Globally Connected: Locally Sustainable
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Photo: Bob Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney
Disney’s Magic Comes Alive
Aulani Resort & Spa
When Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina welcomed its first guests on August 29, 2011, there was no doubt they were bowled over by its wow factor. This is a Hawaii that only Disney’s Imagineering geniuses could interpret and create—magical, imaginative, and at the same time respectful of the Hawaiian culture.
In its desire to be authentic, Disney consulted with Hawaii architects and cultural experts to create a destination celebrating Hawaiian customs, traditions and stories that will immerse guests in a one of a kind Hawaii adventure. As a result, Hawaii is everywhere, starting with the gorgeous 21-acre oceanfront location at Ko Olina, and in every space throughout the resort where no Hawaiian detail is spared — from the 359 hotel rooms and suites and the 491 Disney Vacation Club villas, to the amenities (restaurants, spa and fitness center, conference center, oceanfront lawns for special events, a kids club) and activities that support a full family resort experience.
Behind this world that Disney promises will be a place “Where Dreams Come True,” there is another, equally compelling story being told. While Disney’s global reach will put Kapolei on the map as a prime visitor destination, Disney’s investment in the region will shower liberal sprinklings of pixie dust on the still struggling local economy. For example, a 2010 economic impact study showed that:
- The resort is initially expected to generate about 4,800 jobs and more than $600 million in economic activity during its construction and pre-opening phases. It will also generate about $59 million in one-time tax revenues for the state and county.
- When the resort’s operation has stabilized, it is expected to provide an annual impact of more than $271 million in economic activity, and $33 million in tax revenues. It is also projected to generate more than 2,400 full-time jobs, with nearly 1,200 based at Aulani.
“This study underscores the benefit Aulani will have on the community through job creation and economic stimulus,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
The study was commissioned by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and prepared by CBRE Consulting with consultation from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO).
“During a period of dramatic decline in construction activity and job losses in virtually all sectors of the economy, the new Disney resort is a bright spot,” said Carl Bonham, Executive Director of UHERO and Associate Professor of Economics with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “We are already experiencing benefits from the creation of new construction jobs, and the completed resort will be an important addition to the Oahu visitor industry.”
This is very good news for the state, and especially for the Kapolei region.
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