The Once and Future Disney



Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa will open on Oahu in August.


If there is one segment of the consumer travel market that continues to be strong, it’s family travel. And if there is one supplier who knows how to cater to this market, it’s Disney.

“This is the largest period of growth in the history of Disney, and you can expect to see some really big projects from us in the coming months and years,” says Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Thomas O. Staggs. This year alone, the Walt Disney Travel Company is investing millions into major projects and initiatives. Here are some of the projects in the pipeline:

Disneyland Resort

Disney is fully committed to turning Disneyland Resort into a premier multi-day destination for Southern California. Toward that end, in 2012 Disney California Adventure will have a dramatic new look based on the California that Walt Disney encountered when he moved to Los Angeles in the 1920s. It will also see the addition of an entirely new 12-acre themed land, Cars Land, which will have three new attractions inspired by the successful Disney/Pixar films Cars and Cars 2. One of the new attractions, the six-acre Radiator Springs Racers will allow guests to engage in a side-by-side race with other guests over a four-minute ride through the film’s Ornament Valley.

“We want to make Disney California Adventure into a more immersive environment, with more family attractions and more ‘Disney’ features,” said Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis. Already up and running this summer are a new Little Mermaid ride, the Goofy’s Sky School ride and a revamped Star Tours attraction, as well as three new dining locations. This fall, Disney also hopes to complete Phase 2 enhancements to the Disneyland Hotel.

Disney Cruise Line

The new Disney Fantasy will launch on March 31, 2012. Unique features will include an Animator’s Palate dining venue, and the first Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at sea for children to dress up as their favorite Disney characters.

Next year, the Disney Wonder will add Pacific Coast cruises from Los Angeles, calling at San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico, as well a special 15-night cruise from Los Angeles to Hawaii. Also in 2012, the line’s Alaska cruises will depart from Seattle, as well as Vancouver. The Disney Magic will sail seven-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston, TX, in 2012. It will also sail Caribbean cruises out of Port Canaveral, FL, and will depart from New York on its first New England Coast cruise.

Aulani Resort on Oahu

On August 29, Disney will open its first resort in Hawaii—the 21-acre, 359-room Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina near Oahu’s North Shore. About the resort, Joe Rohde, senior vice president-creative of Disney Imagineering, said: “We’re very used to telling stories we’ve made up here at Disney. But this time, it’s different…we are building a place.” So, the Aulani will tell the story of authentic Hawaii. The kids’ club, the 5,200-square-foot Aunty’s Beach House, will offer nature and wildlife programs and traditional Hawaiian games, as well as video games and Disney film screenings.

Other resort features include a fitness and spa center (including some kids’ treatments), beach access, four restaurants, a storytelling fire pit, a conference center and 460 Disney Vacation Club Villas, of which 21 are Grand Villas.

Looking beyond 2012, Disney broke ground in April for its Shanghai Disney Resort, which is slated to open in 2016. For everything Disney, visit or sign up at

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