. However, we went each morning right at 8am to secure a spot for our kids by ordering their lunch in the Beach House. Lunch is served by 11am, so this meant they were guaranteed a midday spot, and once kids are in, they aren’t kicked out (unless they are acting a fool or something). The same can be done with dinner to secure an evening spot. Dinner is served at 5pm.
Each day, there was a line at 9:30am with kiddos looking to be among the first in to play.
While snacks are provided, meals themselves are not free in the Beach House. That said, kid meals in Aunty’s are just $10 to order, which is on par with other outlets at Aulani. Lunch choices are a mini hamburger or grilled cheese with sides. Dinner options are macaroni and cheese, chicken strips or pizza, with sides and chocolate-covered fruit. My kids report that staff members came around and asked kids what they wanted on their plates.
A free special event is held at Aunty’s Beach House each night from 7:30pm to 8:30pm is the Tween Zone, open to those 10 to 12 years old (cue all the disappointment from my 9-and-a-half-year-old).
There are additional special events you can purchase at Aunty’s Beach House. On our stay, the buy-up options included: 90-minute Kakamora Chaos With Moana, where kids play Hawaiian games with Moana, $62 per child; 90-minute Surf’s Up, with games, dance and make-your-own miniature wooden surfboard with characters like Chip, Dale and Goofy, $62 per child; and a three-hour Fish and Friends, where kids learned how animal specialists feed, care for and train marine life at Aulani, $72 per child.
Best Feature: Other Kids
Having a homelike but slightly magical backdrop for fun is key. Having engaged staff members and a system where kids can feel independent but still be secure is great. The fact that there are different activities available and not a one-size-fits-all kids club agenda is important. But what makes Aunty’s Beach House really great is that the kids get to just play with each other.
Lots of kids go to this club because it is included in the room rate, so easy for parents to say yes to. This means your children can make vacation friends who they’ll want to meet up with later at the pool and other resort events. They also beg to return and see their friends at the Beach House the next day.
This was especially true for my 9-year-old, who felt like she developed her own little world within Aulani. All of a sudden, the tweeny eye rolls stopped, and she was thrilled to hang out with her new friends. In fact, one day she spent virtually the entire time at Aunty’s Beach House, as she begged to stay every time I went to go get her.
The kid clubs on our Disney cruise were pretty much the star of that whole experience, and I’d argue that Aunty’s Beach House is the star of Aulani. It’s not just about having somewhere the kids can go while the parents get a break, but about having a place that is really designed for kids, that the kids enjoy and that fosters them getting to know each other so they can have a richer experience at Aulani. That community element may not matter as much for the younger kids, but as your kids get into that tween zone, it can be the difference between a good and a great family vacation.
All photos by the author.