KO OLINA, Hawaii – Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, welcomes guests to explore a stunning new expansion of its popular Waikolohe Valley water play area: Ka Maka Landing. The new enhancement features a spectacular infinity pool with a realistic grotto, a dynamic fun splash zone for smaller kids, and a new location for poolside and beachside dining.
The resort is also home to Disney Vacation Club Villas, providing families with spacious accommodations and beautiful views of the island. Disney Vacation Club, a leader in vacation ownership, provides families with the flexibility to personalize their vacation experiences and the ability to choose from a variety of different accommodations at Disney Vacation Club resorts such as Aulani.
The expansion comes just two years after the resort first opened to guests on the island of Oahu and responds to the most enthusiastic request Aulani guests have made during their stays: more water fun and more food options to enjoy.
“With the spectacular response Aulani received after opening, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to expand Aulani’s enchanting Waikolohe Valley,” explains Jeanette Lomboy, executive producer for Aulani, Walt Disney Imagineering. “In keeping with the rest of the resort, we integrated Hawaiian culture, stories and artistry into the design of the new pool area and restaurant to create an inspiring new environment for our guests.”
Waikolohe Valley is the recreational center of the resort. Nestled between Aulani’s two towers and flowing from the lobby down to the beachfront, it is home to pools, whirlpool spas and interactive water play areas. The name “Waikolohe” – Hawaiian for “mischievous water” — offers a playful nod to some refreshing surprises for guests as they float along a lazy river through the valley’s eye-catching lava outcropping called Pu‘u Kilo.
The new pool, splash zone and additional deck space will extend the sun and water fun to the very edge of the resort property, with the new pool’s “infinity edge” overlooking the adjoining lagoon. In keeping with Disney’s tradition of storytelling, the new Ka Maka Landing brings to life the legend of Māui, the great trickster demi-god, known to generations of Hawaiians through the re-telling of cultural legends.
Maui, according to the traditional story, brought the islands to the surface with his great fishhook, and elements of the legend are reflected in the design of the new family pool and kids’ splash zone, incorporating coral and lava, sea and earth, in the surrounding rockwork. A highlight of the family pool is an enchanting grotto that provides a relaxing view of the sunset over the Pacific. After dark, a magical starscape of glimmering lights appear on the grotto ceiling.
“We designed an iconic rocky outcropping of coral and lava to stand as the majestic centerpiece of the Ka Maka pool area, and there are a number of magical surprises in store for our guests,” says Lomboy. “Guests can swim to the sounds of whales and dolphins underwater, or spot Manaikalani, the constellation representing Maui’s fish hook, in the overhead grotto.”
Even Aulani’s littlest guests have a place to splash around in at the new Ka Maka Landing. Keiki Cove, Aulani’s tide-pool-themed water play area geared towards toddlers, is a fun and safe spot where visiting tykes can cool off in a series of low-pressure water jets that gush up from below. Keiki Cove’s water jets are provided courtesy of a friendly he’e, or octopus, whose large tentacles stretch out across the cove floor in a bright and friendly blue mosaic.
Also open at the resort is a new food service location. Positioned beneath artist Harinani Orme’s towering exterior bas relief of Māui, Ulu Cafe is a poolside quick service restaurant that continues the celebration of the beloved trickster figure in casual-yet-elegant style. Ulu Cafe offers quick service breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a variety of grab and go options as well as hot entrees, daily sandwiches and soups, and specialty coffee and soft drinks.
On the restaurant’s patio, Māui is be immortalized in a striking kinetic steel sculpture of by local artist A.R. Kupihea.
With lava formations, hot springs that blow off steam and misty caverns, the Waikolohe Valley landscape was designed by Disney Imagineers to appear as if it has been here for many, many years. In addition to reflecting the legends of Hawaii, the Waikolohe Valley magically mimics the Hawaiian landscape: wetter and more forested at the high end nearer the mountains, drier and more open as it approaches the sea.
Along with the water play and dining additions, the recent expansion provides a new, larger lawn location for events, weddings and more.
About Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is perfectly positioned on 21 beautiful oceanfront acres of Ko Olina on the leeward coast of Oahu. Just 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from Waikīkī, Aulani Resort features 351 rooms, including 16 suites, and 481 two-bedroom equivalent villas, including 20 grand villas. Guests are invited to experience its world-class spa, restaurants and lounges, pools, kids’ club, and more—all uniquely designed for families to discover the culture, history and traditions of Hawai‘i. Aulani was voted the No. 1 family beach resort in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards in 2016. For more information and reservations, visit www.disneyaulani.com or call (866) 44-DISNEY.