Recapturing youth in Aulani Resort

Unleash your inner child in Hawaii


I’m waiting at the top of the Volcanic Vertical, an enclosed waterslide, waiting for the red light to turn green. It’s a safety precaution that indicates when the previous slider has hit the water.

“Go ahead,” says the lifeguard stationed beside the slide.

“But the light,” I point.

“You’re probably fine.”

Um, probably?

I’m at Disney’s new Aulani Resort on the Leeward coast of Oahu. The combination of Hawaii and Disney is the perfect setting for breaking out my inner child. I drift down the lazy river, eat root beer shaved ice and hunt for the Menehune, Hawaii’s mythical people hidden around the resort—an activity usually reserved for children.

I visit Auntie’s Cottage, a supervised kids-only area with games and crafts. One of the attendants shows me the room where racks of Disney costumes hang, but none are my size. She invites me back the next morning for Stitch’s Space Goo demonstration but I indulged in another child-like ritual and slept in.

It’s this waterslide that’s standing in my way of the ultimate kid experience. I’m envisioning an old episode The Simpsons where Homer gets stuck in a waterslide and causes a massive backup of children. But I summon all my courage and jump in.

My heart is racing. I think I might be hyperventilating. This is not fun for me, but after being bumped around for a while, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hit the water hard. I flounder around briefly before realizing the next person is probably hurdling towards me. I make a mad dash out of the water and head over to the quiet pool (read: the adult pool) to order a margarita. Maybe being an adult isn’t so bad after all.

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