Wall-E in 'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

Special Edition Wildlife Wednesday: What Are We Thankful For? You! – Thank You for Contributing to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund!

posted on November 26th, 2014 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


Recently, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) was thrilled to announce its 2014 grant recipients. With this announcement DWCF surpassed $25 million awarded to nonprofits working to conserve wildlife and connect kids and families with nature. As we enter a season full of thanks and giving for many, we want to take a moment to thank you! Matched by Disney, your contributions to DWCF at Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Cruise Line and Disney Vacation Club, are directly contributing to protecting animals and their habitats, and helping children all over the world have nature experiences. Not only do we thank you, the grant recipients thank you as well. Here are a few notes from recipients expressing gratitude for the conservation efforts made possible by your contributions.

The Marine Mammal Center: Mahalo!!! This is such wonderful news – especially as we just celebrated the opening and blessing of the new Hawaiian monk seal hospital and were joined by 150 members of the community, government, funders, and volunteers in Kona last week. And as we just sent off the first four young Hawaiian monk seal patients healthy back to the ocean – before our facility was built these four seals would have been left with no hope of survival. It is an exciting time of hope and possibility in the recovery of the Hawaiian monk seal. Thank you so much for your support!

Project: Hawaiian Monk Seal Healthcare Project

The Purple Martin Conservation Association: This is most wonderful news and on behalf of our purple martin conservation team we express our deep thanks for your support of our project. We look forward to working together with Disney to make important progress in the conservation of declining populations of purple martins.

Project: Connecting Songbird Conservation Across Hemispheres

Hawaiian Monk Seals at The Marine Mammal Center Tagged Purple Martin at The Purple Martin Conservation Association

SAVE THE FROGS!: This is amazing news! Thank you so much to you all and to Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for your support of our amphibian conservation programs in West Africa.

Project: Saving Ghana’s Endangered Squeaker Frog

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The Jane Goodall Institute: Thank you so much for this wonderful news. Having Disney’s support of the Jane Goodall Institute and our Mandrill Reintroduction Project is greatly appreciated. Releasing rehabilitated mandrills back into the wild is so important, not only for the individuals themselves, but also for the surrounding ecosystem. They are important contributors to their local biodiversity and their presence has a positive spillover effect on other threatened wildlife. Again, thank you to everyone at Disney for your support.

Project: Release of Wild Born Mandrills

Sea to Shore Alliance: Thank you so much to all of you at DWCF for this fantastic news! We are extremely honored to be funded for the seventh year in a row, and we know our African manatee collaborators, whose projects benefit so greatly from your grants, are very grateful as well. We look forward to sharing more news and photos with you soon.

Project: African Manatee Research and Conservation

Every $1 in guest donations is matched by The Walt Disney Company and awarded to nonprofits to support conservation projects around the world. By contributing to the DWCF, guests are making a meaningful difference in conserving species all over the world. To see more projects visit Disney.com/conservation and click on the Google Earth application.

Happy Holidays!

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First Look at New Merchandise at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on November 24th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Planning a visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, this holiday season? You might want to consider packing light or bringing an extra suitcase, because I have all of the details on new merchandise that I guarantee you are going to want to bring home with you.

From what I’ve heard, the new Aulani-inspired Dooney & Bourke collection has already become a fan favorite. Take a look at the new design on the tote and cross-body styles which are available now at Hale Manu. Tip: Look for the wristlet (shown), available this spring.

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It doesn’t stop there! New collections themed to Shellie May, Duffy the Disney Bear, Aloha Minnie and Mele Kalikimaka are now available at Kalepa’s Store.

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As you can see, this year’s Mele Kalikimaka collection features Santa Mickey and Reindeer Pluto. You’ll find this art on tees, an ornament, a mug and a pin. Tip: Although I wasn’t able to show it, the Santa Mickey Mele Kalikimaka hat should be a must for anyone visiting during the holiday time frame.

New hats, caps, totes, tanks, fashion tees and fleece have been added to the new Aloha Minnie collection. It’s fashionable, fun and a perfect addition to your vacation wear.

Shellie May and Duffy the Disney Bear have made their debut on new items this holiday season as well. Look for t-shirts, hats and more featuring these fan favorites.

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Other seasonal favorites and quick picks include holiday and Frozen dolls and plush, retro holiday merchandise, ornaments, pins and Vinylmation.

Stay tuned for more next month as we dive deeper into the world of merchandise at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

What will you pack in your bags?

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Unforgettable Details of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa: What’s in the Name?

posted on November 20th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


In Hawaiian culture, names are very important. So today, our “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues with a look at the meaning of the name ‘Aulani,’ and how Hawaiian culture and Disney storytelling came together to create a Hawaiian experience like no other at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

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Aulani has a full time Cultural Advisor on staff, Kahulu De Santos. She explained to me that when Disney started this Hawai’i project, Walt Disney Imagineering established a Hawaiian Cultural Committee which worked side by side with Imagineers to create the experiences at Aulani. Their discussions surrounded the art work, architecture and themes that would be built into the resort.

“As the story is told, one morning, while the committee was working on coming up with a name for the resort, one of the members shared that he had a dream about the name ‘Aulani,’” explained Kahulu. “Aulani means ‘messenger of a chief’ or ‘messenger of a greater authority.’ So the committee quickly determined that this would be the name it would present to Disney as the name for this new resort.”

The important significance of Aulani is that the resort serves as a location that shares the messages and stories of the Hawaiian culture, its chiefs and its people, while recognizing and honoring traditional and contemporary Hawaiian practices, she explained.

Aulani celebrates Hawai‘i’s rich legacy of storytelling combined with the magic of Disney. The name Aulani invites guests to ponder and listen to the many-layered stories or “messages” found at this beautiful resort on O’ahu.

One of my favorite examples of these unique stories at Aulani involves the significance of the kapa design in the cast member nametags. Have you seen these? What’s your favorite story found at Aulani? Tell us in the comments below.


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

Celebrate Thanksgiving at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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


Family and food are two of the best things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season, and what better way to celebrate than on a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? In fact, Sunset Magazine recently voted Aulani as one of the “top ten warm-weather Thanksgiving getaways.” So envision your ‘ohana spending November 27 floating down the Waikolohe Stream or exploring the Menehune Adventure Trail and then enjoying a delicious array of food and fun at the Aulani Thanksgiving Feast.

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The Kaiona Ballroom will be transformed into a celebratory feast full of Hawaiian holiday traditions sprinkled with Disney magic. You’ll enjoy familiar Thanksgiving favorites … but with an island twist. For example, start with the heirloom tomato salad with Maui onion and micro basil and then follow that scrumptious starter with the longboard-braised boneless beef short ribs. Of course, no Thanksgiving meal is complete without turkey or ham – so be sure not to miss the guava- and pineapple-glazed ham and roasted turkey with sage stuffing, giblet gravy, and fresh cranberry-orange chutney. Also, live music from local entertainers will be featured, as well as a special Disney character greeting experiences exclusively for Aulani Thanksgiving Feast guests!

This “pumpkin pie” perfect feast will have two seatings: the first seating is from 4-6 p.m. and the second seating is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The Aulani Thanksgiving Feast costs $84.99 for guests ages 10 and up; $42.99 for keiki ages 3 to 9. Please keep in mind that this event has limited seating, so be sure to call (808) 674-6200 to book your reservation today. Find more information and more menu details here.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? Tell us in the comments below!

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And the 2014 Orbitz Best in Stay Elite Award Goes to … Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

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


The magic of a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is at the top of any must-do list for families looking for a once-in-a-lifetime getaway. With included amenities designed for every age like Aunty’s Beach House, Painted Sky and the Aulani Starlit Hui, it’s no surprise that Orbitz recently recognized this beautiful Hawaiian resort with the 2014 Orbitz Best in Stay Elite Award!

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The 2014 Best in Stay Awards recognize up to five properties in each category, and Aulani earned the Elite Award for being the highest-rated hotel in the Family category. Each of the winners were selected based on hotel reviews submitted by Orbitz customers and travel experts, spanning 75 of the most popular destinations in the world.

If your bags aren’t packed yet, there is still time to book a consecutive four-night stay at this award-winning resort and receive the fourth night free! This offer is available to book through October 30, 2014, for most vacations to Aulani through December 22, 2014. Don’t forget – you can also upgrade to a one- or two-bedroom villa and receive a $100 per night resort credit, in addition to your free night. Learn more about this limited-time offer here!

What does your family love most about a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Tell us in the comments below!

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Stay Longer, Save More this Winter at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, with Choice of Special Offers

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


Winter is just around the corner and what better way to escape the cold weather than with a tropical vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Ko Olina, Hawai`i? If that is not tempting enough, the longer you stay and enjoy snorkeling at Rainbow Reef or relaxing at the infinity pool in Ka Maka Landing this winter, the more you’ll save! Take a look at the video below and you’ll see why Aulani has become a favorite destination for families around the world.

Starting today, book a 4-night stay at Aulani and enjoy the 4th night free with a complimentary breakfast at the Ulu Cafe! Click here to learn more. Or if you’re thinking your keiki will need more time at Aunty’s Beach House, our signature complimentary kids club, or you’ll need an extra day at Laniwai Spa, enjoy 30% off a 5-night or more stay – plus complimentary breakfast at Ulu Cafe. Click here to learn more.

You can book either of these special offers October 9, 2014, through February 23, 2015, for most nights January 4, 2015, through March 23, 2015. Visit www.DisneyAulani.com or call 866-443-4763 for more information.

*Stay 4 nights and get the fourth night free with daily breakfast offer for stays of four consecutive nights. Save 30% with daily breakfast offer for stays of five or more consecutive nights. All stays must be booked between 10/9/14 and 2/23/15 inclusive, with all nights between 1/4/15 and 3/23/15. 30% savings based on the non-discounted price of the same room. Number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited, and room availability may vary by dates of stay. Package includes daily breakfast for all Guests booked per room per night of your package stay. Breakfast is only redeemable at Ulu Cafe during normal breakfast operating hours, and includes one entree and one coffee or fresh rotating juice. Breakfast entitlements may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part, sold separately, transferred or refunded and will expire at midnight on package departure date. Excludes Resort fees and taxes. Not valid in combination with any other discounts or offers. Offers exclude suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. 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 changes without notice.

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Every Role a Starring Role – Disney Vacation Club Sales Associate

posted on October 8th, 2014 by Melanie Vogel, External Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


As a Disney Vacation Club Sales Associate, Jose Colon has the opportunity to listen to guests share favorite Disney Parks vacation memories, tell them how Disney Vacation Club could be a part of their next vacation experience and provide assistance to them while visiting the Disneyland Resort. In this “Every Role a Starring Role,” see how Jose shows guests the exciting vacation possibilities that await with Disney Vacation Club.

See more episodes of “Every Role a Starring Role” here:

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:

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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Fodor’s Travel Names Aulani a Top Hotel

posted on September 19th, 2014 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


“An enchanting resort complete with Disney character experiences and a touch of local culture in everything …”

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That’s what reviewers at Fodor’s Travel, one of the largest and most respected publishers of travel and tourism information, are saying about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, which is being recognized as a 2014 Fodor’s 100 Hotel Award winner, and one of the top 12 “Beach Getaway” hotels worldwide. Aulani was the only resort in all of Hawai‘i to be included in this distinguished category.

Fodor’s evaluated more than 5,000 properties around the globe, so cracking the top 100 – and being called out as one of the world’s greatest beach resorts – is a wonderful achievement.

What do you love most about your “Beach Getaway” to Aulani?


To read more about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, visit the posts below: