Scenes from the Grand Opening at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

Special lighting effects on Aulani resort

What a spectacular evening filled with hula, music, mixed with a smidge of Disney’s magic!

Aulani emphasizes and honors Hawaiian culture first and foremost while subtly and secondarily incorporating iconic Disney aspects. (I really like that ordering of priorities and I’ll write more on that in the future.) The Grand Opening certainly highlighted Hawaiian culture with traditional chanting, ceremonial conch shell blowing and hula performances.

I was impressed that highly revered Hawaiian recording artist, Keali’i Reichel, and his halau (hula group) performed. What a treat to see them live! That was one of two, as they say in Hawaii, chicken skin moments for me. The other moment was hearing When You Wish Upon A Star beautifully sung in the Hawaiian language. You can see parts of both  performances in the video below.


Barefoot and wearing an Aloha (Hawaiian) shirt, Disney CEO , Bob Iger, enthusiastically took the stage. He made a point to emphasize how Disney’s direction in creating Aulani was to  honor the Hawaiian culture and traditions. A symbolic blending of Ko’Olina sand with a little bit of pixie dust represented the blending of Disney with Hawaii. Then fireworks ensued.

See clips of the evening in the Aulani Grand Opening video that Andy created.

(Email subscribers: click here to watch the Aulani Grand Opening  video.)

I wanted to share a selection of photos from the Grand Opening with you. You can see the entire photo collection here.

The evening began with conch shell blowing. DSC_2889

The hula performances were excellent!


Including keiki (children) in the performance was a nice touch.

Keiki hula


Luckily, Mickey and Minnie Mouse perfectly timed their vacation to Hawaii.


Mahalo to Aulani for inviting us to such a fantastic event for Disney and Hawaii!

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