5 Reasons to Buy a DVC at Aulani and 2 Reasons to Look Elsewhere

Filed in Aulani, Disney Vacation Club

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Pool view of Disney's Aulani Resort

With 15 resorts currently participating in the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) program and two more in the offing, you have plenty of options for your Home Resort. Which one is the best? The answer is always in the eye of the beholder. Every DVC property features many pros and a few negligible cons. Even a dream destination like Hawaii isn’t perfect, just very close. Here are five reasons to own at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, along with two reasons why you might look elsewhere.

The Negatives of Owning at Aulani:

Seven-Month Window at All DVC Theme Park Resorts

When you select Aulani as your Home Resort, you’ll face the same issue as with the other non-themed, park-based properties. You will never get to book a hotel room near Walt Disney World or Disneyland before the seven-month window opens.

How much does this issue matter? Everyone’s opinion differs on this subject. Over the years, I’ve stayed in 10 out of the 15 properties, but I only have one Home Resort. Obviously, I’ve managed to book everything that I’ve wanted over the years. In fact, I’ve had reservations at three other resorts before switching to known commodities.

Aerial view of Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawaii

So, I don’t view the situation as problematic. Early planners who prefer guaranteed reservations eight or more months in advance may worry about this matter, though.

Extra Fees

This negative is exclusive to Aulani. Due to the popularity of Hawaiian vacations, the state has implemented the Transient Accommodations Tax. Unfortunately, this tax applies to DVC stays as well.

Whenever you spend a night at Aulani, you’re subject to modest taxation. The amount is 9.25 percent multiplied by the number of DVC points used for the stay multiplied by half of the per-point maintenance fees at Aulani. That sounds like a complex calculation, but the hotel will happily tell you how you’ll pay. Also, Disney publishes a taxation chart so that you can figure out the fees on your own.

In reality, we’re only discussing a few dollars a night. For a basic hotel room, the fee ranges between $6.83 and $9.39 per night. For a standard studio, the nightly charge is $7.26-$13.24. So, for a week’s vacation at Aulani in a Studio, the most that you’ll pay is $92.68.

Obviously, that’s a tiny fraction of the expenses you’ll have during a trip to Hawaii. However, the Transient Accommodations Tax represents a con that no other resort has.

The Positives of Owning at Aulani:

Gorgeous Campus

The math here is simple. Aulani = Disney + Hawaii.

You can shut your eyes and imagine how spectacular the campus is, presuming that you haven’t already visited. Imagineers constructed the buildings to maximize the view of the ocean and the surrounding mountains. Of course, some of the rooms face the parking lot and swimming pools instead, something we’ll discuss in a bit. However, when you walk around at Aulani, odds are good that you’re looking at something gorgeous.

View of the grounds at Aulani Resort

The resort features lovely seating areas on the shores of Ko Olina Beach in Oahu. The lobby lovingly details imagery from the South Seas, albeit with a strong Disney touch. You’ll want to spend time walking through this section, and you’ll even receive a reward as you exit the lobby. Imagineers built the line-of-sight here to show all the island beauty.

You’ll also discover a breathtaking infinity pool and a lazy river that circles the interior grounds of the resort. Meanwhile, lush foliage blankets the landscape. The pristine elegance will allow you to luxuriate in the great outdoors while you live out the dream of a Hawaiian vacation.

When you close your eyes and imagine The Good Place, it probably looks a lot like Aulani.

Flexible Points Chart

The Points Chart at Aulani is arguably the most reasonable one in the DVC lineup. What I mean by this is that Disney generally designs Points Charts as one-size-fits-all to reduce complexity. Aulani works differently in that members can spend whatever amount of points they want to get the desired vacation.

A basic Hotel Room costs as little as 112 points weekly, no more than 154. Let’s compare that to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, the Walt Disney World property that mimics an island vacation. To stay at the monorail resort, you’ll spend at least 118 points for a Studio with a parking lot view. Depending on the season, you may need as much as 227 points. Of course, that’s a comparison of a Hotel Room vs. a Studio.

For a direct comparison, let’s look at the cost of Studios at Aulani. And this is where the resort’s options stand out. A week’s stay could require as few as 119 points. However, it could also cost as much as 217 points. You’ll notice that the lowest total is nearly identical to the Polynesian, while the upper end of studio prices at Aulani is slightly less than its peer.

Still, I’m only describing part of the picture when I say that. What elevates Aulani is its flexibility. The resort’s Studios fall into four categories: Standard View, Island Gardens View, Poolside Gardens View, and Ocean View. One- and Two-Bedroom Villas come with similar options.

So, Disney has empowered DVC members to spend the number of points that they want to gain the view of Oahu and the Aulani campus that they prefer. A trip to the resort can cost a modest amount for members who wish to spend less time in their room. Otherwise, DVC owners can use more points for a better view. Other properties have this option, of course, but Aulani’s four categories provide members with much more choice.

Inexpensive Contracts

At this point, any DVC contract that costs less than $100 a point on average represents a tremendous value. The popularity and appeal of the program have led to increased prices, as savvy consumers take advantage of DVC membership.

At the time of publication, DVC Resale Market displays 55 contracts at Aulani that are either currently listed or already sold. By my count, 30 of them have sold for $100 per point or less, while 25 have sold at or above that amount.

When you buy at Aulani, you combine the promise of future Hawaiian vacations with a modest entry price point into the DVC program.

Spectacular Cuisine

An exotic tropical vacation comes with certain promises. One of them is that foodies will have the time of their lives, especially when they dine at ‘Ama ‘Ama at least once.

Aulani resides in the city of Kapolei, which features 124 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor. Voters have ranked ‘Ama ‘Ama as one of the top five restaurants in Kapolei, which speaks to its greatness—its haute cuisine the island way, with nuanced flavors that will make you forget all about ‘Ohana.

Mama's Snack Shop at Disney's Aulani Resort

Even though Aulani isn’t near a theme park, it keeps the Disney vibe alive at Makahiki. Three days a week, this restaurant hosts breakfast and dinner character meals. Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration and the Menehune Mischief Dinner are buffets with scheduled character appearances. You should plan to do both during your visit.

Also, Quick Service dining options are plentiful. Disney lists eight bars, lounges, and shaved ice stations at the resort. So, you’ll never be far from Polynesian cuisine wherever you are at Aulani. Enjoy it!

Hawaii!

People dream of Hawaiian vacations for a reason. The islands are breathtaking, with gorgeous sandy beaches and plenty of activities. You’ll have more potential tourist options here than you could manage during five trips. So, DVC ownership here will never grow old.

Ko Olina Lagoon at Aulani

The most popular offsite event at Aulani is a visit to Pearl Harbor. You can visit the historic site on a paid tour, which will include visits to several battleships, a memorial site, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Aquatic tours are also readily available. You can board a catamaran, swim with the dolphins, or surf at the legendary North Shore. Then again, you may prefer something airborne, as helicopter tours have entertained guests for decades. In recent years, zip-lining courses have popped up across Oahu.

Simply stated, while you’re on the island, you’ll discover a plethora of options on how to spend your time.

Access all DVC resale listings and learn more about buying and selling with DVC Resale Market.

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