The spirit of aloha ran deep at Walt Disney World last week, as we received the news that, surrounded by her loving ‘ohana, Kauihealani Mahikoa Brandtknown to our cast and guests alike as Anake Kaui (Aunty Kaui)had peacefully passed away.
Aunty Kaui was a kumu hula (hula master) performing in Hawaii when Disney talent scouts recruited her to come to California and dance the hula three times a day in Adventureland.
In 1971, she traveled to Florida as an Opening Day cast member to launch the first dinner-show luau at Disneys Polynesian Village Resort. It was supposed to be a three-month assignment, but Florida agreed with her andpunctuated by occasional returns to Hawaii to participate in hula festivalsAunty Kaui stayed on.
In time, she became a Cultural Ambassador at Disneys Polynesian Village, greeting guests with her handmade leis and grass skirts and teaching guests and cast alike to dance the hula as she happily swayed in her brightly colored mu?umu?u and strummed her ukulele. A photograph with a smiling Aunty Kaui became a coveted treasure for hundreds of thousands of guests, and children sought her out when their families returned for vacations.
The day after she passed, Walt Disney World Resort President Josh DAmaro visited her home resort with Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president of Resorts and Transportation. Together with cast members of the Disneys Polynesian Village Resort, they gathered at sunset to remember their longtime friend in Hawaiian and English and song.

Afterward, in longstanding Hawaiian tradition, they cast their funeral leis upon the wateran illustration of the cycle of life.
A peaceful woman who lived a life of balance and harmony, Aunty Kaui encouraged everyone she met to embrace the joy in life.
Mahalo nui loa, Anake Kaui. Your legacy lives on.