Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Menehune Bridge

posted on September 30th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


If your little ones love water, the Menehune Bridge will be a favorite destination at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. This 2,200 square foot interactive water play zone designed for keiki under 48 inches features two junior-sized water slides, spinning gourds and a climbing wall! As with most water activities in the resort’s Waikolohe Valley, it is free to guests.

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During a visit to Aulani, Cultural Advisor Kahulu De Santos shared with me the Menehune legend that provides the inspiration for this aquatic play structure. I’m excited to pass the story along as part of our “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series.

According to Hawaiian legend, a boy named Laka went searching for his chief-father after his mysterious disappearance. His grandmother told him to “go to the mountains and look for the tree that has leaves shaped like the Hilo moon – such is the tree for a canoe.” He took his grandmother’s advice and found and fell the tree just before sunset. When he woke the next day to work on his new canoe, the tree he cut down was mysteriously gone! This trickery happened to Laka several times, until he decided to dig a small trench and hide alongside the tree trunk.

While hiding, he found the culprits taking his trees – a pair of Menehune! Once caught, they pleaded forgiveness for their mischievous actions and promised to build Laka a canoe. That evening, a multitude of Menehune carried the canoe down the mountain to Laka’s beachside home. Upon their arrival, a marvelous feast ensued and the mischievous Menehune were forgiven.

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Menehune Bridge celebrates the legend of Laka’s canoe but also encourages aquatic mayhem – inspired by the Menehune, of course. If you want to get a fun view of Laka’s canoe, stand beneath it as it fills with water. Be patient – you’ll be in for a surprise!

What are your keiki looking forward to most during your vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Tell us in the comments below!


For more from the “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series, visit the posts below:

Planning for a Spooktacular Time at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park

posted on September 24th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


“This is Halloween, everybody make a scene!”

With fall settling in and the Mickey Pumpkin welcoming guests to Disneyland park, Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort is in full swing! Between Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy (my favorite seasonal attraction overlay) and all the delicious seasonal food offerings, fall is providing some fair competition to my favorite time of year, Holidays at the Disneyland Resort. The first Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland park is just days away and today I wanted to share some tips for planning your visit to the special ticketed event. As always, I love reading your tips in the comments below!

  • Show your Disney Side with your Halloween costume: Everyone attending Mickey’s Halloween Party is encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costume! Your costume should be child-friendly, with no sharp objects. It also should not be obstructive, offensive or violent. Keep in mind you’ll be walking around at night, so be mindful of a costume that may drag along the ground. In addition, masks must not obstruct your vision or cover your eyes.

Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland Park

  • Mickey’s Hide and Go Treat Trails: It wouldn’t be a Halloween party without the opportunity to trick-or-treat! Be sure to pick up a trick-or-treat map at the Main Entrance to Disneyland park to guide you to the numerous Halloween treat stops! You especially won’t want to miss Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Treat Trail at Innoventions in Tomorrowland and the Piratepalooza Treats in Frontierland!

Mickey's Costume Party Cavalcade at Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland Park

  • Exclusive Mickey’s Halloween Party Entertainment: My favorite part of Mickey’s Halloween Party is the exclusive entertainment offerings. Don’t miss the Cadaver Dans floating along the fog-filled Rivers of America! Also, if you’re a Disney Villains fan, stop by Main Street, U.S.A., to see these wicked tricksters conjure up some spooky surprises. You can also celebrate Halloween with some of your favorite Disney characters during Mickey’s Costume Party Cavalcade. For me, the highlight of Mickey’s Halloween Party experience is always “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular, hosted by none other than Jack Skellington, taking place at 9:30 p.m. Keep in mind that all entertainment offerings are subject to change without notice.

Still need to grab tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party? Purchase them here and get ready for a screaming good time!

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A Home Away From Home at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: 1-Bedroom Villa

posted on September 23rd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Planning a vacation usually includes the following questions: Where are we going to eat? How much clothing do we need to pack? Who is going to sleep where? Well, I’m happy to report that a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, has an easy solution to all three with its spacious villas. The 1-Bedroom Villa, 2-Bedroom Villa and 3-Bedroom Grand Villa are all designed to comfortably accommodate larger groups and offer just-like-home amenities. This new series will spotlight these beautiful villas, beginning with a look at what is included with a stay in a 1-Bedroom Villa.

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With more than 750 square feet of living space, a 1-Bedroom Villa is perfect for up to five guests. When trying to decide where everyone is going to sleep, remember that the 1-bedroom villa has a separate bedroom and living room. So if you have little ones that need to go to sleep earlier, the family fun can still continue in the living room! Also, don’t worry about packing extra clothes because a washer and dryer is available inside the room.

One of the best tips to maximize the villa’s amenities is to pick up select food offerings at Kalepa’s Store and prepare them in the kitchen in your room. Dinnerware, glassware, pots and pans – everything you need to prepare a delicious meal – is already in your room! Have leftovers? A 1-Bedroom Villa features a full-size refrigerator as well. My fellow Disney Parks Blog author, George Savvas, recently vacationed in a 1-Bedroom Villa at Aulani, and told me that complimentary dishwasher soap and laundry detergent are included with your stay – so no need to worry about packing those necessities!

Ready to book your villa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Reserve a consecutive four-night or more stay, now through October 30, 2014, for travel between August 15 and December 22 (excluding November 26-29), and receive the fourth night free! Learn more about this great vacation offer here.


See the posts below for more about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa:

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Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ on Broadway Grants Wish to Visit Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on September 10th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


To celebrate Broadway Week in New York City, the Genie and the cast of Disney’s “Aladdin” granted the magical wish of visiting Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, to two unsuspecting audience members! Couple Leo Chan and Alicia Mara were selected at random for what they thought was a special backstage tour of the Broadway show. Little did they know – and in true Genie fashion – their wish to visit Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa would be granted on stage! Watch the story unfold below:

If the Genie could grant you a wish to visit any Walt Disney Parks & Resorts destination, which would you choose? Tell us in the comments below!

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Teens Can Hang Loose at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Continuing the Disney Parks tradition of world-class family entertainment, a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, has something for everyone. The kids will spend countless hours in Aunty’s Beach House while you are relaxing at the Laniwai Spa. If you have teenagers in your family, don’t fret – daily activities are planned exclusively for them!

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  • Painted Sky - As the only teen spa in Hawai’i, Painted Sky offers a wide variety of fun and rejuvenating spa activities specifically designed for guests ages 13 to 17.
  • Teen North Shore Beach Zone - Inspired by Oahu’s famous North Shore, this activity welcomes teens to an afternoon of fun beachside games at Aulani’s beautiful lagoon. Teens are encouraged to show their Disney Side in surf gear … or maybe even become a Pineapple Princess!
  • Teen Island Treasure Photo Hunt - During this interactive activity, teens are sent on a scavenger hunt to video details hidden throughout Aulani. Once they have completed the challenge, they will return to Pau Hana Room to receive a key that unlocks a treasure chest of prizes!

What is your teen looking forward to most during a vacation to Aulani? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Be sure to check The Daily ‘Iwa to see what fun activities are in store for everyone during your Aulani vacation.

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Five Things You Might Have Missed Aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

posted on September 1st, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Tomorrow, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland park celebrates 35 years of taking guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness. My niece recently experienced this runaway train as her first roller coaster, and I was positively thrilled to see her beaming as we got off the attraction. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, like many of the thrill rides at the Disneyland Resort, is the perfect blend of fun and storytelling. In honor of the iconic attraction’s anniversary tomorrow, here are five things to point out to new pioneers braving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or maybe details you may have missed in the past 35 years.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

1. Wilderness creatures – Most guests know to look for the famous dynamite-wielding goat, but the runaway train also passes coyotes, skunks, possums, turtles and rattlesnakes.

2. Real mining gear – In the attraction queue and all around Big Thunder Mountain, you will see a century-old stamp mill, a hand-driven drill, press gears, picks, shovels and other artifacts. These objects are actual mining gear, purchased from abandoned mines in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Wyoming.

3. Steam mules – When you’re boarding your train and while careening around the mountain, look for two steam mules. These Victorian-era portable engines were used as set pieces in the Disney film, “Hot Lead and Cold Feet.”

4. Grizzly Gulch sign – Just before passing Dinosaur Gap in the queue, look for a wooden post with signs to nearby locations. If you look closely, you may see a nod to Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland, located 11,743 km away.

5. Willard B. Bounds, U.S. Marshall (Retired), President, Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company – Willard B. Bounds, the President of Big Thunder Mountain Mining Company, has signed several notices and proclamations around Big Thunder Mountain, including a sign at the attraction entrance. This is a tribute to Lillian Disney’s father, who was once a blacksmith and U.S. Marshall on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho.

Bonus fact: Did you know the sound of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains was used in the mine chase sequence in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”?

Celebrate the 35th anniversary of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with a trip aboard the wildest ride in the wilderness! Tell us your favorite memory aboard this iconic attraction in the comments below.

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Celebrates Three Years of Paradise with a Touch of Magic

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Today marks the third anniversary of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! Let’s celebrate with a look back at three major milestones this beautiful resort has seen through the past three years.

Tradition and Magic at the Grand Opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

Tradition and Magic at the Grand Opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa

With the help of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Hawaiian performers and Aulani cast members, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, led the Grand Opening Ceremony. One of our favorite moments during the ceremony was the joining of Hawaiian culture and the magic of Disney – symbolized by the mixing of sand from the beach with pixie dust in an ‘umeke, a ceremonial wooden bowl.

Ka Maka Landing Officially Opens at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

New Ka Maka Landing Officially Opens Tomorrow at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Ka Maka Landing opened in October 2013, completing the Waikolohe Valley expansion. Your ‘ohana can now spend the day in the spectacular infinity-edge pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and children can splash and play in the new Keiki Cove. Be sure to take a break and enjoy a poolside meal at Ulu Cafe before diving back for more Hawaiian fun.

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Travel + Leisure Readers Recognize Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa and Disney Cruise Line for Excellence

Last month, Travel + Leisure announced its World’s Best Awards 2014, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was named the Top Hotel for Families in the United States. Cast members were positively thrilled to receive this honor on behalf of our Hawaiian resort, and look forward to continuing the tradition of providing extraordinary guest service.

Please join me in wishing Aulani a hau`oli la ho’omana’o, or happy anniversary! If you’d like to visit and celebrate the anniversary too, take advantage of a special travel package this fall: book a consecutive four-night or more stay, now through October 30, 2014, for travel between August 15 and December 22 (excluding November 26-29), and receive the fourth night free! Learn more about this great vacation offer here.

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Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips: Atmosphere Entertainment at Disneyland Park

posted on August 25th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


One of the best ways to spend the day at Disneyland park is enjoying the sights and sounds of the various atmosphere entertainment. Whether it be starting your morning on Main Street, U.S.A., listening to the Disneyland Band, or taking an afternoon break to the jazzy sounds of the Royal Street Bachelors in New Orleans Square, these are some of the moments that make Disneyland one of my favorite places in the world. Today, the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series continues with a look at some of the performances that come to life everyday throughout the park.

  • Dapper Dans – One of the most iconic Disneyland park entertainment offerings is the barbershop quartet known as the Dapper Dans. Did you know that the term “dapper dan” is a turn-of-the century phrase referring to a well-dressed gentleman? Fitting in with the time period of Main Street, U.S.A., the Dans of Disneyland feature a terrific four-part harmony that can be heard at various times throughout the morning and afternoon. If you haven’t had a chance, don’t miss their patriotic tribute during the flag retreat ceremony in Town Square. Looking for some Dapper Dans charm today? Enjoy the video below of these well-dressed gentlemen teaching you how to ride a bicycle built for four.

  • Royal Street Bachelors – This talented jazz trio has been performing in New Orleans Square since it opened in 1966. Today, they have an outdoor stage at French Market Restaurant, where they begin their sets around lunch time and play about every hour into the early evening. If you swing by around lunch time, you may find me and fellow Disney Parks Blog author Erin Glover enjoying a meal – it’s one of our favorite restaurants in Disneyland park!
  • Pearly Band – If you are a “Mary Poppins” fan like me, you won’t want to miss the Pearly Band performing in the afternoon throughout Fantasyland. Inspired by the tradition of London’s pearly kings and queens, the Pearly Band’s outfits are decorated with large, mother-of-pearl buttons. Depending on the wind, some of their supercalifragilisticexpialidocious performances may feature Mary Poppins and Bert as well!

My other favorites include the traditional Disneyland Band, the misfit gang of pirates that go by the name of The Bootstrappers in New Orleans Square, and Hook & Ladder Co., who perform outside the Main Street Fire Station! Tell us your favorite atmosphere entertainment at Disneyland park in the comments below.

Be sure to check the Entertainment times guide when you arrive to confirm performance times and locations.


For more from the “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips” series, visit the stories below:

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Disneyland Resort Summer Tips: Relaxing at the Disneyland Resort

posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Relaxing at the Disneyland Resort is one of the best ways to spend a summer day. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love cooling off on Splash Mountain at Disneyland park or dropping by The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure park. However, a rejuvenating break has many times been the key to staying energized for “Magical” fireworks spectacular or “World of Color.” Today, I’m continuing the “Disneyland Resort Summer Tips” series with a few great locations to spend a few minutes off your feet.

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  • Rest your feet at a show – “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” is a must-do at Disney California Adventure park, and I recommend an afternoon performance because the show runs close to an hour, allowing for a nice escape from the summer heat. If you are visiting Disneyland park on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, head over to the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree for “The Music of: Nashville.” This all-new entertainment experience features original tunes from the hit television show along with some of your favorites from the country music charts. Lastly, journey to imagination during “Mickey and the Magical Map” in the Fantasyland Theatre! Be sure to stop by the Troubadour Tavern for a snack as you watch the show.

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  • Enjoy a light meal and speciality beverage – The lounges at the Disneyland Resort are easily at the top of the list when looking for ways to relax. I recommend visiting the the Alfresco Tasting Terrace to try the newly updated menu, including “The Disney Family of Wines.” Also at the Golden Vine Winery at Disney California Adventure park, stop by the Sonoma Terrace for a California crafted beer and a Bavarian pretzel. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel is a fan favorite and a great way to unwind after a full day in the parks. If you haven’t had a chance to experience this enchanted location, make sure and add it to your must-do list!

Where is your favorite place to relax at the Disneyland Resort? Leave your answer in the comments below!


See the posts below for more Disneyland Resort Summer Tips:

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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Menehune Adventure Trail

posted on August 19th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


The legendary Menehune are mischievous little people with magical powers ​who live in the forest and only come out at night. Menehune statues are hidden throughout Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Look for them along the Waikolohe stream, along walking paths, in phone booths, elevators … pretty much anywhere! In fact, so many are hidden in the Waikolohe Valley that Aunty has enlisted Aulani guests to help find them on the Menehune Adventure Trail. Using interactive handsets, your ‘ohana can set out on ​30 challenges that immerse you in the mysteries, legends and lore of Hawai‘i. The Menehune supply plenty of enchantment along the way! The “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues today with ​an inside look at some of the secrets you will discover on the Menehune Adventure Trail.

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  • Lava Tube: Deep inside the Pu’u Kilo in the Waikolohe Valley, you might stumble upon a lava tube filled with magma. Watch out – it just may explode! You’ll need the help of the Menehune to divert the magma, avoiding trouble. During this mission to save the island, guests can sense the impressive sights and sounds of a lava flow.
  • Hula Drums: One of Aunty’s friends, Kani, is a master hula teacher who just uncovered an old video of her mother dancing the hula. However, the video has a minor technical difficulty – it doesn’t have any sound! Aunty turns to you and the Menehune to find the right rhythm for the chant using magical instruments along the trail.
  • Kapa: A traditional Hawaiian barkcloth, Kapa is the focal point of one of my favorite missions along the Menehune Adventure Trail. Aunty informs you that a young woman is about to be married, but her mother’s wedding gift, a kapa cloth, remains unfinished. With the help of the Menehune, you can help calm the mother-of-the-bride and complete the magically illuminated pattern.

Now is the best time to explore the Menehune Adventure Trail and more on a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! Book a consecutive four-night or more stay now through October 30, 2014, for travel between August 15 and December 22 (excluding November 26-29), and receive the fourth night free! Learn more about this great vacation offer here.


For more from the “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series, visit the posts below: