UPDATE: Following her passing last Thursday, Walt Disney World leaders gathered at Disney’s Polynesian Village on Friday to honor the memory of Auntie Kau’i.
Walt Disney World President Josh D’Amaro, Senior Vice President of Resorts and Transportation Thomas Mazloum, and Cast Members from the resort met at sunset to remember the former Cultural Ambassador in song.
The group then embraced Hawaiian tradition by casting their funeral leis into the water, an illustration of the cycle of life.
Source: Disney Parks Blog
We’ve learned that longtime Disney Cast Member Kau’ihealani Mahikoa Brandt, known to fans as Auntie Kau’i, has passed away.
Brandt was performing in Waikiki back in the 1960s when Disneyland officials took notice of her. Soon, she moved to California and began performing the hula three times a day at the Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland.
When Disney’s Polynesian Resort Villiage Resort opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, Brandt moved to Florida to help them launch the luau there. Later, “Auntie Kau’i” became the cultural representative at the resort.
According to a post by her family on social media and a note on a Facebook fan, Brandt passed away on Thursday.
A memorial service has not yet been announced.