Friday, May 20, 2011

Behind the Magic in Hawaii with Samantha Brown

Fancy title huh? This was the name of the latest Disney Vacation Club webcast that was produced.  The whole focus of this webcast was to talk about the newest member of the DVC family, Aluani! Let’s take a verbal walk through of the webcast and see what information was learned:

*Note* I have used some American translations for names of areas around the resort because I did not want to mess up the spelling of the Hawaiian name.

Aluani is, of course, under construction still and the first person that Samantha talked to was the conceptual designer for Aluani, Bo Bolanos.  He says that this resort is like “seeing Hawaii through the eyes of Disney”, meaning that the resort is all about Hawaii itself, but there will be those Disney bits of magic to add to the experience. 

After entering what will be the gorgeous atrium lobby of the resort, Samantha talks to Elliot Mills, the general manager of the resort.  More of the resort is discussed, including the center courtyard and water play area, called Valley of Mischievous Waters in English. There are lots of areas for children and adults here including a playground, “watery wonderland”, a tube ride, body slide and the usual pools and streams, not to mention the entire ocean to play in!!  There is a “Mani Hune Adventure Trail”, the Mani Hune (think I spelled that right) being little people that are in Hawaiian culture, and on the trail the children walk around and try to find these stone people hiding. There is also Auntie’s Beach House for children where they can go to learn about the Hawaiian culture.

Aluani is considered a “Family Destination” just as any other DVC resort is, so you can expect the cast members to say “Welcome Home” to you when you walk in, but they will say it in Hawaiian of course!

Jeanette Lamboy, Imagineer is the next person we meet on our trip around the resort with Samantha.  Jeanette talks about how well Hawaii and Disney go together - There are three big things in Hawaiian culture, Story, Family and Magic, which are also three big Disney aspects as well, making this area the perfect spot for Disney to build their newest home.  Oh, and for those of you who may be worried there would be no Disney present, it has been confirmed that Mickey and the Gang have packed their bags and will be hanging around this new Hawaiian oasis.

Aluani is not just a resort, but is also a spa and there are lots of different spa treatments available not only for adults, but children and teens as well. Many spa options are available, including hydrotherapy.

On the resort property is a private snorkeling lagoon for guests, but Jeanette tells you not to be worried if you do not want to snorkel but still want to see the fish, there are widows that allow you to view all of the lovely creatures without stepping in the water.

Samantha next visits with Steve Humpke, an Imagineer who’s main job was to make the landscape of the resort, mostly the lava rock formations.  He went through the process of making and forming the rocks used on site and shows Samantha how to do carve a model out of foam.

The last person that Samantha talked to was art director Joan Hartwig. She describes her job description as the person who “manages creative content” and is the “keeper of the story” of the resort.  Native cultural advisors came in to make sure that Disney got the story right and Disney even commissioned statues and paintings for the resort from local artists.  Everything at the resort is very authentic and a lot of it will tell a story.

The last little bit of info given at the end of the show was that another activity at the resort is allowing guests to make poi and there are opportunities for island excursions off Disney property and around the lovely island of Oahu. 

This portion of the webcast was, believe it or not, 20 minutes long, the shortest DVC webcast that I ever sat in on! They crammed a ton of information into these 20 minutes, I was very impressed.  After this portion of it, there was a button to click to a new screen where two buttons came up. These two buttons, Vacation Destinations and DVC Options, gave you videos with information on how to go about buying a DVC and what the benefits of it are. 

The information was generally the same as other DVC webcasts, but there were a couple new things that I learned.  One is that you are able to have more than one home resorts, which I was surprised and excited about.  Having a home resort gives you priority for a room there and allows you to book and plan your vacations early.  I also learned that space at Bay Lake Tower in Florida is limited and they are expecting to sell out of that resort as a home resort by the end of the summer.  And of course, there were special deals for those of us who watched the webcast, discounts on pricing and such. 

I love watching these they make me excited for the day that I will be able to buy into a DVC!

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