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Disney Insider recently shared with us 15 fun facts about Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Ko Olina, Hawaii. They spoke with some cast members at Aulani who have been there since it opened back in 2011 to find out some information that you may not have already heard. Aulani also recently finished a major expansion project which improved the pool areas, dining options, and even added more shopping!
Check out these hidden secrets about this amazing vacation destination:
1. Pay close attention to the rockwork all around the Waikolohe (Hawaiian translation: mischievous water) Valley. You will find carvings of hidden animals, fish, shells, and other native Hawaiian features.
2. The wall inside the entryway at Makahiki restaurant is made entirely from the inside of coconut shells.
3. Cast members who work at the bar in The ‘Ōlelo Room are required to speak fluent Hawaiian.
4. Aulani has one of the largest collections of Hawaiian artwork anywhere in the world. Over 60 local artists contributed to the original pieces found all over the resort.
5. The Kalepa store is inspired by mom-and-pop shops across the state of Hawaii. In fact, there are even photos of actual local stores featured on the walls throughout the shop.
6. Approximately 90% of the merchandise found inside the shops at Aulani is exclusive to the resort and cannot be found anywhere else.
7. The compass rose, located inside the entrance of Aulani, is unlike a traditional compass. Instead of north, south, east, and west, the compass points mauka (to the mountains) and makai (to the sea).
8. The photo collage behind the registration desk is made up of images that were taken by Hawaiian school children.
9. Many cast members at Aulani are of Hawaiian descent.
10. Menehune Bridge, situated in the heart of the Waikolohe Valley, is the place for water-filled adventures. As Aulani legend has it, the Menehune built the bridge at the same time Aulani was being constructed. The mischievous creatures work at night and aren’t always able to finish their projects, which is why there are so many leaks and wobbly bridges in the valley.
11. Speaking of Menehune, there are over 300 statues hidden throughout the resort.
12. Every New Years Eve, the community of Ko Olina and guests of Aulani enjoy one of the largest fireworks shows over the ocean.
13. The hot tub at Alohi Point is the best place to enjoy a Hawaiian sunset over the cove.
14. The piko stone is a large rock found inside the Waikolohe Valley. Piko means belly button or the heart of a space. Members of the Aulani’s Cultural Committee identified the area as having a special energy and designated it with this special honor and selected this stone to commemorate the location.
15. The feathered sticks located inside the lobby are called Kahilis. These are normally made with bird feathers and represent a family crest. Disney’s own kahili is made of red, black, and white feathers to symbolize an important member of their family, Mickey Mouse.
Bonus: No Disney Resort would be complete without a few Hidden Mickeys scattered around. At Aulani, you can find the famous silhouette in the carpets, wallpaper, bedspreads, and even on the artwork inside each guest room.
How many of these fun facts about Aulani did you already know? Would you like to visit Aulani someday?
Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, an authorized Disney vacation planner, and a Hawaii Destinations Specialist. She would love to help you plan your Hawaiian getaway so you can enjoy the beauty of the islands and this amazing resort! Request a free, no obligation quote on the right side of the page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.