Four massive cranes now tower over the palm trees at the 21-acre West Oâ€˜ahu site of the new Disney Vacation Club Resort Hawaii.
Concreteâ€™s been poured for the foundations. But building 350 hotel rooms and 480 multi-bedroom vacation â€œvillasâ€â€”not to mention spas, pools, restaurants, banquet spaces and kids clubsâ€”takes time. At the moment, thereâ€™s just a vast, dusty, busy construction site, surrounded by a green fence.
â€œWeâ€™re magic,â€ says Disney Vacation Club spokeswoman Diane Hancock. â€œBut even pixie dust takes time to work.â€
The project, first unveiled last October, is on schedule to open in 2011 at Ko Olina Resort & Marinaâ€”but Disney is reluctant to say just when in 2011 the resort will start accepting reservations.
There were some worries about how Disneyâ€™s powerful corporate brand would collide with a Hawaiian sense of place. â€œWe realize Hawaii is a unique place to enter with a business,â€ says Hancock. â€œBut weâ€™ve been surprised at how graciously weâ€™ve been welcomed to Oahu.â€
Part of that welcome may stem from assorted good works: Disney has given $100,000 to local high schools and sponsored the free-movies-on-the-beach program in West Oahu communities.
But will the resort be Disneylike? Or purely Hawaiian? Or some hybrid of both? â€œThatâ€™s in the hands of our Imagineering Group,â€ says Hancock. â€œWeâ€™re doing a lot of listening and learning, so plans are still evolving.â€
Here are Disneyâ€™s preliminary artist renderings from that group. Take a look for yourself.
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