As I mentioned before I was not staying at Aulani when I visited the O’ahu resort. I had made breakfast reservations at one of their restaurant’s as a way to gain access to some Disney magic, but what I didn’t anticipate was just how much access we would have for someone who wasn’t an overnight guest!
Overnight guests are distinguished from daily visitors with a holographic wristband that shines in a bright color. From what I’ve gathered the wristband colors are changed daily, so there is no mistaking guests or cheating the system by using old ones.
The lagoon* is open to the public despite being in-front of the Disney and Four Seasons’ properties (as are all four lagoons in Ko Olina) so theoretically anyone could purchase food and drinks from the snack shacks along the water. As for the beach rentals, you need to be a wristband-wearing Aulani guest to access those amenities.
*the lagoon is not a cute name for one of the pools, it is a man-made swimming area along the Pacific Ocean that creates a safe spot away from the currents
We walked along the footpath that connects all the lagoons to their neighboring resorts and entered Aulani’s pool area from the beachfront. I guess now would be the time to come clean and admit I’m not too sure our entry was normal… I think a key-card protected gate was left open between the pools and beach and we just made ourselves welcome. Whoopsy.
Activities such as snorkeling in Rainbow Reef (pictured above) or photo-ops with characters around the property are exclusively for overnight guests as well, though I snuck in a picture with Goofy before PhotoPass could ask to scan my wristband.
Checking out towels, pool rafts and entering pools is also based on whether or not you have an Aulani wristband on, though we were able to cruise around the pool area and enjoy the treats available for purchase there! Of course they boast their signature Dole Whip but I opted for Mickey-shaped shaved ice.
As if I didn’t get my Disney fill with our character breakfast in the morning, we walked back after sunset and enjoyed a firework show put on by Four Seasons from Aulani’s bar, Olelo.
Overall, Aulani Resort & Spa definitely wasn’t as exclusive and locked-down as I assumed it would be, which is lovely for Disney fans! Considering day-visitors do not have access to the things they did not pay for is extremely reasonable when it comes to accessibility in my book!