In January of 2012, I had the pleasure of joining a small group of travel writers who were invited to spend several days at the resort, Disney's first in Hawaii. Since the resort had been opened for just about five months, I was very interested in seeing how the staff (referred to as Cast Members) and resort itself had "settled in." Because this resort and everything it has to offer is so extensive, I'm deviating from our standard review format to offer this more photo intensive feature.
I arrived at Aulani about an hour after sunset after a very long day of travel from the east coast. Having been up for almost 20 hours, I was ready to settle into my room and get ready for what I knew would be four busy days. I was greeted at the resort's port cochere with a kukui nut lei and a welcome drink of pineapple-infused water. I was also offered the opportunity to learn a bit about the resort's impressive 200' Maka'ala lobby and it's beautiful artwork. From there I was escorted to the guest registration area.
Registration was seamless. Within just a few minutes I was off to my room on the fifth floor of the resort's 15-story Waianae Tower - where my luggage was delivered promptly by one of the resort's very efficient bellmen.
The resort consists of two wings on either side of the Maka'ala lobby. The Waianae Tower contains all of the resort's 359 hotel rooms which include 16 suites as well as a number of Disney Vacation Club accommodations. The Ewa Tower houses the remaining Disney Vacation Club villas and studios and will be completely opened in 2013.
When all phases are complete there will be 481 Disney Vacation Club Villas. I'll be writing a separate feature on the Disney Vacation Club, since it is an entirely new concept for Hawaii vacationers and quite different from the other vacation club offerings in Hawaii.