Aloha from O‘ahu! I’m at the site of one of our most unique, new projects – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i. The team in Hawai‘i continues to bring this beautiful beachfront property to life, and it’s exciting that in just a little more than a year, on August 29, 2011, we’re scheduled to welcome our first guests here.
Construction is well underway, and as I walked the site yesterday, the great potential for the combination of the location and Disney creativity couldn’t be more clear.
Aulani is something completely new and different for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. It is our first stand-alone Resort, separate from our theme parks that will offer both hotel rooms and villas for Disney Vacation Club members. As we’ve expanded “beyond the berm” with offerings like Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney, our goal has been to bring Disney vacation experiences to our guests. And since Hawai‘i is one of the top family destinations in the world, we always knew that this would be the perfect place for a Disney Resort.
Aulani will be a destination where families can experience the stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and friendship of Hawai‘i—in a setting only Disney could create. Much more than a place to stay, it will be a place to start—a home base from which our guests can explore all that Hawai‘i has to offer.
The culture of Hawai‘i is rooted in layer-upon-layer of meaning, ancestral heritage and a rich storytelling tradition. Obviously, storytelling is something we hold near and dear here at Disney, too. So, together with our Hawaiian advisors, we are collecting stories, legends and symbols, and weaving them into the design of Aulani. Local artists are creating giant murals that surround the resort. For example, the work of one of those artists, Harinane Orme, tells the stories of Maui and Hina, and of the great tradition of star navigation that brought the Hawaiians to this land.
There is so much creativity and passion going into the development of this new Resort. I’m excited to bring my family here and think our guests will be too.