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Aulani Disney Resort & Spa Preview

The Hilton Waikoloa Village has often been referred to as the “Disneyland of Hawaii”. While this was true in many respects, it may be time to come up with a new nickname for the venerable Hawaii family hot spot. Why?  Because now there’s an actual Disney Resort coming to Hawaii.

The Aulani Disney Hawaii Resort, to open in August 2011, has a prime location in the Ko’Olina area on Oahu's leeward west coast. It’s about 20 minutes from the airport and 45 minutes from Waikiki.

The Ko’Olina Resort Area also has residential areas, a series of lagoons and a championship golf course. It’s a quiet, peaceful area which is a big contrast to the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. Disney's resort looks out on a beautiful lagoon with a shallow gentle shore that's perfect for little kids. Guests can snorkel off-shore in the beautiful fish-filled coves right in front of the resort.

"Aulani" means "messenger of a chief", and this concept of "one who delivers messages from a higher authority" is a meaningful one for Disney's first Hawaii resort. The Aulani resort links its visitors to Hawaiian culture past, present, and future. It aims to provide layers of cultural details on property.  For example, guests might glance casually at hula shadow lamps in the Beach House; but a close look would show that the hula being danced is of the finest quality.

The Aulani's units are a mix of regular h otel rooms plus Disney Vacation Club suites that can also be rented like hotel rooms when available.  Configurations range from studios to 2,300 sq. ft. Grand Villas that can sleep up to 12. (These time-share units cost $100,000 for one week vacation-time for 50 years; demand is expected to be high. A more average figure is about $50,000 for a 2-bedroom unit).  Many rooms have an angled door and balcony, which helps to increases the view.

Rooms in the Aulani are rich with Hawaiian details, using fine wood, and echoing textures and designs from traditions such as Hawaiian kapa art. Guests will find "authentic Disney" touches too, such as a lamp base that's a Mickey playing a ukelele.

In the evening, different lighting changes the look and invites guests out to the garden terrace -- where you won't find tiki lights; they aren't Hawaiian. Instead, lighting will reflect the look of kukui nut oil lamps: these points of light will shine along the lazy river and throughout the outdoor area.

Disney is known throughout the world for creating magic in their parks and hotels.  The new Aulani resort is no exception.  The magic of Disney finally comes to Hawaii.


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