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Local Community Celebrates as Aulani Prepares to Welcome its First Guests

Today’s the day! At approximately 6:30 a.m. Hawai‘i time, as the sun came over the mountain, the doors to the Maka‘ala lobby of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, opened and the first guests entered. It is a time for us to look even further into the future, preparing for media from all over the world to attend a special Grand Opening event, September 20-23.

Conch Players at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

The big pre-opening event at Aulani this weekend was a Community Preview on Saturday evening. It was a great opportunity for neighbors of the resort, many of whom have made significant contributions to its successful completion, to get together and enjoy seeing Aulani in its finished state. Guests included political figures, community leaders and many of the artists whose work at Aulani is now part of the largest collection of contemporary Hawaiian art in the state.

Tom Staggs at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Tom Staggs, Chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts, and Djuan Rivers, Vice President of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, each took to the stage to welcome and thank the guests and to pay tribute to the Aulani team. Local performers, including the gifted young singers of the Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus and the talented keiki (children) of Hula Halau Olana, provided the entertainment, and other guests included leaders of the community organizations with a focus on family and children which the Disney Aulani team has supported over the past year.

Keiki of Hula Halau Olana at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

The preview also celebrated the ways in which Aulani has benefited and will continue to benefit the community, through job creation, economic stimulus, cast VoluntEARism and charitable donations. In the past year, cash and in-kind contributions have totaled more than $300,000 to organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawai‘i, the Bishop Museum and (as you may recall from a previous blog post) the KaBOOM Playground build at Ka Waihona o ka Na‘auao Public Charter School.

Can’t wait to tell you about welcoming the first guests into Aulani. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog. I’ll be back later today.

For more from Aulani, take a look at the posts below:


  • How appropriate to use the Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus. After all, they did the songs for the Lilo and Stitch movie.

  • Now THIS is Disney at its very best. Not only does Disney create a spectacular, world-class resort, but they also reach out to the community, making connections with our local people and helping enrich our island state. Mahalo Disney for bringing Aulani to Hawaii and for all that you’ve done for our islands! ºoº

  • I thought I read it here long time ago that there will be a webcast for the opening ceremony for Aulani. ??

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