We are less than a week away from the grand opening of Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort. If you’re gearing up to do some relaxing on or after Sept. 16, now’s your chance to get your first look at the beautiful interior of Tenaya Stone Spa.
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Tenaya Stone Spa Design Inspired By Indigenous Culture
Tenaya Stone Spa is designed as a love letter to the indigenous cultures of California. Two of the key people guiding that vision were Walt Disney Imagineering art director Katrina Mosher and cultural advisor Dawn Jackson.
Jackson tells Disney Parks Blog that one of the main priorities with the interior design of Tenaya Stone Spa is authenticity. To achieve this, she met with tribal elders to learn as much as possible about their history and heritage.
“I am a Saginaw Chippewa tribal member from Michigan and wanted to increase my knowledge of specific tribal cultures of Yosemite,” Jackson tells DPB. “I met with different tribes and then focused on the Southern Sierra Miwok.”
Jackson met with direct descendants of Chief Tenaya of the Ahwahnechee Miwok people. The insights gained there, as well as her own personal experience, guided the spirit of Tenaya.
“I also thought about my own tribal teachings of what it means to live a well and balanced life,” she adds. “This combination of cultural knowledge comes together in Tenaya Stone Spa.”
Tenaya Depicts the ‘Powers of Four’
The spa makes use of beautiful natural materials like white magnesite, which was once used as currency by native California tribes. This represents earth, and it represents one of the “powers of four” alongside red pumice, black obsidian, and gold pyrite.
“The spa design embraces the concept of the natural order of four, found throughout many indigenous cultures of the world,” says Mosher.
“There are four directions, four colors, four elements, and four points of wellness. These bring balance and harmony to the mind, body, and spirit,” she adds. “Tenaya Stone Spa has a strong axis in the design that represents the powers of four.”
These materials and their colors—complemented by medicinal plants such as sweet grass, sage, cedar, and tobacco—represent the elements of the social, spiritual, emotional, and physical.
But the centerpiece is easily the eponymous Tenaya Stone, gifted by Chief Tenaya’s descendants and honoring the legacy of the Ahwahnechee Miwok.
Other Key Design Features in the Tenaya Stone Spa Interior
Mosher also points to design elements throughout the interior of Tenaya Stone Spa that add to its elevated atmosphere.
Namely, she notes that the relaxation lounge faces the east and, by extension, sunrise. The lounge evokes life and warmth with a yellow stained-glass window and sliced agate stone.
The floor uses beautiful wood rounds. Mosher says this aligns with the concept of looking “down and in,” which speaks to inner reflection.
Another major focus piece is the tree root chandelier in the entrance. Mosher notes that its use of obsidian references the west while the roots of the redwood represent the water they absorb to live.
The gorgeous, peaceful, and authentic Tenaya Stone Spa opens at the Grand Californian in Walt Disney World Resort on Sept. 16.
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