On August 29, 2011 entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. opens Aulani, an 840-unit luxury hotel and time-share complex, at Ko Olina Resort & Spa in West Oahu. Aulani – in Hawaiian “Messenger of a Chief” – will be the largest attraction at Ko Olina presenting visitors – especially families – with culturally rich stories of Hawaii influenced by the magical world of Disney. For Disney, Aulani presents its first vacation resort without a theme park and could be a model the company might seek to replicate elsewhere in the future.
The $800 million resort showplace has been in the planning for 4 years and under construction for the last 2 ½ years. Some of the main attractions include:
- Hotel Building: 359 luxury hotel rooms including 16 suites (total # of rooms built-out by 2013)
- Disney Vacation Club Villas: 481 time-share units including 21 grand villas (total # of units built-out by 2013)
- Lobby: Designed as a representation of a 50-foot-high thatched canoe hale
- Conference Center: 14,545 square feet of meeting space
- Makahiki: 220-seat buffet-style restaurant where Disney characters will make appearances.
- ‘Ama ‘Ama Restaurant: 220-seat beachfront dining
- The ‘Olelo Room: interactive Hawaiian language breakfast and bar lounge
- Off the Hook: Beachside lounge resembling a Hawaiian fishermen’s shack
- Laniwai: 18,000-square-foot spa that includes a fitness center and 15 treatment rooms
- Waikolohe Pool: 8,200-square-foot main pool
- Waikolohe Stream: 950-foot-long lazy river raft ride
- Wailana Pool: Quiet pool with cabanas
- Pu’u Kilo: Caldera with water slides
- Menehune Bridge: interactive play area for little kids
- Rainbow Reef: Salt-water snorkel lagoon stocked with about 1,500 tropical fish
- Aunty’s Beach House: Kids’ club with immersive programs and activities
- Kalo loi: Terraces of taro that guests can harvest, pound into poi and consume
Ahoui hou, see you there, Mickey!