Carmel Magazine

CM SP16 Online Edition

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S oft ocean breezes float through the spacious entrance of the Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa on the island of Oahu, as eager travelers are greeted with leis. Little ones can play in the keiki area in the lobby, where Disney movies play on a small screen, but the décor reflects Hawaiian myths and history, and the Disney themes are subtle. "People don't know what to expect," says Aulani Public Relations Manager Michael Ramirez. "Some people think there will be rides, like at Disneyland." There are no rides at this elegant resort, but a large swimming area in the center of the property beckons with pools for every age group—from infin- ity edge adult hot tubs to baby splash areas. The pools are heated to com- fortable temperatures, and kids 4 feet and under will love the Menehune Bridge, named after the mythical "little people" of Hawaii, which features two water slides, a play structure and plenty of splashy fun. For all ages, a larger water slide shoots riders through an enclosed tunnel into the pool below, and another takes guests on inflatable rafts down a twisty slide. Both slides deposit guests onto a lazy river, where they can float under the canopy of trees and try to spot animal shapes carved into the rocks. Disney magic abounds: there may be a sudden sparkling of tiny lights, or a whale carved into the rocks shooting a spray of water out his blowhole. The saltwater Rainbow Reef is the only chilly swimming area, but it's worth it. Stocked with tropical f ish, guests snorkel in a private lagoon amongst butterfly fish, angelfish, surgeonfish and tangs. For those who wish to observe without getting wet, a large observation deck peers underwater. Mickey, Minnie and crew also make appearances in the pool area, but they are dressed in leisurewear : they're on vacation too. Guests can phone from their rooms each morning to find out when and where their favorite char- acters will be visiting. Activities with the characters include parties at the pool, and at night, a musical show called the Starlit Hui, which begins with AULANI, A DISNEY RESORT & SPA O a h u , H a w a i i B Y S A B R I N A S P E I D E L D E S T I N A T I O N S C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 6 179 Photos: Courtesy of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

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