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hula and other Hawaiian cultural elements and ends with a dance party with the Disney crew. Cultural Advisor Kahulu De Santos says that Disney's "imagineers" were a perfect fit for bringing the Hawaiian stories and values to life at the resort. She points to the backdrop of the Oleo Room lounge, featur- ing carved Hawaiian words and objects presented in a charm- ing, engaging manner. "It's easy to combine Disney fun and Hawaiian values," she says. "It's a natural fit. Hawaii has a magic and Disney has endeavored to showcase and assist in the preservation of the culture." The Laniwai Spa offers a unique Hawaiian experience, most strikingly in the Kula Wai out- door hydrotherapy garden. Shaded by native plants, the 5,000-square-foot garden has a stone reflexology walking path, soaking pools, a cold therapy plunge pool and a series of rain showers designed to mimic the six types of Hawaiian rain. Treats like coconut water, fruit and green tea cakes provide refreshment before one of the luxurious spa treatments. Inside the spa, delicate aromatherapy scents immediately put guests into relaxation mode. A cast member (Disney refers to all their staff as such) asks guests to select a rock carved with a Hawaiian word and the English translation, such as harmony or dream. Guests are led into a tranquil inner chamber where a crystal dangles over a pool. They are instructed to make a wish, and then offer their rock back into the pool. Spa treatments are just as unique: the Ohana lomi lomi treatment is intended for 3-6 family members, and begins with a group reflexology leg and foot treatment using guava sticks, followed by a soothing body massage. Kids ages 5 and up may participate with their parents. Other treatments include facials, herbal body remedies and cou- ple's massages. Aulani received the top ranking for family hotels in the United States in 2014 by Travel + Leisure. Some visitors to Aulani are members of the Disney Vacation Club, and Mickey Mouse designs are hidden in pictures, bedding and other décor. The family friendly activities continue at the beach area, where little ones will appreciate the tranquil waters of the lagoon and cast members assist guests with activities such as stand-up paddle-boarding and kayaking. 180 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

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