Ground Breaking for Disney's New Hawaii Hotel
November 19, 2008
The groundbreaking ceremony for Disney's new hotel in Hawaii
took place on November 19, 2008. The 830 room hotel and
timeshare property is expected to open in 2011.
Copyright © Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts broke ground for its first family destination
resort in Hawaii today with a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony on its
21-acre oceanfront property, located at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina
development on the western side of Oahu. Scheduled to open in 2011,
the new family friendly destination will overlook breathtaking crystal
blue lagoons and white sand beaches and is planned to include 350 hotel
rooms and 480 Disney Vacation Club timeshare villas.
"This Disney destination resort will provide a unique way for families to
experience Hawaii," said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and
Resorts. "By blending Disney's high standard of guest service and
creative storytelling, we'll create a place where all family members
can discover the wonder of these special islands."
Rasulo noted that Disney chose to build a resort on Oahu due to the
international popularity of Hawaii as a family vacation destination.
Hawaii is among the top vacation choices of Disney Vacation Club
members following Disney's theme park destinations.
Several of Hawaii's elected officials and community leaders welcomed Disney
to Oahu at the ground blessing ceremony, including Lieutenant Governor
James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr.
"We're excited for this project to begin, knowing the family appeal of both
Hawaii and Disney," Aiona said. "We're confident this resort will attract
guests from the mainland and Asia because of the natural beauty of Hawaii
and Disney's reputation for delivering unparalleled family experiences."
State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa also attended the ground blessing and
said, "From the moment Disney announced that it was purchasing property on Oahu,
they have shown an interest in our community and have demonstrated they
understand the spirit of aloha that we hold dear in our state. I couldn't
be more pleased to welcome Disney to Hawaii as a new neighbor and employer."
Planned Resort Features
Rasulo noted that plans call for the resort to be built to engage every member
of the family, from parents to children, teens and grandparents.
"This resort will be a place where families can escape to reconnect and create
lifelong memories," Rasulo said. "We have kept this vision in mind throughout
Plans call for an expansive pool and water play area, an 18,000 square-foot
spa, a wedding lawn, an 8,000 square-foot convention center, a
children's club and spectacular dining at two restaurants -- one
of which will provide a stunning view of the ocean.
The design also calls for activities and amenities that aim to engage every
member of the family. At the resort's signature water way, for
example, family friendly tubes and body slides will weave through
volcanic rockwork and engage an iconic caldera volcano, while a nearby
wading pool gives parents with toddlers a welcoming alternative to the
sprawling zero-entry fun pool. In addition, more adventurous family
members will find vibrant fish species in a saltwater snorkel lagoon.
Beyond activities for the whole family, the resort is being designed to respect
and connect with the local culture of the Hawaiian islands.
During the past year, the Walt Disney Imagineering team has been
researching Hawaii and working with local architects and cultural
experts as part of the resort's creative design process. The resulting
design is a village celebrating the Hawaiian customs and traditions
that lead to a life filled with joy and in harmony with the natural
world. To further incorporate Hawaiian traditions, cultural programming
in the areas of environmental education, music, dance, history, and arts
and crafts; a story-driven, technology-enabled adventure game; and other
surprises come together to create a Hawaiian destination that's uniquely
Additionally, Hawaii's aloha spirit will influence the many intricate details
for which Disney resorts are famous, with stories woven into the
architecture, interiors, art, graphics and three planned signature
gardens all brought to life through carefully selected colors,
patterns, materials and forms. Wood, thatch, lava stone and coral
will be among the materials represented in the resort's two
15-story guestroom towers, each oriented perpendicular to the
ocean to maximize ocean views from the strategically angled
guest rooms. Facade murals will add to the distinctive look of
each tower and will begin to portray some of the stories and
legends of the islands.
At the heart of the resort, an open-air lobby building -- dubbed Hale
Aloha -- will draw its design inspiration from a traditional Hawaiian
canoe house, visually connecting families to the sea and beyond.
Window designs, wall graphics and other details will welcome
families with tales of adventure, myth, legend and more, while
twin streams flow through the building before uniting as a single
cascade into the center garden below.
In October, Disney shared design plans for the new resort with Mayor Mufi
Hannemann, who is looking forward to the opening of the project in 2011.
"From my first meeting with Disney executives in California, to subsequent
sessions in Honolulu, I continue to be impressed with the effort and the
time Disney has put into researching Hawaii," Mayor Hannemann said.
"Disney leaders have met with Hawaiian cultural experts to gain an
understanding and appreciation of our host culture. The end result
will be a resort that local residents will be proud to have on our
island, and it will be a family attraction that our residents and
visitors will find enjoyable and meaningful."
Disney Vacation Club
Part of the Disney resort hotel in Ko Olina will be dedicated to
Disney Vacation Club, a timeshare program that helps families enjoy
flexibility and savings on vacations for decades to come. By
becoming a member of Disney Vacation Club, families can enjoy
vacations at Disney destinations worldwide as well as more than
500 other popular Member Getaways vacation locations around the
Disney Vacation Club accommodations blend Disney's famed attention
to storytelling detail with all the comforts of home. From
well-appointed studios equipped with convenient kitchenettes
to sprawling, one-, two- and three-bedroom villas complete with
full-size kitchens, washers and dryers, luxury tubs and other
homelike amenities, Disney Vacation Club Resorts create flexible
options to meet the needs of thousands of families from around
Since its inception in 1991, Disney Vacation Club has grown to
serve more than 350,000 individual members from approximately
100 countries and all 50 states.
More About Disney's New Hotel in Hawaii
Other West Oahu Hotels
All Oahu Hotels
Hotels on Other Islands
Oahu Island - Main Menu
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors