This week, the Disney Insider had a chance to visit the newly expanded Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. Since it opened in 2011, Aulani has re-defined the concept of a Hawaiian vacation destination by providing not only a beautiful setting to relax and have fun with friends and family, but also by putting an emphasis on Hawaiian cultural integrity. After the experience of building more traditional Disney destinations such as famous Parks and hotels, Disney has created a new experience that integrates Hawaiian culture, stories, and artistry into every aspect of its presentation.
Adding even more magic to the coastline of Hawaii, Aulani has opened a major expansion of its signature recreation area, the Waikolohe Valley. Guests can take advantage of a new infinity pool within a realistic grotto setting, an entirely new splash zone for smaller children and families, and an additional location for beachside and poolside dining. This area is seven acres large and carries on the design elements that have made Aulani so appealing throughout.
“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.
“This resort destination reflects 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.”
The tropical resort serves as a gateway to the fun and enchantment of the islands, notes Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
“This resort is unique and exciting, and it combines the magic and storytelling of Disney with the rich culture and beautiful scenery of Hawaii, says Staggs. “It is the ultimate family paradise with a touch of Disney magic.”
Aulani includes 351 traditional hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent villas in two towers, each featuring rooms that look out over the ocean, mountains, and lush Hawaiian surroundings. Guests have a lot of options when it comes to filling their free time; there’s everything from the Wakoloke Valley pool and beach area we mentioned above, to a Disney Spa, snorkeling at Rainbow Reef, and specially-planned excursions into the island. The resort as a whole occupies 21 acres of oceanfront property along the coast of Oahu, adjacent to a nine-acre crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach, and Disney prides itself on providing a wide range of entertainment for all ages of guests.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more of our experience at Aulani, from dining on authentic Hawaiian cuisine at their two signature restaurants to exploring the expert-guided adventures available to guests. Until then, take a look at the Aulani website for the full history of this beautiful Disney Resort & Spa.