From the reign of King Kamehameha I to that of Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii was built upon a rich history of royalty and tradition known for embodying the Aloha spirit. Did you know that King Kamehameha not only united most of the Hawaiian islands in the early 19th century, but also initiated the “law of the splintered paddle,” which protected innocent people during times of war? Or that Queen Liliuokalani, the last ruling queen of Hawaii, worked tirelessly to preserve Hawaii’s culture and improve its education system?
It’s time to Hauoli (rejoice), because Hawaii has a new royal in town, and her name is Auli’i Cravalho. The 14-year-old from Mililani, Oahu has just been cast as the next Disney princess in the highly anticipated animated movie Moana. Cravalho, an honors student who was discovered by a Oahu casting agent, is thrilled to be starring as the next fearless female princess as she sets out on a seafaring quest to discover her Polynesian ancestry. Cravalho is notable not only for being the first native Hawaiian female cast as a Disney princess, but also the first teenager to voice a Disney princess.
Ho’omaika’i ‘ana, Auli’i! We can’t wait to see Moana when it hits theatres in 2016. In the meantime, we’ll pretend to be Hawaiian royalty by indulging in these five fun activities on the Princess Auli’i’s native island of Oahu.
1. Visit Iolani Palace
Get in touch with your inner King Kamehameha and Queen Liliuokalani with a visit to this stunning palace and longtime home of the Hawaiian monarchy. Tours include a peek at the royal’s private chambers and the Imprisonment Room, where Queen Liliuokalani was held under house arrest, while she held out on signing her abdication for months before Hawaii was officially annexed by the United States.
2. Take a Bucket List Tour
Leave the planning to your people and let the best of Oahu come to you with a custom bucket list tour from Godspeed Adventures. Whether it’s beaches or Buddhist temples you’re hoping to see, these half and full day tours are led by locals who know the best hidden gems in Oahu.
3. Become a Stairmaster
Climb the famous Koko Head Stairs and you’ll have royal glutes in no time. Located on Oahu’s South Shore, the Koko Head Stairs are 1,000+ steps that were originally built as a railroad to haul military supplies to bunkers on top of the mountain. Your efforts will be rewarded with stunning 360 degree views of Diamond Head, Waimanalo, and more.
4. Attend a Royal Market
Okay, so maybe royals have people to do their shopping, but the fun is in discovery at the awesome Kapiolani Community College farmers market, open every Saturday morning. Sip some Koko Crater coffee, sample goat cheese from Sweet Land Farms, and pick up some fresh flowers from Haleahi Nursery.
5. Catch a Wave
Central to Hawaii’s cultural royalty is Duke Kahanamoku, the man who brought surfing to the world (and also starred in dozens of movies and swam in the Olympics). Say mahalo to the Duke with some surf lessons in Oahu. And in the spirit of Moana and fearless female islanders, why not try Sunset Suzy’s Hawaiian Surf School? In addition to being a great surf instructor, Suzy is also the North Shore county’s only female lifeguard. Teaching for over 20 years, Suzy specializes in helping beginners hang ten.