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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: Traditional Lei

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


The unforgettable details woven throughout Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, make the resort a destination unlike any in the world. Let’s begin this new series the same way your Aulani vacation would with a warm welcome, or e komo mai, and a traditional lei.

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Upon my arrival at Aulani, I noticed cast members waiting with lei at their side and large smiles on their faces. One of those cast members greeted me with my own personal lei. Talking with her, I learned that each member of the ‘ohana, or family, receive this symbol of aloha – the gift of a lei. Women receive an orchid and tuberose lei, while the men receive a kukui nut lei. I was then escorted into the breathtaking Maka’ala Lobby where the same cast member told me the significance of receiving a lei. The lei has been an important part of the traditional Hawaiian culture for centuries, as well as the modern local culture of Hawaii today.

I wanted to learn more about this tradition, so I asked Aulani Cultural Advisor, Kahulu De Santos. She shared many stories about lei, such as the beautiful feather lei worn by the aliʻi, the royalty of traditional Hawaii. In addition to being a symbol of aloha, the lei also symbolizes the importance of connections. Just like the flowers or kukui nuts are linked together, the lei embodies the connections to places and relationships we have with those around us.

It is through the spirit and magic of Aulani that you will establish new connections or strengthen existing ones during your stay, and your lei will help you remember those memories when you travel home.

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Once I checked into my room with my lei still around my neck, I could not think of a better way to begin a Hawaiian vacation. The warm greeting, the lei, a personal escort through the Maka‘ala Lobby and the gentle breeze – it made me realize that my magical journey was only just beginning.

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Now on Instagram

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


Hello, I’m Tyler and I have been a cast member at Disneyland Resort for several years. I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to discover Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, along with you here on the Disney Parks Blog. From Main Street, U.S.A., to the Maka’ala Lobby, it really is amazing to see the magic of Disney come to life in different parts of the world.

And today the magic of Aulani can be shared in a whole new way, through the newly launched @DisneyAulani on Instagram!

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Just like the @WaltDisneyWorld & @Disneyland Instagram feeds, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite fan photos through @DisneyAulani. If selected, you and your ‘ohana can see your Aulani vacation memories shared around the world.

Ready to join in? Be sure to add #Aulani to your photos and you may be featured on our new @DisneyAulani Instagram feed.

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Golden Week and Duffy the Disney Bear Merchandise Makes its Way to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on March 31st, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


I love finding special souvenirs when I go on trips! I’m pretty sure most of you do too. So if you are heading to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa during the month of April or specifically during Golden Week at the end of the month, here are some tips on what I think would make some great souvenirs to add to your collection. For those of you wondering what Golden Week is, it is a collection of national holidays in Japan that often fall within a week’s time period.

First up, is a special limited edition pin celebrating Golden Week. This limited edition 1500 pin will debut on April 10 and features Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse enjoying a sweet moment on their Hawaiian holiday. Where can you find it? Kālepa’s Store, of course! It’s a great find and it’s easy to pack for your trip home.

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Now, I know that many of you take your very own Duffy the Disney Bear with you on vacation, and I can tell you from experience that Duffy is a great traveler! So here are a few more reasons why you’ll have to make some extra room in your luggage!

Our talented teams of artists and developers have been hard at work creating a handful of new costumes that are … Who am I kidding? I just have to say it … “bear”y cute! First let me show you the dated costume and plaid costume which became available at Kālepa’s Store this past week.

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And now … for the sneak peek! Here’s your first look at some additional costumes headed your way in late spring, early summer. As you can see we had some fun dressing up Duffy the Disney Bear!

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Personally, I can’t decide which one is my favorite. Which one is yours?

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Aulani Makes the ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ Vacation Destination

posted on March 21st, 2014 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


In the Muppets’ new movie now in theaters, “Muppets Most Wanted,” the gang is headed on a world tour visiting amazing destinations, but it’s Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Hawai`i that makes their most-wanted vacation destination. In celebration of the newly released movie, our friends at Walt Disney Studios show us what activities and resort features make the Muppets’ most-wanted list. When planning an Aulani vacation, what makes your most-wanted list?

And don’t forget, we have a great travel offer available to get you started on making your list.

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Exciting News from Aulani for Fans of our Hawaiian Mele: Music of the Makaʻala Available for Download March 18

posted on March 17th, 2014 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


Makaʻala Grand Lobby at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Mele means music, and it’s a key part of your Aulani arrival. When you get out of your car, you are greeted with an “Aloha,” a lei and the physical beauty of Aulani. But it gets better as you enter the Makaʻala Grand Lobby, where your senses are then filled with mele that is special to Aulani.

We are excited to announce that starting tomorrow, March 18, you can own that part of the Aulani experience. The Music of the Makaʻala will be available for purchase and download at disneymusicstore.com and other online outlets. These five special songs, written by Kealiʻi Reichel and Mark Mancina, help bring the Hawaii storytelling to life at Aulani … And now at your home, car and wherever you take your music with you.

One of the songs, “He Lei No Aulani” talks of the tranquil splendor and affectionate welcome that greets our guests. The lyrics begin, “Iā ʻoe ē keia wehi ē” – this adornment is for you. The song says that our greeting is told through everlasting love – “wear this lei, it is for you, the one who has come.”

E hoʻolohe ana mai – listen. The mele of Aulani is here for you.

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New Merchandise Makes Its Way to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on March 6th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Don’t you always feel like you’re in need of a vacation? Thankfully, from time to time I get to show some of the amazing new merchandise offerings from Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, so it’s a little bit of a vacation for me, at least for a moment, in my head.

So what can you expect to find on your next trip? Take a look!

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The new Brights collection, which as you can see is very colorful, features beloved characters and icons on a variety of different items including T-shirts, frames, magnets, tumblers and mugs. My favorite part is that it reads “Aloha from Aulani,” in a throwback to some of the vintage style postcards we have all come to know and love. Look for this new collection to hit store shelves after April 1.

Is there more? You bet! New items are hitting Kālepa’s Store and Hale Manu all the time. Here’s a peek at another collection themed to floral Minnie Mouse that is sure to be a fan favorite of your island princess. The T-shirt’s, tank, dresses and accessories are embellished with a flower giving it a little bit of an extra touch, making them feel as special as they are.

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If it’s not obvious that I love the products we are offering at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, perhaps I should tell you about and show you a few more things. There is a selection of new Nike polo shirts and T-shirts that can easily be added to your travel attire, making it your go-to look for vacation. For our Disney Vacation Club members who frequent the resort, don’t despair! I have some good news for you, too. Here’s a look at the new logo that will appear on an array of new items including ladies and men’s T-shirts, a hat, ornament, window cling and more.

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What’s next, travelers? Look for a post in the coming weeks on some additional releases this spring, including newly themed Duffy the Disney Bear costumes and unique offerings from our Disney Dream jewelry collection.

For any of you visiting Aulani, look for Aunty Lorna May Pacheco (Lau hala Plaiting) and Dalani Tanahy (Kapa Printing) to appear this month as part of our Artisan Showcases.

There’s so much coming your way and so much to share. Until then … Aloha!

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Under the Sea With Supplied-Air Snorkeling in Rainbow Reef at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on March 4th, 2014 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


One of my favorite activities that the whole ‘ohana can enjoy together at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is snorkeling at Rainbow Reef. In fact, it’s the only private snorkeling lagoon on O’ahu. At Rainbow Reef, you can get up-close to nearly 50 different types of sea life native to Hawai`i. And we recently added an enhanced experience, S.A.S. (Supplied-Air Snorkeling), which is perfect for novice snorkelers. My fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Erin Glover, gave it a try on her last visit to Aulani – go along with her and see it for yourself in the video below.

Have you and your ‘ohana had a chance to snorkel in Rainbow Reef? What kind of fish did you find? Now is the perfect time to visit Aulani with this great offer.

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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Hotels Receive ‘Best Hotels’ Awards

posted on February 4th, 2014 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you haven’t heard, eight Walt Disney Parks and Resorts hotels were recently named Silver Badge Winners by U.S. News & World Report. All of the winning Disney Parks hotels ranked as one of the best in their market.

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We’re especially thrilled about the awards because they recognize the creativity and heart of our cast members who create Disney magic and deliver the great guest service that the company is known for. Here’s the breakdown of winners:

In California, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel was named one of the Best Hotels in Anaheim and in Hawaii, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa ranked as one of the Best Hotels in Honolulu – Oahu.

Six hotels at Walt Disney World Resort were also named Best Hotels in Orlando, including:

The hotels were ranked by travel experts and guests through online reviews and ratings and a complete list is posted online.

Congratulations to all of our “Best Hotels” winners.

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Pro Bowl Players Get in the Aloha Spirit at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on January 26th, 2014 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


On Friday, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, welcomed NFL players preparing to compete in today’s Pro Bowl game. Players were invited to bring their families to enjoy an afternoon of Disney magic, with special guests Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

NFL Pro Bowl Running Back Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs with Mickey Mouse at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, of the Kansas City Chiefs, was the first to visit with Mickey Mouse upon arriving at the event.

NFL Pro Bowl Tight End Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys with Minnie Mouse at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Tight end Jason Witten, of the Dallas Cowboys, visited with event hostess Minnie Mouse.

NFL Pro Bowl Running Back LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles with Mickey Mouse at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

And Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, of the Philadelphia Eagles, stopped to shake a shaka with Mickey Mouse on his way into the event.

Please join me in wishing all the Pro Bowl players luck in today’s game!

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2014 Merchandise Debuts at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on January 22nd, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Who doesn’t love the idea of a tropical getaway? So any time that I can share details about what’s happening in the world of merchandise at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa – I’m in. Let’s be honest, I feel like I’m already there!

If you are looking to commemorate your stay at the resort, consider our 2014 Program which is available at Kālepa’s and features Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Stitch, Chip n’ Dale and Duffy the Disney Bear. You will find elements of the art in some form or fashion on vast array of merchandise including tees for kids and adults, a mug, frame, magnet, keychain, ornament, jumbo pencil, pen and D-Tech phone case. Here’s your first look!

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Vacation is a time to get away, so I encourage you to embrace your aloha Disney Side while you’re at Aulani with one of our four new tees.

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Now, one thing that I hope you have planned during your stay is a trip to Laniwai Spa. I actually haven’t been myself, but I am looking forward to the opportunity of experiencing the massages and skin care treatments they offer. What I have been lucky enough to try is some of the amazing product that is used in many of the exquisite treatments. One of these great product offerings is the Laniwai collection, a luxurious skin care line, embodying the roots of Hawai‘i while providing natural and botanical benefits.

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I was a bit curious about what made it so special, so I inquired with my friend and merchandiser, Emilio Martinez, who had this to share: “The Laniwai collection commits to providing luxurious natural products made from organic ingredients, from the most serene tropical wonders that Hawai‘i has to offer. If you choose the body polish, body cream or body wash, you will find that it provides the perfect combination of exfoliation, nourishment and hydration; giving you the relaxed and natural glow one seeks.” So if you long to re-live your stay at Aulani or perhaps an amazing spa treatment at Laniwai, take the Laniwai collection home with you, and recapture the natural beauty Hawai‘i has to offer.

For details on Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa merchandise, artisan signings with Aunty Lorna May Pacheco (Lauhala Plaiting) and Dalani Tanahy (Kapa Printing), and more visit www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

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