Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii // c 2011 Kenneth Shapiro
Here are 10 facts travel agents probably don’t know about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii.
1) “Aulani” traditionally means “a messenger of a chief — one who delivers messages from a higher authority.” Disney literature says the name is fitting as “the resort serves as a messenger of the ‘higher authority’ that is Hawaii, its spirit and its culture.”
2) Artist Martin Charlot conceived and painted the Aulani Lobby mural, a 200-foot-long tribute to Hawaiian history and culture with layers, multiple stories and meanings.
3) The heart of the Aulani resort grounds is a lush and vibrant oasis called the Waikolohe Valley. The center garden, between the two towers, is designed to simulate Oahu’s overall landscape: dense and wet in the center; sandy and more barren on the outskirts.
4) Aulani offers wedding planning through the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings program.
5) Sharp-eyed guests may spot Menehune, the legendary “little people” of Hawaii, hidden in locations throughout the resort. Many of these are hidden at a level where only the smallest guests can easily find them.
6) For guests who love waterslides, there are two options: Tubestone Curl, the resort’s tube slide, and Volcanic Vertical, a tunnel slide which takes place in total darkness.
7) Lava formations play a starring role in the “mischievous water” valley, which is home to the Aulani pools, waterways and spas. These lava formations have subtle images “carved” into the rock, some of which can only be seen at certain times of day.
8) Aulani offers a menu of discovery excursions with the aid of local experts. These include exploring tropical forests, hiking local mountains, sailing aboard catamarans, swimming with dolphins, cooking with local chefs, following a ghost tour and more. The excursions are specially designed for Aulani guests by Adventures by Disney.
9) Guests can participate in poi pounding “classes” at Aulani.
10) Makai Perserve is a unique conservation lagoon that encourages visitors to respect sea life. The unique, reservation-only experience will donate proceeds to conservation efforts and research.