The Latest from Disney's AulaniAugust 29, 2012 By: Jena Tesse Fox
Aulani, Disney’s hotel and resort on Oahu, hasn’t even been open a year, but is already undergoing an impressive renovation. Improvements are in the works for the resort’s "Waikolohe Valley" recreation area and waterpark, and new eateries are also due to open.
When completed, the resort will have a new pool, splash zone and additional deck space that will extend to the very edge of the resort property, with the pool’s “infinity edge” overlooking the adjoining lagoon. The family pool will have a grotto for more subdued water play, while kids can run around in the splash zone. Here is an artist's rendering of the completed project:
Two new food service locations will also debut in coming months. One will be adjacent to the new water play area and the existing Wailana Pool, and will serve light fare (think continental breakfast and sandwiches or salads) that will be good for alfresco dining on the adjoining patio. A second quick-service eatery will open at the beach, offering grab-and-go snacks and easy access for beachgoers.
These improvements are all according to plan, says Randy Garfield, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Travel Operations, Disney Destinations, and President of the Walt Disney Travel Company. “The timing of many of the new features were already planned based on our phased opening of Aulani, which will bring us to full opening within a two-year period. So many of these enhancements were already scheduled.”
These aren’t the first changes the resort has seen: Shortly after opening, Aulani added a new quick-service eatery on the pool deck, Mama’s Snack Stop, and later added lunch service at the Makahiki restaurant to supplement the dinner buffet and character breakfast. Breakfast service was also added to the lineup at the oceanfront ‘AMA’AMA restaurant. These additions and improvements came from watching guests and noting what they want or need, Garfield explains, a practice that he says is consistent across the Disney brand. “It’s a very organic process to watch how guests react to your new product and to make enhancements along the way.”
Coming up, Garfield says that the resort will also expand its retail offerings to supplement the two stores that already sell dedicated Aulani-branded merchandise.