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Five Hawaiian Expressions to Know for Your Visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on May 13th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Aloha! Are you ready for your trip to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? One of the travel tips my mom passed down to me was to always learn five key expressions that are used in the place you are visiting. In that spirit, I asked Aulani Cultural Advisor Kahulu De Santos to recommend the five most useful expressions that every Aulani guest should know.

1. Aloha – “Hello”

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Say Hello from Ka Maka Landing at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Aloha is the Hawaiian word I used most during my visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. From the moment you arrive, the spirit of aloha is alive in every cast member interaction. A fun tip about this Hawaiian word is that also can mean “goodbye.” So, you can start and end a conversation with aloha!

2. E komo mai – “Welcome”

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Just as Walt Disney said at the dedication of Disneyland park, “To all who come to this happy place: Welcome,” a welcoming spirit is the foundation for all Disney Parks & Resorts, and Aulani is a beautiful example of that spirit.

3. ‘Ohana – “Family”

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There are so many activities available for your entire family to enjoy. A few of my favorites include Disney Family Fun Animation, ‘Ohana Hula and of course, the Aulani Starlit Hui.

4. Keiki – “Child” or “Children”

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Disney Characters, Aunty’s Beach House and Keiki Cove are just three of the options available for your keiki (pronounced kay-key) to enjoy at Aulani. Even as keiki grow older, there are daily tween and teen activities that allow every member of your ‘ohana to meet new friends and take home treasured experiences.

5. Mahalo – “Thank You”

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Mahalo was another Hawaiian word I used frequently during my visit. You’ll often hear cast members thanking you for visiting Aulani by saying, “Mahalo!”

I hope these expressions help you and your ‘ohana feel at home during your visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! Do you have any other Hawaiian words or phrases to recommend to new visitors? Leave your answers in the “Comments” section!

Aloha!

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Point of View: Rainbow Reef at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on May 7th, 2014 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


Recently my fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Erin Glover, went under the sea in Rainbow Reef at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, to try the Supplied Air Snorkeling (S.A.S.) experience. Today, I invite you to visit the only private snorkeling lagoon on O`ahu again, but this time from the point of view of one of the nearly 50 different types of sea life that live in the reef!

I also want to pass along this helpful tip I learned about Rainbow Reef: You can purchase a one-day experience or, if your ‘ohana wants to explore the lagoon throughout your vacation, a length-of-stay experience is also available.

And here’s a bit of trivia for you … at one point in the video above, we spot the state fish of Hawai`i. Do you know its Hawaiian name? Leave your answers in the “Comments” section!

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Little Ones Enjoy Makeovers at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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


Getting pampered at the Laniwai Spa was by far one of my favorite experiences at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. During my visit, I met with Spa Director Lucia Rodriguez and she gave me a tour of the wide variety of offerings available for the entire ‘ohana. Some of the most magical treatments I learned about were the options available for the keiki, or little ones! As with any Disney experience, little touches of magic are pixie-dusted throughout the Kids’ Services at the Laniwai Spa, and they also include some aloha style! After all, this is a Hawaiian vacation. Take a look for yourself!

Have you or your keiki had a chance to visit the Laniwai Spa? If so, what was your favorite part of the experience?

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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is a Great Place to be Green

posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Todd Apo, Director, Public Affairs, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


Malama means to care for, to protect and to maintain. April is Earth Month, and Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii, has many ways to practice malama. Last week, Aulani was recognized for those efforts by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).

At its annual awards banquet, ARDA presented Aulani with four awards, including the Green Sustainable Program within a Resort and the ACE Project of Excellence Award for being the “best of the best.”

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During Earth Month, we celebrate these awards and touch on the green, sustainable programs at Aulani. As we announced last year, Aulani became the first Hawaii resort to be LEED certified, achieving Silver Certification. The effort began from day one, as much of today’s success started with the planning of Aulani back in 2007. As we continue into our third year of providing a deep Hawaiian cultural experience to our guests and Disney Vacation Club Owners, our efforts continue around energy savings, recycling and being good stewards of the aina – the land.

A few final notes on being green at Aulani:

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Features Local Ingredients in Luscious New Desserts at ‘AMA ‘AMA

posted on April 16th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


When you cook on an island paradise, using delectable local ingredients only makes the food taste better. And Chef Ron Viloria at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i, gets creative with sweets on his new dessert menu at beachside ‘AMA ’AMA – Contemporary Island Cooking restaurant.

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“We’re using native mamaki tea for the panna cotta, and lavender with tart kalamansi (a citrus fruit also known as calamondin) for the semifreddo,” says Chef Ron. The fragrant lavender comes from Ali’i Kula lavender farms in Maui, and the kitchen also is sourcing local honeycomb for the semifreddo, a “semi-frozen” dessert.

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Cocoa is another Hawaiian product, and Chef Ron is using Kokoleka chocolate for his “Chocolate with Aloha” dessert that’s made with chocolate from Waialua Estate (cacao and coffee beans) on O’ahu’s North Shore, where the nutrient-rich volcanic soil, abundant rainfall and plentiful sunshine produce some of the world’s best cacao.

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Chef Ron also added a modern representation of Hawai’i’s traditional mochi cake, a tender, soft, chewy dessert made with rice. And he’s using lemongrass and coconut in the lemongrass crème Catalana, an island version of the classic French crème brûlée made with fresh coconut.

“Of six desserts on the menu, five are new,” says Chef Ron. (He kept the popular chocolate cake, now called “Mocha Chantilly Cake.”) Guests seems to love the lemongrass crème Catalana too, he says. Hopefully you’ll get to visit Aulani soon – Chef Ron changes the desserts about every six months.

“It was so much fun sourcing products locally to make some delicious desserts for our guests at ‘AMA ‘AMA,” says Chef Ron. “Giving diners a taste of Hawai’i makes their vacation extra special.”

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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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