KO OLINA, Hawaii, August 29, 2012 – A delightfully themed family pool, a new kids' splash zone and two new quick-service dining locations will be among the highlights of an enhancement project getting underway in September at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina. Further details of the expansion were announced today, the first anniversary of the opening of Aulani.
Since it opened in August 2011, Aulani has been extremely well received by guests. Among the most popular features of the resort is the Waikolohe Valley. Waikolohe means mischievous water and the valley is home to the recreation and water play areas leading out to the Aulani beachfront. The new pool, splash zone and additional deck space will extend the sun and water fun literally to the very edge of the resort property, with the pool's "infinity edge" overlooking the adjoining lagoon.
The architecture of Aulani reflects the symbolic harmony of masculine and feminine energy, and the new pool area, on the masculine side of the resort, continues this theme with a design inspired by the demigod Māui. According to Hawaiian legend, Māui brought the islands to the surface with his great fishhook, and aspects of the legend will be reflected in the design of the new family pool and kids' splash zone, incorporating coral and lava, sea and earth, in the surrounding rockwork.
A highlight of the family pool will be a misty grotto from which relaxing swimmers may view the sunset. After dark, a magical starscape of glimmering lights will appear on the grotto ceiling and the floor of the pool.
The nearby kids' splash zone will be designed to resemble tidal pools with some playful surprises for youngsters, including rainbow water jets, images of tidal pool creatures on the pool floors, and hidden Menehune, the legendary little people of the islands, who may be spotted through chinks in the rocks. Additional deck space, chairs, chaises and cabanas will surround these new water features.
Also coming to Aulani will be two new food service locations. One of these, located adjacent to the new water play area and the existing Wailana Pool, will serve continental breakfast and offer a lunch and dinner menu with a selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks that can be enjoyed in the adjoining outdoor patio which provides a beautiful ocean view. A second quick-service eatery will be located beachside, offering grab-and-go snacks and easy access for beachgoers.
Work on these enhancements will begin in September and conclude in mid-2013, coinciding with the final build-out of resort. Along with the water play and dining additions, the expansion will provide a new, larger lawn location for events, weddings and the guest favorite nighttime Starlit Hui show. There will also be additional merchandise space – to provide guests with a greater variety of Aulani products, apparel and memories - and a protective awning over the patio of Makahiki restaurant, home of "Aunty's Breakfast Celebration" featuring breakfast with Disney characters.[>
About Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Aulani opened in August of 2011 and sits on 21 acres of beautiful oceanfront in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach. Ko Olina is 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from Waikiki.
Uniquely designed for families and inspired by the wonders and traditions of Hawai'i, Aulani is a family paradise with a touch of magic. Aulani offers kids, adults and families Hawaiian vacation experiences with a special magic that only Disney can create. Delightful rooms and spacious Disney Vacation Club villas, a perfect location on a beautiful beachfront lagoon, and renowned Disney service and enchanting entertainment let dreamers of every age savor their time together on Hawaii as never before.
For Aulani reservations, guests may visit www.disneyaulani.com or call (866) 44-DISNEY.
KO OLINA, Hawaii, July 26, 2012 – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i today announced it is expanding its offerings to give guests even more to love at the 21-acre vacation paradise resort inspired by the wonders and traditions of Hawaii.
The project is planned to include an expansion of the highly popular Waikolohe Valley pool area as well as the addition of two new quick-service dining options. In addition, the Starlit Hui show, a family favorite, will move to a larger venue so more guests can experience the performance.
"Aulani has been exceptionally well received by our guests, and we are excited to add new amenities," said Elliot Mills, vice president and general manager of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. "The resort has one of the most extensive arrays of recreational offerings in Hawaii. From its winding streams and interactive play features to its private snorkeling lagoon, our Waikolohe Valley pool area offers something to delight every member of the family, and we're thrilled that soon there will be even more to enjoy."
Scheduled to begin in September and conclude in mid 2013, the expansion is happening in conjunction with the final build-out of the resort. More specific details of the expansion will be shared at a later date.
About Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Aulani opened in August of 2011 and occupies 21 acres of oceanfront property in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach. Ko Olina is 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from Waikiki.
Uniquely designed for families and inspired by the wonders and traditions of Hawai'i, Aulani is a family paradise with a touch of magic. Aulani offers kids, adults and families Hawaiian vacation experiences with a special magic that only Disney can create. Delightful rooms and spacious Disney Vacation Club villas, a perfect location on a beautiful beachfront lagoon, and renowned Disney service and enchanting entertainment let dreamers of every age savor their time together on Hawaii as never before.
For Aulani reservations, guests may visit www.disneyaulani.com or call (866) 44-DISNEY.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – What's Next? Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Debut in 2012, Aulani Resort Set to Open in Hawaii, Plus New Cruise Line Itineraries
As Disney Soundsational Summer gets underway, even more excitement is coming to Disneyland Resort, where the premiere of the all-new The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure is just the latest milestone in the ongoing expansion of Disney California Adventure park. The distinctive peaks of the Cadillac Range are already visible on the horizon beyond Pacific Wharf, signaling the creation of Cars Land, the all-new 12-acre land set to open in 2012. And work on the newly themed Disney California Adventure entry gate into Buena Vista Street, complete with Red Car Trolleys and the distinctive Carthay Circle Theatre, will continue through 2011 for a 2012 opening.
GOOFY'S SKY SCHOOL, NEW RESTAURANTS MARK THE COMPLETION OF PARADISE PIER: On July 1, the newly refreshed Paradise Pier area of Disney California Adventure will be complete, with the opening of Goofy's Sky School, the zany coaster attraction inspired by the classic Goofy "How-to" shorts of the 1940s and 1950s. New Paradise Pier dining locations opening July 1 are Paradise Garden Grill, featuring a Mediterranean-inspired menu; Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, featuring pasta dishes, garden salads and individual flatbread pizzas; and Bayside Brews, serving pretzels, beer and other beverages.
COMING IN 2012 AT DISNEYLAND RESORT – HIT THE ROAD WITH MATER AND LIGHTNING MCQUEEN!: Some of the biggest thrills in Disney California Adventure expansion may still be yet to come. Crowning the multi-year expansion project in 2012 will be the opening of Cars Land, inspired by the Disney•Pixar blockbuster "Cars." Cars Land will feature three immersive family attractions showcasing characters and settings from the movie, including one of the largest and most elaborate attractions ever created for a Disney park: Radiator Springs Racers, a twisting turning, high-speed adventure through the town and desert valleys of Radiator Springs. Other Cars Land attractions will include Luigi's Flying Tires (striking a chord with anyone who remembers the Flying Saucers in Tomorrowland) and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, a spinning attraction with a musical, hoedown theme.
Guests in this land also will enjoy new, "Cars"-themed dining and shopping locations.
A NEW ENTRANCE – BUENA VISTA STREET WILL WELCOME GUESTS INTO DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE: As work on the expansion of Disney California Adventure nears completion, guests will be welcomed through a new entrance gate and into Buena Vista Street. The transformation will immerse guests in the atmosphere Walt Disney experienced upon first arriving in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Buena Vista Street will feature Red Car Trolleys, inspired by the transportation system that once served Southern California, and the Carthay Circle Theatre, modeled on the site of the 1937 world premiere of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Carthay Circle Theatre will become home to a new lounge and an elegant restaurant, designed to be the premiere dining location in Disney California Adventure.
Also ahead for Disney Destinations in the Western United States:
AULANI, A DISNEY RESORT & SPA, KO OLINA, HAWAI'I, OPENS TO GUESTS: The first guests at Disney's newest resort will arrive on August 29, 2011. Aulani will draw on the celebrated Disney magic, storytelling and service to create wonderful family vacation memories, complemented by the beauty, fun, enchantment and traditions of the islands. Each day of their stay, Aulani guests will be able to customize their experience – relaxing on the beach or in the spa, playing in the unique pools and water play areas, dining in the resort's signature restaurants, discovering the island on specially planned excursions, gathering at the fire pit for storytelling, or spotting the statues of Menehune, the legendary island little people, hidden throughout the resort.
DISNEY CRUISE LINE ADDS NEW WESTERN PORTS, ITINERARIES IN 2012: Combining the magic of exciting locales and natural wonders with unparalleled guest service for every member of the family, Disney Cruise Line introduced its first Alaska cruises in 2011, along with cruises out of the Port of Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera, all on the Disney Wonder. In 2012, the Disney Wonder will add Pacific Coast cruises from Los Angeles, calling on San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico. Also new will be a 15-night voyage to Hawaii from Los Angeles, calling on Hilo; Kahului, Maui; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai; and Ensenada, Mexico. And for the first time, Disney Cruise Line Alaska cruises will depart from Seattle in 2012, along with Vancouver.
Beginning in fall of 2012, the Disney Wonder's sister ship, the Disney Magic, will sail 12 seven-night cruises from the Port of Galveston, Texas, to the Western Caribbean. Ports of Call will include Grand Cayman and Mexico's Costa Maya and Cozumel. The Disney Magic will also sail out of Port Canaveral, Florida, on Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries and, for the first time, out of New York with cruises to the Bahamas and the along the New England coast.
At Port Canaveral, Florida, the newest ship in the Disney fleet, Disney Fantasy will depart March 31, 2012, on her maiden voyage – a seven-night Caribbean itinerary. The Disney Fantasy will offer many of the innovative features that the Disney Dream brought to the cruise industry in 2011, including AquaDuck, the world's first shipboard water coaster. In addition, the Disney Fantasy will feature new design elements and guest experiences that will give the ship a unique identity.
KO OLINA, Hawaii – Opening Date Set
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai'i, will begin accepting reservations for hotel rooms and vacation packages Aug. 2, 2010, through the Walt Disney Travel Company.
Aulani is scheduled to welcome its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011.
"Aulani will represent a new way for every member of the family to enjoy a vacation in Hawaii," said Djuan Rivers, vice president of Aulani. "It is designed so that parents, children and guests of any age can find their own kind of fun and relaxation. Families will experience the island in ways they might never have discovered before."
With age-specific programming planned for ages 3-10, tweens, teens, adults and the entire family, there will be something for everybody. From pool parties with Disney characters to excursions into the rainforest and surf to learning how to prepare Hawaiian cuisine with local chefs, days and nights will be filled with the magic of Disney in the beautiful setting of Hawaii.
Introductory room rates start as low as $399 per night. Guests may choose from a variety of room options, including ocean or garden views.
The resort, built adjacent to a crystal-blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, features 359 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas. Rooms are housed in two 15-story towers with commanding views of the ocean, mountains and magnificent grounds. On-site are two restaurants, a wedding lawn and a conference center, and extensive water activities, including a feature pool, 900-foot tube-floating watercourse, wading pool, body slides, sunset-facing hot tubs, a quiet adult pool, a snorkel lagoon and a conservation pool. Aulani will also include a signature kids' club – Aunty's Beach House – where kids can explore Hawaiian culture through fun and games (including interactive touch table games) and arts and crafts. They can also enjoy the enchanted fireplace, "make it rain" in order to start movie time, and enjoy many other experiences created just for them.
Aulani is located on the western side of Oahu, upon 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development. The resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and features convenient access to a 330-slip marina and a Ted Robinson-designed 18-hole championship golf course.
To make a reservation at Aulani or to learn more about the resort, guests may visit www.disneyaulani.com or call 866/44-DISNEY.
Ko Olina, Hawaii - A Disney-inspired Hawaiian celebration launched the grand opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Thursday with music, sparkling colored lights and the ceremonial mixing of sand with pixie dust. Aulani combines the magic of Disney storytelling and guest service with the beauty and traditions of Hawaii, creating an unforgettable family vacation experience on a beautiful lagoon along the coast of Oahu.
Bob Iger, president and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, and Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, joined Hawaiian officials for the grand opening event at sunset. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse added to the fun at the beachside event.
"Aulani is a stunning resort that offers something unique in the vacation industry," said Iger. "It's an incredible family paradise that combines the beauty and culture of Hawaii with a touch of Disney magic and we are confident that guests from around the world will continue to enjoy it for many years to come."
Aulani serves as a gateway to the islands of Hawaii, noted Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
"Aulani truly has something for everyone," said Staggs. "With specific spaces and experiences created for kids, teens and adults, as well as places where families can relax and make memories together, Aulani is just the answer for families who want to experience the incredible storytelling and great guest service of Disney while enjoying all that Hawaii has to offer."
Hawaiian heritage and Disney magic
Each day of their stay, Aulani guests will be able to customize their experience – relaxing on the beach or in Laniwai, a Disney Spa, playing in the pools and snorkeling at Rainbow Reef, or discovering the island on a specially planned excursion. Among the unique experiences at Aulani are the Makai Preserve stingray adventure, the Painted Sky teen lounge and spa, and the Menehune Bridge, a water play area full of fun and surprises.
Aulani traditionally means "a messenger of a chief – one who delivers a message from a higher authority." The name Aulani is fitting as the resort serves as a messenger of the Hawaiian spirit, people and culture.
"The name 'Aulani' expresses a connection to tradition and deep storytelling – and its roots are in this land right here," said Joe Rohde, senior vice president and creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, who led the design of the resort.
"We want this resort destination to reflect the vibrant culture that surrounds it. We believe in artistry, in excellence, and in the beauty of a well-done thing. Our commitment to excellence mirrors the cultural values one sees in the arts of Hawaii."
Aulani occupies 21 acres of oceanfront property in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach. Ko Olina is 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from Waikiki.
When all phases are complete, Aulani will include 359 traditional hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas in two towers, each featuring rooms that offer thrilling views of the ocean, mountains and the magnificent, lush surroundings.
Something for everyone
Family-friendly resort amenities include the 18,000-square-foot Laniwai, a Disney Spa, with 15 treatment rooms and a fitness center. Many spa treatments draw upon Hawaiian healing traditions.
Aulani also features two signature restaurants – the full-service `AMA`AMA and the buffet-style Makahiki – offering foods unique to Hawaii.
At the chic, beachside `AMA`AMA, ocean breezes soothe the spirit as chefs use fresh local ingredients and island flavors to create distinctive dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes vegetarian options and classic cocktails with new twists, plus desserts house-made daily.
The buffet-style Makahiki offers guests breakfast among Disney characters or, in a magical midday transformation, dinner in artful surroundings, including a stunning ceiling light sculpture and beautiful wall murals hand-painted by local artists.
Young guests have their very own kids' club, Aunty's Beach House. Here children can explore Hawaiian culture through supervised entertainment, including interactive touch tables, wildlife and nature programs, arts and crafts, Disney movies and traditional Hawaiian games.
Children of all ages will delight in Waikolohe Valley, Aulani's seven-acre water play area. The overall landscape mimics the flow of a watershed as it moves from the mountain to the ocean, complete with the Waikolohe Stream, the resort's mysterious (yet fun) tube-floating watercourse. Here guests encounter bubbling water, a cloaking mist and several hundred feet of additional surprises.
Adventure, conventions and weddings, too
For those who love waterslides, Tubestone Curl, the resort's tube slide, and Volcanic Vertical, Aulani's tunnel slide, provide thrills galore. Guests will also interact with native Hawaiian fish, including angelfish, butterfly fish and tangs, in the 3,800-square-foot Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon, the only one of its kind on Oahu.
The Makai Preserve conservation pool offers an interactive experience that allows guests to stroke the velvety backs of gentle stingrays (available by reservation only). A portion of the proceeds from this activity will support research and conservation efforts in Hawaii through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. Water activities at Aulani also include a quiet adult pool, wading pool and, for the ultimate relaxation, sunset-facing whirlpool spas.
Looking beyond its own magical grounds, Aulani offers a menu of discovery excursions with the aid of local experts. These include exploring tropical forests, hiking local mountains, sailing aboard catamarans, swimming with dolphins, cooking with local chefs, following a ghost tour and more. The excursions are specially designed for Aulani guests by Adventures by Disney and feature a knowledgeable, friendly Adventure Guide.
Aulani is the ideal place for events. When all phases are complete, groups will find nearly 50,000-square-feet of meeting space, including a 14,545-square-foot conference center, the main ballroom (which is divisible by six), four breakout rooms and generous pre-function space.
Since outdoor events are so popular in Hawaii, Disney also has created three distinct event lawns, including an oceanfront wedding lawn for Disney Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons.
About Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Uniquely designed for families and inspired by the wonders and traditions of Hawaii, Aulani is a family paradise with a touch of magic. Aulani offers kids, adults and families Hawaiian vacation experiences with a special magic that only Disney can create. Delightful rooms and spacious Disney Vacation Club villas, a perfect location on a beautiful beachfront lagoon, and renowned Disney service and enchanting entertainment let dreamers of every age savor their time together on Hawaii as never before.
KO OLINA, Hawai'i – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai'i, conveys the connection of the new resort to the islands
The highly anticipated Disney destination resort currently under construction on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu now has an official name and a dynamic new Web site offering an inside look at the project. The resort's name – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai'i – reflects the company's deep commitment to celebrating the islands' rich history and traditions. Plans call for the first phase of the resort to open in fall 2011.
"We want this resort destination to reflect the vibrant culture that surrounds it. The name 'Aulani' expresses a connection to tradition and deep story-telling – and its roots are here in this land," said Joe Rohde, senior vice president, Creative for Walt Disney Imagineering. "We're so grateful to the local Hawaiians who led us to the discovery of this name, and our goal is to live up to its meaning."
Rohde noted that Aulani translated from the Hawaiian language to English means "the place that speaks for the great ones" or "the place that speaks with deep messages."
Nearby to historical sites on the western side of O'ahu, Aulani will be located on 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development. The resort is planned to have 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas.
Design plans call for amenities to engage every member of the family, a hallmark of a Disney vacation. Among the recreational highlights planned for the resort are pools and sunset-facing hot tubs, a snorkeling lagoon, a variety of kids' club and other play programs for children, and a river, suitable for tube floating, running through a specially created volcanic outcropping.
The resort will also include an 18,000-square-foot spa designed with families in mind. The resort, built adjacent to a crystal-blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, is planned to also have two restaurants, a 14,545-square-foot conference center and 48,685 square feet of outdoor venues. Located nearby are the existing Ko Olina Marina and a Ted Robinson-designed, 18-hole championship golf course.
The Web Site
Disney has launched a new preview Web site, www.DisneyAulani.com, to provide updates and background information on the resort now under construction. The site also details some of the adventures and amenities under development, and includes conceptual art, descriptions of resort highlights, regularly updated resort information and photos of Aulani as it nears completion.
"We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Aulani to share the fun, immersive family vacation experiences Disney is known for, combined with the beauty and culture of Hawai'i," said Djuan Rivers, vice president, Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawai'i. "We are turning to the Hawaiian culture for inspiration in everything we are doing at Aulani, and we hope our guests will not only enjoy the Disney experience, but will also embrace the unique culture of Hawai'i and its diverse people."
Celebration, Fla. - Disney Vacation Club began selling real estate interests for the company's first family-friendly destination resort in Hawaii today. Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawaii, is scheduled to open its first phase in fall 2011 and will mark the eleventh resort for Disney Vacation Club.
"We are thrilled to give families joining Disney Vacation Club a new resort option in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world," said Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. "Once Aulani opens, families will be able to immerse themselves in the culture of Hawaii while knowing that they will get the quality vacation experience only Disney can deliver."
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii, is planned to include 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas and 359 traditional hotel rooms upon its completion. Other family-friendly resort amenities are scheduled to include an 18,000-square-foot spa, two restaurants, a wedding lawn, a kids' club, a conference center and a pool area complete with a feature pool, wading pool, tube slides, sunset-facing hot tubs and a snorkel lagoon.
Built adjacent to a crystal-blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, Aulani is located on 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development, near the existing Ko Olina Marina and a Ted Robinson-designed, 18-hole Championship Golf course. Located on the western side of Oahu, the resort will also offer easy access to other points of interest on the island, such as the North Shore area and Pearl Harbor.
Disney Vacation Club offers families unparalleled flexibility and is designed to accommodate changing vacation needs as families are able to determine where to go, when to visit, how long to stay and what size of accommodations best suits their needs on each trip.
To begin, Disney Vacation Clubmembers are able to choose from among a variety of exciting vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club resort, a trip on one of the Disney Cruise Line ships, a guided vacation with Adventures by Disney or a jaunt to one of more than 500 other destinations around the world. Plus, members staying at Disney Vacation Club resorts truly get "more room in the room," as they can choose from four sizes of accommodations that sleep from four people up to 12 and range from 350 square feet to more than 2,000 square feet. Additionally, vacations at a Disney Vacation Club resort can last any length of time, from one night to several weeks.
"Families can experience diverse destinations around the world with their Disney Vacation Club membership," Lewis said. "Plus, Disney Vacation Club can be enjoyed by generations of family members, allowing families to continue to experience the magic of memorable Disney vacations year after year."
Disney Vacation Club revolutionized the timeshare industry in October 1991 when it introduced a flexible, vacation points-based model. Today, more than 450,000 individual members from approximately 100 countries and all 50 states have discovered the joys of membership with Disney Vacation Club.
To learn more about Disney Vacation Club and Aulani, call 800/500-3990 or visit www.disneyvacationclub.com.
About Walt Disney Parks and Resorts:
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are where families experience and enjoy the magic of Disney's beloved characters and where dreams come true. More than 50 years ago, Walt Disney created a new kind of entertainment families could experience together, immersed in detailed atmospheres and vibrant storytelling. His vision now includes a collection of five of the world's leading family vacation destinations – Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, Calif.; Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; Tokyo Disney Resort, Urayasu, Chiba, Japan; Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, France; and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, located on Lantau Island. In addition, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts includes the world-class Disney Cruise Line; Disney Vacation Club, with 10 resorts and more than 450,000 members; Adventures by Disney, a guided group vacation experience to some of the world's most popular destinations; and Walt Disney Imagineering, which creates and designs all Disney parks, resorts and attractions.
KO OLINA, Hawaii - A picturesque setting with island flair awaits couples seeking to exchange vows at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.
With seamless service, world-class amenities, and the unparalleled imagination guests have come to expect from Disney, Aulani is the perfect place to start the "happily-ever-afters." With Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons, guests can enjoy a one-stop-shopping experience and relax, knowing every detail from photography and floral to menu and island excursions will be their "fairy tale wish come true."
Unforgettable ceremonies with a dash of island romance will unfold at Makaloa Garden, a flora-filled outdoor enclave with a serene view of the Pacific's endless horizons.
Idyllic receptions reflect the wonders of Hawaiian culture with music, food and traditional floral accents such as white kukui blossoms, pink cottage roses and yellow hibiscus in outdoor pavilions or lush garden settings. Local touches – ukulele players or colorful Hawaiian bouquets – may be woven throughout the occasion.
After the pomp, the oceanfront resort offers the perfect haven for the honeymoon of a lifetime. Adventurous couples can hike Diamond Head, set sail on a romantic catamaran, or snorkel at Rainbow Reef, the saltwater lagoon. They can indulge in a couple's massage at Laniwai, a Disney Spa, relax in the mineral pools or enjoy authentic treatments inspired by the elements of the island. Poolside cabanas are an ideal escape for lovebirds seeking enhanced privacy.
Disney Wedding Planning experts help create each couple's dream experience – as they have for thousands of couples already. Disney Fairy Tale Weddings are custom designed to meet the needs and budget of each couple.
Pricing is comparable to the current Wishes Collection, starting at $4,000 for nuptials as early as fall 2011. For more information, visit disneyweddings.com or call 321/939-4610.
KO OLINA, Hawaii - When guests arrive in their rooms at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on Oahu, they will find welcoming décor that blends Hawaiian tradition and Disney whimsy. Working with local Hawaiian artisans, Disney Imagineers have created a charming and relaxing environment inspired by the fine arts and crafts traditions of ancient Hawaiians.
Earth-tone print fabrics in the rooms take their cue from traditional Hawaiian kapa cloth, characterized by the subtle intricacy of its elegantly embossed patterns. Retro Hawaiian floral print fabrics, locally known as "bark cloth" and popular in the 1930s and '40s, provide touches of colorful vibrancy on accent pillows.
Outrigger canoe posts and beams work their way into the design of bedroom headboards – along with clever butterfly joints evoking the ancient Hawaiians' method for artfully repairing their prized wood calabash bowls.
The homage to Hawaiian culture in the room décor is accented by Disney touches – distinctive "hidden Mickeys" which guests may discover only on a Hawaii family vacation at Aulani.
In the corridors outside the rooms, wall coverings are embedded with a host of native cultural references – from poi pounders to fish traps to sea urchins – and more "hidden Mickeys" camouflaged within the richly patterned surfaces.
All Aulani rooms have lanai balconies or porches. Standard hotel rooms sleep up to four guests and feature flat-screen televisions, DVD players, small refrigerators, coffee makers and tea service, ceiling fans, wireless internet service and an in-room safe. Parlor suites sleep up to five people.
Disney Vacation Club villas range in size from a deluxe studio with wet bar to a three-bedroom Grand Villa with private balcony. The villas can accommodate from four to 12 guests, and special features include whirlpool tubs, stacked washer-dryers and fully equipped kitchens.
KO OLINA, Hawaii - Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, has been specially conceived to offer guests the Hawaiian vacation of their dreams. The Aulani vacation experience extends beyond the magical grounds of the resort to include adventures throughout the island of Oahu.
Guests at Aulani – adults, teens, children and families – will discover a menu of excursions that satisfy a broad variety of tastes, such as:
Many of these excursions have been specially designed for Aulani guests by Adventures by Disney and feature knowledgeable and friendly Adventure Guides who weave stories and magic into the experiences as only Disney can do.
Aulani offers dozens of excursion options. Some are as traditional as a visit to Pearl Harbor, Dole Plantation or Diamond Head. Some are classic beach experiences: surfing, parasailing or a luau.
Others are characterized by that "Disney difference" – the uniqueness of a Disney vacation in Hawaii. Among these special excursions are:
For those in search of a multi-day exploration of the islands, Aulani offers an excursion package themed to the traditional Hawaiian concept of interconnectivity between the land and the surrounding sea. The three-day excursion includes a day devoted to the sea, with private surfing lessons and a catamaran voyage; a day devoted to the land, with adventures in Kualoa Ranch and the North Shore Waimea Valley; and a day of interconnection, featuring Kailua Sea Kayaking and an exclusive cooking class with Sam Choy.
Aulani has an excursion adventure waiting to fulfill any Hawaiian vacation dream.
KO OLINA, Hawaii - From a rainwater suite to a special spa retreat just for teens, "the gift of water" plays a starring role at Laniwai, a Disney Spa at Aulani.
The Hawaiian word laniwai (lah-nee-vai) means "freshwater heaven," and the spa lives up to its name with more than 150 treatments, including the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden on the island of Oahu. Also exclusive to Aulani is the Painted Sky youth spa, featuring relaxing treatments created especially for teens.
"Laniwai is a place where everyone will feel special," says Lucia Rodriguez, spa director. "Teens will enjoy an experience created just for them, and there is a suite just for families. Guests will have many wonderful ways to enjoy Laniwai."
With 18,000 square feet indoors and 5,000 square feet outdoors, the area includes a 2,000 square-foot Lift Fitness Cardiovascular Center, 15 treatment rooms and a full-service salon for hair, makeup and nail services.
"Laniwai celebrates the Hawaiian connection to nature," explains Rodriguez. "The design embraces the cultural and even the spiritual significance of anuenue, or rainbows, by combining elegantly reflected light, brilliant color and healing water features."
Kula Wai Hydrotherapy Garden
Mikimiki Fitness Center
Painted Sky Teen Spa
KO OLINA, Hawaii - Hawaii is a melting pot of cuisines – tastes of home brought to the islands by immigrants from China, Portugal, Germany, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. Mix all of those sunny tastes and you get Hawaii's multicultural fare.
"At Aulani, we're showcasing the abundant produce, the fresh seafood, the classic tastes of Hawaii," said Executive Chef Patrick Callarac. "From simple plate lunches that are a typical part of the cuisine to local whole salt-crusted fish for two cracked open tableside, dining is a big part of the Aulani story."
'AMA'AMA – Contemporary Island Cooking
Inspired by a beachside house, 'AMA'AMA—Contemporary Island Cooking is a stylish open-air restaurant just steps from the ocean.
The entryway is framed with a design inspired by the ancient fish traps still used by local fishermen, opening into the spacious dining room with a thatched roof, walls of mosaic, rough stone, or painted in cool shades of blue remindful of the waves of the ocean. A concrete fountain and reflecting pool are the restaurant's fishing-themed focal point.
"'AMA'AMA is a fish abundant in these waters, a local favorite," said Callarac. "This restaurant, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is right on the ocean, an attraction in itself."
For breakfast, you can go for simple bacon and eggs or waffles, but the menu takes you to the Pacific Rim with dishes such as seared island fish, tamago, miso soup, steamed rice, fried seaweed and pickled vegetables; sweet potato and Portuguese sausage hash with poached eggs and marinated hearts of palm; or the traditional "Loco Moco" breakfast with a sunny-side-up fried egg, white rice and hamburger patty topped with gravy. The signature breakfast dish is chocolate milk-dipped haupia (how-pee-YAH) bread French toast stuffed with bananas and peanut butter. (Haupia is a traditional coconut-milk based sweet pudding.) And 100 percent Kona press pot coffee is the favorite morning beverage.
Lunch features American favorites with a twist: an Angus chuck burger with avocado, shaved radish, and Maui onion-tomato jam; Kālua roasted pulled pork sandwich in steamed rice buns; crab and lobster rolls with wasabi mayo and cucumber; and sustainable catch fish tacos with slaw and salsa.
At dinner, sustainable fish roasted in the wood-burning oven is a signature entrée, as well as whole, salt-crusted catch for two, cracked open tableside. "The salt seals in moisture and flavors, and the fish steams without drying – and makes a dramatic presentation," said Callarac.
Signature starter is a bigeye tuna and sea asparagus poke "martini," also finished tableside. Other small bites include steamed manilla clams with smoked pork belly, lemongrass and espelette pepper; Hamakua mushroom tart with baby arugula, coriander crème fraiche and Parmesan; grilled jumbo shrimp with hearts of palm; and an apple banana and Maui onion soup au gratin.
Main dishes range from a seafood stew with lotus root, vadouvan (French curry), herb aioli and croutons to a grilled New York strip with creamed Swiss chard, soufflé potatoes and poivrade sauce. Of course, grilled lobster (from a farm on the Big Island) is on the menu, served with vanilla sauce and a Korean pancake. For vegetarians, there's goat cheese ravioli with local baby vegetable stew.
A daily, four-course, prix fixe showcases cuisines from around the globe, such as the "Japanese Influence" with Peking duck salad with scallion pancake, miso-glazed shutome (swordfish) with jasmine rice and mochi ice cream with green tea cookies. Other prix fixe menus include Polynesian, Korean, Portuguese, Latin, traditional and new influences.
AMA'AMA' features more than a dozen cocktails, including the KonaRed Lemon Drop with Ketel One Citroen Vodka, fresh lemon juice, organic agave nectar and KonaRed superfruit antioxidant juice, and a classic Tropical Mai Tai with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, amaretto and tropical juices topped with a float of Myers's Original Dark Rum. There also are wines by the glass and bottle.
Sweet endings are classics with flair, such as a Floating Island with guava, strawberry and lychee sorbet; coconut panna cotta with chilled passion fruit broth and green tea tuile; and pineapple tarte tartin with caramel cream.
Breakfast costs $7-$21; lunch, $8-$24; dinner entrées $31-$53.
Makahiki – The Bounty of the IslandsWhile 'AMA'AMA has the natural beauty of the ocean just steps away, the interior of Makahiki, showcases beautiful works by local artists, from paintings to glass art. In the entry, artists Butch Helemano and James Rumford collaborated to convey the story of the Makahiki season of peace, play and renewal. (The Makahiki season is the traditional Hawaiian celebration of the harvest.) Rumford sketched the designs and wrote texts for Helemano's wood carvings that illustrate the sights and events of the Makahiki season. Also in the restaurant, artists Al Lagunero and Solomon Enos collaborated on a mural that depicts feasting and gaming. As day turns to night, the restaurant lighting gradually turns from rose to indigo with the setting of the sun.
With a buffet that's open daily for breakfast and dinner, the spirit of the Makahiki is celebrated in the fresh and flavorful cuisine.
Starting with breakfast, the spread includes everything from a simple Continental offering to a Western breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, potatoes, pancakes, waffles, French toast – even baked beans with barbecued ham. The Chinese/Japanese buffet has soy milk, dim sum, crispy dough, wok-fried noodles, seared island fish, tamago, greens, miso soup, steamed rice, dried seaweed and pickled vegetables.
For youngsters, the "Keiki Corner" features fruit, yogurt, granola, waffles, pancakes, baked chicken strips, scrambled eggs, sausage, turkey bacon, frittatas, breakfast pastries and chocolate milk-dipped Haupia bread French Toast stuffed with bananas and peanut butter.
Favorite Disney characters celebrate with diners at "Aunty's Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki" on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays.
Breakfast is served from 7-11 a.m. Cost is $32, $18 ages 9 and under.
The casual dinner buffet features line-caught sustainable seafood, fresh salads with local greens, rotating carving stations, Asian-inspired entrees and house-made desserts.
"Our goal is to get as much as we can from the local farmers," said Callarac.
A melting pot of cultures, the expansive buffet features starters from a Nicoise salad to cheeses, lobster bisque and cioppino. On ice, shrimp, marinated squid, scallops, mussels, lobster and tiger prawns showcase the abundance of seafood.
Entrees might include sustainable catch in banana leaves, seafood paella, grille poke, roast duck with plum sauce and chicken wrapped in seaweed. For Asian flavors, there's sushi and sashimi, Chinese pork buns, fried noodles, dim sum and wok-fried seasonal vegetables.
The grill heats up with chicken wings, pork chops, Asian-spiced lamb chops, sausages and assorted satay, while live-action stations feature pastas with vegetables, meatballs, clam stew, Portuguese sausage, and carved meats or fish.
"Keiki Corner" for youngsters offers macaroni and bay shrimp salad, chicken and sweet corn salad, finger sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, crudités, pasta Lai, hot dogs, mini burgers, grilled mini steak, fish dog, pizza on a stick, Asian chicken strips, grilled chicken breast, spaghetti pizza, carved ham, macaroni & cheese with fresh peas, seasonal local fare such as poin fritters.
And there are plenty of sweets, such as chocolate brownies, no-sugar-added mango cheesecake, guava cupcakes, pineapple-coconut cobbler, molten chocolate cake, banana cream puffs and coconut bars.
Hours are from 5-10 p.m. daily. Cost is $43; $21 ages 9 and under.
Off the Hook
Next door to 'AMA'AMA near the ocean is Off the Hook, inspired by a fisherman's seaside shack, decorated with makau, or fish hooks, cowry-shell lures, shark-tooth knives and specially carved fish-shaped stones.
Open daily from 11 a.m. for tropical drinks and small bites, Off the Hook's signature is the Feast of the Sea platter, a build-your-own taste of the islands with oysters, prawns, clams, Keahole lobster and Kona abalone. Also on the menu are hamachi and ahi sashimi, prawns satay on sugar cane skewers, Kobe beef sliders, Peking duck flatbread, cheeses and a dessert sampler.
A colorful school of fish swims above the bar, which serves creative cocktails including a Wild Hibiscus Royale Sparkling wine cocktail, Island Red Sangria, a Pineapple Papaya Cosmo and Big Island Iced Tea. Non-alcoholic drinks range from a passion colada to a pineapple ginger splash. There's beer on draft – Big Wave Golden Ale, Fire Rock Pale Ale, Longboard Island Lager, or the seasonal Aloha Series. And every day there's an 'ike mua, or "discovery drink of the day."
Also near 'AMA'AMA , One Paddle, Two Paddle offers quick-service sandwiches and wraps, and housemade desserts. Lava Shack, across from the Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon, serves a traditional an "plate lunch" of cold fried chicken, meats and cheese or chilled miso-glazed salmon. Pāpālua Shave Ice is on the pool deck, and Rip Curl Yogurt Bar at the Laniwai Spa offers yogurt with fresh fruit and other toppings.
At opening, private dining is available 6 a.m.-midnight, later expanding to 24 hours. The menu features Hawaii-inspired specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
KO OLINA, Hawaii - Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa celebrates the history and culture of the Hawaiian islands with a design that seamlessly melds the traditional with the contemporary. It also showcases one of the largest collections of contemporary Hawaiian art in the islands."Disney is about storytelling," said Bo Bolanos, principal concept designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. "With Aulani, we combine the beauty of storytelling and family – elements important to Hawaiian culture and to Disney – with a touch of magic."
The goal was to create a project that honors and respects Hawaiian culture … and inspires guests to go see the rest of the islands, said Bolanos. "The culture is a living culture," he explained. "With Aulani, we are telling you the story of Hawaii – from the mountains to the ocean – through the eyes of Disney, weaving together culture, art, legends, stories and places with a basis in history, but with current interpretations and an eye to the future."
During the design of Aulani, Walt Disney Imagineering studied the culture and history, and worked with local Hawaiian cultural advisers, including Auntie Nettie Tiffany, whose family has cared for the nearby area called Lanikūhonua, and who is now the kahu, or guardian, for Ko Olina on the island of Oahu, where Aulani is located.
Together, the architecture and landscaping immerse guests in the story, as Walt Disney Imagineering Landscape Architect Jeff Morosky explains. "Aulani is a marriage of resort architecture, site topography, geology, landscape, water, wind, solar patterns . . . We analyzed all of that, understanding that the Hawaiian theory of living with the aina, or land, is a critical part of island life," Morosky said.
The ahupuaa is the traditional division of land, extending from the top of the mountain to the sea, encompassing all the resource zones that families needed to thrive. Through both landscape and architecture, Aulani incorporates this important cultural idea in its design, with the lobby area as the mountaintop, the Waikolohe Valley below, extending out to the Pacific Ocean. (Wai is the word for freshwater, and kolohe means "mischievous.")
Aulani exemplifies state-of-the art resort design, but with an impressive amount of fantasy.
"The resulting design is deliberately architectural, an inspiration for the future, but a way to pay tribute to a rich culture that is still very much alive today," said Bolanos, the concept designer.
In fact, Aulani is the first resort tower in the islands to honor Hawaiian architecture and symbols throughout, paying homage to the culture. "The adze bracket, a traditional chiseling tool, for instance, is used symbolically throughout the resort as a metaphor of transforming a natural material into a manmade product – just like it was used in the early days to transform wood into a canoe or a piece of furniture…from the beams in the porte-cochere to canopies and trellises," Bolanos said.
The Story Begins as Guests Arrive
Beautifully designed with a balance between the manmade structures and natural surroundings, Aulani relates to the environment and design traditions of the islands. At the resort's entry is a loi kalo (taro terrace) embodying the important cultural and spiritual ties of the people to the land, each other and 'ohana. Kalo is believed to have the greatest life force of all foods and is an important staple from early times to the present. "This loi kalo near the front door says something unique about Aulani," said Morosky, the landscape architect. "It's a manifestation of such an important part of Hawaiian life – not only to guests, but to the local community."
From traditional to contemporary, art is an integral part of the story and the Aulani architecture. With more than 50 pieces decorating the resort, including oils, acrylics and watercolors, batik on silk, sculptures, wood carving, and bas relief, Aulani showcases one of the largest collections of contemporary Hawaiian art in the islands.
"Aulani is a living gallery just like Hawaii is a living culture," Bolanos said.
The resort's most dramatic interior space is the Makaala, the grand, open-air lobby where layers of meaning begin to be revealed. (Makaala means "eyes wide open" and "alert.")
"The more you look, the more you see," said Bolanos. A rock outcropping forms the lobby's foundation, anchoring the sleek porte-cochere that transitions to a flooring of coral and lava stone. A dramatic view westward to the ocean is directly across from the entry; on each side is flowing water, one a rushing stream, the other tranquil.
"This reflects the idea in Hawaiian culture that there is a symbolic balance and harmony of masculine and feminine elements, the two streams joining in a waterfall that cascades into the gardens toward the beach," Bolanos continued. Also in the lobby, a mural along one wall reflects the masculine theme while one along the other wall features a feminine theme.
"There are so many patterns, stories and layers," said Bolanos, "all part of the philosophy of maka'ala."
Stories Throughout the Resort
Aulani's Waikolohe Valley was inspired by Oahu's Mānoa Valley, with the tall walls of the surrounding resort creating the "edges" of the valley. Morosky explains: "We created a place with broad canopy and flowering trees, a forest setting with water woven through the garden. The valley is rich and lush with trees and shrubs, transitioning out to the beach with palm trees, more sunlight and long views out to the water." The setting is ideal for Aulani recreation, including a 321,000-gallon swimming area, a children's interactive water-play area, a snorkel lagoon, a conservation lagoon with stingrays and other local species, a kids' club, spa, lounges and restaurants.
Construction techniques also create a history lesson, taking inspiration from the building traditions indigenous to Oahu. "In Waikolohe Valley, we took references from Hawaii's railings, bridge structures and aquaducts . . . some of the walls along the Waikolohe Stream represent stone construction along the canals in Honolulu," Morosky explained. "The Menehune Bridge children's water play area is made to look like timbers of `Ōhi`a wood, a legendary tree that is native to Hawaii."
The art of Hawaiian lashing, a centuries-old construction technique that uses a braided or twisted cord instead of nails, is showcased throughout the resort. One of the most visible structures that uses lashing is at the 'AMA'AMA entry and main dining area. "Nobody has done this sort of construction at this scale for more than 100 years," said Bolanos. "We found an older craftsman who does traditional lashing to work with us."
Bolanos compares the architectural detail to the Arts & Crafts design philosophy in the U.S. made famous by such luminaries as Greene & Greene in the late 1800s. "How the wood pieces come together, the trellises, canopies, big beams, it's all very articulate and refined."
And while rockwork and much of the structures are manmade materials, Hawaii's beautiful natural elements are used as finishing touches. "For instance, we didn't want to disturb nature by collecting stones," Morosky said. "Rocks and stones are considered to have spirits and are living, so we tried to be respectful of natural resources." When the site was excavated, Disney saved the coral boulders and placed them along the beachfront walkway as places to sit and gather.
The Imagineers had fun with the oceanfront restaurants and lounges, crafting a whimsical story of a fishing family that fell in love with the land in the 1890s and built the first structure (Off the Hook lounge) where they lived. As the family grew, they built a second hale, or thatched-roof dwelling, from the 1910 era, then two more buildings ('AMA'AMA and One Paddle Two Paddle). "The story goes that when Disney developed the property, these four 'historic' buildings, built up until the 1930s, were here," said Bolanos. "Again, it's our tribute to Hawaiian culture with an eye to the future."
Bolanos and Morosky agree that the resort rings true in both its details and overall design – and that as the landscape grows and the buildings mature, Aulani will become even more beautiful.
"What we've accomplished based on history only will get better with age," Morosky said.
KO OLINA, Hawaii - The legacy of Hawaiian artistry is celebrated at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, with one of the world's largest private collections of contemporary Hawaiian art displayed throughout the resort.
"Every piece of art is part of a larger Hawaiian story, as told by Hawaiian artists," said Joe Rohde, senior vice president and creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. More than 50 pieces decorate the hotel, including oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings; batik on silk; sculptures; wood carvings, kapa and bas relief.
Among the highlights:
KO OLINA, O'AHU, Hawai'i - Inspired by the Hawaiians' deep relationship with nature, which is embodied in the term, mālama 'āina, or "care of the land," designers implemented a broad array of green technologies and elements that promote sustainability, energy efficiency and eco-consciousness at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.
"Early Hawaiian society was founded on the principal of kuleana," said Joe Rohde, vice president and executive designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. "Kuleana means that you are here now because, seven generations ago, someone was mindful enough to care about you, the future generation, and made sure that you would have what you needed not only to survive but to thrive."
With that philosophy as the guide, here are some ways that green technologies and philosophies have been implemented at Aulani.
Guests Can Participate In Conservation
KO OLINA, Hawai'i - At Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, guests are entertained throughout the day with games, music, parties and a full menu of activities that celebrate the traditional and contemporary culture of Hawaii.
Aulani is a place for fun, relaxation and learning, with a talented and knowledgeable cast on hand to entertain and instruct with a touch of Disney magic.
Many of the activities and some resort entertainment are hosted by Aunty and Uncle, the warm and welcoming heads of the Aulani ohana (family). A day at Aulani might begin with "Aunty's Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki," where a delightful tropical breakfast buffet is served. Several days each week, Aunty welcomes resort guests and favorite Disney characters to celebrate the spirit of the islands, its people and culture with music, dancing and activities.
Throughout the day, Aulani offers a selection of experiences targeted to specific age groups or the entire family. Families may learn how to make poi or carve pineapple. They may learn the Hawaiian art form of the hula in a range of programs, including special premium offerings, "Ohana Hula" and "E Hula Mai 'Oe," conducted by a local practitioner who will instruct guests and help them gain a deeper understanding of the hula and its place in the culture and history of Hawaii.
Families also may gather poolside for a "Shake-A-Shaka Pool Party," featuring surfer games, activities, dancing and surprise appearances by Disney characters. Or they may encounter Disney characters around the resort for a playful good time, local style, in "Aloha Fun with your Disney Friends."
Younger children may choose to visit Aunty's Beach House, where "Disney Junior Aloha" features dancing, games, crafting and cartoons. Aunty shares Hawaiian tales of mystery, fun and magic in "Aunty's Once Upon an Island." The Professor, one of Aunty's neighbors, might stop by to demonstrate "Eruption Disruption Volcanic Science" or his formula for "Stitch's Space Goo." There are many more fun opportunities for youngsters at Aunty's Beach House, including cooking and rainy-day movies in Uncle's Study, where it may magically begin raining even when the sun is shining.
Teens and tweens will want to spend time on the beach with activities such as the "Island Beach Challenge," with fun, team-based games and a scavenger hunt. In "Island Treasure Photo Hunt," participants explore Aulani, capturing signature iconic elements on film and competing to win keys that might unlock a treasure chest full of surprises. And in the evening, "Kilo Hōkū" offers a stargazing experience focusing on ancient Polynesian navigation by the heavens.
While the younger members of the family are having their own fun, adult activities at Aulani will include live music in the lounges and restaurants and guided "Maka 'Ika" (to make a tour) of the Hawaiian art, nature and wildlife that give the resort its unique character. And, of course, there's always quiet relaxation around one of the Aulani pools.
As evening falls, special Hawaiian celebrations and storytelling take center stage. Nighttime entertainment includes:
KO OLINA, O'AHU, Hawai'i - Aulani is about discovery and fun, including entertaining ways to practice your Hawaiian language skills. In The 'Ōlelo Room lounge, most everything is labeled with Hawaiian terms. And if guests need a little help, the bartenders all speak Hawaiian.
Appropriately named, 'Ōlelo (pronounced oh-leh-low) is the Hawaiian word for "word, language or to converse," making it the ideal place to enjoy becoming more conversant in Hawaiian. When guests look down, they'll see papahele, the Hawaiian word for floor, spelled out in beautiful tile work. Dozens of shadow boxes above the bar display wooden carvings of everyday objects labeled with their Hawaiian language terms: for instance, mokulele is airplane, wa'a is canoe, he'e is octopus, pu'uwai is heart.
Located in the main building on the lower level, the lounge has a design inspired by the "streamline moderne" style of the 1940s, emphasizing curving forms and long horizontal lines. The pub-like spot offers cocktails and small plates, as well as a daily continental breakfast.
Cool starters include pristine sashimi, ahi poke, a fresh shrimp summer roll and a cheese platter with both domestic and imported cheeses with Lehua honey and sweet pohā berry compote. Hot plates include steamed Manila clams with Portuguese sausage and sweet gypsy peppers, squid rings, Kobe beef sliders and sweet potato fries. For a sweet ending, the miniature dessert sampler features chocolate mousse with a toasted brownie, coconut panna cotta with braised pineapple and macadamia nut cheesecake with guava pate de fruit.
Delightful cocktails such as the wild hibiscus sparkling Champagne, eco-tini, tropical mai tai and Big Island iced tea are among more than a dozen specialty drinks. If you prefer non-alcoholic, go for the pineapple ginger splash, passion colada, sparkling island spice cooler and/or liliko'i splash. Beer fans can choose from four local drafts: Big Wave Golden Ale, Fire Rock Pale Ale, Longboard Island Lager or the seasonal Aloha Series, as well as a selection of bottled beers.
More words you'll find at 'Ōlelo:
And some word pronunciations you might need to know at Aulani:
KO OLINA, O'AHU, Hawai'i - The vibrant heart of the Aulani resort is the Waikolohe Valley, an exciting and colorful oasis filled with thrilling experiences, creative designs and a magical invitation for guests: Come and play!
With all the beauty and wonder of a natural Hawaiian valley, Waikolohe Valley is the recreational center of the resort. Nestled between Aulani's two towers and flowing from the lobby down to the beachfront, it is home to pools, whirlpool spas and interactive water play areas. Waikolohe also is the name of the meandering, mischievous stream that runs through this valley.
Waikolohe, which is Hawaiian for "mischievous water," offers a playful nod to some refreshing surprises. Many of those surprises will unfold along the banks of a lazy river which carries tube-riding adventurers on a journey of discovery through the valley's eye-catching lava outcropping called Pu'u Kilo.
In Waikolohe Stream, water slides twist in and out of the rock formations, taking guests on a ride through caverns and past "mischievous" fountain springs that surprise explorers with a bit of "refreshment." Occasional hot springs blow off a little steam, too. In upholding a Disney and Hawaiian tradition that will play out in every aspect of the resort, there will be more to these lava formations than meets the eye.
A highlight of the Valley for the young and young-at-heart will be the interactive water play area known as the Menehune Bridge. The legendary Hawaiian Menehune (pronounced men-neh-who-neh), are said to be shy, diminutive beings who are gifted craftspeople, adept at building everything from temples to canoes. The Menehune Bridge brings the legend to life, featuring Menehune as statues … or perhaps frozen in plain sight in the act of cavorting, spilling and shooting water to the delight of even Aulani's littlest guests.
Waikolohe Valley is also home to the Waikolohe and Wailana Pools, the private poolside cabanas, four whirlpool spas and Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon. Amenities within the Valley include the Lava Shack for quick food service, and the Papalua Shave Ice station.
In addition to reflecting the legends of Hawaii, the Waikolohe Valley magically mimics the Hawaiian landscape: wetter and more forested at the high end nearer the mountains, drier and more open as it approaches the sea.
With lava formations, hot springs that blow off steam and misty caverns, the Waikolohe Valley landscape was designed by Disney Imagineers to appear as if it has been here for many, many years.
"What you can see right along this very stretch of coastline on Oahu is that, as the lava flowed hundreds of thousands of years ago, it cooled rapidly as it hit the sea, piling up on itself and creating fantastic shapes," said Imagineer Joe Rohde, who grew up on Oahu. "That's the inspiration behind the rock formations that shape our recreation area.
"We wanted the rock you come across here to appear to be the very rock that would be coming up out of the ground, as if it was real, only ours will be ever-so-slightly magical."
KO OLINA, O'AHU, Hawai'i - A relaxing family vacation with young children is easier than ever at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on the island of Oahu. Whether it's splashing around at the pool with toddlers, building sand castles on the beach, or having a magical encounter with Mickey Mouse, children are entertained and engaged with whimsy around every corner at the new oceanfront resort.
A host of child-friendly amenities and enhanced services make this destination resort an ideal choice for young families. Here are some tips for a hassle-free getaway:
KO OLINA, O'AHU, Hawai'i - Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa beckons guests of every age to find the Hawaiian vacation of their dreams. In beautiful and relaxing surroundings infused with the stories and surprises of Hawaii, guests may discover whatever they hope to find in the islands: adventure, romance, tradition and fun.
Overlooking a beautiful beachfront lagoon less than an hour from Waikiki on Oahu, Aulani has been imaginatively designed to embrace time-honored Hawaiian traditions, inviting dreamers from everywhere to savor their time together. From the moment guests arrive at the resort, they will be enchanted by unique surroundings that pay tribute to the authentic arts of Hawaii and the melding of earth and architecture in one special place. And with Disney magic sprinkled throughout, guests will encounter a vacation paradise uniquely designed for families.
Each day of their stay, Aulani Guests will be able to customize their experiences – relaxing on the beach or in the Laniwai Spa, splashing through the pools and water play areas of the Waikolohe Valley, or discovering the island on specially planned excursions. Among the unique experiences at Aulani are the Fireside Mo'olelo for storytelling (mo'olelo is the Hawaiian word for story), and spotting statues of Menehune (the legendary island little people known to accomplish marvelous feats of construction), hidden throughout the resort.
Ohana means family
With that special magic only Disney can provide, Aulani draws families into fun experiences that bring everyone together, from movie nights under the stars to explorations of the Menehune Adventure Trail. Families can enjoy lei making, hula dancing and learning a Hawaiian sunset chant, all under the guidance of local artists and guides. At night, the beachside fire pit comes to life as storytellers speak and sing ancient tales of the islands.
For mealtimes, there are full-service restaurants, buffets and quick-serve locations.
The creators of Aulani knew that some guests would like to explore beyond the resort, too. Excursions can be booked to sail aboard catamarans, swim with dolphins, cook with local chefs, surf the North Shore and more. Many excursions are specially designed for Aulani guests and feature knowledgeable and friendly Adventure Guides.
Hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas have been thoughtfully planned to cater to the needs of a family vacation, with refrigerators, flat panel televisions and wireless Internet access. Guests will want to look for the hidden Mickeys. Moms and dads don't have to worry about kids setting down wet glasses: it won't affect the already "distressed" look of tables inspired by traditional Hawaiian craftsmanship. And, for those who brought just a bit too much luggage, there's a hiding place for suitcases under the bed.
For the grown and almost grown
Aulani has special fun, excitement and vacation relaxation for adults and teens. They can start the day with beachside yoga that rejuvenates the soul, then rent a private poolside cabana offering unique amenities and world-class Disney service. Active adults and teens may prefer Aulani recreation programs. For evening relaxation, sunset-facing hot tubs beckon.
Also enticing is Laniwai, a Disney Spa. For adults, Laniwai is a haven of tranquility in 18,000 square feet of space, with 15 treatment rooms, a fitness center and the 5,000-square-foot outdoor Kula Wai hydrotherapy garden, the only one of its kind on Oahu. For teens there is Painted Sky, a spa specially designed just for them with a yogurt bar, computer access, mixology station and a menu of treatments.
Romantic dinners can be enjoyed away from the little ones in the beachside 'AMA'AMA restaurant or Off The Hook lounge. Guests will savor the local flavors with fresh fish and cuisine grown by local farmers. Couples may want to complete their day with a sunset celebration or stroll along the ocean's edge.
Aunty knows best
Children – known as keiki in Hawaii – can leave their elders and their flip-flops at the door as they enter the cozy world of Aunty's Beach House, a signature Disney kids' club. Aunty is related by affection rather than by blood or adoption and her house generally is considered one of the best and safest hang-out spots. She and uncle always have a lot of stories to share about the old days when she was a keiki, and she knows a lot about modern day kids, too. Younger guests will learn the hula, create Hawaiian arts and crafts, play games with favorite Disney characters and enjoy a laid-back movie afternoon when it "rains."
Aunty's Beach House is designed for children ages 3 to 12. Special tween programs also are offered through Aunty's Beach House.
When the mischievous waters call, tweens to toddlers will find themselves drawn to the Waikolohe Stream and the Menehune Bridge. They won't be able to resist the lure of the Waikolohe Valley water slides and a float down twisting Waikolohe Stream on an inner tube. The enchanting Menehune Bridge invites children of all ages to search for the mysterious little builders hidden within this delightful structure.
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