After breakfast and securing our character breakfast pictures on our PhotoPass CD, the 5 of us headed North to Laie.
We didn’t get to the center until 1:30. We checked in and waited for our tour guide inside the gift shop.
Tip One: If you are planing on spending the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, plan to get there by 11:45am. There is just so much to see and do- and not enough time to get in all in!
Tip Two: If you are planning on spending the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, purchase a tickets that includes a tour guide. Our guide was priceless, getting there later (you can check in at anytime before closing, which is 5pm) he was able to fit in the 4D movie, canoe pageant, 3 of the 6 island presentations, and a canoe ride!
After we took a group picture and were given a nut lei (this would distinguish us as a tour group for the rest of our day), we headed over to see Hawaiian Journey- a 4D movie that was absolutely outstanding! All 5 of us were blown away by the special effects and actually learned something during this 14 minute presentation.
After the movie, we headed over to watch the Canoe Pageant- which was beautiful!
From the pageant we walked over to Samoa. Here we watched the presentation of making fire (no matches!), how to crack open a coconut with only a pebble then how to retrieve the food and milk from inside of it, and tree climbing! Jacqueline even decided to try coconut milk- and drank it from a coconut!
When the presentation was over, we headed to Aotearoa and right into their presentation- in fact our group was lead into the meeting house as part of the presentation! Inside, we listened to traditional music and stories related to the island.
Straight from Aotearoa, we headed to our favorite- Tonga. This presentation was HYSTERICAL! They took 3 members from the audience and incorporated them in… and without giving anything away, you learn and laugh at the same time!
Our canoe driver didn’t look as Polynesian as most… We had a fantastic afternoon and absolutely could not have seen and done so much in 3 and a half hours if we didn’t have a guide. We assume, if we were there 2 hours earlier we would have been able to see all 6 countries, been able to do some shopping, and partake in the hands on experiences available in each island’s section.
I have to admit, before coming, the only negative things we read about the center was that it is run by the Mormon Church (there is a campus for Brigham Young University nearby) so there was a huge Mormon undertone to the center. We didn’t see or feel that at all. In fact, we really would have had no idea until the end of our tour when our guide let us know we had a few options after dinner to take another tour before the evening show- and one of those options was to tour the Brigham Young campus. Yes, at least two thirds of those who work at the center are Mormon and/or attend the university- but there aren’t pamphlets handed out or displayed, etc.
Tip 3: There is also no alcohol on property- which is something to be aware of if you stay for dinner and the evening luau show (which is also offered without having to spend the day as well). They do offer a large variety of juices, soft drinks, teas, and coffee.
We chose the Prime Rib Buffet dinner before the luau show (there are 4 different dinner buffets you can choose from). Our entire group of 15 went to dinner and we were seated at a long table nearby the buffet. There were several seafood dishes (including Chirashi Sushi), baked chicken thighs, and the prime rib carving station. Tons of fruits and dessert as well and 2 different salads. A great assortment- but not very picky kid friendly 😉 The dining room was beautiful and we were surrounded by Polynesian murals…
This show was INCREDIBLE! We all highly recommend it if you are visiting Oahu! And yes, we even bought the DVD after the show.
The star of the show, whose character’s name is Mana, came to Mikey at the end of the show (we were in the second row) and talked with him a bit about the show and took a picture with him! Mikey was thrilled!
I cannot recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center enough for anyone visiting Oahu- it was absolutely worth the drive. For Disney Fans, it reminded us a lot of Epcot’s World Showcase ( which we love too!). Everything was very neat, clean, and organized.