Meeting Disney Legend ‘Auntie’ Kau’i at the Polynesian Resort

DSC00213

Hanging with Walt Disney Living Legend, ‘Auntie’ Kau’i Brandt.  She’s 84 years old!

Although not as well-known as Disney Legend Richard over at the Grand Floridian, Disney’s Polynesian Resort also has a Walt Disney Living Legend working there:  cast member Kau’i Brandt, better known as Auntie Kau’i to the guests.

At age 84, Auntie Kau’i has been with Disney’s Polynesian Resort almost since it opened.

She moved from the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 1971 to first open the Polynesian show at Disneyland in California, and then moved to Florida to open a similar show at Walt Disney World. She was the master of ceremonies for both shows, and now serves as a cultural representative at the Polynesian Resort.

DSC00214

Her lei-making table with beautiful finished leis for sale.

Guests can find Auntie Kau’i in the first-floor lobby of the Great Ceremonial House of the Polynesian five days a week making leis with fresh flowers and pretty ribbons at her table in the corner of the children’s area. She is quick with a friendly smile and delights in showing guests how leis are made.

DSC00215

All the leis smelled so beautiful.  This is a carnation lei with rose colored ribbons (next to it is a candy lei for kids!).

She creates her leis from real flowers for guests celebrating their honeymoon, anniversaries, or family celebrations. (All resort guests receive a pretty, free silk flower lei when they check-in, and also get one when entering the Spirit of Aloha show.)

poly5 (2)

Wearing our leis.

These special leis can be custom-ordered in specific colors and flowers in the adjacent gift shop for $10 – $20 apiece. Auntie Kau’i said she creates about 20 lei necklaces, bracelets, and headbands for guests each day.  How cute would that be if you were getting married at the Polynesian and everyone wore one of these?!

Children are invited to make lei necklaces and bracelets out of pasta and candy. Modern tradition holds that carnation lei symbolize love, but a fresh flower lei is a beautiful gift that needs no reason to give and enjoy.

Auntie Kau’i also teaches guests how to dance the hula. The lessons are complimentary and last about 15 minutes. Women and girls are invited to don grass skirts and are given instruments to play to accompany the ukulele music. During the lessons, Auntie Kau’i and another cast member take turns demonstrating the graceful movements while the guests mimic them. Then, the guests put it all together for their finale. So much fun!

Auntie Kau’i has been dancing the hula since she was 6 years old. On Saturday mornings, she also teaches free dance lessons for two hours at the Polynesian Resort.

Stop by and say hi to her!

You can read more about her interesting life’s story here:  Growing Up Hawaiian.

DSC00212

Checking out the gift shop.

poly lobby (2)

The Great Ceremonial House Lobby of Disney’s Polynesian Resort, entryway.

poly-lights

The light fixtures high above the lobby.

DSC00208

View from the monorail of the Polynesian Village Resort.

Don’t forget to try the delicious breakfast at Ohana’s!!!!

poly14 (2)

Elly & Hawaiian Mickey.

poly12 (2)

Caroline having fun with Stitch.

*******************************

two-disney-sisters

Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***