September 23, 2011 – The Grand Opening Celebration of Aulani is Held
“We would like to thank the Imagineers, cast members, construction teams, local artists, and everyone who had a hand in bringing Aulani to life.” – Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs
On September 23, 2011, a special grand opening ceremony was held to celebrate the official opening of Disney’s new Aulani resort in Oahu, Hawaii. CEO Bob Iger and COO Tom Staggs were on hand with Mickey and Minnnie Mouse to lead the ceremony, which was filled with many aspects of Hawaiian culture and traditions. A special chant was written and performed for the resort’s opening by Keali’I Reichel, a noted artist in Hawaii, along with special performances by drummers and dancers. The ceremony also included an official dedication, complete with placing sand in a ceremonial wooden bowl called an ‘umeke.