Heading to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa with a teen and not sure if it’ll keep your teen entertained? Teens can be tough to travel with at times, because they’re too “old” for some of the fun activities specifically for kids, but they’re not old enough to do adult things. Never fear though, there is plenty for teens to do at Disney’s Aulani to give them a trip they’ll remember far beyond their teenage years.
Traveling to Disney Aulani with Teens
I travel pretty much everywhere with my daughter and have been for years, so I’ve been able to see the progression of things that are “cool” vs the things that aren’t for her age. Disney Aulani has plenty of things to offer, and besides, you’re in Hawaii! What’s cooler than that? I’ll tell you, not much. Here’s what we learned about things you can do at Disney Aulani with teens by your side.
Give Teens some freedom at Disney Aulani
Let me first start by saying this. Aulani is not its own island shut off to the public. Anyone can walk into the resort, whether they are staying there or not to eat, shop, or just look around. In addition to that, the lagoons that are part of the resorts on that part of the island are also not private. Many mornings we would see locals ride their bikes to the beach to do yoga, watch the sunrise, etc and then be on their way.
While we did feel completely safe the entire time, its just good to be aware of that fact. That being said, there are cast members everywhere. And I did feel completely comfortable giving my daughter some freedom on this trip. Aulani is pretty easy to navigate and as long as my daughter had her cell phone on her. I was fine with her sleeping in and meeting me at the beach in the mornings. So this is also a nice break for you parents who need the getaway time! She would run to grab a dole whip by herself. And sure these are little things. But, it not only gave her some freedom but also a little bit of responsibility. And in the end I think it made a big difference in her eyes.
Now obviously, you know your child better than anyone and can decide how much, if any, freedom you want them to have on your trip. But as a mom who keeps a pretty tight leash on my daughter even at Walt Disney World, I felt completely safe with her being able to do a few things on her own.
Check the daily ‘Iwa for Teen activities
The Daily ‘Iwa will be your guide for your entire trip. If you’re traveling to Disney Aulani with Teens this is essential. We grabbed ours every night on our way back up to our room so we could plan the next day’s activities. And there is actually a section dedicated to teen activities. But you can also find it here if you want to go paperless. The activities will vary by day and we found that some days, there were more than others, but the activities can vary from art classes to music classes to surfing lessons.
Aside from Teen oriented activities, there are also many other activities teens will enjoy too! From fitness and wellness programs to cultural activities and nature tours. There is so much to see and do that teens will enjoy. We especially loved learning to play the Ukelele while at Aulani and really enjoyed the nature aspects of the resort. My daughter is homeschooled, so we took advantage of all of the learning opportunities available at the resort as well.
Meet characters with Teens at Disney’s Aulani
Ok, ok I know, that’s kind of for kids. But it’s also totally for everyone! Ad as Disney fanatics, it’s always something for us as a famiy. Especially at Aulani because you can meet characters you wouldn’t otherwise see in the Parks. You can meet Duffy and Shellie May. And who doesn’t love Minnie in her Hawaiian outfit? I’m guessing if you’re dropping the high cost of Aulani, its probably because you’re somewhat of a Disney family, so live it up!
Laniwai Spa at Disney Aulani with Teens
You’re on vacation, why not go to the spa! If your child is under 14, they can get spa treatments at Painted Sky Teen Spa, however if they are over 14, they can get spa treatments done with adult supervision. Understandably, not all spa treatments will be available for teens, but if you call the salon, they can give you more information on what is available for your child.
The salon can be a bit pricey but it’s so relaxing and a great break from the feeling to need to do all the things. We had manicures done and it was peaceful, relaxing the service was outstanding.
Snorkeling at Rainbow Reef at Aulani
If your teen is comfortable with swimming underwater, they can safely snorkel right in Rainbow Reef at Aulani. You can also rent equipment(or bring your own!) to snorkel in the lagoon as well. The lagoon is very calm and we saw many families taking advantage of this.
Surf lessons for teens at Aulani
You’re in Hawaii, might as well learn to surf, right? While the lessons aren’t actually at Aulani because those waters in the lagoon are just a bit too calm, you can take an excursion from Aulani to White Plains Beach for a group lesson. This activity costs extra, but they only allow 6 students per instructor so they’ll get the attention they need to perfect their surfing technique.
Kids must be 13 and up to participate and you can read more about that here.
KA WA’A – A Lu’au at Aulani
While this was something we didn’t get to experience because we ran out of time, we have only heard good things about it. And a friend of ours on Instagram told us her teenager loved it. The Luau lasts about 3 hours and reservations are required. For more details on this event, be sure to check out this page.
North Shore Beach Zone for teens at Aulani
Specifically designed with teens in mind, the North Shore Beach Zone is designed to give teens an authentic “North Shore” experience. This is a great place to meet new friends and learn a little bit more about how locals in the North Shore enjoy their time at the beach, and its free!
Take an excursion with teens at Disney’s Aulani
We only spent half of our trip at Aulani and the other half exploring the North Shore, but if you’re solely staying at Aulani, we recommend taking a little Road Trip on the Island. There are so many amazing adventure activities perfect for teens! We particularly loved Ko’Alina Ranch and would recommend it to anyone. If you’re looking to book thru Aulani, you can simply head to the excursion desk and they will happily help you book the excursion of your choice!
Unplug at Aulani
This isn’t just for teens, it’s for everyone! There is so much to do at Aulani, but there are also so many things to take advantage of to just relax! Sip kona coffee on the beach, watch the sunset, take advantage of their pools and the lazy river(where we spent most of our afternoons), attend the nighttime storytelling, but whatever you do, make sure you (and your teen!) take some time to put your phone down and unplug. There is so much beauty around you that will make you forget about whatever less important thing is happening on your phone, so encourage your teen to take advantage of it!
Hopefully this has given you a better idea of what there is for teens to do while at Disney’s Aulani and has convinced you that it’s a great travel destination for all ages!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .