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  1. #1

    • e komo mai
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    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Honolulu, HI

    Thumbs up Aulani, A Disney Resort - Secrets/Highlights

    I hid the spoiler stuff. (I didn't know where to post this. I hope a moderator can move it to where it should go.)

    I had a chance to tour Aulani. The resort is beautiful.

    They officially refer to Aulani as Aulani, A Disney Resort. It's not "the Aulani" or "Disney's Aulani". They wanted to stress the Hawaiian aspect of it first and then their company name. Being part Hawaiian, I appreciate/like that.

    Like the ancient Hawaiian structures, the main building's lobby has a male and female side to it. The art corresponds to what gender each side is. There are menehune wood/rock sculptures hidden all over the place. The lobby can't be seen from the entrance. It is off to your right if you are facing the ocean. They wanted the first thing that you see to be the ocean in front of you and with the mountains behind you.

    The torches along the paths at Aulani look like burning marshmallows on a stick or flaming shishkabobs but they were made to resemble kukui nut torches that ancient Hawaiians used. It's a nice touch.

    The Makahiki restaurant is lit up outside at night and the restaurant changes colors randomly.

    CM's working in the 'Olelo Room speak Hawaiian.

    The CM's name tags have different tapa prints on them. Men have a certain style, women have a certain style.

    There is a special self-guided tour that I hear kids can take through the resort. It interacts with a device, I want to say an iPhone or something like that but I'm not sure. But when you stand in front of one of the talked about highlights of the tour, the device triggers a special effect. I have seen several of the effects when they were being tested and they're pretty awesome.

    Standing in front of the Hawaiian percussion ceremonial set up makes them light up at the base and play music. And there is a hidden effect in the center of the floor in the lobby.

    Regarding the Menehune Bridge water play area
    The canoe at the top fills with water and douses guests periodically.

    Waikolohe Valley's (Waikolohe = playful, rascal waters) rock faces have animals carved into them like the Tree of Life has at WDW's AK. You can see several from the lobby's lanai and more when you get closer.
    The very top of the volcano has a honu (sea turtle) with its nose pointing to the sky.

    There is a hidden Mickey (in fact there are a lot of them all over Aulani) in the pond right below the lobby's lanai facing the ocean. And...
    One of the effects of the pond is the islands of Hawai`i surfacing from the water periodically.

    The Starlight Hui is their evening show. It's fantastic, not cheesy and quite respectful to the Hawaiian culture. I want the soundtrack to this show! There are special guests at the end of the show which I won't divulge.

    The entertainment at Aulani is Hawaiian. There are no tiki torches, no Tahitian dancers etc they wanted it to be exclusively Hawaiian. But, there are no luaus either. They didn't want to compete with the luaus already happening at Paradise Cove down the way.

    The aloha wear that the characters wear were made exclusively for the resort.

    One of the highlights about the music at Aulani:
    As you approach the building, you hear just drums. As you get closer, instruments are added until you get to the lobby where you can hear the voices singing the song. It's a nice touch.

    One of the best offerings the resort has to offer (imho) - Shave Ice with Alcohol in it. Woo hoo!

    I would call the resort a Hawaiian resort with tasteful Disney touches. It's not like a WDW All-Star resort with characters all over the place in hula skirts and cheesy Hollywood-style Hawaiian stuff.

    All in all I give the resort a thumbs up. Then again, I haven't actually stayed there. (I did hear the bedding has tapa-like Hidden Mickeys on them.) When I do, I'll add more.


  2. #2

    • Minion
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    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Las Vegas

    Re: Aulani, A Disney Resort - Secrets/Highlights

    cant wait going to stay at Aulani in December for 8 Nights so excited

    It's a music Celebration
    Come on, come on, come on
    Strike up the band,
    Feel the beat, what a great sensation
    Come on, come on, come on
    Move and clap your hands,
    Get into the Spirit
    Let everyone hear it,
    So come on, come on

  3. #3

    • Minion FOREVER!
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    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Campbell, CA

    Re: Aulani, A Disney Resort - Secrets/Highlights

    Wow, Thanks for the post! Can't wait till we go there... unfortunately, it's next year! :-(

  4. #4

    • e komo mai
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    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Honolulu, HI

    Re: Aulani, A Disney Resort - Secrets/Highlights

    Oops, sorry. The official name is:
    Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

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