The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) today announced the recipients of its annual Thea Awards during the IAAPA Attractions Expo. The prestigious Thea Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in the creation of compelling experiences and places. TEA serves the global attractions industry, including theme parks, museums, world expos, heritage centers and resorts.
A Disney-inspired Hawaiian celebration launched the grand opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Thursday night with music, sparkling colored lights and the ceremonial mixing of sand with pixie dust. Aulani combines the magic of Disney storytelling and guest service with the beauty and traditions of Hawaii, creating an unforgettable family vacation experience on a beautiful lagoon along the coast of Oahu.
Bob Iger, president and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, and Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, joined Hawaiian officials for the grand opening event at sunset. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse added to the fun at the beachside event.
As Disney Soundsational Summer gets underway, even more excitement is coming to Disneyland Resort, where the premiere of the all-new The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is just the latest milestone in the ongoing expansion of Disney California Adventure park. The distinctive peaks of the Cadillac Range are already visible on the horizon beyond Pacific Wharf, signaling the creation of Cars Land, the all-new 12-acre land set to open in 2012. And work on the newly themed Disney California Adventure entry gate into Buena Vista Street, complete with Red Car Trolleys and the distinctive Carthay Circle Theatre, will continue through 2011 for a 2012 opening.
Disney Vacation Club will soon be offering an online video-on-demand titled ‘Disney Traveler presents Behind the Magic in Hawaii with Samantha Brown,’ previewing the new Aulani Resort which will first welcome its members this summer.
According to the site, viewers will be invited to ‘join TV travel guru Samantha Brown on location to get a sneak peek of the unexpected wonders Disney is creating for the entire family at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i. Plus, learn about exclusive Disney Vacation Club® offers only available through this webcast.’
With just a few months to go before Aulani welcomes guests home to Ko Olina, Hawaii on August 29, 2011, Disney Parks and Resorts has made a surprising move. Despite the official Disney Parks blog reporting that Aulani would be naming its spa Ulana (and there being trademark applications to back that claim up), it may surprise you to notice that Ulana isn’t mentioned on Aulani’s official site, despite the fact that every other amenity is named on it.
Today, in a ceremony on the lagoon fronting the site of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i, local crew members from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc., joined with Disney cast members (employees) to celebrate the completion of major structural work on the Disney resort and the beginning of Disney’s “time to add the magic.”
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i, will begin accepting reservations for hotel rooms and vacation packages August 2, 2010, through the Walt Disney Travel Company.
Aulani is scheduled to welcome its first guests on August 29, 2011.
“Aulani will represent a new way for every member of the family to enjoy a vacation in Hawaii,” said Djuan Rivers, Vice President of Aulani. “It is designed so that parents, children and guests of any age can find their own kind of fun and relaxation. Families will experience the island in ways they might never have discovered before.”
Disney Vacation Club began selling real estate interests for the company’s first family-friendly destination resort in Hawai`i today. Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina, Hawai`i, is scheduled to open its first phase in fall 2011 and will mark the eleventh resort for Disney Vacation Club.
“We are thrilled to give families joining Disney Vacation Club a new resort option in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world,” said Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis. “Once Aulani opens, families will be able to immerse themselves in the culture of Hawai`i while knowing that they will get the quality vacation experience only Disney can deliver.”
On June 30, D23 members will have the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the Aulani Disney Vacation Club Villas in Ko Olina, Hawaii at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim from 7 – 9 pm. Tickets, which will be available on June 23, are free but carry a $5 processing fee charge.
D23 will also offer a ‘Disney’s Hawaiian History’ exhibit as guests mingle to deejay provided entertainment, Hawaiian refreshments and a special photo-op with a Disney character. As tradition with the D23 events, guests will receive a complimentary gift, this time co-branded with DVC.
The highly anticipated Disney destination resort currently under construction on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu now has an official name and a dynamic new Web site offering an inside look at the project. The resort’s name — Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i — reflects the company’s deep commitment to celebrating the islands’ rich history and traditions. Plans call for the first phase of the resort to open in fall 2011.