Five years ago, on August 29, 2011, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa opened as the Disney Vacation Club’s eleventh resort.
On Oct 3, 2007, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced that the company had finalized plans to purchase 21 acres of oceanfront property located at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development on the western side of Hawaii’s island of Oahu. This would be Disney’s first mixed-use family resort outside of its theme park developments – with both hotel rooms and DVC villas. DVC hadn’t built a DVC resort outside of a theme park since the opening of Vero Beach Resort and Hilton Head Island Resort in 1995 and 1995, respectively.
On Nov 19, 2008, Disney broke ground for its first family destination resort in Hawaii with a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony on its 21-acre oceanfront property, located at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development on the western side of Oahu.
On Jan 20, 2010, the Disney Hawaiian resort was officially given the name of Aulani : A Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii. In Hawaiian, “aulani” means “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages.”
On July 1, 2010, Disney Vacation Club began selling real estate interests for Aulani.
However, a year later (on July 9, 2011), DVC suspended sales of points for Aulani after discovering calculation errors regarding the annual dues – the dues were underestimated. This discovery led to the August 15, 2011 firing of three executives, including Jim Lewis, president of Disney Vacation Club.
On Aug 29, 2011, Aulani opened and became the 11th DVC resort.
On September 22, 2011, Bob Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company and Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, took part in the official Grand Opening Celebration of Aulani.
Also on September 22, Hawaiian state regulators grant DVC permission to raise its annual dues at Aulani by 33 percent.
On July 26,2012, Disney announced a project at Aulani to include an expansion of the highly popular Waikolohe Valley pool area as well as the addition of two new quick-service dining options.
The expansion opened on Oct 19, 2013 – a little more than 2 years after Aulani opened – and featured a spectacular infinity pool with a realistic grotto, a dynamic fun splash zone for smaller kids, and a new location for poolside and beachside dining.
Today, DVC continues to sell points at Aulani (there are over 11 million points at Aulani, which is second only to Saratoga Springs Resort’s 14 million points).