Disney's New Aulani Resort Welcomes Its First Guests

08/30/2011 10:19 am ET | Updated Oct 30, 2011

After much anticipation, Aulani, Disney's first property in Hawaii, received its first guests Monday.

The Disney Vacation Club Villas at Aulani Disney Resort & Spa is the eleventh for the DVC. Other locations include eight properties at Walt Disney World in Florida plus Hilton Head, S.C. and Vero Beach, FL. In addition to 481 Vacation Club Villas, Aulani features 359 traditional hotel rooms.

The resort, at Ko Olina on the island of Oahu, was inspired by Hawaiian heritage and tradition, and local architects, artisans and historians helped to incorporate that spirit into Aulani.

Aulani traditionally means “a messenger of a chief – one who delivers a message from a higher authority,” Joe Rohde, senior vice president, Creative for Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a press release. "The name Aulani was chosen to position the resort as a messenger of the “higher authority” that is Hawaii, its spirit and its culture."

In true Disney style, Aulani doesn't skimp on the amenities: four restaurants, two lounges, an adult spa, a separate teen spa, fitness center, kids' club and a large pool area featuring a private snorkeling lagoon and a conservation pool where guests can get up close and personal with sea creatures like stingrays, anemones and starfish.

Activities include movie nights, fireside storytelling, hula dancing, Hawaiian sunset ceremonies, cooking classes, surf lessons and, of course, Mickey and company will be around too.

There are even special amenities for Japanese guests like extra-deep hot baths and in-room rice cookers.

Room prices vary, but for the beginning of September, two adults and two children can share a standard room for $399 per night, a partial ocean view room for $524 per night, an ocean view room for $549 per night, or a parlor suite for $1,340 per night. Visit Aulani's website to make a reservation.