Disney breaks ground in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Disney breaks ground in Hawaii

Jay Rasulo Jay Rasulo

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KO OLINA (KHNL) - Despite the rocky economy, the wheels are still in motion for Disney to build a family resort in Hawaii. At Ko Olina, the entertainment giant broke ground.

Representatives from the happiest place on earth say their revenues in the most recent quarter are up and that the Disney brand has never been stronger. They say Disney has survived tough times before, and this time around is no different.

It's a ceremony of hope in the midst of global financial turmoil

Disney's ground blessing at Ko Olina marks its committment to Hawaii, despite these tough times.

"This might be a slow period right now but guaranteed, we believe in the future of Hawaii as a popular tourist destination," said Djuan Rivers, Vice President of Disney Vacation Club Hawaii.

Among the guests - Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona, just back from Korea and Japan, hoping to boost tourism.

"I noted that Disney will be breaking ground and believe me you can see the smiles, you can see the enthusiasm," he said.

Disney's vision calls for a family resort on 21-acres of oceanfront property, with an 18,000 square foot spa, 350 hotel rooms, and 480 Vacation Club timeshare villas.

"Hawaii is a place our vacation club members come most often after they come to our destinations. So the marriage of those two things makes me very confident about this project," said Jay Rasulo, Disney Parks & Resorts Chair.

It's a project that's cause for celebration for the Aloha State's young and young at heart.

Hawaii leaders are banking on Disney's magic touch to help lift our sagging economy. The resort is expected to create 1,000 jobs, and generate property taxes.

Opening day is sometime in 2011.

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