This small scale model represents a big change for West Oahu. A Disney Resort with no theme park. The two towers at Ko Olina will have more than 800 hotel rooms and timeshare units.
"We plan to of course to offer the opportunity for our guests to vacation in a completely new way," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. "Very differently than they do at our theme park resorts."
Disney Executives say the landscape and architecture will reflect the Hawaiian culture. They've been working with the community and cultural consultants.
Highlights include a taro field, a canoe hale, a volcanic waterslide with special effects, and a salt water lagoon.
"So the guests can swim with the tropical fish as well as while they're snorkeling there will be some elements of Disney characters swimming by as elements of surprise," said Wing Chao, executive vice president, Master Planning Architecture & Design, Walt Disney Imagineering.
Maybe characters like Lilo and Stitch. The two from the movie based in Hawaii were on hand last October, when the company finalized its purchase of 21 acres of oceanfront property next to the Ihilani Resort for $144,000,000. The project is expected to create about a thousand jobs.
"We've been working with the homeless issues," said Patty Teruya of the Nanakuli/Maili Neighborhood Board, "but most of all on the west side to revitalize to renew that area, we need employment."
"We were happy to hear how many jobs would be available," said Maeda Timson of the Kapolei/Makakilo Neighborhood Board, "and that they had quite an intensive training so that our folks in the area could get these jobs."
Community members say Disney did respond to some of their concerns. They're still worried about the additional traffic, and want to make sure public access to the beach is protected. But in these tough economic times, Disney is not concerned about its future in the islands.
"Hawaii is a long term family destination," said Rasulo. "There are always economic ups and downs and we have confidence in Hawaii as a continued family tourist destination for the long term."
From KGMB9 news
Host of the Meandering Mouse Club TV and Trapped in Paradise video podcasts.
Hong Kong and Tokyo Disneyland Resort June 2007, Walt Disney World December 2007, Disneyland (Original Anaheim Kingdom) May 2009, Disneyland Paris Resort October 2008.
Veteran of all 11 global theme parks
© 2012 WDWRadio™ and Second Star Media™
Please note that WDW Radio, Lou Mongello, and Second Star Media are in no way part of, endorsed or authorized by, or affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or its affiliates. Visit Disney's official web site at Disney.com - As to Disney artwork/properties: © Disney - Disclosure.