"Hawaiian culture has been represented before Hawaiians by a lot of other people creating this kind of feedback loop of expectation and supply that isn't tied to Hawaiian culture at all. The fundamental decision we made [at Aulani] was to go to Hawaiians and ask them, what does this place mean? Who are you? What do you have to say? That leads us to all the art. All the design. All the things that you see here.
The delicacy of the design is providing you with the place you want--the beautiful beach, the beautiful restaurants, the wonderful pool, a wonderful spa--those things have to be there. They are all part of the expectation, but as soon as you get past that first layer, the details reveal themselves as a shift, deeper. But your needs have been more than met by the place itself.
One of the tricks of storytelling in a built place is that you have to continue to surprise the viewer with the design."
Joe Rohde, Imagineering Creative Senior Vice President of Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa For more reports from my trip to Aulani, you can go to my Disneyland blog, here.