Tips for the 2023 Ko Olina Children’s Festival

From when's your chance to see Disney characters to which activities to hit first and what you’ll find to eat, we asked organizers for tips to this big family event on O‘ahu.
Stitch and Mickey at Ko Olina Children's Festival

Photo: Courtesy of Ko Olina Children’s Festival


Families will be heading to O‘ahu’s West Side on May 20th for the 7th Annual Ko Olina Children’s Festival. The name makes it pretty clear—the event is a fundraiser for Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children and is focused on kids.

Keiki will have a chance to learn drawing skills from renowned street artist Jasper Wong, share story time with Aunty Shar (Tuiʻasoa, creator of Punky Aloha), shake their wiggles out with Keiki Zumba, enjoy whimsical and intricate balloon sculptures and more. More than a dozen activities will be staged on a portion of the Kohola Lagoon. The feature film “Encanto” will play at sunset on a big screen on the beach. With so much ground to cover and so much to do, we asked the event organizers for their top 10 tips for the event.


Ko Olina Children's Festival

Photo: Courtesy of Ko Olina Children’s Festival


10 Tips for the 2023 Ko Olina Children’s Festival

1. Plan out your afternoon. Unlike the last event, all of the activities will be held on the Kohola Lagoon beach fronting Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. But there’s a lot happening starting at 4 p.m., and it might be overwhelming for little ones who want to do it all. Review the activities and prioritize your “must do” list.


2. Buy tickets by Friday, May 19 to save money. Presale tickets for adults are $40, $27.50 for keiki, $35 for active military members and $25 for their keiki. The presale prices includes event parking and shuttle transportation. If you wait to buy the tickets the day of the event, they’re $45 for adults, $35 for keiki, $40 for active military members and $32.50 for their keiki, and event parking will be an additional fee of $15 (cash only). Presale prices will end online at 11:59 p.m. Friday. Keiki tickets are for those 12 years old and under.


3. Remember a blanket or mat. Umbrellas and high back chairs will not be allowed.


4. Don’t miss your chance to see Disney characters. The most popular performance of the day is the ‘Ohana Hula Show. This is the best chance to see some of your favorite Disney characters. The show will take place on the main stage. Bring your camera!


5. The most popular booths are the face painting booth, the photo booth and several balloon artist stations. So plan to visit them early on. Also, the Hawai‘i Walls art booth—a 20-minute art lesson with Jasper Wong—can accommodate up to 10 keiki at a time, so there’s limited space.


Ko Olina Children's Festival

Photo: Ko Olina Children’s Festival


SEE ALSO: Events for Kids in May 2023 on O‘ahu


6. Bring your own light-up toys, if you don’t want to pay. In years past there were booths selling lighted Disney toys. If your kids are like ours, if they see them, they’ll want them so you can save a little by bringing your own. But don’t forget to visit Kapiolani’s tent—they will be giving out light up wands to keiki who visit their tent and take part in their fun activities!


7. Take advantage of the learning opportunities. The Ko Olina Children’s Festival is partnering with local nonprofits including Bishop Museum, Kuleana Coral Restoration, Malama Learning Center and Nā Kama Kai to educate families about Hawai‘iʻs unique island ecology. The hope is that you leave the festival with a deeper connection to the water and ʻaina, and feel a greater sense of responsibility to protect the environment. 


8. Don’t forget to enjoy readings and presentations. Local Hawaiʻi authors including Shar Tuiʻasoa (“Punky Aloha”), Pua Aquino (“My Kalo has Lau’) and Catherine Toth Fox (“Kai Goes to the Farmer’s Market’) will be there, and keiki can learn common words in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, Chuukese and Marshallese with Bess Press’ Little Island Readers series.


9. Review your food options. In addition to Aulani’s restaurants, there will be food booths including: Blazin Steaks, waffle dogs by Celine’s Best, Badass Burgers Hawai’i, Aloha Sweet Cotton Candy, Starbucks and Ono Kettle Pop. 


10. Bring cash. Some food vendors do not take credit cards.


The Ko Olina Children’s Festival is Saturday, May 20. For the full schedule, to buy tickets and all other information, go to