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Aulani, at Ko Olina, Hawaii Archives

October 22, 2013

More Magic and Water Fun Added to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Hawaii

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New Ka Maka Landing and Ulu Cafe Welcome Guests with a Spectacular Pool and Poolside Dining Options

KO OLINA, Hawaii, Oct. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning October 19, 2013, Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, will welcome guests to explore a stunning new expansion of its popular Waikolohe Valley water play area: Ka Maka Landing. The new enhancement features a spectacular infinity pool with a realistic grotto, a dynamic fun splash zone for smaller kids, and a new location for poolside and beachside dining.

The expansion comes just two years after the resort first opened to guests on the island of Oahu and responds to the most enthusiastic request Aulani guests have made during their stays: more water fun and more food options to enjoy.

To help celebrate the opening on the new Ka Maka Landing, the resort has launched a special offer: 4 nights for the price of 3, plus free breakfast for two adults per day at the new Ulu Cafe. This special offer is available to book now until January 15, 2014, and is for guests who stay four consecutive nights between January 5, 2014 and April 7, 2014. To purchase the vacation package, travelers can call toll-free (866) 309-2384 or contact their local travel agent. Guests may also go online to learn more and purchase the vacation package at www.DisneyAulani.com.

"With the spectacular response Aulani received after opening, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to expand Aulani's enchanting Waikolohe Valley," explains Jeanette Lomboy, executive producer for Aulani, Walt Disney Imagineering. "In keeping with the rest of the resort, we integrated Hawaiian culture, stories and artistry into the design of the new pool area and restaurant to create an inspiring new environment for our guests."

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. The name "Waikolohe" -- Hawaiian for "mischievous water" -- offers a playful nod to some refreshing surprises for guests as they float along a lazy river through the valley's eye-catching lava outcropping called Pu'u Kilo.

The new pool, splash zone and additional deck space will extend the sun and water fun to the very edge of the resort property, with the new pool's "infinity edge" overlooking the adjoining lagoon. A highlight of the new family pool is an enchanting grotto that provides a relaxing view of the sunset over the Pacific. After dark, a starscape of glimmering lights appear on the grotto ceiling.

Even Aulani's littlest guests have a place to splash around in at the new Ka Maka Landing. Keiki Cove, Aulani's tide-pool-themed water play area geared towards toddlers, is a fun and safe spot where visiting tykes can cool off in a series of low-pressure water jets that gush up from below. Keiki Cove's water jets are provided courtesy of a friendly he'e, or octopus, whose large tentacles stretch out across the cove floor in a bright and friendly blue mosaic

Also open at the resort is a new food service location. Ulu Cafe is a poolside quick service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a variety of grab and go options as well as hot entrees, daily sandwiches and soups, and specialty coffee and soft drinks.

Along with the water play and dining additions, the recent expansion provides a new, larger lawn location for events, weddings and the nighttime guest favorite, the Starlit Hui show.

September 18, 2011

Aulani Showcases One of the World’s Largest Private Collections Of Contemporary Hawaiian Art

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:

  • Three carved ki’i, or images, depicting the three brothers of the demi-god and folk hero Maui grace the resort’s entryway. (The word ki’i appears as “tiki” elsewhere in Polynesia.) , The ki’i are the combined works of three generations of local artists: master carvers Rocky Jensen, Pat Pine and Jordan Souza. Jensen, the celebrated carver who still works with a ko’i or adze, created the more traditional ki’i. Pine, the second oldest of the group, created a more modern and contemporary ki’i. Souza, the youngest contributor, celebrates the untold possibilities of the future in his work. By uniting their talents, these three artists have created a powerful work that is essentially timeless.
  • Master carver Rocky Jensen also created three powerful ki’i at the entryway of the lobby. As guests enter, they are flanked by a ki’i representing masculinity on the right, and a ki’i representing femininity on the left. The two images pay respect to ancestors. The third piece, topped with the image of the ‘io, or Hawaiian hawk, represents the many generations of Hawaiian people who descended from these ancestors.
  • The backdrop for the front desk will feature an impressive collage, “Rainbow Wall,” created by students in kindergarten through Grade 12 from across Hawaii. Each was asked to capture the essence of the islands in a photograph focusing on a single color. The 138 photos combine to exemplify the beauty of the islands " flowers, plants, animals and places " in brilliant shades of green, red, purple, pink, red, blue, orange and yellow. The mural was done in conjunction with the Hawaii Arts Alliance and the State of Hawaii, Creative Industries Division.
  • The lobby mural by Martin Charlot is divided into masculine and feminine sections, outlining the works of men and women in traditional Hawaiian life. The painting hangs beneath kapa-style bands that run along the walls of the lobby, each representative of the sea, land and sky, further divided into masculine and feminine sides.
  • The kapa bands that run along the walls of the lobby are the work of Dalani Tanahy. Each ban represents one of the three realms: land, sea and sky. These sections are further divided into distinct masculine and feminine sides. The masculine bands represent Kū, a god of many domains who often is associated with masculinity and male power. The feminine bands represent Hina, the goddess often associated with femininity and tranquility.
  • “Pele and Hi’iaka” acrylic mural in the lobby’s transverse corridor arch by Doug Tolentino shows a trio of powerful gods. Pele, goddess of fire, sits in the canoe next to her favorite sister, Hi’iakaikapoliopele. Their brother, the god Kamao’oali’i, uses his shark form to serve as their guide and protector. Together, the trio makes a voyage across the seas. Hi’iakaikapoliopele means “Hi’iaka in the bosom of Pele”; when Pele and her clan made the original voyage to Hawai’i from Kahiki, Hi’aka was unborn, existing only as an unhatched egg and held close to her heart.
  • At the other end of the lobby corridor, Doug Tolentino’s painting of “Kanaloa and Kāne” portrays two of the major gods of Hawaiian beliefs. Mo’olelo, or stories, tell of the two venturing across Oahu and creating many natural water sources along the way. Kanaloa, ever on the search for a source of water to mix awa with, asks Kāne to pierce the land with his digging stick and bring forth life-giving water. From their adventures come Oahu’s freshwater springs.
  • Also in the lobby, a map of Oahu was created and given to Aulani by the children of nearby Nānāikapono Elementary School with the guidance of local artist and educator Meleanna Meyer. Students were asked to illustrate pictures of their favorite places on the island, and the images were placed on the map " a testament to Hawaii’s keiki, or children, and their strong sense of place.
  • Near the grand staircase that leads to Makahiki " The Bounty of the Island restaurant, local artist Mark Chai created a series of sculptures that capture the sense of play that is so important to Hawaiian cultures. One sculpture is of papa holua, or Hawaiian sled, for racing down mountainsides. Another sculpture is inspired by the Hawaiian board game similar to checkers, called kōnan. A third is a lupe, or Hawaiian kite. Each sculpture is made from recycled materials, emphasizing the Hawaiian aloha ‘āina, or love of land.
  • In the entry to Makahiki " The Bounty of the Islands restaurant, artists Butch Helemano and James Rumford collaborated to convey the story of the Makahiki season of peace, play and renewal. (The “Makahiki season” was the ancient Hawaiian New Year festival.) Rumford sketched the designs and wrote texts for Helemano’s wood carvings that illustrate the sights and events of the Makahiki season. One carving shows an ahupua’a, a stone pillar capped with the image of a boar that marks the boundaries between island districts. (Offerings were placed on the pillars during Makahiki.)
  • At Nā Pua Place, local painter Brooke Parker gives a clear view of the traditional ahupua’a, the land divisions that run from the mountains to the sea. By dividing the islands into these slices of land, Hawaiians of old made sure that every community had access to all the varied resources the island had to provide. Farmers of the uplands would share their crops with the fishermen of the seaside and receive gifts in return. Aulani is designed like an ahupua’a, with the lobby as mauka, or mountainside, and the Waikolohe Valley below running out to the sea.
  • On the exterior of the two towers, bas relief sculptures rise 15 stories. One, by Carl Pao, takes a Hawaiian oli " an aloha or welcome chant " composed by fellow artist and musician Doug Tolentino and interprets the words into a visual design. The chant speaks about the rising and setting of the sun and moon " and one bas relief faces towards the West, the other towards the East. Traditional Hawaiian concepts of balance between masculine and feminine, night and day, and sun and moon are echoed.
  • Also on the building exteriors, bas relief sculptures by Harinani Orme show an outrigger canoe on the open ocean, a vital mode of transportation in day-to-day life in Hawaiian history. Celestial bodies in the sky above the canoe represent the importance of the sun and moon as navigational tools. Another Orme bas relief is a tribute to the goddess Hina " a kind and nurturing figure known and beloved throughout Polynesia " towering over the Waikolohe Valley. Orme depicts Hina with her kapa tools laid out before her. A third bas relief by Orme stands at the end of the Waikolohe Valley opposite the Hina bas relief depicting Hina’s son, the demi-god Māui. Orme layers detail after detail of Māui’s exploits in the mural. One tale has Māui lassoing the sun to slow the speed of its journey across the sky, lengthening the days. Another has Māui flying the first kite. The most popular story details his attempt to capture a strong and magical fish which could unite the islands.

Hawaiian Artistry Combines with Disney Fun in Aulani Room Décor

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.

September 17, 2011

Aulani Architecture, Landscape Blend Magic of Disney, Splendor of Hawaii

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.

Escape With Signature Treatments at Laniwai Spa, Aulani

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.”

Inside Laniwai

  • 15 treatment rooms including a couples room and a flex room for treatments for two-plus guests, including families.
  • Treatments include body polish, vitality baths, massage, body treatments, facials, outdoor treatments.
  • Signature therapies include Lomilomi massage incorporating lomilomi “pressure point” sticks and warm river stones; and Kilikili, including exfoliation and massage with coconut oil under streaming jets of warm waters.
  • Signature exfoliations, body cocoons.
  • Dressing rooms for men and women include eucalyptus-infused steam, dry sauna and relaxation room. Also a separate space for co-ed relaxation.

Kula Wai Hydrotherapy Garden

  • The only outdoor hydrotherapy garden in O’ahu features herbal pools, reflexology path, six rain showers, cold and hot whirlpools. Blend your own body polish.
  • Signature treatment Kilikili (meaning “fine gentle rain”), offered in Lilinoe rainwater suite. Includes a body polish followed by Lomilomi massage with coconut oil under warm, gentle rain.
  • “Nature’s Soaks,” 25-minute vitality baths infused with flowers, fruits, herbs and oils.

Mikimiki Fitness Center

  • Open 24 hours. No charge for resort guests 14 and older.
  • Life Fitness cardiovascular and strength training equipment.
  • Kinesis machine, free weights.
  • Classes including yoga, beach workouts, aquatic exercise, meditation, tai chi.

Painted Sky Teen Spa

  • 1,500-square-foot spa for ages 13 and older.
  • Includes a yogurt bar, relaxation area, computer station, D.I.Y Iliahi mixology bar (do it yourself) to blend personalized Hawaiian body polishes, perfume and face masques.
  • Daily programs and a special teen treatment room for manicures, pedicures, facials and massages.

Full-Service Salon

  • Four manicure, four pedicure, two hair stations.
  • Make-up for all ages.
  • Treatments for youth.

September 16, 2011

Aulani Builds on Hawaiian Spirit of Caring for Land With Green Technologies, Design Elements


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.


Construction Conservation

  • Disney architects used a “cool roof” technology, which reflects the infrared spectrum back into the atmosphere, reducing the roof temperature and helping to keep buildings cool. Also, Aulani features organic “green roofs” above the spa fitness center and the kitchen at ‘AMA’AMA. The green roofs increase energy efficiency by deflecting the infrared spectrum and providing natural shade.
  • Imagineers selected “certified wood” for use through much of the resort. For the wood to earn certification, forest managers address a range of environmental aspects, including sustainable harvest levels and prompt forest regeneration.
  • Elevators are energy efficient, using nearly one-third less energy than traditional elevators. They also don’t require petroleum-based lubricants, based on fossil fuels. Emergency stairwells have energy-saving lighting technology, with a bi-level emergency lighting that keeps stairwells illuminated with minimum code lighting at all times. When a person enters the stairwell, sensors activate and the lighting level increases.
  • In spaces such as ballrooms and meeting rooms, air quality is monitored using “demand ventilation,” a technique that measures the carbon dioxide being emitted from spaces when large numbers of guests gather. Air can be customized for the number of people in the room.
  • Heat pump technology is used to capture waste heat from air-conditioning chillers, and to repurpose it for hot water, which is then used throughout the resort. When guests turn on a hot-water faucet, part of the energy being used to heat that water is derived from the air conditioning chillers. This reduces the resort’s total water usage.
  • Heat pipes are embedded within the air-conditioning system on top of most buildings at Aulani. The pipes serve as a “superconductor,” or heat transfer mechanism, which allow fresh air to de-humidify before coming into the buildings. Sealed copper tubes span the incoming and outgoing air paths, with high conductivity that lets them transfer heat by single-phase convection. Since they don’t have mechanical moving parts, heat pipes require minimum maintenance and they help Aulani exceed the resort’s mandatory energy performance standards.
  • Aulani utilizes cooling towers to support the air conditioning and cooling systems. The towers remove the waste heat that’s generated by the building’s chillers in an effort to lower total water usage.
  • A technology known as “Variable Frequency Drive” (VFD) reduces the amount of energy that gets consumed by Aulini air-conditioning systems. VFDs are motors that respond to changing energy demands. For example, if hotel rooms are not occupied, the VFD motors automatically respond and decrease the energy demand.
  • Aulani uses only low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) or VOC-free paints and coatings, as well as only low-VOC or VOC-free adhesives and sealants. All carpets and carpet pads throughout the resort are Green Label Plus, certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute, which means they meet the stringent low-VOC or VOC-free requirements and are among the lowest emitting carpets and carpet pads.
  • Indoor air quality standards have been established for the resort by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
  • Low-flow faucets and fixtures reduce water usage.
  • The Aulani construction team successfully recycled more than half of the construction waste materials that were generated on site. Materials that were recycled included concrete, concrete masonry units, wood, metal, steel, aluminum, cardboard and glass, as well as green waste from planting materials.

Guests Can Participate In Conservation

  • Aulani has a resort-wide recycling program, including cardboard, aluminum, paper and plastic, as well as food waste. Electronics, batteries, and light bulbs also are recycled.
  • Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon and the Makai Preserve share nature up close with Guests. The preserve is home to the graceful hīhīmanu brown stingrays and other colorful creatures of the sea. “By creating these experiences for our Guests we hope to enlighten and entertain, and also raise awareness about the importance of supporting conservation here, at home and globally where the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is supporting projects,” Rohde said.
  • A lo’i kalo, or taro field, at the entry of Aulani has four varieties of kalo, grown and harvested for consumption. The field is planted, harvested and maintained by community volunteers.
  • Aulani guests can control the lighting as well as regulate the temperature of their rooms. In addition, lānai door interlocks automatically shut off the central air-conditioning when a lānai door is opened.
  • Aulani guest rooms feature compact fluorescent lights, which are four times more efficient and can last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • The parking garage also offers 34 electric car-charging stations.

Blissful Weddings with a Tropical Flair Await Couples at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


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.

Aulani Excursions Present the Wonders of Hawaii Illuminated by Disney Magic and Expert Guides

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:

  • Exploring a tropical garden to discover a beautiful waterfall
  • Hiking through an authentic Hawaiian rainforest
  • Cruising aboard a catamaran greeted by playful dolphins
  • Cooking with local celebrity chef Sam Choy
  • Learning about the art, culture and legends of Hawaii in its great museums
  • Riding horseback through a lush valley where movies and TV shows are filmed
  • Following a ghost tour of haunted island locations

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:

  • A catamaran voyage, including dolphin spotting, snorkeling and, in season, whale watching
  • Kayaking on Kailua Bay and a storytelling hike on a nearby island and bird sanctuary
  • A nighttime journey through the “haunted places” along the Waianae Coast
  • Exclusive surfing lessons from the Honolulu City Firefighters who comprise Hawaiian Fire Surf School
  • Immersive tours of the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the Bishop Museum, where Aulani excursion participants will discover the art and culture of Hawaii and be inspired to creations of their own
  • A visit to Honolulu’s Chinatown market, followed by a private cooking class featuring local and traditional specialties with famous chef Sam Choy
  • An exclusive sightseeing and storytelling adventure through the beautiful Kualoa Ranch, with its private beach, movie and television locations, and fish pond said to be constructed by the Menehune (the legendary little people of the island)
  • A visit to the North Shore of Oahu and Waimea Falls, where families will discover a lush botanical garden, ancient Hawaiian games and activities hosted by a local Aunty
  • Hiking along a hidden trail in the Manoa Valley (rich with stories of the Menehune) to a 200-foot tropical waterfall

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.

A Taste of the Islands on Menus at Aulani

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 Islands

While ‘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, grilled 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.”

Other Dining

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.

September 14, 2011

New Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Is a Family Paradise with a Touch of Disney Magic in Hawai


Guests of All Ages Will Discover the Beauty, Stories and Fun of the Islands

KO OLINA, Hawaii " Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, combines the beauty and spirit of the Hawaiian islands with the magic of Disney storytelling and guest service, creating an unforgettable family vacation experience.

Set on a beautiful lagoon along the coast of Oahu, Aulani welcomed its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011.

Aulani serves as a gateway to the fun and enchantment of the islands, noted Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

“We are thrilled to welcome guests from around the world to experience Aulani,” Staggs said. “This resort is a unique and exciting project that combines the magic and storytelling of Disney with the rich culture and beautiful scenery of Hawaii. It is the ultimate family paradise with a touch of Disney magic.”

Hawaiian heritage and Disney magic

Each day of their stay, Aulani guests can customize their experience " relaxing on the beach or in Laniwai, a Disney Spa, playing in the pools or discovering the island on a specially planned excursion. Among the unique experiences at Aulani are gathering at the fireside Mo’olelo for storytelling (mo’olelo is the Hawaiian word for story) and spotting statues of Menehune, the legendary island little people, hidden throughout the resort.

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 less than an hour from Waikiki Beach.

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.

April 22, 2011

It’s ‘Time to Add the Magic!’ at New Disney Hawaii Resort

Aulani.jpg


Island Construction Workers Join Disney Aulani Team Members
To Celebrate Construction Milestone

KO OLINA, Hawai'i, April 21, 2011 " Today, in a ceremony on the lagoon fronting the site of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai'i, local crew members from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., joined with Disney cast members (employees) to celebrate the completion of major structural work on the Disney resort and the beginning of Disney’s “time to add the magic.”

The event was a symbolic representation of the shared efforts of Disney and Hawaiian Dredging in building the new resort, which will welcome its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011. The construction crew and Aulani Disney team met on the beach to exchange gifts " lei from the construction workers to the Disney cast, and Mickey Mouse ears from the Disney cast to the construction workers. As part of the milestone moment, Hawaiian Dredging “handed over the keys” to the people who will add final detailing, theming, landscaping and all the other magical touches guests expect to find at a Disney resort.

Djuan Rivers, vice president of Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawai'i, joined with Eric Hashizume, vice president of Hawaiian Dredging and Elliot Mills, managing director of Aulani, to bring the construction workers and Disney team members together to begin “adding the magic” to Aulani. They gathered on the sand to form the image of the trademark Aulani arch and then transformed it into the familiar silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Mickey, Minnie and their Disney character pals joined in the celebration.

As Walt Disney Imagineers continue adding the magic to Aulani, they are weaving Hawaiian stories into the buildings, interiors, art and gardens of the resort with the help of local architects, artisans and historians. The celebrated Disney magic, storytelling and service will create wonderful family vacation memories at the resort, drawing on the beauty, fun, enchantment and traditions of the islands.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Built on 21 acres adjacent to a crystal blue lagoon and a white-sand beach in Ko Olina, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will feature 359 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas upon its completion. Rooms are housed in two 15-story towers with commanding views of the ocean, mountains and magnificent grounds. On-site are two restaurants, an 18,000-square-foot spa, a wedding lawn, a conference center and extensive water activities, including a central swimming 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, arts and crafts, and many other experiences created just for them.

The resort will also offer excursions that invite families to discover the island of Oahu. Guests can enjoy one-of-a-kind adventures that blend the wonders and excitement of Hawaii with the Disney tradition of storytelling, choosing from a variety of experiences that include surfing, rainforest hiking and learning how to prepare Hawaiian cuisine.

Reservations for Aulani are now open. Guests may visit www.disneyaulani.com or call (866) 44-DISNEY.

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