October 17, 2012 - Arrival at Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa

We drove from Honolulu to the Ko Olina Resort area on the Leeward side of the island where Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa is located.  What's interesting is that the farther west you go, the less it looks like what one would imagine Hawaii to look like with lush tropical vegetation.  In fact, it looks more like you're driving along a California highway with dry grass lining the hills.  Then, suddenly, you get to Ko Olina, a veritable oasis, with its beautiful green landscaping.

Once we entered Ko Olina, Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa was not too far away...

Once we parked, we were greeted at the door and given leis - the women got floral leis, the men leis of kukui nut and the children got a Menahune lei (I'll get into what a Menahune is later)...

We were also offered some fruit infused water.  Can you spot the Hidden Mickey?  LOL!

Once we were lei'd and watered up, we walked into the gorgeous lobby - the Maka'ala, which means "open your eyes and take a second look."  It is the most amazingly designed lobby and I will go more into all the cultural significance when I learn more about it during the Maka'ika'i tour I took later in our stay that goes over the culture and art over the hotel.

The most amazing thing about the registration desk is the "Rainbow Wall" which is comprised of 138 photos by students from around Hawaii.

There are two towers to the Aulani - the Wai'anae Tower...

...and the 'Ewa Tower...

Both are named after the towns they are closest to.  They also represent the male and female sides, respectively, of the hotel.  Again, I'll go over what this means later.

Close to the registration desk is a children's reception area.  I walked inside to find a few Menehune hanging out.  Just really quickly, Menehune are the "little people" of Hawaii.  They are said to be both very productive  helpers and mischievous spirits and are hiding all throughout the Aulani.

Before heading out to our rooms, I walked out onto the patio of the Maka'ala to view the absolutely gorgeous Waikolohe Valley at the center of the resort.  I couldn't wait to explore!

But, first...off our Disney Vacation Club Villa in the 'Ewa Tower!


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