|By Jason Garcia, The Orlando Sentinel,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 3, 2007 - The Walt Disney Co. announced this afternoon that it will build a more than 800-room hotel and time share on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, billing the project as "Disney's first mixed-use family resort outside of its theme parks."
"This resort will give our guests another way to visit an exciting part of the world with a brand they trust," Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo said in a prepared statement. "We are looking forward to building a special family resort that honors the cultural diversity of Hawaii and reflects the spirit of aloha that makes this location so unique."
The announcement comes eight months after Rasulo told investors that Disney was considering building standalone hotels, independent entertainment districts or even niche theme parks in locations far beyond its mega-resorts in Orlando and four other cities around the world.
Disney said it has purchased 21 acres of oceanfront land for the project on the southwestern corner of Oahu, Hawaii's most populous island. The property is part of Ko Olina Resort & Marina, about 25 miles from the heart of Honolulu.
The company said its Imagineering unit is still finalizing designs but that it intends to begin construction on the resort next year with a goal of opening by 2011. An artist's rendering depicts a lush, tropical setting with palm trees, thatched roofs and Tiki torches -- and nary a Disney character in sight.
Jim Lewis, the president of Disney Vacation Club, the company's Celebration-based time-share arm, said at least half of the resort's units would be time-share villas.
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Copyright (c) 2007, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.
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