One of my favorite locations at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the Maka‘ala Lanai, just outside the Maka‘ala lobby. Here guests take in a panoramic view of the beautiful Waikolohe Valley, including the Pu‘u Kilo – a large volcanic remnant that serves as the valley’s visual centerpiece. Today, the “Unforgettable Details of Aulani” series continues on the Disney Parks Blog with a review of the significance of this massive geological element and how it enhances the Aulani story for guests visiting this beautiful resort in Hawai`i!
The goal of Walt Disney Imagineering was to make the resort’s landscape look as if it was already there. With this in mind, it was vital to the Aulani story for this lava outcropping to have a starring role.
Aulani Cultural Advisor Kahulu De Santos shared with me that “pu‘u” means “hill” and “kilo” means “seer” or “observe” and that the name of the centerpiece is a reference to the many hidden images embedded within the hill’s surface. These images reveal themselves to guests who are “seers,” or those who watch closely. As the sunlight shifts throughout the day, keep an eye out for an owl, an eel, a whale, a shark, and even a sea turtle on the jagged-edged surfaces of the Pu‘u Kilo!
For guests at Aulani, the Pu‘u Kilo is also largely a place of recreation. Two of the major highlights are the water slides: Volcanic Vertical and Tubestone Curl. If you’re feeling adventurous, I would definitely recommend the Volcanic Vertical – a body slide that immediately plunges riders into total darkness through the center of the Pu‘u Kilo. Tubestone Curl, on the other hand, is designed as a one- or two-person slide that carries riders past the uppermost ridges of Pu‘u Kilo before splashing into the Waikolohe Stream.
Are you more tempted to splash down Volcanic Vertical or Tubestone Curl while at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa? Let us know in the comments below.