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  1. #1

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    August 13, 2010: Aulani One Year From Opening

    About a year from now—August 29, 2011, to be precise—you’ll be able check in at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina.

    This photo essay has new construction photos and a look inside the model center.


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: August 13, 2010: Aulani One Year From Opening

    Thanks for sharing photos! Nice to see what's going on. That sunset at the end is so alluring!

    I got a kick out of the photo of the kitchen. It looked decades old to me, kind of a mix of 50s and 70s.

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    Re: August 13, 2010: Aulani One Year From Opening

    It seems rather obnoxious and arrogant for Disney to invent an imaginary backstory for Aulani. Hawaii's culture needs to be respected. The new resort should pay tribute to Hawaii's history and culture. Disney should not have to invent story devices to justify its design decisions, which may be valid on its own merits. A water slide shaped with lava rocks is nothing new. It doesn't need to be explained away.

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    Re: August 13, 2010: Aulani One Year From Opening

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
    It seems rather obnoxious and arrogant for Disney to invent an imaginary backstory for Aulani. Hawaii's culture needs to be respected. The new resort should pay tribute to Hawaii's history and culture. Disney should not have to invent story devices to justify its design decisions, which may be valid on its own merits. A water slide shaped with lava rocks is nothing new. It doesn't need to be explained away.
    When Disney announced that it would build a resort at Ko Olina, there was concern in some circles that Disney would make a mockery of Hawaiian culture.

    Instead, all indications are that Aulani will be very respectful of Hawaii's history and culture. In fact, I've heard concern that Aulani's balance between Hawaii's heritage and Disney traditions will favor Hawaii so much that it won't be "Disney" enough for some Disney fans.

    Disney has picked artists and designers who have top credentials in Hawaiian culture.

    I don't interpret what Rohde is doing as "invent[ing] story devices to justify its design decisions." Rather, Rohde has established a context (based on Hawaii's heritage) that will allow the resort to tell its story much better than the typical Hawaiian resort.

    There are plenty of resorts in Hawaii that use lava rocks at their pools and water slides, but I'm not aware of another one that uses its slide to tell the story of a specific geological feature of Hawaiian lava eruptions.

    I don't see anything "obnoxious and arrogant" about Aulani.
    Last edited by Werner Weiss; 08-16-2010 at 07:48 AM.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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    Re: August 13, 2010: Aulani One Year From Opening

    Quote Originally Posted by Werner Weiss View Post
    I don't interpret what Rohde is doing as "invent[ing] story devices to justify its design decisions." Rather, Rohde has established a context (based on Hawaii's heritage) that will allow the resort to tell its story much better than the typical Hawaiian resort.
    My issue is why the resort needs a story, especially a story that invents one about a slide and where it is located. It's not a real story ("mythical Waikolohe Valley"). How about a true story? A real story.... "Disney decided it wants a resort so it built one and it opened in 2011. Since 2011, Disney has a great foothold in the state of Hawaii."

    I would rather have the Hawaiian words be descriptive rather than telling a fictional story. In fact, some of them are, while others are fake stories.

    The magic of Disney - Hawaii Business - Staradvertiser.com
    FRANKLY SPEAKING

    Glossary for Disney's Hawaii resort "story"

    » Aulani: resort name. Literally means messenger of a chief, or as Disney likes to say, "one who speaks on behalf of a higher power."
    » Ama Ama: beachside restaurant. Literally, mullet, an indigenous fish.
    » Makaala: lobby name. Literally, watchful. View from lobby overlooks fictional Waikolohe Valley and the ocean.
    » Makahiki: buffet restaurant. Literally, an ancient annual festival.
    » Olelo Lounge: part of Makahiki where printed labels and Hawaiian-speaking staff help visitors learn Hawaiian words. "Olelo" means language.
    » Waikolohe Valley: central playground filled with water features. Roughly translated as "mischievous water."

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    Re: August 13, 2010: Aulani One Year From Opening

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
    My issue is why the resort needs a story, especially a story that invents one about a slide and where it is located. It's not a real story ("mythical Waikolohe Valley"). How about a true story? A real story.... "Disney decided it wants a resort so it built one and it opened in 2011. Since 2011, Disney has a great foothold in the state of Hawaii."
    To me, in this case, "story" means "context," specifically a context of Hawaiian traditions.

    There are plenty of resorts in Hawaii whose only "story" is that a big hotel company wanted to make money by building a hotel (with architecture no different than a typical airport hotel anywhere in the United States), a pool area with a pool bar for expensive tropical drinks, and just enough "tasteful" Hawaiian art to make guests know they're not in Omaha.

    If Disney creates a microcosm of a Hawaiian valley -- and makes it clear that it's fictional -- to introduce guests to some Hawaiian traditions, I don't see how that's a bad thing.

    Of course, in the end, it's the execution that matters. We'll know in slightly more than a year how well Disney succeeded in what they set out to do. We'll see if the concerns about the "Disneyfication" of Hawaiian culture were justified, or if Disney used its resources to create a resort that fosters an appreciation of Hawaiian history and culture. My guess is that it will be the latter.
    Last edited by Werner Weiss; 08-16-2010 at 09:17 AM.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: August 13, 2010: Aulani One Year From Opening

    The best "story" is when the hotel develops its own history in Hawaii. The Royal Hawaiian comes into mind.

    Royal Hawaiian Hotel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Royal Hawaiian Hotel, also known as the Pink Palace of the Pacific, is a hotel located at 2259 Kalākaua Avenue in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. One of the first hotels established in Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is considered one of the flagship hotels in Hawaii tourism. It opened its doors to guests on 1 February 1927 with a black tie gala attended by over 1,200 guests. The hotel quickly became an icon of Hawaii's glory days. It was the Hawaii residence or Western White House of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and boasts the bar that invented the Shirley Temple cocktail (as does Chasen's restaurant).


    I doubt that Aulani will reach the status of the Royal Hawaiian. This is especially true of a timeshare resort, which has negative connotations. However, the Aulani does appear ambitious in what it wants to achieve.

    The fictional story of Aulani will get in the way of authenticity. Its a contradiction of sorts. How will the typical tourist believe what is real and what is not? It would be better to just make it the truth from the beginning by importing some actual stories into the resort with a slight Disney twist.

    I would start with Hawaii Legends. Disney has done this with the Tiki Room.

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