November 20, 2008

Disney planning resort in Hawaii

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts says it has broken ground for its first family destination resort in Hawaii with a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony.

The 21-acre oceanfront property is located at the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development on the western side of Oahu.

Scheduled to open in 2011, the new family-friendly destination will overlook lagoons and beaches, and is expected to include 350 hotel rooms and 480 Disney Vacation Club timeshare villas, the company said in a release.

This Disney destination resort will provide a unique way for families to experience Hawaii, Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement. By blending Disney's high standard of guest service and creative storytelling, we'll create a place where all family members can discover the wonder of these special islands.

Rasulo noted that Disney chose to build a resort on Oahu due to the international popularity of Hawaii as a family vacation destination. Hawaii is among the top vacation choices of Disney Vacation Club members after the Disney theme park destinations, the company noted.

Plans call for an expansive pool and water play area, an 18,000 square-foot spa, a wedding lawn, an 8,000-square-foot convention center, a children's club, two restaurants -- one of which will provide a view of the ocean -- and a snorkel lagoon.

Hawaii was the setting for the 2002 animated Disney film Lilo & Stitch.