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Looking Back at D23 EXPO 2015 Disney Theme Park Merchandise

posted on August 21st, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

I know that many of you, our Disney fans, were with us all weekend long at D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. I mean what an experience, am I right? New film releases, new attraction and lands announced and of course, merchandise!

Those of you who attended the 60 Years of Disney Theme Park Merchandise panel discussion were in for quite a surprise as we took a look at the evolution of ear hats, new artwork set to appear on Twenty-Eight & Main, Disney Boutique, Disney Couture, Princess, Haunted Mansion – Revisited and Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course, it was the What Lies Ahead segment that caught the attention of some folks, with merchandise art reveals for the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, and of course, Shanghai Disney Resort. Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the art that was shown and be sure to keep watching the Disney Parks Blog, as I will have posts about all of these and more in the near future.


With the panel also came the world debut of the artists taking part in the We Love Disney compilation album by Verve Records and Walt Disney Records, due in stores October 30. Produced by multi-platinum, 16-time Grammy award winning producer and Verve Music Group Chairman, David Foster, the album will feature some of today’s hottest artists across pop, rock, R&B and country as they deliver their own interpretations of classic Disney songs. I could go on and on about who is featured on this album but why don’t you check it out for yourself including the We Love Disney Box Set here.


The spectrum was broad when it came to finding favorite souvenirs, as there was literally something for everyone. D23 EXPO merchandise, from t-shirts to mugs, handbags to drinkware, flew off the shelves, and of course the R4-D23 was definitely the droid everyone was looking for, and Force For Change t-shirts, fleece and pins weren’t far behind. Tip: Look for Force For Change apparel shortly at select locations at the Disneyland Resort through Labor Day and help us make a difference! If you have the D23 EXPO App, go to Aurasma and watch as the shirt activates before your very eyes.


What did I find? With ALEX AND ANI on hand, it’s no surprise that I spotted my souvenir at their table. While I almost picked up the new Snow White-inspired bangle, available at Disney Parks now, I chose to go a bit simpler with the Mickey Filigree Wrap in the Rafaelian Silver finish. I know you’re shocked! This is one of three pieces ALEX AND ANI pre-launched at D23 that won’t be available in the parks until the fall.

Finally, throughout the weekend, Disney fans were lined up to meet some of their favorite Disney Legends, artists, authors and special guests and the Disney Dream Store did not disappoint. More than 45 special guests and 80 signings took place over the course of the weekend, including a special appearance and signing with the Mouseketeers!

Who were you most excited to meet? What was your favorite part of D23 EXPO 2015?

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Filed: Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney Resort, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Kalepa’s Store

posted on August 18th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

While my fellow blogger Michelle Harker typically shares updates on merchandise at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, today I’m excited to share some of the unforgettable details found at Kalepa’s Store. Not only will you find unique gifts, apparel and Disney merchandise, but you’ll also discover details that make this charming shop a truly delightful place to visit during your Hawaiian vacation.


Kalepa’s Store at Aulani is inspired by the traditional, family-owned general stores that have served island locals for generations. In Hawaiian, “kalepa” means “merchant” or “peddler” – or more literally, “to strike a flag.” In fact, peddlers would hoist a pennant flag with the image (fish, taro, etc.) to indicate the item that was for sale – much like the fish flags raised by fishing boats today to indicate the type of fish they’ve caught.

The store at Aulani takes inspiration from classic general store designs, but adds a contemporary flair. For example, a unique “Shave Ice” chandelier hangs at the shop’s entrance with playful red, blue and yellow scoops of shave ice floating beneath a classic shave ice machine.


Some of my favorite unforgettable details at Kalepa’s Store are the photographs found throughout the shop. More than 40 black and white images adorn the walls, depicting modern-day general stores around the islands of Hawai’i. These special photographs honor the general store tradition that continues to thrive in Hawai’i today!

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

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Discover With Me: Mickey-Shaped Treats at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on August 11th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

I love treats. Not just at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, but at all of our Disney Parks. There is something about a sweet or savory snack that has Joy bouncing around my Headquarters. As an avid Disney fan, I wanted to discover just what scrumptious Mickey-shaped treats could be found at Aulani. Today, the “Discover With Me” series continues with a look at some of these treats available in this Hawaiian paradise, including a typical Hawaiian snack like the Spam musubi. If you’re wondering, it’s delicious!

For more from the “Discover with Me” series, visit the posts below:

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New Merchandise Debuts and Artist Showcases at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on August 5th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

There’s nothing like a summer vacation! While I haven’t had a chance to experience any fun in the sun yet this summer, a girl can dream. For those of you who have chosen Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, as your destination this August, here are few things you won’t want to miss!


On August 8, Plumeria Sun, known for their great pareos and sun dresses will take part in a special trunk show at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Representatives will be on hand showcasing some of these items and more at Painted Sky from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Hale Manu from 3 – 5 p.m.


Also debuting this August will be new Duffy the Disney Bear and Shellie May dressed plush. Inspired by Tori Richard art and apparel, you’ll find these two ready for a tropical getaway, just like your own visit to this magical destination. They’ll be arriving shortly at Kalepa’s Store, so keep your eyes peeled.


Something I plan to look for on my next visit is the Na Mea Hawai’i sunrise shell jewelry collection. I had a chance to chat with Lori Yunson from Na Mea, who shared details on these amazing one-of-a-kind pieces.

“If you are ever fortunate to come across one, you will know right away, as the shell itself glows as the sun rises,” says Lori. “These hand-crafted pieces have been created by local artisans and are considered rare finds from the shores and beaches of Hawai’i.”

On your next visit be sure to stop by Hale Manu to learn more, see the different designs available and perhaps even add one to your collection.

What have you found at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, that I should know about?

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Alfonso Ribeiro Soaks Up Summer with ‘Ohana at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on August 4th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

Before hosting the next season of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” actor Alfonso Ribeiro and his ‘ohana recently vacationed at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!


We caught up with Alfonso, his wife Angela and kids, Alfonso Jr., Sienna and Anders, as they were getting ready for a delicious meal at “Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at Makahiki.” Of course they had time for a quick picture with Mickey Mouse!

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A Home Away From Home at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: 3-Bedroom Grand Villa

posted on July 28th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

With an immediate family of 12, I personally understand what it’s like to vacation with a large ‘ohana. That’s why I like to recommend 3-Bedroom Grand Villas at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, for family vacations – the perfect retreat for everyone. My nieces and nephew can spend the day at Aunty’s Beach House while the adults relax beside the Wailana Pool. Then we can all convene for dinner in the Grand Villa before heading to the Starlit Hui. Today our “A Home Away From Home” series continues with a look inside these 3-Bedroom Grand Villas at Aulani – so perfect for multi-families or even reunions.


Imagine your luxurious home away from home equipped with three separate bedrooms, three bathrooms, a full-size kitchen and a living room! Spread across 2,100 square feet, you’ll find four flat-panel televisions and DVD players, a whirlpool tub and an extra large private balcony. And like the 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom Villas, don’t worry about packing extra clothes because a full washer and dryer is available inside the Villa.

There is more than enough room to prepare home-cooked meals for 12 inside the furnished kitchen. Not only will you have a full-size refrigerator, but you’ll also find dishware, glassware, flatware, pots and pans!

Curious about the sleeping arrangements? The master bedroom features a king bed, while the other bedrooms are equipped with two queen beds. You’ll also find that the living room sofa folds into a queen bed, and also has one sleeper chair. As you can tell, the Grand Villas were designed to comfortably accommodate all ages of your ‘ohaha.

Who is coming with you on a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Tell us in the comments below!

For more from the “Home Away from Home” series, visit the posts below:

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Celebrate Mahalo Season with Uncle at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on July 23rd, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

When is your favorite time for a Hawaiian escape to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? If your answer is “anytime,” don’t worry – me too! But recently Uncle, our Master Storyteller at Aulani, has alerted me to a special new time to visit: Aulani Mahalo Season. During this special time of year, your ‘ohana can enjoy the magic of our resort even longer and enjoy some great savings, too!


The more nights you visit Aulani, the more you’ll save – with 30 percent on stays of five or more consecutive nights or 25 percent on stays of four consecutive nights. You can book the special Aulani Mahalo Season offer through October 26, 2015, for most vacations August 16 through December 21, 2015. (The offer excludes stays November 25 through November 28, 2015.) Visit or call 866-443-4763 for more information.

Come enjoy Aulani with us. As Uncle says, “You can’t say Aloha without the ‘ahhhhh.’”

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Tastes of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Local-style Acai Bowl at ‘AMA‘AMA

posted on July 14th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

I have been in love with the Local-style Acai Bowl at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, since my first visit to O’ahu. This healthy and delicious smoothie-like parfait features fresh Hawaiian fruit, organic granola, local honey and other garnishings! To say I crave one here on the mainland every morning would certainly be an understatement. Today, the “Tastes of Aulani” series continues with Chef Kevin preparing my favorite menu item at ‘AMA’AMA – Contemporary Island Cooking. Enjoy the video below and then start your day off with an acai bowl using the recipe below!

Local-style Acai Bowl
Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup acai purée
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 bananas, divided
  • 1/4 cup local honey, more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup organic granola
  • 12 slices starfruit
  • 1/2 cup poha berries
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  1. Blend purée, strawberries, blueberries, 1 banana, and honey in a blender on high speed. Pour into 4 small serving bowls.
  2. Top each with even amounts of granola, starfuit, poha berries, strawberries, and banana. Drizzle to taste with honey and garnish with mint.

Chef’s note: Acai is a reddish, purple berry that comes from the acai palm tree which is native to Central and South America. High in antioxidants, the flavor is described as a cross between a rich blackberry or raspberry and a piece of dark chocolate. The sweet-tart poha berry is a relative of the tomatillo that looks like a cherry but tastes more like a tart tomato. Acai purée can be found in the freezer section of local health food stores.

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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Aunty’s Beach House

posted on July 7th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

The keiki in your family will be swept away by the magic found at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. From interacting with Goofy by the Waikolohe Stream to exploring the Waikolohe Valley on the Menehune Adventure Trail, these magical Disney moments will be remembered long after your Hawaiian vacation comes to an end. Today, the “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues on the Disney Parks Blog with a special focus on Aunty’s Beach House – a magical kids club for guests ages 3 to 12.


As the story goes, Aunty’s family purchased a nice spot of land near the beach and built this enchanting 5,200 square-foot beach house. Passed from generation to generation, her ‘ohana has gathered here for relaxation, fun and celebration.

The beach house is currently cared for by Aunty and Uncle and the traditions of Hawai‘i are carefully preserved and visitors are always greeted with the spirit of aloha. Having lived on the leeward shore of O’ahu for her entire life, Aunty is considered to be a true expert on Hawaiian history and cultural traditions. Uncle grew up in a household immersed in tales of adventure and travel, so be sure to keep an eye out for worldly trinkets and treasures.

At the beach house, Aunty and Uncle have continued the family tradition of welcoming friends and visitors alike. With their help, Disney cast members organize planned activities such as treasure hunts, character encounters, arts and crafts experiences and Hawaiian-themed games. Aunty’s Beach House is a great opportunity for kids to have fun while gaining a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Hawaiian culture, including the many mysteries of earth, sea and sky.

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

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Meet Aulani’s ‘Ohana: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Ambassador

posted on July 2nd, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations

“Ohana means family.”

The magic of a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, comes to life thanks to the rich Hawaiian culture, unforgettable details and of course, our cast members. Today, I’m delighted to start a series on the Disney Parks Blog that features one of those key ingredients: our cast members. In fact, Walt Disney once said: “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world … but it requires people to make that dream a reality.”

“Meet Aulani’s ‘Ohana” will showcase cast members from around the resort and highlight how their unique roles create magical memories of Hawai’i for our guests. Our series kicks off with Janelle Sanqui, the first-ever Disney Ambassador at Aulani. Learn about her role and her Disney journey thus far in the video below!

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