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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Disney resort named 'Aulani'

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A view of the construction of Disney's new resort at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina. It's scheduled to open in fall 2011.


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The new Disney resort being built in West O'ahu will be named "Aulani," officials with the company said yesterday.

The first phase of the resort is scheduled to open in fall 2011. Disney officials said they expect to start filling most of about 1,000 jobs in the middle of next year.

A handful of specialized job openings in Hawai'i already are posted at www.disneycareers.com.

Disney officials said the new resort's name reflects "the company's deep commitment to celebrating the Islands' rich history and traditions."

"We want this resort destination to reflect the vibrant culture that surrounds it. The name 'Aulani' expresses a connection to tradition and deep story-telling and its roots are here in this land," said Joe Rohde, a senior vice president.

The English translation of Aulani is "messenger of a chief," according to the Hawaiian Dictionary by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert.

Aulani will be located on 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development. Plans for the resort call for 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom time-share units, as well as an 18,000-square-foot spa.

The resort, built adjacent to a lagoon and a white-sand beach, is planned to include two restaurants, a 14,545-square-foot conference center and 48,685 square feet of outdoor venues. The plan is unusual for Disney in that it does not include a theme park.

Disney has launched a new Web site, www.DisneyAulani.com, to provide updates and background information on the resort now under construction.

"We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Aulani to share the fun, immersive family vacation experiences Disney is known for, combined with the beauty and culture of Hawai'i," said Djuan Rivers, vice president of Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawai'i.

"We are turning to the Hawaiian culture for inspiration in everything we are doing at Aulani, and we hope our guests will not only enjoy the Disney experience, but will also embrace the unique culture of Hawai'i and its diverse people."