Insight Hawaii Insight Hawaiian culture, stories to star at Disney's Aulani Resort By Shane Nelson / July 26, 2010 Share 1 -- In a presentation this summer at Travel Weekly's 2010 Hawaii Leadership Forum, Disney's senior vice president of travel industry sales for the Americas, Ed Fouche, made it clear that storytelling has always been fundamental to his company. According to Fouche, Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa -- currently under construction at Ko Olina on Oahu's west coast -- won't stray much from that tradition of success. "We simply love the beauty of Hawaii and its diverse culture," Fouche said. "And Hawaii has some tremendously rich stories, so we will be honored to help share these interesting stories in new ways with our guests." Last week Disney announced it would begin accepting reservations for hotel rooms and vacation packages at Aulani Resort & Spa on Aug. 2. The property is scheduled to welcome its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011. Disney's first mixed-use family destination resort, the 21-acre, beachfront Aulani Resort will have 360 hotel rooms and 481 timeshare vacation villas. Features will include an 18,000-square-foot spa, 14,000 square feet of conference space and seven acres of "water fun" activities. The property will also feature extensive design elements inspired by the Hawaiian culture. During his presentation in June, Fouche showed a five-minute interview with Joe Rhode, a longtime Disney "Imagineer" who grew up on Oahu and is now working to implement Hawaiian culture and legends at the Aulani. "We are going to be receiving a huge trove of stories from the land and culture of Hawaii, Oahu and the Waianae area that we're building this resort in," Rhode explained. "When you walk into this place, it won't just be like walking into a resort," Rhode said. "It will be like walking into a great story, a film, a play or a myth." Room rates at the Aulani Resort & Spa start at $399. For more information, visit www.disneytravelagents.com or call (866) 50-DISNEY.