Echoes of Aulani

I recently got back from a week on Oahu. For those of you that don’t speak Hawaiian, Oahu is an island  whose most famous feature is Pearl Harbor, the site of some obscure bit of American history. If you’ve heard of Pearl Harbor at all, it’s only because Ben Affleck made a movie about it.

For obsessive Disney freaks, Oahu is better known as the home to Aulani: A Disney Resort and Spa”). This is not to be confused with something like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, because at Aulani, Disney actually operates the “Spa” part themselves. Walt Disney World spas are outsourced to third party participants, which means that they are not subject to the same background check procedures. This can be a good thing if you want to massage some stranger’s back, and don’t want to deal with the hassle that comes from playing Tigger.

Jumping water! Just like Epcot!

I, being the dedicated parkeologist that I am, graciously flew across the country and endured countless hours of recreational fun, so that I might bring to you some sense of what this new resort is like. No need to thank me. I’m just doing my job.

Aulani hadn’t even been open a week by the time we arrived. For reasons of objectivity, we did not physically check-in to the resort. Also for reasons of financial solvency. I mean seriously, I already had to donate a kidney just to cover plane tickets, and dinner for two at the local Chili’s cost nearly $40. That’s with no alcohol. To say Hawaii is a little pricey is like saying John Muir is a semi-famed naturalist. Neither statement is strong enough.

Imagineering created a Kim Possible-type game for the resort which revolves around hunting little island guys called Menehunes. Some of them are harder to find than others. This one is an easy one near check-in, but what makes him cool is that he uses the same effect as the busts in Haunted Mansion. He turns to follow you as you walk past.

Not to worry, we stayed literally right next door, and I’m bragging a little when we say our 2-bedroom luxury condo was half the price of Aulani’s normal hotel room. The distance from our hotel to Aulani was about the same distance between the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian, so needless to say, we were at the Disney place quite a bit.

Aulani’s two wings are themed to Male and Female. This is the corridor to the Male tower. Also, no snickering about any suggestive Male/Female symbology.


Through some dark arts known only to me, we also managed to get a glimpse at several villas, including a Grand Villa, and I will say that Aulani is a resort on par with the best Walt Disney World has to offer. All ensuing pictures that look like the inside of a hotel room are from the Grand Villa.

So nothing super duper secret or anything today, but I thought you might enjoy a glimpse at Disney’s newest resort. Rather than force you to download a ton of pictures in this post, you can view an exhaustive slideshow of all our Aulani pictures here, though you will have to put up with the occasional parkeologist inserting himself into the photos, and thus ruining whatever aesthetic appeal they might have had.

What passes for a tiki torch at Aulani. Note that Cast Members will not be appreciative of you spearing some hot dogs on these things for dinner. Also, as someone who is intent on destroying the magic for myself, I’m 95% sure that the charcoal briquettes aren’t real, and these are simply gas powered torches.

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