Did you know that the Disney movie, “Lilo and Stitch,” takes place in the historic Hanapepe town on Kauai? Well, a more animated version of it, anyway.
The team of illustrators portrays the town as a place where alien beings crash-landed; one of those aliens happens to be the odd, stray “dog” named Stitch. Lilo adopts him from a local pound and shows him around the island.
Throughout their journey, the audience sees several beach and surfing scenes, as well as a sleepy town of old storefronts and wooden sidewalks. Those familiar with the island recognize that the setting seems to be a blend of Kauai’s North and Southeast shores. I’d say Disney did a pretty good job in replicating elements of the island through creative illustrations.
Hanapēpē was so proud of their role in the movie that they painted “Home of Lilo and Stitch” on the side of an abandoned and decaying town theatre. It just goes to show the true homeyness of this place, where fancy flashing signs just wouldn’t cut it but rather something more low-key.
And if there’s one reason why I love Hanapēpē, it would be exactly that! I love the casual, laid-back ways of the island in general, but Hanapēpē really seems to retain all that is retro. From the rusty tin roofs to the hand-painted mailboxes, lets just say it is a step back in time for some.