Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a beachside resort hotel at the Ko Olina Resort in Kapolei, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. Alongside Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort and Disney's Vero Beach Resort, Aulani claims to be Disney's third "stand-alone" hotel located in an area without any adjacent theme parks.[1]

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Aulani Resort in January 2020
LocationKo Olina, Hawaii
Resort typeDisney Vacation Club
OpenedAugust 29, 2011 (2011-08-29)
Rooms351 hotel rooms
481 Disney Vacation Club Villas, including 21 Grand Villas
OperatorDisney Experiences
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Aulani was opened to the public on August 29, 2011, with 359 hotel rooms and 460 time-share villas on 21 acres.[2] As of 2018, there were 351 rooms (in two 15-story towers), including 16 suites and 481 villas, most being "2-bedroom-equivalent."[3] In October 2018, there were three restaurants with seating (Makahiki, Ulu Cafe, and 'AMA'AMA) as well as smaller outlets providing snacks, including the 'Off the Hook' poolside lounge.[4][5]

History edit

 
A view of the hotel, 2012

The resort project was announced in October 2007,[6] announcing its name on January 2010. The word ‘Aulani’ in Hawaiian can be loosely translated as "orange" or "with deep messages". When the word is used as a name, it can mean "message from the chief".[7]

With an estimated cost of $800 million, the project aimed to generate about 1,000 jobs at the resort. Disney Vice President Djuan Rivers[8] managed the project, and it was designed by Joe Rohde of Walt Disney Imagineering.[1]

Timeshare sales commenced on July 15, 2010, with room reservations becoming available in August 2010.[9][10] Nevertheless, on August 12, 2011, Disney suspended Aulani's timeshare sales and terminated three executives, among them Disney Vacation Club president Jim Lewis. This decision was made in response to senior management's recognition that the annual dues had been set too low to adequately cover maintenance costs.[11]

Timeshare sales were later resumed; however, specific sales figures have remained unclear since 2010 due to gaps in published information.[12]

In March 2019, the resort was named "Best Hotels/Accommodations – Luxury Accommodations" in the 2019 aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards.[13]

Theme edit

Walt Disney Imagineering collaborated with Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo and Architects Hawaii Ltd. as well as cultural experts to design and construct a theme celebrating the customs and tradition of Hawaii.[14] The company also created an advisory council of Hawaiian elders to ensure authenticity to Hawaiian culture.[15]

A review in 2018 stated that "the modus operandi at Aulani is 'Big H, Little D,' as in: big emphasis on Hawaiian traditions and history, with just a little bit of Disney fairy dust sprinkled over the experience."[16] Other reviews specified the Disney influence as including poolside visits by characters, Mickey-shaped foods, and character breakfasts and dinners.[17][18] Characters that one could meet at the resort included (as of October 2023) Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Chip 'n' Dale, Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, Duffy the Disney Bear, Shellie May, 'Olu Mel and Moana from the eponymous 2016 film.[18] As of February 2021, Angel (Experiment 624) from the Lilo & Stitch franchise began making appearances at the resort.[19] All character and guest interactions were socially distanced during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawaii. When hiring staff members, candidates with Hawaiian language skills are preferred for all jobs as part of the resort's plan to expose guests to the language of the land.[20]

In July 2019, Forbes published a review by Laura Manske that emphasized the company's extensive use of Hawaiian culture, including art and architecture and the program that exposes youngsters to the "culture, art and music of Hawaii through interactive play."[21] In her review, Manske commented:

"There is a dramatic and sublime sense of place at Aulani, where everything - from the architecture to the art, activities to cuisine - connects to a deeper meaning and embraces the people, places, past, present, art, music, dance, and foods of Hawaii. Aulani is not a theme park; it is a hideaway with just enough Disney-orchestrated animation and activity to add rhythm and variety to your vacation days."

Pu‘u Kilo and Water Slides edit

Pu‘u Kilo is designed as a volcano and consists of two slides: Volcanic Vertical (a body water slide that leads into the Waikolohe Pool) and Tubestone Curl (a tube water slide that ends up in the Waikolohe Stream).[22]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Garcia, Jason (June 30, 2010). "Hawaii resort Aulani may be key to Disney growth". Orlando Sentinel.
  2. ^ "Aulani Disney Resort and Spa — Hotel Review". The New York Times. December 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "Inside Look: a Deep-Dive at Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa", Seattle Magazine
  4. ^ "Aulani, a Disney Resort that Speaks with Deep Messages"
  5. ^ "Disney Does Hawaii". TravelPulse. September 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Schaefers, Allison (October 6, 2007). "Disney's travel club cannot sell in Hawaii: A resort on Oahu is set, but the firm needs an OK to offer time shares". Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
  7. ^ "Aulani, a Disney Resort that Speaks with Deep Messages"
  8. ^ Dingeman, Robbie (October 11, 2009). "Disney Resort Taking Shape on Oahu; Expects to Invest $800 million, Employ 1,000". The Honolulu Advertiser.
  9. ^ "New Disney Hawaii resort gets a name". American City Business Journals. January 19, 2010.
  10. ^ "Disney to open reservations a year before resort opening". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. July 2, 2010.
  11. ^ Garcia, Jason (August 15, 2011). "Disney halts sales and fires executives amid financial issues with Hawaiian resort". Orlando Sentinel.
  12. ^ Lovato, Wil (October 23, 2018). "2018 Aulani Sales Update". DVC News.
  13. ^ "Winners announced for the 2019 aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards". Hawaii Magazine.
  14. ^ "The History of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Part One". Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo. July 18, 2017.
  15. ^ "Aulani – A Historical Spotlight", DVC Store
  16. ^ Johnson, Neala (September 17, 2018). "Disney meets Hawaii: The resort that's the best of both worlds". escape.com.
  17. ^ Wisel, CARLYE (July 18, 2017). "Everything You Need to Know About Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawaii". Travel + Leisure.
  18. ^ a b "Tips for meeting characters at Disney's Aulani". Between Us Parents. June 16, 2017.
  19. ^ Moreno, Nikki (February 14, 2021). "See Angel and Stitch at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa". Disney Parks Blog. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  20. ^ "Is ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Adding Value to Business Brands?", Hawaii Public Radio
  21. ^ Manske, Laura (July 11, 2019). "Aloha Hawaii: How Beautiful Aulani Disney Resort Can Make You Smile". Forbes.
  22. ^ Public Relations Manager, Disney Parks, Experiences & Products, Tyler Slater (February 6, 2015). "Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Pu'u Kilo". Forbes.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

External links edit

21°20′20″N 158°07′22″W / 21.338916°N 158.122707°W / 21.338916; -158.122707