Nothing Mickey Mouse about new Disney resort going up next to Hawaii's Ko Olina Golf Club
Just across from the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and Ko Olina Golf Club on west side of Oahu there’s a huge construction project underway. Apparently, not everyone got the word that tourism has been on the decline in Hawaii.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is building its first Hawaii destination. The 21-acre oceanfront property, located at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011. Like the Marriott, the Disney destination will overlook crystal blue lagoons and white sand beaches.
The property, which is scheduled to include 350 hotel rooms and 480 Disney Vacation Club timeshare villas, is the first to not be affiliated with a theme park, which makes sense. It’s hard to improve on Hawaii, isn’t it?
Officials at Ko Olina Golf Club and the J.W. Marriott are welcoming the addition. Already, the golf club, a solid Ted Robinson design that has hosted both the LPGA Tour and Champions Tour, has a strong relationship with the Marriott, which offers golf packages. Disney figures to do the same.
Plans at the Disney resort call for an expansive pool and water play area, an 18,000 square-foot spa, a wedding lawn, an 8,000 square-foot convention center, a children’s club and two restaurants – one of which will provide a stunning view of the ocean.
The water park area will include tubes and body slides that will weave through volcanic rockwork and engage an iconic caldera volcano. Word is there might even a replica of the “Black Pearl” parked outside. That would be the ship from the Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean, by the way.
The resort is also being designed to connect with the local culture of the Hawaiian Islands. The Walt Disney Imagineering team has been working with local architects and cultural experts as part of the resort’s creative design process.
To nobody’s surprise, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he is looking forward to the opening of the project in 2011.
“Disney leaders have met with Hawaiian cultural experts to gain an understanding and appreciation of our host culture,” Hannemann said. “The end result will be a resort that local residents will be proud to have on our island, and it will be a family attraction that our residents and visitors will find enjoyable and meaningful.”
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