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A fantastic, family-friendly Disney resort arrives on the Waianae Coast

Word of Mouth"Occasionally on some Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings Sunset on the Beach happens near the Kapahulu Pier in Waikiki," notes Fodorite 1JAR. "Food booths serve local island treats for under $10, musicians croon Hawaiian melodies, and then a 30-foot screen plays free Hollywood films, with Diamond Head looming in the background."

Why Go NowThe ever-popular Hawaiian isle recently served as the dreamy backdrop in the George Clooney family drama, The Descendants, and for families vacationing on Oahu this year, there’s no shortage of attractions: a giant new Disney resort debuted in September; Pearl Harbor salutes its 70th anniversary with a new visitor center (with museum and movie theater) and Arizona Memorial; and the North Shore’s Waimea Valley woos with crowd-free beaches and big waves.

Where to StayDisney’s new Aulani is located only 30 minutes from Waikiki. Its two 15-story towers comprise 359 rooms, while a massive pool complex with water slides, hot tubs, a saltwater snorkeling pool, and a 900-foot-long lazy river occupy a large portion of the 21-acre property. Another family friendly option, the 426-room Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach opened in December across the southern end of Waikiki Beach and is the brand’s first Hawaii property. See more Oahu hotel reviews.

Insider TipBook a North Shore whale-watching excursion during humpback season (December to March).

When to GoSpring and fall are usually the best months weather-wise and tend to bring discounted shoulder-season prices.

Plan Your TripVisit Fodor's Honolulu and Oahu Travel Guide for the latest hotel, restaurant, and shopping reviews.

Photo: Oahu Visitors Bureau

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