Paradise has a new name, and it is: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. You can call it Aulani (ow-la-nee) for short. They’re laid-back like that.
The resort is located in Ko Olina, Hawai’i on the island of O’ahu — about 30 minutes from Honolulu International Airport. It sits on a beautiful slice of sand and sea, and offers all of the amenities and luxuries that one would expect (or at least hope for) from a Hawaiian resort. Of course, the difference between Aulani and the rest is in the magic — Disney is good like that.
However, Aulani may not be filled with the kind of Disney magic that some people have in mind. There isn’t a bustling theme park on the property. There aren’t a lot of shows, parades and characters paying homage to Walt Disney or the various classic movies that the company has created. There isn’t a churro for miles.
No, the magic at Aulani, which I was lucky enough to experience firsthand, comes from Disney doing something that some might consider unconventional, they let Hawai’i tell the story. It is as simple as that. The emphasis of Aulani is on Hawai’i: the people, the culture, the stories. Then Disney did what Disney does best, and took all that Hawai’i offered, put it in the hands of their legendary Imagineers, and built a living, breathing testament to the islands. The end result showcases a respect and collaboration between one of the greatest story-telling cultures in the world and a company built upon words of dream and wonder. The fit is seamless.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
There’s too much to write about Aulani in a single post, so make sure to come back for more updates!
Photos courtesy of Aulani/Disney.
Disclosure: I was Disney’s guest at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa for their grand opening and media event.