Up Close and Personal at Rainbow Reef

Posted by on March 24, 2019 in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Missy Ryan

Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina Hawaii

     I am a huge fan of snorkeling. I love seeing underwater life as they glide by, eat, or stand still as I observe the beauty of their creation.

During my last visit to the beautiful Aulani resort I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with nearly 50 different sea life that are native to Hawaii.


Rainbow Reef is located on Aulani property and is the only private lagoon located in Ohau. This 3,000 square foot salt water snorkeling lagoon has a diverse amount of colorful and truly breathtaking fish.

Located right outside of the pool area you can find the Rainbow Reef Hut. This area is the same area you check in each day and get your pool wristband. The wristband will be a different color each day (creating a rainbow, of course) which helps prevent guests from other resorts to pool hop.

At the check-in guests are able to rent scuba gear for the day as they explore rainbow reef. Hours vary, but you can expect the normal 9-5. The nice thing is, you can explore the reef and return after lunch if you would like. Your pass does not expire until the reef closes. Another option is to purchase a pass for the length of your stay. This may be a nice addon if you have children as it would be something I know my children would like to explore daily. Price for a one day pass is very reasonable and currently around $20.


Guests are provided with snorkel gear and life vests.

Be prepared once you enter the lagoon as temperatures are pretty frigid for the fish.

You will begin your experience with walking over a series of rocks as you enter the lagoon. I would suggest water socks if you have them.

Once you are in the main area you are encouraged to float and observe. There is no underwater swimming and splashing is prohibited. This is to protect the fish and keep the lagoon a safe and relaxing experience for everyone who enters. During your experience you may also see a certified Aulani photographer swimming around. Don’t be shy, ask for their services. Here is the perk, you will get to feed the fish when he is snapping away! He will instruct you to hold a Mickey-shaped object that will be connected to food. The fish will come from all directions as if it is 5 pm dinner time. One tip I suggest is to get your head as submerged as possible. Being as you are not permitted to truly go under water this can be tough. However the shots will only be of the top of your head if you are not getting your face in there as much. Look directly at the camera as you hold the Mickey head, and of course, don’t forget to smile! The pictures will be uploaded to your photo pass card. You can then view and pick out your favorite photos. The card will hold all photos taken of your vacation. You will have the opportunity or purchasing a package or single photos that vary in price starting from $15-$20 per sheet.


As you enjoy your adventure at Rainbow Reef observing and discovering some of the most beautiful fish in Hawaii do not forget to look for the hidden Menehune. They are much like hidden Mickeys and there are over 300 hidden on Aulani property. Make it a goal to find him in the reef!

When your adventure is complete do not forget to observe the fish you just swam with at the observation windows. You can also check out a list of the fish that are in the lagoon and be able to identify them by name.

I would love to tell you more about this fun experience at Aulani along with other activities that you may want to engage in.

I absolutely loved every second of Rainbow Reef and I am looking forward to visiting again.

Please feel free to email me with questions at missyr@wishesfamilytravel.com

You can also follow me on Facebook at Wishes Family Travel-Missy Ryan

I am looking forward to hearing from you!


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