Who’s up for a trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? I know I am! While I’m sure you could use some rest and relaxation like me, how about I take you on a virtual tour of our newest location, opening today?
For those of you familiar with Aulani, you’ve probably visited our current store location, Kalepa’s. Just steps away on the ‘Ewa side of the Maka’ala lobby is Hale Manu, which means House of Birds. This contemporary merchandise boutique offers a variety of high-end products that are as exquisite and unique as the birds the store celebrates. Since I wasn’t able to get there myself, I reached out to Bo Bolanos, Walt Disney Imagineering Principal Concept Designer & Art Director, along with Roger Nakamine, Show Writer and Aulani’s Cultural Advisor, Kahulu De Santos who gave me a ‘bird’s-eye’ view of what you can expect to see.
Kahulu shared that, in the Hawaiian culture, birds are considered to be beautiful and majestic animals that often possess great wisdom. In many myths and legends of the islands, they are keepers of divine knowledge. “Native Hawaiian bird forms and wooden sculptures gently cascade down from the fifteen-foot ceiling, slowly enveloping the space,” says Bo. “Guests will simply marvel at this magnificent centerpiece.” Bird sculptures can also be found perched around the shop, where their bright and bold colors stand out against Hale Manu’s rich, dark interior.
Some of the birds on display in Hale Manu include:
- The ‘iwa, or frigate bird, whom guests may recognize from the compass rose in the Maka‘ala lobby.
- The pueo, or short-eared brown owl; viewed as a protector and guardian in Hawaiian culture. Eagle-eyed guests can spot the protector pueo figures located in the Waikolohe Valley and ‘AMA’AMA restaurant.
- The ‘i’iwi, or scarlet honey creeper, whose striking red and black plumage was much prized by the bird hunters and feather workers of traditional Hawai‘i.
- The ‘alae ‘ula, or Hawaiian Moorhen; the namesake of Aulani’s nightly storytelling area and a bird well known in Hawaiian legend as the keeper of fire.
These beautiful birds of Hale Manu will feel right at home amidst the hand-painted murals that stretch along the store’s walls, depicting a diverse array of foliage from the plants of the upland forest to seaside vegetation.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see it in person. Who’s with me?