Disney Breaks Ground in Hawaii
Disney is preparing to build an $800 million resort in Ko Olina, transforming 21-acres of oceanfront land into a lavish oasis. The property will feature an enormous artificial volcano, roaring rapids and meandering rivers, lagoons and pools, all custom built for adventure, romance, and relaxation. Among the palm trees and grassy lawns, a full-service spa, a conference center, 350 hotel rooms and 480 timeshare units.
And Disney promises that they'll respect and reflect Hawaii's rich cultural history in every aspect of its construction and operation. To be sure, Disney has been fascinated by Hawaii for decades (up to and including "Lilo & Stitch")... but its record on accuracy and taste has been mixed.
The formal groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site last week, and I was invited to cover the event as a correspondent for MousePlanet.com. I was in "Mr. Mom" mode last week, however, and was unable to attend. Fortunately, photographer Joe Philipson was ready and willing to don the photojournalist hat and collected great images and information. I was still able to report on the event, and Joe's images helped paint a complete and colorful picture.