KO OLINA, Hawai‘i, Jan. 19, 2010 – The highly anticipated Disney destination resort currently under construction on the Hawaiian island of O‘ahu now has an official name and a dynamic new Web site offering an inside look at the project. The resort’s name – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i – reflects the company’s deep commitment to celebrating the islands’ rich history and traditions. Plans call for the first phase of the resort to open in fall 2011.
You can keep up with the details and progress by visiting this article.
Disney Vacation Club Press Release: Hawaiian Resort
Disney To Build Hawaiian Resort
Luxury family resort planned for Ko Olina Resort Property on the island of Oahu.
BURBANK, Calif., October 3, 2007 - Walt Disney Parks & Resorts has announced that the company has finalized plans to purchase 21 acres of oceanfront property on Hawaii's island of Oahu.
The property, located on the island's western side in the picturesque Ko Olina Resort & Marina, Honolulu's premier resort destination, will be home to Disney's first mixed-use family resort outside of its theme park developments. The expansive resort, scheduled to open in 2011, is planned to have more than 800 units, including hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas.*
"This resort hotel will give our Guests another way to visit an exciting part of the world with a brand they trust," said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. "In fact, Hawaii has been among our most requested Disney Vacation Club getaway locations beyond our Theme Parks. We are looking forward to building a special family resort that honors the cultural diversity of Hawaii and reflects the spirit of aloha that makes this location so unique."
Consistently ranked as one of the top family destinations in the world, Hawaii's natural beauty and extensive offering of family activities make it an ideal location for a Disney resort.
"Disney and Hawaii have something special in common, and that is the recognition of the importance of 'ohana," said Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. "Not only does Disney provide wonderful family vacations, but as a media company, it also touches people worldwide with its entertainment offerings. The new Disney hotel will be a great addition to Oahu, and I am pleased to welcome a company that can also bring the world of new media and digital technology to Hawaii, opening new opportunities for innovative partnerships in non-tourism related sectors."
The new resort hotel (to be named Aulani) will be the latest addition to the Ko Olina development, known for its sweeping ocean views, picture-postcard white sand beaches and tranquil crystal blue lagoons.
Jeff Stone, President of The Resort Group and master developer of the Ko Olina property, has been working closely with Disney on the land acquisition and project.
"Ko Olina means 'place of joy,' and I can't imagine a more perfect fit here than a Disney resort that will bring joy to people from around the world," Stone said. "For many years, it has been our vision to continue to expand Ko Olina as a premier vacation destination for families and business travelers, and this new Disney resort hotel is making that vision a wonderful reality."
“We want this resort destination to reflect the vibrant culture that surrounds it. The name ‘Aulani’ expresses a connection to tradition and deep story-telling – and its roots are here in this land,” said Joe Rohde, senior vice president, Creative for Walt Disney Imagineering. “We’re so grateful to the local Hawaiians who led us to the discovery of this name, and our goal is to live up to its meaning.”
Rohde noted that Aulani translated from the Hawaiian language to English means “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages.”
Nearby to historical sites on the western side of O‘ahu, Aulani will be located on 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development. The resort is planned to have 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas.
Design plans call for amenities to engage every member of the family, a hallmark of a Disney vacation. Among the recreational highlights planned for the resort are pools and sunset-facing hot tubs, a snorkeling lagoon, a variety of kids’ club and other play programs for children, and a river, suitable for tube floating, running through a specially created volcanic outcropping.
The resort will also include an 18,000-square-foot spa designed with families in mind. The resort, built adjacent to a crystal-blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, is planned to also have two restaurants, a 14,545-square-foot conference center and 48,685 square feet of outdoor venues. Located nearby are the existing Ko Olina Marina and a Ted Robinson-designed, 18-hole championship golf course. for more information see my pre-opening report from May 2012 http://www.tikimanpages.com/tiki/news/197-aulani-tour-edited-version
The Web Site
Disney has launched a new preview Web site, www.DisneyAulani.com, to provide updates and background information on the resort now under construction. The site also details some of the adventures and amenities under development, and includes conceptual art, descriptions of resort highlights, regularly updated resort information and photos of Aulani as it nears completion.
“We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Aulani to share the fun, immersive family vacation experiences Disney is known for combined with the beauty and culture of Hawai‘i,” said Djuan Rivers, vice president, Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawai‘i. “We are turning to the Hawaiian culture for inspiration in everything we are doing at Aulani, and we hope our guests will not only enjoy the Disney experience, but will also embrace the unique culture of Hawai‘i and its diverse people.”
Some facts that lead Disney to purchase the land in Hawaii to add to their hotel rooms and Vacation Club collection are facts like Hawaii being the most popular destination outside the parks for DVC member getaways. Also Hawaii is the number 1 destination for people to look at purchasing a timeshare. Also Hawaii usually has a hotel occupancy of in the 80% range as opposed to Orlando being in the 70% during non recession times. The length of stay in Hawaii also is an average of over 9 days.
I was pleased to see that this resort was not going to be just Disney Vacations Club rooms. We have looked into DVC and even with as much as we go we did not find it to be a wise investment for us so it will be nice to still be able to book at the new Hawaii location. As time passes and owners accumulate, it will be interesting to see how the Disney Aulani Resort timeshare villas fare in comparison to average occupancy in the hotel portion of the resort. 350 of the rooms will be Hotel rooms and 480 will be Vacation villas.
Oahu is not our favorite island to visit but Disney will create a destination of itself. With 18,000 sqft spa, 8,000 sqft banquet space, two restraints, a kids club and wedding area. There will be an inland saltwater lagoon, quiet pool and water park with slides, rapids and waterfalls. This will all be next to the beach on the North west side of Oahu.
Check out Hawaii Magazine's article with info and construction photos.
August 29, 2011: 200 hotel rooms and 73 Disney Vacation Club 2-bedroom units opened.
End of 2011: 130 more rooms and 134 more Vacation Club units opened.
2013: The remaining 274 Vacation Club units will open.
KO OLINA, Hawaii- A delightfully themed family pool, a new kids’ splash zone and two new quick-service dining locations will be among the highlights of an enhancement project that began in September at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina.
Since it opened in August 2011, Aulani has been extremely well received by guests. Among the most popular features of the resort is the Waikolohe Valley. Waikolohe means mischievous water and the valley is home to the recreation and water play areas leading out to the Aulani beachfront. The new pool, splash zone and additional deck space will extend the sun and water fun literally to the very edge of the resort property, with the pool’s “infinity edge” overlooking the adjoining lagoon.
The architecture of Aulani reflects the symbolic harmony of masculine and feminine energy, and the new pool area, on the masculine side of the resort, continues this theme with a design inspired by the demigod Maui . According to Hawaiian legend, Maui brought the islands to the surface with his great fishhook, and aspects of the legend will be reflected in the design of the new family pool and kids’ splash zone, incorporating coral and lava, sea and earth, in the surrounding rockwork.
A highlight of the family pool will be 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.
The nearby kids’ splash zone will be 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 and the existing Wailana Pool, 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 began in September and will conclude in mid-2013, coinciding with the final build-out of resort. Along with the water play and dining additions, the expansion has provided a new, larger lawn location for events, weddings and the guest favorite nighttime Starlit Hui show, which opened in October. There will also be additional merchandise space – to provide guests with a greater variety of Aulani products, apparel and memories. And most recently, a protective awning over the patio of Makahiki restaurant, home of “Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration” featuring breakfast with Disney characters was completed in late November.