Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was the last Disney Vacation Club resort to close on March 24, 2020 and it may be the last resort to reopen.
Most Disney Vacation Club resorts now have plans to reopen in June. But there are several obstacles that will have to be overcome before Aulani will be able to welcome back DVC members and guests.
Due, in part, to its geographic isolation, stringent stay-at-home orders, and requiring a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals, the State of Hawaii has some of the lowest rates of Covid-19 in the United States. In May, Hawaii began a phased approach to reopen its non-tourism, or kama’aina, economy, with several medium-risk businesses resuming limited operations. Beaches in Maui and Kauai reopened for sunbathing but Oahu’s beaches are still restricted.
In June, the State intends to permit exercise facilities, museums, theaters, and other high-risk businesses to reopen.
However, no decision has been made about when Hawaii’s tourist businesses, including hotels, will be allowed to resume operations. The order for visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days has been extended through June 30. Hotel guests must remain in their rooms during the quarantine and food must be delivered to their door. Visitors who break quarantine will be fined and could be jailed. Until the quarantine order is lifted its difficult for Aulani’s would-be guests to enjoy the resort or Hawaii if restricted to their rooms.
Aulani, like other resorts in Hawaii, entertains many guests from Asia and Canada. Another hurdle Aulani visitors will have to overcome is that the U.S. has closed its borders to some international travelers. The U.S., Canada, and Mexico have agreed to keep their shared borders closed to non-essential travelers until June 21. In addition, foreign nationals may not enter the United States if, in the previous 14 days, they have been to China, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and most of Europe.
Tourism is the biggest single segment of Hawaii’s economy. Government officials want to welcome tourists back to Hawaii and they want to demonstrate it is a safe destination. Several steps are being considered, including having all passengers and crews undergo Covid-19 testing before being allowed to board flights to the islands.
Aulani’s neighbors in the Ko Olina area, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu, the Ko Olina Marina, and wedding chapels, are also closed. However, two timeshares at Ko Olina -- the Beach Villas at Ko Olina and Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club — are available to their owners. At the Marriott, services and amenities have been modified or are currently unavailable due to government orders and other precautions that have been implemented due to COVID-19. Daily housekeeping is no longer available, fitness center/classes, pools, spa(s), hot tub(s), Kids club, arcades/media rooms, BBQ grills are currently closed. Additionally, if applicable, food and beverage outlets are only offering take-out service. At the Beach Villas timeshare, the pool has reopened but all lounge chairs have been removed. In addition, the pool is available only to guests who have completed their 14-day quarantine period.
At present, Disney Vacation Club will automatically cancel any reservation scheduled for arrival during any closure. Members do not need to cancel the reservation online or contact Member Services. In light of the unusual circumstances and to provide more flexibility, Disney Vacation Club will return Points to the current Use Year without placing them into holding.
Wil Lovato is a contributor to DVCNews.com and has been a Disney Vacation Club owner since 2009. His DVC Home Resorts include Copper Creek Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Villas, and Aulani. He can be found posting on many Disney discussion forums under the username of “wdrl.”