Tag Archives: #hawaii

Talk Story with Women of Hōkūleʻa – Real-Life Moanas Share Their Adventures

 

Did you know that sailing across the ocean in a voyaging canoe isn’t just something Moana did in a Disney animated feature?  And that some of Maui’s Wayfinding teachings are inspired by real-life Polynesian navigational techniques?

It’s true. All of it.

Welcome to true stories of Hōkūleʻa – Hawaii’s voyaging canoe – as told by her crew, our real-life Moanas.  Traditional wayfinding had gone extinct in Polynesia until Hōkūleʻa was built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) in 1973.

With hard work and sacrifice, Hōkūleʻa and her crew became the first to navigate across the seas as their ancestors did over 600 years ago, using only traditional wayfinding techniques.  Read more about Wayfinding like Moana here.

This was their latest achievement – a worldwide voyage. Continue reading Talk Story with Women of Hōkūleʻa – Real-Life Moanas Share Their Adventures

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How Far We’ll Go – Wayfinding Like Moana on Hawaii’s Hōkūleʻa

Feel the cool sea breeze brush across your face. Smell the salty mist as waves lap against your canoe.  Squint into the mesmerizing glare as a thousand blazing suns reflect off the water.  See the possibilities beyond the horizon, where the sky meets the sea.  Be as one with the ocean, and the myriad of species she nurtures within her.  This was the inner calling of a Wayfinder named Moana.

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

This was also the calling of ancient Polynesian voyagers who populated the islands of the Pacific Ocean.  Europeans who ‘discovered’ the Pacific islands (on their large ships) found it miraculous that the Polynesian islanders had sailed thousands of miles across open ocean in canoes.  They navigated without GPS. Or a sextant. Or a compass.

How did they do it? Continue reading How Far We’ll Go – Wayfinding Like Moana on Hawaii’s Hōkūleʻa

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There’s No Place Like Aulani for the Holidays

As we start out a new year, we reflect on the one we just wrapped up.  How were your holidays?  If you’re like us, Disney usually plays a large role in your holiday traditions.

Are you tired of the cold and the snow?  Have you ever considered a Hawaiian Christmas?  It’s never to early to start planning for the next holiday season!

This is our article, originally published on LaughingPlace.com, about the magical combination of Disney, Hawaii, and the Holidays!

Enjoy!

What are some of your most treasured holiday traditions?  Christmas trees, halls decked with lights and garland, or fresh-baked gingerbread cookies? Of course, everything is better when shared with your favorite Disney characters!  You’ll find all of these – and so much more – at Aulani during the holidays.

Aloha, Disney-style

Aulani – a Disney resort on the sunny southwest coast of Oahu – has been welcoming guests since August 29, 2011.  The resort presents a delightful marriage of Disney magic and Hawaiian aloha.  And it is all the more enchanting during the holiday season.

From the beginning, Aulani was designed with guidance from Hawaiian elders to accurately represent the native culture.  The Hawaiian word ‘Aulani’ translates to ‘messenger of a chief.’  Talented local artists were commissioned to tell the story of the Hawaiian Islands, and record music for this distinctive resort. 

Native Hawaiian-speaking cast members serve as cultural ambassadors, and create an authentic island experience.  And true to Disney heritage, you’ll find something for everyone in the family. 

Holiday Enchantment at Aulani

Ready to escape the snow and cold?  Aulani is a great destination to celebrate the holidays!  Enjoy tropical weather (an average 73o F) without sacrificing any of your favorite Disney holiday traditions.  Dive right into the Christmas spirit with festive decorations in the lobby entrance. 

Hawaiian Menehune (miniature mythological creatures) have certainly decked the halls in festive fashion! Continue reading There’s No Place Like Aulani for the Holidays

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10 Amazing Reasons to Go to HawaiiCon

As if I needed another reason to love the Big Island of Hawaii… I just learned about HawaiiCon.  The Big Island is not just full of palm trees, beaches, and resorts.  It is home to Kilauea, one of the longest-erupting volcanoes in the world.  And, it is one of the few places on earth where you can ski and surf in the same day.  The Big Island has numerous cultural festivals – and HawaiiCon is one of them!

HawaiiCon caught this fangirl unprepared.  We found out about it while vacationing on the Big Island, thanks to a featured article in Ke Ola Magazine.  I had packed some Hot Topic tank tops, but not my wardrobe of Her Universe dresses.  Nevertheless, I welcomed the opportunity to see a new con.

Even though I’d been to many conventions including San Diego Comic-Con, Star Wars Celebration, and D23 Expo – I found many reasons to love HawaiiCon.  Here are my Top 10 reasons why you should put HawaiiCon on your calendar next year.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com

1. Opportunity to really get to know celebrity guests

Celebrity guest stars were scheduled at multiple panels and activities over the HawaiiCon weekend.  This allowed a rare opportunity to really get to know them, and interact in a more informal setting.

It was personal ‘story time’ with your favorite celebrities.  This was my first encounter with Temuera Morrison (Chief Tui, Moana / Jango Fett, Star Wars Ep. II).  And Paul Blake (Greedo, Star Wars Ep. IV), who answered the question ‘Who Shot First?’  We enjoyed ‘solo’ time with Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett, Star Wars Ep. II).  Q&A was amazing during these small panel sessions.

Continue reading 10 Amazing Reasons to Go to HawaiiCon

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Moana Sails Into San Diego Comic Con, and Into Our Hearts (Part 1)

 

Moana is the first Polynesian Princess to join the Disney ohana.  Director and Producer team Ron Clements and John Musker (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog) were joined by screenwriter Jared Bush (Zootopia), co-head of Animation Amy Smeed (Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6), and producer Osnat Shurer (Pixar shorts) on the “Moana: Art of Story” panel July 21, 2016 at San Diego Comic-Con.

Moana Panel, San Diego Comic-Con
Moana Panel, San Diego Comic-Con

We were lucky to get a closer glimpse into the next Disney Animated Feature, Moana.

(This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com on July 27, 2016 as part of our Comic-Con coverage)

The Story of Moana

“Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why.”

This is a tale of how Polynesians came to navigate across the seas again, and how one person made a difference.

AULI‘I CRAVALHO lends her voice to the title character, MOANA, a teenager who dreams of becoming a master wayfinder. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
AULI‘I CRAVALHO lends her voice to the title character, MOANA, a teenager who dreams of becoming a master wayfinder. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Princess Moana Waialiki (Auli’i Cravalho) is the 16-year old daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison, Jango Fett, Star Wars).  She is strong, independent-minded, “spitting vinegar” and a bit of a “Bada$$” as described by our panel.

TEMUERA MORRISON (“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” “Once Were Warriors,” “Six Days, Seven Nights”) voices Moana’s father, CHIEF TUI, the gregarious and well-respected leader of the people of Motunui Island. NICOLE SCHERZINGER (Grammy®-nominated singer, West End's "Cats") voices Moana’s mother, SINA, who always has her daughter’s back. Playful, sharp and strong-willed, Sina appreciates Moana’s longing to be on the water, but also wants to protect her daughter from the fabled dangers beyond the reef. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
TEMUERA MORRISON (“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”) voices Moana’s father, CHIEF TUI.  NICOLE SCHERZINGER (Grammy®-nominated singer, West End’s “Cats”) voices Moana’s mother, SINA.  ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

With generations of sea-faring ancestry, Moana cannot resist the call of the ocean, despite her father’s decree that “no one goes beyond the reef.”

Continue reading Moana Sails Into San Diego Comic Con, and Into Our Hearts (Part 1)

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Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, the ‘City of Refuge’ is a Cultural Gem in Kona

The Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is a wonderful National Park site located just south of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is the last of the remaining Pu’uhonua (Place of Refuge) in the Hawaiian islands. The rest were destroyed in the cultural and religious counter-revolution that occurred after western contact.

Hale at Honaunau - Copy

It is remarkable because this was a safe place where your sins / crimes were forgiven if you could reach this haven. You would have to arrive by water (swimming, or by canoe) since the surrounding land was royal property and trespassing was kapu (forbidden).

Altar at Honaunau
Altar at Honaunau

This site was also remarkable because no human sacrifice ever performed here. It was the retreat of the Hawaiian royalty, whose bones used to be buried on the site.

Ki'i Guardians of Honaunau
Ki’i Guardians of Honaunau

The Ki’i (literally translated as ‘images’ but more commonly referred to as ‘tiki’) are of the Hawaiian god, Lono.  Lono was known as the god of peace, agriculture, music, rain, and fertility.

This National Park hosts a wonderful cultural festival annually the last weekend of June (if you’re in town before the 4th of July, make sure you check it out).

Split Tiki at Honaunau
Split Tiki at Honaunau

Admission is free during the cultural festival. Other times, it is a nominal fee for entry. There is no food at the site, so please eat beforehand or bring your own snacks. No picnics are allowed beyond the visitor center.

Clean restrooms are available at the visitor center.  Cold drinking water is available at the water fountains.

Altar angle Honaunau WM

Make it a point to attend a ranger talk. We have seen ranger Kale Hua give several talks — he is always informative, and shows his love of the park and the land.

Continue reading Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, the ‘City of Refuge’ is a Cultural Gem in Kona

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Pictorial Tour of the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

 

Come with us as we share a pictorial tour of the (much coveted) over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows of Disney’s Polynesian resort.

Disney’s Polynesian Hotel has been a premiere property at the Disney World resort since it opened.  Located on the monorail track of the Magic Kingdom, it is a touch of the exotic wrapped in luxury at the Walt Disney World resort.

Polynesian Bungalow Outside walkway

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) added Villas and the Bora Bora Bungalows this year, making the Polynesian one of the hottest properties at Disney World.

There are twenty Bungalows, built over the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon.  They are accessed by specially-keyed, gated boardwalks on the northeast side of the resort property.

Each bungalow has two bedrooms (but the equivalent DVC points cost is equivalent to a 3-bedroom unit).

Here is a map layout of the Bungalows by room number, and the Polynesian Resort buildings (click to enlarge).

Continue reading Pictorial Tour of the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

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Hotel Review: Disney’s Polynesian Villas, Tips and Warnings!

Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are a touch of the exotic wrapped in luxury at the Walt Disney World resort.  Disney Vacation Club added Villas and the over-the-water bungalows this year, making the Polynesian one of the hottest properties at Disney World.
Polynesian Hotel Lobby
Polynesian Hotel Lobby
We had the chance to stay in a studio villa at the Polynesian in June, and wanted to share our impressions.  There are four Disney Vacation Club (DVC) buildings at the Polynesian: Moorea (waterfront), Pago Pago, the newly-opened Tokelau, and of course, the Bora Bora over-the-water Bungalows.
All the main buildings have only studios (as opposed to other DVC accommodations that have studio, 1-,  2-, and even 3-bedroom configurations).  These were converted over from previous Polynesian hotel rooms.
Polynesian Moorea Building
Polynesian Moorea Building

Continue reading Hotel Review: Disney’s Polynesian Villas, Tips and Warnings!

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8 Must-Have Smartphone Communication Apps for Travel

Smartphones have made our daily lives immeasurably more convenient.  Using GPS to map a route to the closest Starbucks, using Google to research Risso’s dolphins, uploading your pictures to Instagram – sometimes we may take the ease of obtaining information for granted.

Having the right smartphone apps can enhance your travel experiences.  As I have discussed in a previous blog (7 Tips to Save Your Cell Phone During International Travel), it is wise to leave your smartphone in ‘airplane’ mode while out of the country.

It is therefore very important that phone apps used while overseas work offline, or with Wi-Fi.  Here is a list of communication apps I have found particularly useful.

Google Apps

1.  Google Translate:  (FREE) Much improved, Google Translate can translate between 90 languages, and read aloud phrases in the chosen language.  In addition, Google Translate now uses your smartphone camera to read written signs, and can instantly translate them on your smartphone screen.

This feature works instantly between English and: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.  This app translates 36 total languages when you take a picture of the signs.

I used Google Translate Continue reading 8 Must-Have Smartphone Communication Apps for Travel

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Five Tips for Healthy Traveling

As we prepare for our travels and family gatherings this holiday season, I wanted to remind you about dangers of the cold and flu season, and equip you with tools to stay healthy.  These tips are useful year-round, and I hope they will help you fully enjoy your travels!

Having weathered my fair share of illnesses while traveling, there are some things you can guard against, and then there are things you cannot predict (such as an emergency appendectomy — the photo above was my view as I was recovering during my travels).  Following these simple tips may reduce illnesses for you or a family member.

 

Healthy Traveler Tip #1:  NEVER touch your face

Cold and flu viruses can infect your body when they come in contact with an entry point.  Your eyes and nose are easy targets for viruses. By NOT touching your face with your hands, you reduce the chance of giving viruses access to your immune system.

If your eyes or nose itch, use a tissue to rub gently.  If necessary, use the back of your hand to rub your face.  It may be slightly cleaner than the fingertips, but may still carry viruses and bacteria.

If you have just washed your hands, touching your face should be safe.  Things brings us to Tip #2…. Continue reading Five Tips for Healthy Traveling

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