Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is a new type of Disney vacation that is part hotel and part Disney Vacation Club Resort under development at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina near Kapolei on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It officially opened on August 29, 2011. It is the third Disney Vacation Club Resort located outside of a Disney theme park property.
Initially announced in October 2007, Disney unveiled the resort's name in January 2010. The project was estimated to cost $800 million and eventually generate about 1,000 jobs at the resort. The project is managed by Disney Vice-President Djuan Rivers, who said he was committed to integrating environmentally friendly initiatives into the resort.
The Aulani Story
Walt Disney Imagineers worked hand in hand with locals to create Aulani, a place celebrating Hawaiian history, culture and artwork. Because Hawaiians layer rich meaning in their words, so the name “Aulani” has more than one meaning. It is “the messenger of a chief”, yet it is also “the one who delivers a message from a higher authority.” To that end, Aulani tells the epic story of Hawaiʻi through every brushstroke, beam and sculpture. Everything from the loving artistic details to the breathtaking Resort architecture honors that fundamental connection between nature and humanity that the Hawaiian people have cherished since the beginning of time. This is Aulani.
With a keen reverence of the land from generations past, the people of Hawaiʻi value aloha and practice generosity daily. They pay special respect to elders because they are the keepers of wisdom. This is also part of the island's regard for pono, which promotes righteous action. These values create a peaceful culture that treasures the magical connections between all living things.
Aulani is located amongst the numerous beaches of the Ko Olina Resort & Marina. This family resort community mixes single-family homes, townhouses and villas featuring a variety of amenities. It's a popular vacation destination because of its white sandy beaches, premium snorkeling and great shopping. Also, the world-class Marina delivers the ultimate in sports fishing and recreational boating.
The interior of Aulani is inspired by layers—of color, patterns and refined thought—and traditional images found throughout Hawaiʻi. The colors of Aulani reflect those of the island, such as the red feathers of the ʻIʻiwi bird or the yellow petals of native hibiscus. And everywhere the menehune—the "little people" of legend—hide, play and make mischief throughout the artwork of the Resort.
Walt Disney Imagineers collaborated with local architects and cultural experts to design and construct what will celebrate the customs and tradition of Hawaii. Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be seen at the resort, however unlike at theme parks where they act as hosts, at Aulani they will be presented as fellow guests.
There are four room categories from studios to grand villas. Nearby restaurants include one with views of sunsets of the Leeward Coast and the other buffet-style. Various pools and lagoons were planned. A signature Disney kids' club features custom-planned activities and adventures. The marina hosts dining, entertainment and shopping spots. A golf course was designed by Ted Robinson. A spa encompassed 18,000 square feet (1,700 m2). A 15,000+ square-foot conference center with approximately 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of outdoor venues will be included.
The resort began timeshare sales on July 15, 2010, and began taking room reservations in August 2010. On August 12, 2011, Disney suspended Aulani timeshare sales indefinitely and fired three executives, including Disney Vacation Club president Jim Lewis, after senior management realized the annual dues had been set too low to cover maintenance costs.
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