Pools and Water Activities at Disney Aulani in Hawaii

“Let’s build the greatest pool in the Hawaiian islands.” That’s the goal Disney CEO Bob Iger set to reach when Oahu was chosen as the location for the first Disney hotel not adjacent to a theme park. Disney Aulani is home not only to one of Hawaii’s best hotel pools, but also the resort offers an array of other enticing water features. Let’s dive into all the splashy fun available at this Disney hotel!

You just might see Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Goofy poolside at Disney Aulani
Mickey Mouse and Goofy poolside at Disney Aulani (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disney Destinations)

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1. Disney Aulani Pools

Much of Disney Aulani’s water fun can be found in Waikolohe Valley in the center of the award-winning resort. Waikolohe means “mischievous waters.” This ties into the hotel’s theme of the Menehune, mythical Hawaiian little people hidden throughout the grounds.

Waikolohe Pool is Aulani’s main pool, situated beside the resort’s beachfront cove. This zero-entry pool is a beautiful spot to swim and splash together as a family.

Aulani's Waikolohe Valley pool area
Aulani’s Waikolohe Valley pool area (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Ka Maka Landing was added to the resort in 2013. This infinity-edge pool provides an incredible ocean view for all ages.

If you’re looking for a little quiet time, then check small children into Aunty’s Beach House kids club to learn about Hawaiian culture while you relax at Wailana Pool. This small but lovely Disney Aulani pool is tucked away from the hubbub. Although kids are not forbidden here, they are discouraged.

Ka Maka Landing is an infinity pool with incredible views at Aulani
Ka Maka Landing’s infinity pool with incredible views (Photo credit: Disney)

2. Waikohole Stream Lazy River

A lazy river named Waikohole Stream winds its way through palm trees and sweet-scented tropical plants like plumeria, pikake, and ginger. Playful fountains spray water at riders, but you can avoid these if desired. My favorite part is riding through a tunnel in a manmade volcano structure. Bubbles flow up from the river’s floor in this cave, surprising riders on their first float.

Float away the day on Waikohole Stream lazy river at Aulani
Waikohole Stream lazy river (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disney Destinations)

3. Water Slides

Aulani offers two full-sized waterslides. Volcanic Vertical is an entirely enclosed (DARK) tube slide. My favorite, Tubestone Curl, is an open-air slide that spins inner tubers around until they splash into a pool below.

Waterslide lovers will enjoy Tubestone Curl waterslide at Disney Aulani
Tubestone Curl waterslide (Disney Aulani)

4. Menehune Bridge Water Playground

Mythical Hawaiian Menehune shoot and pour water on giggling children at Menehune Bridge, an impressive climbing structure. With rope bridges, mini waterslides, and fountains galore — kids of all ages love this water playground.

Menehune Bridge is a joyous water play structure at Disney Aulani
Menehune Bridge (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disney Destinations)

5. Keiki Cove Splash Zone

Especially for kids age 5 and younger, Keiki Cove features rainbow water jets and images of aquatic creatures. This splash zone was inspired by the tidal pools that surround this Disney Resort. Of course, children should be on the lookout for Menehune here, too!

Keiki Cove at Disney Aulani splash area was created especially for young children
Keiki Cove splash area (Photo credit: Disney)

6. Whirlpool Spas

There are a total of five whirlpool spas at Disney Aulani. Most impressive are Sunset Upper and Sunset Lower at Alohi Point. Together these form a bi-level warm, bubbling infinity pool that overlooks the ocean. This hot tub provides a spectacular spot to soak up the last rays of the day as the sun dips below the horizon.

Soak in one of five whirlpool spas at Disney Aulani
One of five whirlpool spas at Disney Aulani (Photo credit: Disney)

7. Snorkeling at Rainbow Reef

Colorful Hawaiian fish swim in a unique manmade lagoon named Rainbow Reef at Disney Aulani. Children and adults intimidated by the ocean can experience snorkeling here among rock formations in a controlled environment.

After a dip in Rainbow Reef, bring your gear down to the beach to swim with sea life in the ocean. Swim near the rocks in the bay to see the most tropical fish. For an even better ocean snorkeling experience, follow the trail past the neighboring Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club to a small coral reef bay. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from Aulani. You might even spot some sea turtles!

Rainbow Reef is a unique place to try snorkeling with real Hawaiian fish at Disney Aulani
Rainbow Reef manmade snorkeling area (Photo credit: Disney)

8. Fish Are Friends

For an extra fee, children can attend Fish Are Friends, which gives kids a chance to feed fish in the Rainbow Reef. Youngsters participating in this premium program through Aunty’s Beach House Kids Club also receive a Disneynature Oceans DVD. Kids attending Aunty’s Beach House kids club can pay to participate in the Fish Are Friends program without their parents, if you choose.

Kids attending Aunty’s Beach House kids club
Aunty’s Beach House kids club (Photo credit: Disney)

9. Kula Wai Hydrotherapy Garden

Water takes center stage at Aulani’s Laniwai Spa, 18,000 square feet of spa goodness. Laniwai means “freshwater heaven” and is a certainly apt name. The spa is home to the Kula Wai Hydrotherapy Garden, the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden on the island of Oahu. Hawaiian flowers and plants fill the 5,000-square-foot garden. It also features a whirlpool spa, a cold plunge pool, and two herbal soaking tubs. A circular feature with six different types of rain showers is downright heavenly.

A rain shower in Kula Wai Hydrotherapy Garden at Laniwai Spa
A rain shower in Kula Wai Hydrotherapy Garden at Laniwai Spa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

10. Ko’Olina Beach

Even with all of the Disney-created water play, it would be a shame to miss the natural beauty of the ocean during your visit to Aulani. The semi-circle Ko’Olina Bay offers kid-friendly, tame waves. You won’t be doing much body surfing here, but the warm Hawaiian water provides a gorgeous spot to play with kids in the Pacific. Rent gear for snorkeling, paddle-boarding, canoeing, and kayaking from the onsite Makiki Joe’s Beach Rentals.

Ko’Olina Beach and Lagoon at Aulani
Ko’Olina Beach and Lagoon (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disney Destinations)

11. Water Excursions

If you’re still thirsty for more water fun, sign up for an off-site excursion through Adventures by Disney during your stay at Disney Aulani Resort. Options include sea-kayaking, surf lessons, and a Catamaran voyage.

Stand Up Paddleboarding on Aulani’s Ko’Olina Lagoon (Photo credit: David Roark, Disney Destinations)

No matter how you choose to spend your time at Disney Aulani Resort, surely water will play a fun and fabulous role in your Hawaiian vacation. Read more or book your Aulani vacation now!

Aerial view of Grand Wailea's pools
Aerial view of Grand Wailea’s various pools in Maui (Photo from GrandWailea.com)

Learn More

Check out Aulani’s hotel pool competition in this round-up of the best hotel pools in Hawaii.

Celebrate a birthday at Aulani with these festive tips.

Discover the wonders of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with kids.

Learn tips to make the most of your vacation to Disneyland with kids.

Disney Aulani Pool and Water Features Review

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Which Disney Aulani pool or water feature appeals most to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: A big mahalo to Disney for inviting me to Disney Aulani Resort for the purpose of this review. All opinions are mine, as always.

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  1. I would love to experience a taste of Hawaii with Disney! This looks amazing when I have my own family I am definitely taking them to Hawaii and possibly experience this!

  2. I’ve been dying to go to Disney Aulani. Your photos are just stunning, and wow it looks so incredible!

  3. This is just an absolute dream vacation. I once lived in Hawaii and am determined to bring my family back someday! And the Disney component really merges the best of two worlds! Someday for us!

  4. This looks so amazing. I could spend the entire day by that pool and in the lazy river. I love that Disney has so much to do even at the resorts.

    1. Hawaii & Disney are like a match made in heaven – hope you can visit Aulani someday!

    1. You could easily spend your entire vacation in the hotel pools, lazy river & on the waterslides at Aulani!

  5. That is so amazing! I’ve seen a lot of super fancy hotel pools, but I’ve never seen anything like this. I shouldn’t be surprised. Disney does everything to the hilt!

  6. Wonderful! Looks amazing! Can’t wait to show other friends – who knows, maybe take a friends-family vacation to experience this or other continental delights!

  7. Disney knows how to reseach their subject – like water fun in Hawaii. On our recent trip to South Africa we enjoyed many game drives that Disney had marvelously copied at Disneyworld’s Animal Kingdom. We saw many of the same animals, jostling about on a rough road. Water lovers (like me) will love Aulani’s many water experiences.

  8. It looks wonderful! We visited Maui and Oahu a couple of years ago and I didn’t think that I wanted to go back to Oahu but after reading all the articles about the Aulani this week I think my kids would love this resort.