6 Ways To Visit Aulani Without an Overnight Reservation [2019]

Want to jump into Aulani’s pools, but don’t want to pay the price of staying at the resort? You’re probably wondering if there is an Aulani day pass available for purchase to just use their pools. The short answer: No, Aulani does not provide day passes to access their pools and most other amenities.

Why not? The pools are an amenity for guests staying at the resort. It’s not a “water park”. If you plan to visit Oahu, but not staying at Aulani, there is a Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii water park about a 12 minute drive from the resort.

Even though you can’t access the pools, you can still visit the resort as a day guest and look around, here’s how.

Spend the Day at the Lagoon

A serene lagoon in Ko Olina.
A serene lagoon in Ko Olina.
Photo via Good Free Photos

You won’t be able to explore any amenities of course, but this is one way you can get a feel of the resort if you’ve never been there before. This is the free/cheapest way to visit. Spend the day at the beach. You can bring your own food or splurge a little on shave ice and Mickey ice cream sandwiches from one the quick-serve food outlets at Aulani. You won’t need a room key or wristband to make any purchases.

Parking availability at the lagoons are very limited, and when I say limited, only a dozen or so per lagoon parking lot. It’s on a first-come first-serve basis, so you’d have to get there REALLY early. Parking at the lagoons on holidays is especially crazy. Once the parking lots reach max capacity, it gets closed off and there’s cars lined up waiting for someone to leave.

Aulani sits on the edge of Kohola Lagoon (also known as Lagoon 1). If you park at the other lagoons, you’ll be further away, but you can just take a leisurely stroll to the resort using the sidewalk alongside the beach.

If anything, you can pay for parking at Aulani or the other resorts nearby.

Book a Dining Reservation

Dining at one of Aulani’s restaurants is another way of visiting without actually staying there. If you drive to the resort for your reservation, you can use the self-serve parking or valet service which is $37 and can be validated if you spend $35 or more at ‘AMA’AMA or Makahiki.

Now, I don’t know if my eyes are deceiving me, but Aulani’s website says parking will be validated for up to 2 1/2 hours versus the 4 hours I thought it originally was and many people know of it to be, so I’m a little confused. I don’t know that is old info or If they changed the validation hours.

There is also the Disney Character Dining which is great for kids wanting to meet a few Disney characters such as Mickey and Minnie.

  • Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration: Enjoy breakfast at the Makahiki with live entertainment in which kids can participate in with Aunty.
  • Menehune Mischief” Character Dinner: Similar to the character breakfast with Aunty, except this one is with Uncle.

You’ll also have the opportunity to take photos with the characters.

Cocktails and Pupus (No Reservation Needed)

If you just want to sit and have some drinks and something lighter to eat, you can do so at Off The Hook or at The Olelo Room and listen to some live music (if entertainment is scheduled). These places will also validate your parking if you spend $35 or more, but only after 5 PM at Off The Hook and between 5 to 11 PM at The Olelo Room.

Go Shopping

If you spend $50 or more at Kalepa’s Store or Hale Manu you can validate your parking with some time to explore the resort. Unless you spend the whole 2 1/2 hours shopping for cute Disney merchandise.

Laniwai Spa

Get pampered and purchase a spa treatment! Your purchase also includes access to the Mikimiki Fitness Center. And you guessed, you’re parking will be validated if your purchase is $35 or more.

The Laniwai Spa alone is amazing to explore even if you don’t get to explore the resort. I have yet to experience it, but it’s on my list to try out. The Hydrotherapy Garden sounds interesting!

Ka Wa’a Luau

This is also on my list to try out. I imagine Aulani’s luau has a Disney spin on it so I’m not sure how it compares to other luaus I’ve been to. The food offerings on their menu seems like “Disneyfied” Hawaiian food.

As for parking, yes, they’ll validate! Just take note, the luau experience takes about 3 hours.

Your Turn!

Now you know of 6 ways to visit Aulani as a day guest!

Have you visited Aulani as a day guest? If so, how did you explore the resort? Let me know in the comments!


17 thoughts on “6 Ways To Visit Aulani Without an Overnight Reservation [2019]”

    • Hi Kimberley,

      Aulani is in the city of Kapolei. There are no bus routes that take the exit into Ko Olina Resort where Aulani is located. If you’re asking if there is bus service from Aulani to the lagoons, it’s not needed as the resort sits alongside the beach and is very walkable. Hope that answers your question!

  1. I just parked across the street and just walked in. No one said a word to me I wasn’t there to swim, but I got the impression that I could just go jump in the lazy river if I wanted to. I went to get some stuff at the gift shop. It’s a really nice resort! I think I will take my whole family there sometime this year.

  2. I am planning a trip to Ko Olina this summer for a family vacation and are staying next door at the Marriott. I found your website when looking for info on the area so thank you for writing this up. I looked on the Aulani website and it looks like their character dining is now only for breakfast? Regardless, thanks for giving me somewhere to start.

    • Hi, Heidi! Correct, character dining is at breakfast only for now. Since this article was written pre-pandemic, you might want to call and check if you can make a dining reservation as a guest not staying at Aulani. As of September 13, 2021, they’ve restricted dining to guests staying at the resort only, however, non-guests have recently reported they were able to dine, as long as a proof of vaccination or negative test result was provided.

    • Hi, Jaclyn! There is self-serve and valet parking at the resort for a fee. Parking can be validated if you spend a minimum amount at certain places on the resort. There is also free parking at the lagoons nearby, but they are very limited, first-come first-serve, and can sometimes have a line of cars waiting for a stall to open.

      • We have a booking for the 1st of April but no car, are taxis/Uber easily available we will be coming from the cruise terminal?

        • Hi Hannah, sorry for the late reply. There might be taxis parked outside the terminal. Charley’s Taxi is one of the common taxi companies, otherwise you shouldn’t have a problem finding an Uber or Lyft.

        • Tou can also try Turo app or Hui for car rentals maybe cheaper than rental cars near airport. I had problem finding Lyfts but I stayed in Waikiki.

      • Thank you for your posting this article. We went today and it was an amazing visit. Parking was easy, not overly crowded. First 30 min is free after that it’s 12.00 an hr. Up to 2.5 hours validation with purchase at the gift shops or restaurants.

  3. My family and I went last June and sat at the beach chairs (not knowing you had to be a guest) and the beach waitress told us we had to leave unless we wanted to pay them $100 for a day pass… I can’t find anything about the day passes though ! I very much would love to pay that and stay somewhere cheaper

  4. Hi! I’m wondering if there is a luau there? Can anyone make a reservation even if your not staying there? How much?

    • Hi, Margie! Sorry for the late reply. Yes, there is a luau located at the property called KA WA’A. They were limiting the luau to registered guests due to Covid, but have since lifted the restriction so it is open to everyone again. They’ve increased their pricing as of May. General seating is $99 for kids ages 3-9, $170 for adults. Preferred seating is $119 for kids, $199 for adults. Kids 3 and under are free.

      Alternatively, there are a couple luau off property and are within walking distance from Aulani. One is Paradise Cove Luau. The other is Fia Fia Luau and is located at Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club. For other luau, you’d need a car.


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