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Disney Aulani Resort Hawaii: We take the first "hard hat" tour

(Continued from previous page.)

Aulani_Disney_Resort_Hawaii_Hard_Hat_TourStanding in the arched lobby of the resort (pictured, left), still without its wood, glass, murals and sculptures, Rohde talked about how Disney didn't just build buildings, it told stories.

"Aulani is different because it's unlike anything Disney has done before," said Rohde. 

In Hawaiian, the word Aulani means "messenger, someone who speaks on behalf of a higher authority." To Rohde, who spent part of his childhood in the Islands, Aulani was a gateway for Disney's visitors into "a real story, created and guided by Hawaii."

Therefore Disney wasn't going to present a Disney-fied version of Old Hawaii.  "It's a living place, a living culture, that has a past, a present and future."  He talked about the contemporary Hawaiian artists—like muralist Solomon Enos and sculptor Rocky Jensen—who would set the tone for the lobby.

"Hawaiian art has always been highly refined, almost modern and minimalist in its elegance. It doesn't jump out at you all at once, and the details of the resort are meant to be understood over time, as guests develop the desire to explore what Hawaii means to them."

Of course, he added, there would be touches of Disney magic. "Because that's what people expect of us."

For more on what the resort will be like, and more pictures, see next page.

Imagineer Joe Rohde explains excitedly how Disney's vision is becoming reality.

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Disney ready to book reservations for Hawaii Aulani Resort, Aug. 2
Disney gives its new Hawaii resort a name: "Aulani." New photos and video.
Disney Cruise Line set for first-ever Hawaiian Islands sail in April 2012

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