Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, was designed by Walt Disney Imagineers working hand in hand with Hawaiians to create a place celebrating island culture and history. Everything from the wondrous volcanic outcroppings to the breathtaking Resort architecture honors the fundamental connection between nature and humanity that the Hawaiians have cherished since the beginning of time. And because Hawaiians love to layer meaning in their words, so the name “Aulani” has more than one meaning. It is the place that speaks for the ancestors, yet it is also the place that speaks with deep messages.
Aulani is indeed a place where ancestral stories are told, built with the nobility, beauty and grandeur of Paradise.
Which path will you take to discover the heart of Hawai’i?
Historians believe the Polynesians migrated to the islands thousands of years ago. But the beauty of Hawai’i could not be kept a secret. Eventually immigrants from all over the world flooded into this paradise. Initially attracted by the fishing and abundant agriculture in sugar cane and pineapple, they stayed for the balmy climate, refreshing sea breezes and tranquil cultural life.
With a keen reverence of the land from generations past, the people who live in Hawai’i today also value aloha and practice generosity daily. They pay special respect to elders because they are the keepers of wisdom. These values create a peaceful culture that treasures the magical connections between all living things.
Located on the west coast of O’ahu, Ko Olina has always been known as sparkling cove to Hawaiians. In ancient legends, it is the place where Pele, the goddess of fire, came to rejuvenate after her travels. Ko Olina was also a sacred place of renewal for Hawaiian royalty such as Kamehameha the Great and his wife, Ka’ahumanu. Known for its mountains and spectacular seascapes, Ko Olina is home to many islanders who make their living from its bountiful agriculture and fishing.
Resort Community & Marina
Aulani is located amongst the numerous beaches of the Ko Olina Resort & Marina. This family resort community mixes single-family homes, townhouses and villas featuring a variety of amenities, including an 18-hole golf course designed by Ted Robinson. It’s a popular vacation destination because of its white sandy beaches, premium snorkeling and great shopping. Also, the world-class Marina delivers the ultimate in sports fishing and recreational boating.
Hawaiian art is characterized by layers – of color, patterns and refined thought. The elegant interior design of Aulani reflects those layers and traditional images found throughout Hawai’i. For example, the shape of an adze – the woodworking tool used to carve canoes – is a common motif in the architecture. You can also find colorful kapa artwork, featuring vibrant waves and lines produced using stamps made of plant stems or bamboo. Even enigmatic petroglyphs grace the rocks. Much like prehistoric drawings, petroglyphs are rudimentary depictions of humanity and nature, reminding us of our ancestors.
These elements are all woven together to tell stories at every turn – from the lobby mural depicting Hawaiian life to the pathfinding symbols on the floor, leading you to greater wonders.
The colors of Aulani and its artwork reflect those of the island, such as the brilliant reds of the ‘I’iwi bird’s feathers or the buttery yellow of native hibiscus. The oaky tea color of Koa wood is a popular hue, as are wheat and chalky cream for kapa backgrounds. Charcoal black and wood are often used for sharper lines while tropical greens and blues brighten.
Everywhere you look, these magical “little people” of Hawaiian legend are smiling ear to ear with joy as they hide, play and make mischief throughout the Resort. The petite menehune peer from rocks, trees and even unexpected niches. As with much of the magic in Aulani, the more you look, the more you see! So look carefully. You might catch sight of a menehune out of the corner of your eye…