For what's called an ocean-view room - though many have only an angled view of the water - the with-tax nightly rate zooms to $694. That doesn't include the $35-a-night parking, or the Character Breakfast ($100 for a family of four), or the premium storytelling hour, and many more add-ons. A several-days visit quickly spirals into thousands.

By comparison, an ocean-view room for the same period next door at Marriott's Ihilani Resort, sharing the same beach and lagoon, is $426 a night including tax, with a bonus $50-per-night restaurant or spa credit.

Aulani is not Disney's first lodging unconnected with an amusement park - there's a Hilton Head Island, S.C., resort, modeled after a 1940s fishing lodge, and a Vero Beach, Fla., oceanfront property - but such stand-alone hotels remain a fresh endeavor for Disney. Aulani is heavily booked this summer, but whether guests will come back at these prices for Disney-packaged paradise - sans Space Mountain - may decide whether bringing Mickey to Hawaii was a good idea. Or if the culture clash of imbibing sun worshippers and winsome tykes makes it all a little, well, Goofy.



Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, is in the Ko Olina resort district on the southwest tip of Oahu, near the town of Kapolei.


-Just want a peek at Aulani? Go for lunch and a stroll. Four hours of free valet parking are included for dining patrons. (Reservations suggested at peak travel times.) Bring your camera for a quick photo with Mickey and snaps of the fish through an underwater window at Rainbow Reef.

-Using Aulani's pool or any water-play feature requires that day's color-coded wristband, distributed to hotel guests only. However, anybody may use the beach or swim in the ocean lagoon, as per Hawaii's public beaches law.


Aulani: 714-520-7001 or

Hawaii Visitors Bureau: