'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

Moms Panel Monday: Happy Birthday Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa!

posted on November 19th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

With the holidays approaching, many of us are looking forward to cool wintery days, hopefully filled with family, hot cocoa and warm hearts. A little over a year ago, my family and I were blessed with the opportunity to stay at the soon-to-be-opened Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Hawai’i was everything my family imagined and more.
Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Jill Cooper with Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

We literally bumped into Imagineer Joe Rohde in the lobby and he took us on a walking tour of the main floor and gave us his thoughts and vision behind the making of the resort. Wow.

Our Moms Panelist Jill Cooper fell in love with Aulani after attending the grand opening events. She is planning another vacation to the lush resort that’s nestled between the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the emerald green mountains of Oahu.

She has a few tips for making your vacation to this enchanting destination even more memorable.

  • Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture. “Enjoy authentic Hawaiian music and dancing at the resort’s exclusive Starlit Hui. Take one of the free tours of Aulani’s art. The resort has one of the largest collections of contemporary Hawaiian art in the country. Learn a few words of the beautiful native tongue of Hawai’i in the Mo’ Olelo room.”
  • Fun for the kids. “Take your children to explore the offerings made just for them, throughout the resort. Have older children visit Painted Sky, the teen spa, and then have them relax at Rip Swirl, the smoothie bar! Tweens will enjoy the chance to meet their new friends at pool parties in the Waikolohe Valley. Aunty’s Beach House is for kids 3 to 12. They can spend hours in the dress-up room, science lab, high tech play area, and movie room if you let them!”
  • Fun for adults. “While your kids have their own fun, I highly recommend an escape to Laniwai, Aulani’s award-winning spa. I have never visited a more beautiful or welcoming place. Arrive early for your scheduled appointment so that you can take advantage of the relaxing outdoor hydrotherapy garden.”
  • Explore the island. “There are many adventures and tours you can book like kayaking right at the resort. Make sure to call in advance of your vacation to reserve your experience.”
  • Disney magic. “To me, Aulani is an immersive Hawaiian experience but you can also enjoy some traditional Disney fun here as well. Check the Daily ‘Iwa (a free guest newsletter) to see the times and locations when Disney characters will appear.”

Visit www.disneyworldmoms.com for more Aulani trip planning advice. Aloha!

See more of what there is to experience at Aulani in the posts below:

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Cars Land, Radiator Springs Racers, Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai`i, Receive Honors

posted on November 13th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations

Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park Receives Honor From TEA

Today, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the winners of the 19th Thea Awards, recognizing excellence in the creation of extraordinary visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. It’s been a big year for Disneyland Resort and Aulani in Ko Olina, Hawai`i, and we’re happy to report that the following projects were all honored:

  • Cars Land received the award for New Theme Park Land, with the citation noting, among many other details, “…the overwhelming scale of the rockwork panorama…”
  • Radiator Springs Racers was honored in the Attraction category for “…true excellence in design, technical innovation and execution.”
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge received the citation for Theme Park Restaurant, noting, “…high quality service, distinctive setting and cuisine…”
  • Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai`i, received the award for Themed Hotel Resort – “The Aulani resort experience is one-of-a-kind.”

In addition, Frank Stanek, former Corporate Vice President of Research and Planning for the Walt Disney Company, will receive The Buzz Price Award – Recognizing a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements. During his years with Disney, Stanek provided background and analysis in the original development of Walt Disney World Resort and the expansion of Disneyland Resort, as well as Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. His wide-ranging professional career also includes developments for the City of Osaka and Universal.

Each of the winning projects will be recognized at the Thea Awards ceremony, a black-tie gala to be held April 6, 2013, at the Disneyland Hotel.

Congratulations to all of our Thea Award winners!

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Virtual Disney Vacation Club Race Has Very Real Prize!

posted on November 1st, 2012 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately in virtual worlds, racing through amazing vacation destinations without even leaving my desk. Now lest you think I’m just playing around on the Internet when I should be working, that’s really not the case (at least not this time).

You see, I’ve been authorized to “play-test” a new Disney Vacation Club virtual board game, and I have to say it’s the most fun I’ve had playing a Disney game since “Where’s My Water?” started draining my phone battery. It’s officially called the “Disney Vacation Club Getaway Your Way Sweepstakes,” though I just call it “Cancel My Next Meeting…I’m Busy!”
The Disney Vacation Club Getaway Your Way Sweepstake

Every time you play, you get to explore three of the game’s five immersive worlds, each with its own vacation landscape to navigate and Disney Villain to race. The journey begins with “Safari Adventure,” where you race Simba’s unscrupulous uncle Scar through an African setting inspired in part by Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas.

Just as Disney Vacation Club Members do in the real world, players in this virtual world then choose their own path, racing through two of the following four environments:

Along the way, you can earn virtual vacation points, collect and share digital souvenirs, avoid “Tourist Traps” and more.
The Disney Vacation Club Getaway Your Way Sweepstake

Let’s see, did I cover everything? Virtual worlds…choose your own adventure…collect cool stuff…Simba’s evil uncle…yep, I think that’s it. Oh wait, the prize!

Players may race once a day from now through January 31, 2013 (as many as 10 times total), at which time one randomly selected player’s virtual vacation points will become actual vacation points – the kind Disney Vacation Club Members use to book accommodations at Disney Vacation Club Resorts and hundreds of other destinations around the world. (Each round of game play counts as one entry in the sweepstakes, with racers earning a maximum of 10 entries.) Plus, the vacation points will be replenished annually for three years.

To learn more about the game and begin your adventure, visit www.disney.com/disneyvacationclub.

Good luck, adventurers…and “Kungaloosh!”

NO PURCHASE OR SALES PRESENTATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Disney Vacation Club® Getaway Your Way Sweepstakes begins 12:00 p.m. EDT on October 16, 2012 and ends 11:59:59 p.m. EST January 14, 2013. Open to eligible legal residents of 49 U.S./D.C. (excluding Nevada) and Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Ontario, who are at least 18 years of age as of date of entry. See www.disney.com/disneyvacationclub for Official Rules and important details on participation, including an Alternate Method of Entry. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries. Skill-testing question required if winner is a resident of Canada. Approximate retail value varies between $16,000 to $49,300. Sponsor: Disney Vacation Development, Inc., 1390 Celebration Blvd. Celebration, FL 34747.

This promotional material is a timeshare solicitation and is not an offer in any jurisdiction where the timeshare is not registered. General Product, State, & Country Disclosures.

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Halloween in Hawai`i! Aulani Offers Spooky Fun for All Ages

posted on October 19th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations

Even people on a Hawaiian vacation like to get dressed up and go trick-or-treating for Halloween. The Halloween season arrives at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai`i, this weekend, with special activities for guests of all ages through the end of the month.

Halloween in Hawai`i! Aulani Offers Spooky Fun for All Ages

Between now and Friday, November 2, Aulani will offer “Happy Halloween Hawaiian Style!” featuring Disney characters in costume, Halloween arts and crafts and, on select days, trick-or-treating around the resort, Halloween parties for the kids in Aunty’s Beach House, spooky family film nights and, for older kids, “Hallow Teen” events on the beach and in the Painted Sky teen spa.

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Starlit Hui is Back! And New Programs Delight Aulani Guests as Work Continues on Resort Expansion

posted on October 8th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations

Starlit Hui is Back at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

After a month-long hiatus while work progressed on expansion to the resort, Starlit Hui returns to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, this evening in its new location on the Halawai lawn. It’s the same exciting and eloquent gathering, featuring live music, world-class hula performance and an after-party with visiting Disney characters. And as before, it will be presented each Monday and Thursday evening.

While work continues on the amenities being added to Aulani, new programs are already being offered for Aulani guests. On the beach adjoining the resort, guests can learn sand sculpting techniques – and compete in a sand sculpting competition – in a program called Ki`I One (Sculptures in the Sand). Uncle shares his knowledge of canoes so that guests and their `ohana can build smaller canoes to race in Uncle’s Kahakai Canoe Racing. There’s also a special teen event, NSBZ (North Shore Beach Zone) designed to evoke the essence of an exciting and fun-filled “North Shore” beach experience.

Aulani guests can experiment with animation cel painting and character drawing, learn more about Walt Disney’s history and inspiration, and take some of that magic home with them when they participate in Disney Family Fun Animation. And kids visiting Aunty’s Beach House at Aulani can learn some comedy tricks of the trade from Johnny Coconut in The Coconut Kings and Queens of Comedy.

These are only a few of the programs available to Aulani guests of all ages. There’s lots of magic waiting to be discovered on an Aulani vacation.

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A Mini-Indulgence from Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

posted on October 5th, 2012 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

We find every excuse to indulge on vacation, and recently, we had more than our share of these delicious tiny cupcakes when we booked a spa treatment during a stay at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawai`i.

Happily, the chef parted with the recipe – a wonderful little treat made with fresh zucchini and carrots. If you’re counting calories, just skip the buttercream frosting (but a little dab will do). And they top each cupcake with a tiny macaron, another low-fat indulgence.

If you’re lucky enough to be at Aulani, start with the hana pōhaku lomilomi heated stone massage and continue your bliss with one of these little cupcakes that they offer guests at the spa. But if you’re baking at home, this mini-indulgence is a treat all by itself.
Zucchini-Carrot Cupcakes from Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Zucchini-Carrot Cupcakes

Makes 30 (2-inch) cupcakes

2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup finely diced peeled zucchini
1/2 cup finely diced peeled carrot
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup bran flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 320°F.
  • Whisk together eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in zucchini, carrot, oil, and salt.
  • Sift together bread flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Gently stir into egg mixture.
  • Stir in bran flour and walnuts until incorporated.
  • Lightly spray 30 flexible silicone 2-inch mini muffin molds with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop batter into molds, filling cups no more than 1/2 full.
  • Cover molds with parchment paper and place a sheet pan on top to keep the cupcake tops flat while baking.
  • Bake for 16 minutes. Cool completely. May be stored in freezer in airtight container to maintain moisture.
  • If desired, frost with favorite butter cream.

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Disney Vacation Club Member Trips with Adventures by Disney in 2013

posted on October 3rd, 2012 by Jason Lasecki, Public Relations Director, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, Disney Vacation Club

Hi Disney Parks Blog fans! You know me as an author for Disney Cruise Line, but starting today I’ll also be telling you about two other magical ways to vacation with Disney: Adventures by Disney and Disney Vacation Club. Like Disney Cruise Line, they offer amazing options for exploring the world with your family.

Today, I have the honor of revealing to you next year’s Disney Vacation Club member departures of Adventures by Disney trips, each with exclusive experiences!

Disney Vacation Club Member Trips with Adventures by Disney in 2013: Cowboys and Canyons

First up is Cowboys and Canyons – an 8-day, 7-night journey through Arizona and Utah, departing June 5th, 2013. You’ll go off the beaten path at the Grand Canyon, climb aboard an off-road vehicle for an excursion in Monument Valley, take a family rafting trip down the Colorado River, and step into the surreal landscape of Arches National Park. You might even meet a real cowboy or two!

Disney Vacation Club Member Trip Exclusives: Guided Fossil Walk in the Grand Canyon with a local expert; Visit to historic Kolb Studio art exhibit in the Grand Canyon.

Disney Vacation Club Member Trips with Adventures by Disney in 2013: Knights and Lights

The second trip is Knights and Lights – an 8-day, 7-night adventure through London, Paris and the English countryside, departing July 12th, 2013. It’s an unforgettable getaway, delivering the color, culture and cuisine that define these world-renowned destinations. Your family will experience it all – from Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and beyond!

Disney Vacation Club Member Trip Exclusives: Enjoy a glass of champagne in a private car on the London Eye; Savor an authentic, freshly prepared, Parisian crepe near the Eiffel Tower.

Disney Vacation Club Member Trips with Adventures by Disney in 2013: Quest for the West

And the third trip is Quest for the West – an amazing 7-day, 6-night trip departing June 17th, 2013 and taking your family on a rugged adventure to Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and capping off with a 2-night stay at a private dude ranch.

Disney Vacation Club Member Trip Exclusives: Jackson Hole Aerial Tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain (4,139 ft); Saddle-up demonstration with a lesson on how horses are acclimated to the ranch, what they like to eat and their differences in personality!

On all of these trips, Disney Vacation Club members will get a fleece jacket and framed pin set, along with a gift themed to the adventure.

I look forward to telling you about even more vacation options with Disney, but until then I want to hear from you…Which destination on your “bucket list” would you most like to explore with Disney?

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Samantha Brown Shares ‘Stories from the Savanna’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas

posted on August 31st, 2012 by Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club’s Disney Files Magazine

I feel compelled to begin this particular Disney Parks Blog post with a statement of my innocence. I have never, nor will I at any point in the future, stalk beloved television personality Samantha Brown.

That said, here’s my fourth post about the lovely Samantha and her latest travels through the Disney Vacation Club universe.

Having already taken our camera crew to Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i (twice) to soak up the warm tropical sun, and to the Disney Fantasy ship’s birthplace to soak up whatever kind of sun Germany offers in January, Samantha travels this time to Florida to bring you “Stories from the Savanna.”

As you may have guessed from the show title, the real star of this Disney Vacation Club online broadcast (no offense, Sam) is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, where the celebrated travel guru showcases the resort’s exotic beauty, immerses herself in African culture and pulls insider stories from Imagineers.

Here’s a little sneak peek of her African-inspired adventure.

Click here to learn more and to register for a time to watch the entire show, September 12-15.

Enjoy the show!

This promotional material is a timeshare solicitation and is not an offer in any jurisdiction where the timeshare is not registered. Not an offer where registration or other legal requirements for timeshare solicitation have not been met. General Product, State, & Country Disclosures.

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Celebrating One Year at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on August 29th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations

Aulani Opens its Doors to the First Guests

One year ago today, we welcomed the first guests to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai`i. Throughout the past year, many guests have discovered paradise with a touch of Disney magic at Aulani and, earlier today, we shared details on the resort’s upcoming expansion, which will bring even more magical experiences.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa Twitter Page

Also today, in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Aulani, we’re launching a new way for you to keep up with all the fun, magic – and expansion – at the resort. Follow @DisneyAulani on Twitter for daily updates and information from Aulani. And don’t forget – you will also continue to find the latest Aulani news here on the Disney Parks Blog, and you can connect with Aulani on Facebook.

Please join me in wishing Aulani a happy anniversary: “Hau`oli la Ho’omana’o!”

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Details Announced for Expanded Water Fun and Dining Options at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

posted on August 29th, 2012 by John McClintock, Disney Public Relations

I told you a few weeks ago about the enhancements coming to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai`i. This morning, some additional details about the new water features and two new quick-service restaurants were unveiled by Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Vice President, who led the design work on Aulani.


New water features will include a themed family pool, extending literally to the very edge of the resort property and highlighted by a misty grotto from which relaxing swimmers may view the sunset. After dark, a magical starscape of glimmering lights will appear on the grotto ceiling and the floor of the pool.

Near the family pool will be a new kids’ splash zone, designed to resemble tidal pools with some playful surprises for youngsters, including rainbow water jets, images of tidal pool creatures on the pool floors, and hidden Menehune – the legendary little people of the islands – who may be spotted through chinks in the rocks. Additional deck space, chairs, chaises and cabanas will surround these new water features.

Also coming to Aulani will be two new food service locations. One of these, located adjacent to the new water play area, will serve continental breakfast and offer a lunch and dinner menu with a selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks that can be enjoyed in the adjoining outdoor patio, which provides a beautiful ocean view. A second quick-service eatery will be located beachside, offering grab-and-go snacks and easy access for beachgoers.

Work on these enhancements will begin in September and conclude in mid-2013, coinciding with the final build-out of the resort. Along with the water play and dining additions, the expansion will provide a new, larger lawn location for events, weddings and the guest-favorite nighttime Starlit Hui show. There will also be additional merchandise space – to provide guests with a greater variety of Aulani products, apparel and memories – and a protective awning over the patio of Makahiki restaurant, home of “Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration,” featuring breakfast with Disney characters.

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