From September to mid-2013 the Resort will be expanded in phases. During the pool area expansion, much of Waikolohe Valley will remain open including Waikolohe Pool, the lazy river, slides, whirlpool spas, Rainbow Reef and Menehune Bridge. However, Makai Preserve (the stingray encounter) will close permanently this fall. Wailana Pool (the quiet pool) and Wailana Bar will close for an extended period. To accommodate more guests the Starlit Hui will move to a larger venue and will close for one month as it transitions to its new location. To provide shaded outdoor seating and accommodate additional Guests in inclement weather, an overhead trellis with retractable awnings will be added to the outdoor dining area at Makahiki in front of the Koi Pond. While enhancements are underway Makahiki restaurant operations will continue with interior seating only. As a result, the Disney Character Breakfast, Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki, will be extended to 6 days a week! This experience will be available Tuesday through Sunday, and Resort Guests will enjoy priority for advance reservations.
So it looks like the stingray encounter (Makai Preserve) has been judged by management, a failure or expendable. I have talked to the cast members there and am saddened that all their hard work in getting it set-up and running will be ending soon. Many didn’t know that the attractions leads are from WDW’s Living Seas and will most likely return to Florida. The Hawaiian cast members positions are less certain.