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

(Continued from previous page.)

Construction crews work on the resort's "Wai Kolohe" swimming pools.

We moved into the center of the resort. Between the two high-rise wings, Disney has created a "valley," like the valleys in the landscape that lead from Hawaii's mountains to the ocean.

Here the water flowing from the lobby downhill creates "Wai Kolohe,"  or "mischievous water" in Hawaiian, a series of pools and fun activities, mainly aimed at kids, filled with menehune, who provide an entry into Hawaiian concepts for kids, while at the same time squirting water at them.

The walled cement structure to the right will be a snorkel pool, filled with sea life. "So even if you're afraid to go into the ocean, this will be an introduction to the sea life of Hawaii," says Rohde.

Of course, this area will be turned into a garden. Some of the trees on the property remain and others are rescued from a local golf course.

The cement will be covered by "rocks" that Disney is carefully copying from actual rock formations around Oahu, especially the nearby Waianae Coast.

This central area will also hold Disney's beachside restaurant, which will created to look as if it's an old fishing family's shoreside dwelling.  "We're going to make it look as if there were buildings already on the property that we just refurbished," says Rohde.

More on the resort, and photos, next page.

A wider view of construction work on "Wai Kolohe."

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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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