Press Releases

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Grants $25,000 to The Friends of Hōkūleʻa and Hawai‘iloa

August 29, 2016

KO OLINA, Hawai‘i (Aug. 29, 2016) – Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced a $25,000 contribution on behalf of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, to The Friends of Hōkūleʻa and Hawai‘iloa, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of canoe building and the preservation of this unique Hawaiian tradition. The donation was presented as part of the resort’s fifth anniversary celebration of pairing the magic and enchantment of Disney with the culture and storytelling traditions of Hawai‘i.                                                                                                 

“We appreciate Aulani Resort’s continued commitment to supporting Hawai’i’s culture and traditions, and deeply admire their support for O‘ahu's Leeward communities,” said Billy Richards, president of The Friends of Hōkūleʻa and Hawai‘iloa. “Many local children and families will benefit from this generous donation, and we are thrilled to help facilitate the education and appreciation for our heritage through a collaborative hands-on program.” 

The donation to The Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai’iloa will fund a program, in conjunction with Partners in Development Foundation, that will provide local children and their families the opportunity to spend time together learning about culture, stories and history passed down through the tradition of canoe building.  

A one-sixth model of the Hōkūleʻa will be on display in the resort’s Maka‘ala Lobby beginning today, serving as a visual reminder of Hawai‘i’s heritage of exploration. Aulani Resort’s connection with the Hōkūleʻa reaches back to before the resort was built, when Walt Disney Imagineers sailed on the iconic canoe to gain inspiration for the resort’s design. 

“Aulani celebrates Hawai‘i’s beauty and heritage as well as shares aloha spirit by giving back to the community,“ said Chapek. “In honor of Aulani Resort’s fifth anniversary, we’re proud to support The Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai’iloa’s efforts to give children and families the opportunity to learn about this important part of Hawaiian culture.”

Over the past five years, Disney has made a positive impact on the local Hawai‘i community. Aulani employees have donated more than 7,000 hours in community service through projects ranging from sorting and packing food for the Hawai‘i Food Bank to building community playgrounds with the non-profit organization KaBOOM! Since 2010, Aulani has also donated nearly $500,000 to local organizations such as Make a Wish Hawai‘i, the Boys & Girls Club of Hawai‘i, The Nature Conservancy and the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation. In 2013, The Walt Disney Company donated $250,000 to build a children’s play area in the new Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children.

During the resort’s 5th anniversary celebration, Aulani Resort also announced new entertainment and dining experiences that will debut later this year. Beginning in November, the resort will offer KA WA‘A, a lū‘au at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa which will offer families an enchanting dining experience and imaginative entertainment. Also arriving in November— as Walt Disney Animation Studios’ adventure film “Moana” sails into theaters — Moana herself will arrive at Aulani Resort. Moana will join the resort’s beloved storytellers, Uncle and Aunty, as they visit with guests and recount tales of adventure.