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Disney opens new Aulani resort in Hawaii August 29, 2011

Image courtesy Disney Destinations

KO OLINA, Hawai’i — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will welcome its first guests here on Aug. 29, 2011.  

Built on 21 acres adjacent to a crystal blue lagoon and a white-sand beach in Ko Olina, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will feature 359 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas upon its completion. Rooms are housed in two 15-story towers with commanding views of the ocean, mountains and magnificent grounds. On-site are two restaurants, an 18,000-square-foot spa, a wedding lawn, a conference center and extensive water activities, including a central swimming pool, 900-foot tube floating watercourse, wading pool, body slides, sunset-facing hot tubs, a quiet adult pool, a snorkel lagoon, and a conservation pool. Aulani will also include a signature kids’ club – Aunty’s Beach House – where kids can explore Hawaiian culture through fun and games, arts and crafts, and many other experiences created just for them.

The resort will also offer excursions that invite families to discover the island of Oahu. Guests can enjoy one-of-a-kind adventures that blend the wonders and excitement of Hawaii with the Disney tradition of storytelling, choosing from a variety of experiences that include surfing, rainforest hiking and learning how to prepare Hawaiian cuisine. Reservations for Aulani are now open.

In April, in a ceremony on the lagoon fronting the site of the new resort, local crew members from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., joined with Disney cast members (employees) to celebrate the completion of major structural work on the Disney resort and the beginning of Disney’s “time to add the magic.”

The event was a symbolic representation of the shared efforts of Disney and Hawaiian Dredging in building the new resort, which . The construction crew and Aulani Disney team met on the beach to exchange gifts – lei from the construction workers to the Disney cast, and Mickey Mouse ears from the Disney cast to the construction workers. As part of the milestone moment, Hawaiian Dredging “handed over the keys” to the people who will add final detailing, theming, landscaping and all the other magical touches guests expect to find at a Disney resort.

Djuan Rivers, vice president of Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawai’i, joined with Eric Hashizume, vice president of Hawaiian Dredging and Elliot Mills, managing director of Aulani, to bring the construction workers and Disney team members together to begin “adding the magic” to Aulani. They gathered on the sand to form the image of the trademark Aulani arch and then transformed it into the familiar silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Mickey, Minnie and their Disney character pals joined in the celebration. 

Walt Disney Imagineers have been weaving Hawaiian stories into the buildings, interiors, art and gardens of the resort with the help of local architects, artisans and historians, drawing on the beauty, fun, enchantment and traditions of the islands.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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