Disney completes major construction on Aulani resort in Hawaii as Imagineering design team steps in to ‘make the magic’

in Disney, Events, Hotel

Yesterday, in a special ceremony on the lagoon at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Ko Olina, Hawai’i, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company crew members celebrated with Disney cast members upon the completion of major structural work on the new Disney resort. Disney’s design time will now step in to add the final detailing, theming, landscaping and all the other magical touches.

Aulani, part of the Disney Vacation Club, will welcome its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011. To commemorate “handing over the keys” to Disney, the construction crew and Disney’s Aulani team met on the beach to exchange gifts – lei from the construction workers to the Disney cast, and Mickey Mouse ears from the Disney cast to the construction workers.

Since construction began in 2008, a time-lapse camera has captured all the work to create Aulani’s buildings:

With the structural elements completed, the construction and design groups gathered on the sand to form the image of the Aulani arch and then transformed it into the familiar silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Mickey, Minnie and their Disney character pals joined in the celebration.

Behind-the-scenes slideshow from the celebration:
(Photos by coconutwireless)


As Walt Disney Imagineers continue adding the magic to Aulani, they are weaving Hawaiian stories into the buildings, interiors, art and gardens of the resort with the help of local architects, artisans and historians.

UPDATE (6/15/11): Imagineer Joe Rohde recently gave a presentation at the Disneyland Resort (with Carsland construction as a backdrop) detailing all that is coming to Aulani:

Aulani is filled with artwork, sculptures, and hidden creations, as showcased in this video:

Aulani is built on 21 acres adjacent to a crystal blue lagoon and a white-sand beach in Ko Olina, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, and will feature 359 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas upon its completion. Rooms are housed in two 15-story towers with stunning views of the ocean, mountains and surrounding grounds. On-site are two restaurants, an 18,000-square-foot spa, a wedding lawn, a conference center and extensive water activities, including a central swimming pool, 900-foot tube floating watercourse, wading pool, body slides, sunset-facing hot tubs, a quiet adult pool, a snorkel lagoon, and a conservation pool.

Take an aerial trip over Aulani in the video below:

And a tour through model rooms:

See more of Aulani’s rooms and beach as well as another glimpse at the construction of the new Disney resort:

Aulani opens to the public in Hawaii on August 29, 2011 and is currently selling through the Disney Vacation Club.

16 Comments

  1. Buckly

    I can’t wait to stay here! How much is it? $399? A night?!? Looks like I’ll stick with the moderates at WDW.

  2. Judith Y. Parker

    I would like to know how may handicap people were hired at the Aulani? How many seniors over 65 were hired?How many beauty queens of any kind including senior prom, homecoming, etc. were hired? How many genuinely good, common, ordinary, and happy people were hired? Am asking very sincerely and hope for a reply from someone at the top! : )

    1. Iceman

      Judith, I just completed a stay there so I’m not “at the top” in Disney or anything–just a regular guest. I can say that I met one cast member who must have been a prom queen/beauty queen/etc., several seniors, and two obviously handicapped folks. The rest, and I’m talking hundreds of folks, were the “genuinely good, common, ordinary, and happy” people you asked about. I have stayed at some of the finest and most expensive hotels and resorts in the world–Aulani won my award for the consistently best guest service, attention to detail, and overall high quality. I hope you get to visit and have the same experience I did!

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