Fireworks at the Matterhorn at Disneyland Resort

Coming to Aulani This Summer – Have a Bite at Mama’s Snack Stop

posted on March 19th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Crews are hard at work on a brand-new addition to the food and beverage options at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i.

Mama’s Snack Stop, a quick-service food location premiering this June right next to Pāpālua Shave Ice in the Waikolohe Valley, will serve mouthwatering hot dogs, chicken tenders and more. The menu includes a choice of bread, sauce, and type of sausage, including all-beef hot dog, Hawaiian Winner, or Portuguese sausage. Guests can also choose a buffalo ranch chicken tender dog, chicken tenders, fries, Maui Chips, a macadamia pineapple cupcake and fruit.

Construction on Mama’s Snack Stop may cause a bit of inconvenience, but this new location is a great example of how quickly the Aulani team listens and responds to the needs of guests looking for additional meal options at the resort. Mama’s Snack Stop will add to the magic of a Hawaiian vacation at Aulani.

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As ‘LIVE!’ Spends the Week at Aulani, Kelly Ripa and Her Family Enjoy the Resort

posted on February 21st, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


As you know, “LIVE! with Kelly” is at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, this week. On Monday, host Kelly Ripa took a few minutes to talk with me about the show and her family’s experience at the resort.

Kelly Ripa, Host of 'LIVE! with Kelly' Enjoys Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa.

How’s the “LIVE! with Kelly” shoot been going at Aulani?
Incredible! Really, really incredible. The hospitality of the Hawaiian people is like no other. You just feel hugged all the time. You really do. It’s just a gorgeous culture and a beautiful, warm people.

Have you had time to enjoy Aulani just as a resort experience?
I have to tell you, Aulani has hit on every mark. It’s one of these places that caters to small children, and grade school children and teens and tweens and adults, individually and as a family. It really is extraordinary because we’re at that teen-tween-child stage ourselves. So we have three kids with three different interests and this is the place that really caters to all of them.

What sorts of things have they been doing?
Well, they’ve fed stingrays. They’ve gone to Aunty’s Beach House. They’ve gone to teen video game and stargazing nights. They literally read that newsletter, the “Daily Iwa” I think it’s called, that’s put in the rooms at night and they choose what they want to do and it’s been spectacular for them. They’ve been on the Waikolohe Stream 17 hours a day. They tumble down those slides I’m terrified to go down. And this is the first trip we’ve taken where they haven’t kind of said, “I’m bored.” I mean, they’re having so much fun, it’s just really great!

Has everyone been looking forward to the upcoming Aulani wedding on “LIVE!”?
They really have. I think the wedding couple (Eileen Bellew and Kevin Houston) has been just blown away by the level of hospitality. They keep saying, “Wow, they just can’t do enough for you here,” and it’s really true. Just today – it was pretty funny, it happened on the air – it was very hot and the sun had come out and I said, “If only these people at Aulani could make the clouds move over,” and as I said it, literally that very moment a cloud moved over. And I said, “They’re very good here.”

That kind of Disney magic does tend to happen at Aulani. Did you know we actually had a rainbow on the Opening Day?
Well, I don’t know if you heard about our wedding couple when they got here. They both lost their previous spouses very tragically. They believe rainbows are sent to them by their former husband and former wife. And when they got here, there was a double rainbow over the property. They really felt like it was a message. This whole thing has been very beautiful, very emotional even for people who don’t know them personally, people who are viewers of the show. We’re all very invested in this couple.

The beautiful beachside wedding of Eileen Bellew and Kevin Houston will take place on “LIVE! with Kelly” this Friday, Feb. 24.

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‘LIVE!’ from Aulani – Greetings from Kelly Ripa

posted on February 20th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


“LIVE! with Kelly” is at Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, this week leading up to the wedding of the winning couple of “LIVE’s Hawaiian Dream Wedding Giveaway” on Friday. Daniel Dae Kim from “Hawaii Five-O” co-hosts with Kelly today, and other co-hosts this week will include “Glee” star Matthew Morrison on Tuesday, Honolulu native and “Dancing with the Stars” judge Carrie Ann Inaba on Wednesday, and Mark Consuelos on Thursday and Friday.

Each “LIVE! With Kelly” broadcast will be set against the backdrop of Aulani’s beautiful beachfront lagoon, and throughout the week “LIVE!” will showcase the best of the island of O‘ahu and highlight all that Aulani has to offer.

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‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ Visits Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

posted on February 10th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


“The

The fun of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” met the fun of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, recently when AFV went on location at the Hawai`i resort.

“AFV

AFV host Tom Bergeron took time during the shoot to slide down Tubestone Curl into Waikolohe Stream

“AFV

…and to join the dancers of the “Starlit Hui.”

“AFV

Looks like he had a great time! Aulani will be featured in two upcoming episodes of AFV, airing May 6 and May 13 at 7 p.m./6 p.m. Central.

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Aulani Excursions Showcase Hawai‘i With a Touch of Disney Magic

posted on January 31st, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


Although it’s tempting never to leave the Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, grounds and adjoining beach, the resort offers an appealing lineup of off-property excursions to illuminate the wonders of Hawai‘i for all ages and tastes. Many of the excursions have been specially designed by Adventures by Disney and feature knowledgeable Adventure Guides weaving stories and magic into the experience.

I haven’t had a chance to experience all the excursions on offer – it’s a lineup that includes Hawaiian cooking lessons, hiking to Waimea Falls, horseback riding at Kualoa Ranch … and I’ve heard especially good things about the Hawaiian Fire Surf School conducted by Honolulu City Firefighters.

I did get a chance to go on a catamaran excursion with some visiting travel writers the last time I was at Aulani, and it was great! We spotted a couple of pods of dolphins (or maybe it was just one playful bunch, trying to fake us out) and, after getting a terrific distant view of Aulani from its ocean side, we went snorkeling a bit further up the coast. The waters off the coast of Oahu offer a sensationally colorful array of fish and other sea life and, while we were snorkeling close to the surface, members of the crew dove deeper and brought up sea urchins, sea cucumbers and an unusually chunky starfish for us to look at.

Catamaran Captain Doug also told us that his craft is rated as dolphin-and-whale friendly, consciously keeping a safe distance from these fun and fascinating creatures while still giving us the opportunity to view them. It’s the kind of thing that helps make a Disney Aulani excursion special.

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When Five Nights at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa are Not Enough…A Special Offer

posted on January 24th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


UPDATE: The deadline for booking this “Sixth Night Free” offer has been extended! You may now book anytime through Saturday, Mar. 31 for travel March 1-17 and April 15 – June 9.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Visiting Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa on O`ahu, is definitely one of the top benefits of my job. And each time I visit, I’m reminded of how much there is to do at the resort – pools and water slides, restaurants and lounges, entertainment, excursions, Aunty’s Beach House kids club, Laniwai spa, etc., etc.

So how many days do you need to take it all in? If your guess is somewhere in the vicinity of a week, I’ve got news for you. From now through February 29, Aulani is offering a sixth night free, plus daily continental breakfast (in the fun ‘Ōlelo Room lounge), for guests booking a five-consecutive-night stay.

To take advantage of the offer, visit DisneyAulani.com or call toll-free (800) 824-1146 and mention offer code E7D. The offer is available for stays most nights* from March 1 through March 17, 2012, and April 15 through May 31, 2012.

And here, for your enlightenment and enjoyment, is some additional information:
*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers. Offer excludes suites and three-bedroom Grand Villas. Additional per adult charges may apply if more than two (2) adults per room. Offer applied once per reservation and not valid for previously booked rooms. Check for offers for other lengths of stay. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation and subject to room occupancy limitations. Advance reservations required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Breakfast entitlements expire upon checkout, and are for guests ages 3 and older in the traveling party.

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Show How You and Your Family Live Healthy and You Could Win a Trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

posted on January 17th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


Surfing at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai'i

If your New Year’s resolution was to live a healthier lifestyle, you’ve got to check out the TRYit! Photo Contest from Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a program aimed at creating healthier generations by inspiring kids and families to discover a healthy new world full of flavor and fun! Show how you and your family strive to be your best by TRYing new foods, fun moves or incorporating simple changes in your everyday life and you could win a trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

Do you and your family get together once a week to try new, healthy recipes? Or maybe you’re waking up early on the weekends to learn a sport you haven’t played? Whatever you and your family are doing to stay healthy, Disney Magic of Healthy Living wants to hear about it!

Send photos and explain in the caption the ways you and your family are TRYing to stay healthy and active. And as if getting in shape, spending time with your family and being healthy isn’t enough of a motivator to TRY something new, how about a grand-prize that will send you and your family packing to a tropical paradise?

Mickey Mouse and Goofy with Guests at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai'i

Disney Magic of Healthy Living will choose five families from all the photo submissions to serve as “Magic of Healthy Living Ambassadors” at the first-ever TRYathalon at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Families will compete in a two-day competition filled with fun obstacles, thrilling challenges and special surprise guests.

And each Grand Prize-winning family will also have the opportunity to give others greater access to healthy living by helping to select a community who will receive a grant from KaBOOM! for Imagination Playground in a Box, a breakthrough mobile play space designed to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play in communities.

Five runners-up will also receive a Disney Consumer Products Healthy Gift Basket, and $100 Disney Store gift certificates will be awarded to five families selected as “Voter’s Choice” on the Family.com website.

Time is of the essence – the TRYit! Photo Contest from Disney Magic of Healthy Living is only open until March 12! For details on criteria and eligibility, and to enter, visit Family.com/TRYit.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open only to persons, who are, as of Entry, the age of majority, and who are legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 United States or D.C. and who are the parent/legal guardians of at least one child between the ages of 6 and 14. Entries must be received between 12:01 a.m. (PT) on 1/17/12 and 11:59:59 p.m. (PT) on 3/12/12. Click here for Official Rules.

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A Dream (Suite) Come True in Disneyland Park

posted on January 11th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


It’s still an experience money can’t buy, but (if it doesn’t sound too much like bragging) let me tell you how my family and I got to stay overnight in the Disneyland Dream Suite.

You know how sometimes at a party you’ll be given a half of a ticket with a number on it while the other half goes into a bucket for prize drawing? I had one of those ticket stubs at a big gathering of Disneyland Resort cast members. And my number was picked from hundreds of others for the overnight Dream Suite stay.

I was especially thrilled by this because in 2008, when Dream Suite stays were being awarded to random guests as part of The Year of a Million Dreams, I spent a lot of time in the Suite, showing it off to news media as part of my job in Public Relations. More than once I thought, “How can I arrange to let my wife, son, daughter and granddaughter at least have a look at this incredible place?” And then…I got the opportunity to actually stay there with them overnight!

The Disneyland Dream Suite, as you may know, is located upstairs from Pirates of the Caribbean. The space was originally planned as a private apartment for Walt Disney to entertain special guests, but he passed away before it could be completed. For two decades, beginning in 1987, it was the Disney Gallery. (And yeah, I did PR for that, too, when it first opened.) Preparing it for The Year of a Million Dreams, a team of Imagineers did an incredible job recreating Walt’s original vision for a luxury suite.

A Bedroom in the Disneyland Dream Suite

Every part of the Suite is beautifully designed and full of surprises. The two bedrooms are themed, respectively, to Adventureland and Frontierland, based on their proximity to those lands. The Suite is spiced up with special effects – a “goodnight kiss” in each of the main rooms that can be switched on as bedtime nears.

Bathtub in the Master Bath of the Disneyland Dream Suite

Back in 2008, I thought the most over-the-top aspect of the Suite was the bathtub in the Master Bath, decorated with a stained-glass window and lit by Imagineered starlight. My granddaughter certainly agreed.

John and His Family on the Balcony of the Disneyland Dream Suite

And for those of you who remember the Disney Gallery, I have to report that I think the Suite balcony is still THE best place to watch “Fantasmic!” I stayed out on that balcony past park closing to watch the last guests depart, and went out again before park opening to watch the first guests coming in. When you’re a cast member, there’s something special about being able to witness the reluctance of guests to leave Disneyland park at night and the eagerness with which they enter in the morning. I had a special vantage point to watch that.

John and His Family in Their PJs on a Walking Tour of Disneyland-after-closing

And when the last guests had departed that night and some of us had put on our PJs, we took a walking tour of Disneyland-after-closing.

John’s Daughter, Emily, in Front of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Park

The 999 Happy Haunts of Haunted Mansion Holiday were our neighbors, so of course we stopped by for a visit. My daughter even posed for a photo in their…um… driveway.

Needless to say, it was a very, very special experience for all of us. I’m happy to be able, in a small way, to share it with you.

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It Isn’t Just About Shopping – The Kālepa Story at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on October 14th, 2011 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


Many guests at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa will naturally want to take home souvenirs of their visit. They’ll also want to know where they can get sunscreen, cold drinks and snacks.

So Aulani has shops but not ordinary hotel/resort-type shops. Like the rest of Aulani, inspired by the traditions of Hawai`i, the shops at Aulani have their own stories to tell.

Yes, there are lots of Aulani-exclusive items available at Kālepa’s Store just off the Aulani lobby, and The Lava Shack at poolside, but you might want to look in just to see how they take their inspiration from the old stores that still dot the island of O`ahu.

Kālepa is the Hawaiian word for “merchant” or “peddler.” It literally translates as “to strike the flag” because in traditional times, salesmen hoisted a small flag to show they were ready to sell. In the story of Aulani, the Kālepa of Kālepa’s Store might be Aunty’s father-in-law, said to have had a store in Ko Olina long before Aulani was built.

Like the traditional Kālepa stores on O`ahu, Kālepa’s Store and The Lava Shack have some whimsical “found object” décor touches such as old license plates and vintage black and white photographs. A Grand Opening cast member at Aulani actually recognized her mother as a child in one of the photos.



See the posts below for more from Aulani:

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Just Like Nemo! – Learning from Mr. Ray at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on October 7th, 2011 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations


We’ve already taken a look at the snorkeling in Rainbow Reef at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, but the finny residents of Rainbow Reef are small fries compared to the stingrays Aulani guests can encounter in the waters of Makai Preserve.

The little boy’s face was turned partly away from the camera, so you sort of have to imagine the look on his face as the ray sucks the food out of his hand. Is “thrilled” the right word?

A portion of the fee Aulani guests pay to experience Makai Preserve goes to support research and conservation efforts in Hawai`i through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

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