The new Aulani Disney Resort on Oahu has a touch of Hawaii built in making it a truly unique Hawaii Vacation experience. The resort design draws inspiration from “the traditions and heritage of the people of Hawaii” according to Disney’s news release. “There are so many wonderful stories to tell in Hawaii,” says Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs, “and with the help of local experts we’re excited to bring them to life for guests in our new resort.”
Disney says it chose the name “Aulani” because the word traditionally means “a messenger of a chief – one who delivers a message from a higher authority.” They see the resort as the messenger of Hawaii’s spirit, people and culture.
The resort includes a fitness center and spa named Laniwai, which is translated “freshwater heaven.” Disney says that name brings to mind rainbows, which are common in Hawaii, and symbolize joy, life and good fortune. An ocean-side full-service restaurant is named for a local fish: AMAAMA, and a buffet restaurant is named Makahiki (traditional winter observance). Both will offer foods unique to the islands. Makahiki’s interior decor includes hand-painted wall murals by local artists.
Aulani is being built on ocean-front property in Ko Olina, about 17 miles from the Honolulu airport and across the island from Waikiki. Ground was broken and the project blessed in November 2008. It is scheduled to open August 29 and is now taking reservations.
Artist’s rendition of Makahiki Restaurant provided by Aulani Disney Resort & Spa.