Aviator Minnie Mouse at Disney California Adventure Park

Aloha from Aulani

posted on July 23rd, 2010 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs at Aulani Construction Site
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.

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Filed: Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Hotels & Resorts, Vacation Planning

19 Comments 5 Replies

1

June from MI on July 23rd, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I dream of another trip to Hawaii- a Disney resort is just another draw!!!!

2

Robert on July 23rd, 2010 at 5:37 pm

From the photo it looks like you’re just as much in awe of Rohde’s choice of ear-adornment as the rest of us.

While I appreciate new offerings like the Aulani resort, I’m really beginning to fear for what’s left inside the berm. It feels like the secondary Walt Disney World parks are being ignored (in particular Epcot) while money is routed to these other projects.

 

Tom Staggs on July 26th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Hi Robert—One of my responsibilities is to make sure that we continue to deliver fantastic experiences at all our properties. I’m excited about what we’re building both inside and outside the berm: Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom; the expansion of Disney California Adventure; our new Disney Cruise Line ships, and lots more.

3

Jamie from PA on July 23rd, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I cant wait to see the finished product!!!!! Im hoping it will be the destination for my honeymoon!!!

4

Donald from CA on July 23rd, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I am so happy that the “Happiest Place in the World” is expandinding around the world. I pray for three things: 1. Upgrade of exizting sites; 2. Disney Line offers a world cruise at least 2 times a year; and 3. That a theme park is put in Hawaii. God Bless and thank you for making family vacations affordable, fun, and memorable again. Walt Disney must be so happy as he looks down from Heaven and I can hear him say to Jesus, “This is to Your glory and honor.”

5

Bailey on July 23rd, 2010 at 5:57 pm

wait!
that would be the greatest thing ever to have DCL go through there now that the resort is going to be built.
definitely going to sign up for a cruise if that is the case in the future :]

 

Tom Staggs on July 26th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Hi Bailey—While we haven’t announced any Disney Cruise Line itineraries to Hawaii, we’re very excited about sailing to Alaska and the Mexican Riviera beginning next year.

6

tina from MD on July 23rd, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I for one am extremely excited about the Aulani coming into the DVC fold. I was in Orlando twice in 2008 (Summer and Xmas) and just returned about 5 days ago from 9 days at the Kadani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. My family and I typically spend pretty much the entire trip on the Disney grounds but decided to venture out this trip since there was not anything that was new since our prior trip. I totally agree with a few of the other comments… the existing parks need a real FACELIFT.

7

Debora on July 23rd, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Traveling to Hawaii as a family when I was young, I am excited to experience the Disney difference with my family, facelift needed or not, nothing entertains families like Disney.

8

martha on July 23rd, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Wow, this is amazing. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, and this makes me want to go even more. I LOVE Disney so much and all it has to offer families. As a grandmother of 15 (soon to be 16), I WOULD LOVE TO EXPERIENCE A TRIP TO DISNEY WITH MY FAMILY. It is a dream of mine and someday I would love for that dream to come true.

 

Tom Staggs on July 26th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Thanks Martha. Aulani is being purpose-built with families like yours in mind, and I think you’ll find the two-bedroom Disney Vacation Club villas are pretty spacious. It sounds like you may need the space.

9

Gregory on July 23rd, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Is Disney really going to spell Hawaii as “Hawai’i”? ‘Cause that’s not how it’s spelled.

10

AshLee on July 23rd, 2010 at 11:11 pm

What other Hawaiian advisors are involved? Hawaii is very cultural and I hope there won’t be anything offensive to our traditions and beliefs. For example I am reading about the Menehune that will inspire the designs and feel unsure of what you folks think about them. I’ve seen a picture of a bowl covered with human teeth as concept art, I hope the stories are told correctly. It’s the same way some people think Chinese are identical to Japanese, calling them the same is offensive to both. Polynesians are NOT all the same, please do na po`e `o Hawai`i justice, Mahalo!

I am so excited that finally something Disney has come to Hawaii. I’ve been lucky enough to visit DLR and WDW but to fly overseas vs. continental USA for some will never happen. Thank you Disney for making dreams real!

 

Tom Staggs on July 26th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for your comments, AshLee. Our goal in working with so many Hawaiian advisers on this project has been to make sure Aulani respects and celebrates the culture, traditions and stories of Hawaii itself. I hope that once the resort is finished you’ll like what you see.

11

Ruth on July 24th, 2010 at 12:51 am

I can’t wait to come home for a visit and also to be able to take my daughter to Disneyland…two trips in one…Love it!!! =)

12

Laura on July 24th, 2010 at 3:57 am

It looks like it will be a absolutely fantastic resort. I would love to visit with my family! We live in germany so it is a long journey but am alreading considering this for our 10 year wedding anniversary in a few years!

 

Tom Staggs on July 26th, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Thanks Laura. I think you’ll find it’s worth the flight: Hawaii’s the perfect place for an anniversary.

13

Ricardo from Tabasco on July 24th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Wowww i can´t wait to been there…..Disney is the Best!!

14

Elizabeth from VA on July 26th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I just heard that there will be hotel rooms in addition to DVC – I’d always assumed it was DVC-only, so bravo to Disney for offering both options. I will definitely make a trip at some point!

15

Elizabeth from VA on July 26th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

PS – Now we just need to add a Disney Cruise to Hawaii!

16

Marc on July 26th, 2010 at 7:07 pm

We’ve been saving up for Aulani since the MOMENT we joined DVC last June at BLT. While I agree with the previous comments of some “love” needed at other theme parks, I am more impressed that Tom is writting and posting comments than any update or ride refurb. Tom, you are doing a great job so far and I am confident that you will confident that the parks and resorts are in good hands.

I might as well as throw in my own two cents right: Maybe take some of the Aulani ideas and translate them to a Polynesian DVC wing?

17

Joel on July 27th, 2010 at 2:39 am

As a local resident, I have been following the growth of the property and am really excited that I will have Disney in my backyard plus what the resort will do for the economy in Hawaii! A version of the Adventurer’s Club with a south seas theme would be AWESOME if it could be included in a future phase.

Funny, as soon as I heard that Disney was building two more ships, I tried to contact my local government officials to try to get them to solicit Disney to have Hawaii as a destination, and now with Aulani it would be great to have a ship go from the West Coast to Hawaii like in the old days of steamer ships. An exemption to the Jones act would be necessary since the ships won’t be American flagged vessels. Oh, and as far as the government officials, hit a road block at every office: mayor, governor and the travel and tourism departments.

A little over 13 months to opening and I can’t wait!!

18

Patrick from GA on July 29th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Mr. Staggs, I hope it is extremely successful for two reasons: 1. I love and I believe in The Walt Disney Company 2. I am looking very much forward to the National Harbor Development. Is there any word on where and when this project will proceed???

19

carol from PA on August 11th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

the new resort looks wonderful. since i have never been to hawaii, i am really looking forward togoing.we are dvc. members. when are they going to post the number of points that are needed for the diffent units?

19 Comments