Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Beginning a Journey at Laniwai Spa

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


There is nothing like the experience at Laniwai Spa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, the amount of detail is unlike anywhere else in the world – and that is just the location. The treatments at Laniwai Spa relax and rejuvenate your mind and body. Laniwai means “freshwater heaven,” and this luxurious location spans 18,000 square feet of interior treatment rooms with an additional 5,000 square feet outdoors at the Kula Wai therapy garden – the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden on O`ahu. The “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues today with an inside look at the start of your journey at Laniwai Spa.

Laniwai Spa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Upon check-in, you first select a wishing stone etched with a word in both Hawaiian and English to focus on during your treatment. A cast member will then escort you past a water wall, through the transformation corridor. Along its curving walls, notice that one side consists of rougher surfaces and the other feels smooth. This attention to detail makes for a balanced and revitalizing experience. You begin to hear the sound of a passing rain shower and above your head hangs a web of `ohi`a logs and branches. This `ohi`a web seems to rise and fall along the pathway to give a sense of leaving the stresses and distractions of the outside world behind.

Lumi Akalani in the Laniwai Spa at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

At the end of the transformation corridor, you will arrive the spa’s focal point – the “room of heavenly reflection”. This beautiful rotunda is known as the Lumi Akalani and features a single crystal raindrop suspended from the center. Smooth pebbles fill the shallow pool below and here is where you will cast your wishing stone. Listen for the single drops of water and gaze upon the shimmering walls all around. You feel a sense of enlightenment as your Laniwai Spa journey is just beginning …

Which wishing stone did you focus on during your treatment at Laniwai Spa? I focused on Hau`oli, “Happiness” – leave your answer in the comments below.

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Dole Whip Swirls Up Excitement at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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


Great news, Dole Whip fans! I am very pleased to announce that the iconic Disney Parks treat is now available at the Lava Shack at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

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You and your ‘ohana can visit the Lava Shack in the Waikolohe Valley from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and order a pineapple, vanilla or swirl Dole Whip. My favorite part – it’s self-serve!

The Lava Shack also offers pool and beach gear, in case you need to pick up any before your daily adventures.

What is your favorite treat to enjoy at Aulani? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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Five Places to Explore on O’ahu During Your Vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


One of the greatest opportunities during a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the chance to explore the beautiful island of O’ahu. From the beaches to tropical rainforests and a bustling metropolitan city, this island of Hawai’i has something for everyone. A highlight of my visit to Aulani was driving along the coast with a stop for Hawaiian shave ice, a hike to Waimea Falls and a beachside lunch. Today, I wanted share five fantastic destinations on O’ahu that are not to be missed during your Aulani vacation!

1. North Shore - Stretching for more than seven miles along the O’ahu coast, the North Shore attracts surfers from around the world. If you are hoping to see some big waves, I recommend visiting the North Shore between November – February. However, if you have any new surfers in your ‘ohana, the waves in May – September are more tranquil and perfect for beginners. After a day along the shore, stop by the town of Haleiwa to pick up a delicious meal from a shrimp truck and save room for Hawaiian shave ice for dessert!

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2. Waimea Falls - Waimea Valley is a living example of a traditional Hawaiian ahupua’a (land division that extends from the mountain to the shore.) If you want to visit this legendary location, I strongly recommend the excursion available through the Aulani tour desk. This exclusive adventure includes transportation from the resort and a guided tour of Waimea Valley by a local expert. Learn more here.

3. Waikiki - Known in Hawaiian as “spouting waters,” Waikiki is O’ahu’s main hotel and resort area, featuring world-class shopping, dining and entertainment! Your keiki will have a blast exploring the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. You can also learn how to surf along the shores that legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku grew up surfing. At night, Waikiki turns into a bustling and energetic hot spot, ready for anyone looking to dance the night away.

4. Pearl Harbor – Exploring Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial is at the top of my must-do list for anyone visiting O’ahu, and Aulani offers a fantastic excursion to explore this historic harbor. Transportation to Pearl Harbor, as well as access to the Navy vessel that transports you to the USS Arizona Memorial is included. Learn more here.

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5. Diamond Head – One of most iconic monuments on the Hawaiian islands is Diamond Head, located just a few miles from Waikiki. This crater was named by 19th century British sailors who thought they discovered diamonds along the slopes. Unfortunately, these rocks turned out to be calcite crystals with very little (if any) value! While a little strenuous, the hike to the top of Diamond Head offers one of the most breathtaking views of the island.

Where is your favorite place to explore on the island of O’ahu? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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Enjoy a Fourth Night Free at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, with Special New Offer

posted on July 9th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


I recently shared some useful expressions for your visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Today, I’m pleased to pass along a fantastic offer, to give your `ohana the chance to try out these useful phrases during a vacation to the recently voted Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2014 Top Hotel for Families in the United States!

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Purchase a consecutive four-night stay in any room at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, now through October 30, 2014, and receive the fourth night free! This amazing offer is available for stays most nights from August 15, 2014, through December 22, 2014. In addition, upgrade to a one- or two-bedroom villa and receive a $100 per night resort credit, in addition to your free night. These villas are truly homes away from home, featuring accommodations like a full kitchen, laundry amenities and plenty of room for your keiki to spread out and relax.

A resort credit can be applied to spending the day relaxing in the 18,000-square-foot Laniwai Spa or enjoying a savory meal at `AMA`AMA, overlooking the ocean. Your keiki might want to even snorkel in Rainbow Reef – O`ahu’s only private snorkeling lagoon!

Ready to book right now? Visit www.disneyaulani.com for booking and more information!

*Reservation must be booked between July 9, 2014 and October 30, 2014 for stays between August 15, 2014 and December 22th, 2014. Block-out dates of 11/26/14 through 11/29/14 apply. 4th Night Free Offer applies only to stays of four or more consecutive nights all between August 15 and December 22, 2014, excluding any nights from 11/26/14 through 11/29/14. The free night savings is distributed across total room nights and is reflected in a reduced nightly rate, based on the non-discounted rate. Offer excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Resort Credit Offer of $100 is applied per room per consecutive night of your package stay for reservations booked in 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom villas only. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Resort credit may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part, transferred, refunded or applied towards room rate. All resort credits will expire at midnight on package departure date. 4th Night Free Offer excludes Resort Fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers.. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room. Limit two rooms per reservation and subject to room occupancy limitations. Advance reservations required. Subject to additional restrictions and change without notice.

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Tips for Viewing the Starlit Hui at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on July 2nd, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Today, I’m taking inspiration from one of my favorite Disney Parks Blog series, “Disneyland Resort Viewing Tips,” and sharing tips for enjoying the Starlit Hui at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. During the Starlit Hui, Uncle takes you on a magical journey of Hawaiian traditions and culture, filled with music, dance and most importantly … fun! Here are some tips I found most useful, from my own experience and from Aulani cast members:

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  • Arriving for the show -To reach the Halawai Lawn, enter via the pathway between Aunty’s Beach House and ‘AMA ‘AMA. Once you arrive, pick up a lauhala mat and find a spot on the grass underneath the island stars. Beverages are more than welcome on the Halawai Lawn, so make sure to fill up your Resort-refillable mug before the show!
  • Discovering island-inspired activities before the show - Once you’ve found your place on the Halawai Lawn, your keiki won’t want to miss the variety of island-inspired activities available before the show starts. Local artisans demonstrate traditional Hawaiian arts, like weaving and lei-making. You can also learn how to do the modern hula – which you’ll see later in the show!
  • Dancing with your favorite Disney characters – Following the Starlit Hui, be sure to stick around for a high-energy dance party! Some of your favorite friends like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy may even make a special appearance as your ‘ohana dances the Hawaiian night away.

One last tip I wanted to share with you if you’re heading to Aulani this summer: Now through August, the Starlit Hui will be offered on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (weather permitting)!

Have you seen the Starlit Hui? If so, what are some of your tips? Leave your answers in the comments below.

For more on Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, visit the posts below:

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

posted on July 2nd, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Once again, we have readers and fans to thank for more amazing awards. Today, Travel + Leisure announced its World’s Best Awards 2014, and Disney Cruise Line and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa earned top distinctions.

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Disney Cruise Line was named the Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line for the first time and the Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line for Families once again. Readers rated cruise lines on several different criteria, including cabins, food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities and value.

On land, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, was named the Top Hotel for Families in the United States. That’s no surprise, given how many families continue to tell us how much they love this beautiful Disney resort in Hawaii.

What do you and your family like best about Disney Cruise Line and Aulani?

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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Imagineer Joe Rohde on Design and Inspiration

posted on June 27th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Rohde, creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, about his inspirations for the design of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Joe’s career has included such iconic projects as Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Expedition Everest; Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa; and the upcoming AVATAR-inspired land at Walt Disney World Resort. Today, Joe shares some of the magic and tradition behind what makes Aulani unlike anywhere else in the world.

What is the significance behind the arch logo for Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa?

The curved arch is based on a traditional Hawaiian canoe house as echoed in the framing of the Maka‘ala lobby as well as in the resort’s physical layout.

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What was the inspiration for the Maka‘ala lobby?

Maka‘ala does several things all at once. It is a warm and welcoming place that expresses the spirit of aloha, acceptance and inclusion. But it also announces that this place – where you have arrived, Hawai‘i – is a special, unique and important place, and that there are stories to be learned here that you may not know … and LOTS of them. Lastly, it also suggests a feeling of elegance and artistry, which is consistent with true Hawaiian culture.

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What was the inspiration for the overall shape and design of Aulani and the Waikolohe Valley?

The resort was designed to reflect the sense of a Hawaiian valley opening out toward the ocean from highlands to lowlands. This organization has many connotations. One is the ahupua’a, the traditional organization of land that followed a watershed from the mountains to the sea and knitted all members of the community together in a working relationship and a functional sustainable relationship to the land.

Another is a Hawaiian concept of time itself as flowing – like fresh water – from the past, which is in the mountains, to the future, which is in the sea. The architectural statements of Aulani tend to follow this organizational layout.

You know, of course, that Waikolohe means “mischievous water.” That name is simply meant to connote the playful aspect of the springs, which spray you from unexpected directions, and the presence of the Menehune. It is true that, along this part of the O’ahu coast, fresh water comes from springs, and we wanted to reflect that but in a fun, mischievous way.

Hawaiian canoes are seen throughout Aulani. Why are canoes such a key aspect of the design?

We wanted to use little clues here and there to celebrate the great canoe tradition of Hawai`i, because these canoes are at the very heart of what makes Hawaiian culture Hawaiian. Without these canoes there would be no Hawaiians at all. They express the highest form of artistry, engineering, symbolic meaning, purposefulness and social cooperation that Hawaiian culture stands for. In particular, we wanted to celebrate the Hokulea, the canoe that awakened the Hawaiian cultural revival in the 1970s and continues today on its worldwide voyage.

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New Pins to Collect and Trade Coming Summer 2014 to Disney Parks

posted on June 19th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the start of summer just around the corner, I caught up with Erin Catalano, merchandiser for Disney Pins. You may remember Erin when she wrote articles for the Disney Parks Blog as a member of our Merchandise Communications team. Last December, Erin transitioned to her new role and has since kept busy creating many new pins that are coming to Disney Parks this summer. In this first article of a series of three stories for the Disney Parks Blog, I asked her about the number of pins guests can soon expect to find.

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“This summer will be an exciting time for guests who enjoy collecting or trading pins,” exclaimed Erin. “In the next three months, we will have about 250 new open edition pins that will be introduced at locations such as Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort or Disney Cruise Line. We know that finding pins of favorite characters, shows or attractions at Disney Parks is an important part of pin collecting. With these new pins, guests will have even more options to collect or trade what they like.”

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Erin’s favorite pins this month were created especially for Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa at Ko ‘Olina, Hawai’i. They include a multi-pin set and some beautiful logo pins featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

I selected a few of my favorites for the top image in this story. Being a Donald Duck fan, the “I Don’t Tweet, I Quack” pin is outstanding. I was also happy to see Mr. Toad and Rapunzel included in the mix.

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Some other pins that caught my eye include chalkboard art-inspired pins that reminded me of products in Disney Centerpiece at the newly opened Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace and online.

I’ll check back with Erin in a couple of weeks to see other new pins. Meanwhile, you can see the latest pin release information by visiting http://www.DisneyPins.com.

Happy Trading!

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Learning at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Educational Activities for the Whole ‘Ohana

posted on June 11th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


There are opportunities for every member of your ‘ohana to learn or even pick up new talents during a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! One of my favorite activities is Ho‘okani Pila – Learn to play the ‘ukulele. I was amazed at how easy it was for me to learn such a unique instrument. I spoke with Daniel Hee, Family Program Manager at Aulani, to ask which activities offer a fun learning experience for the whole family.

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  • Ho‘okani Pila – Learn the ‘Ukulele: Families can learn how to play a song or two on the ‘ukulele and also learn how the instrument became so popular in Hawaii. Even if you have never played an instrument before, this introductory lesson is simple and perfect for beginners of all ages!
  • ‘Ohana Hula: For me, it wouldn’t be a trip to Hawai’i without a lesson in hula dancing. Aulani features a weekly lesson about hula – Hawai‘i’s unique dance. During this activity, your ‘ohana will learn fun hula moves like the ‘ami hip roll and more. Some of the classes include Premium Experiences that teach you even more about the Hawaiian culture and the tradition of hula dancing.
  • Disney Family Fun Animation: Disney animated films have delighted generations. While at Aulani, your family can learn how to draw a favorite Disney Character and even take home your very own masterpiece. Trust me, I’m not an artist, and was pleasantly surprised how simple each step was while creating my own piece. Don’t forget to sign your sketch when you’re finished!

TIPS: When you check in at Aulani, a cast member will give you The Daily ‘Iwa, a listing of the wide variety of activities taking place around the resort, which will help you plan your day. Keep in mind that some of the activities do require reservations. The Daily ‘Iwa also lists activities for specific age groups, like the Teen Ho‘okani Pila (just for teenagers at Aulani) and Keiki Hula (just for kids)!

What is your ‘ohana’s favorite activity at Aulani? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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Kailee Kauai Jewelry Sparkles Like the Ocean at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on June 5th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I love discovering hidden treasures. Recently, I did just that. In fact it was a collection of hand-crafted jewelry from Kailee Kauai which is available in Hale Manu at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

What started as a hobby, and gift-giving idea to family and friends for over a decade, quickly turned into a something more for designer Yunah Lee Joseph.

“The collection is named after my daughter, Kailee. In the Hawaiian language, ‘Kai’ means ocean, while ‘Lee’ derives from my family name,” says Yunah. “It is my daughter’s love of our beautiful, pristine ocean, and the life that inhabits it, that lends inspiration for each unique piece.”

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One of the things I love most about the collection of earrings, pendants and bracelets is that each bead and stone has been carefully chosen to represent the striking blue and green tones of the ocean, while each shell has been hand-picked from the beautiful shores of Hawai`i.

One of the most popular pieces that can be found at Hale Manu is the Twist Oval Aqua Chalcedony.

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I hope that on your next trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, you discover a treasure to add to your own collection!

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