What is a trip to Hawaii without a luau? Well, that is exactly what my girlfriend, Dorian, got when she came to visit. Initially, we were going to do the one at the Polynesian Center but some of my friends convinced us that the one at Paradise Cove would be a better option.
Paradise Cove is located in Ko'Olina on the west side of Oahu. The beaches in Ko'Olina are nice and calm. Perfect for swimming, especially if you have smaller children.
There are 3 packages you can choose from for the luau. We went with the cheapest option where the seats were off to the side of the stage. You still get a great view of the show, just in case you were wondering.
When you first enter the premises (after waiting in a mob like line outside the gate), you are greeted with a drink. You have the choice of a Mai Thai or a non alcoholic punch. Then they give you either a fresh flower lei or a shell lei (we got the later) before taking pictures. You can purchase the pictures with the gift card you get or another form of payment.
After taking pictures there are a slew of activities to do before the luau actually begins. Unfortunately, they don't give us enough time to do most of them. But according to my girlfriends who had gone before, they had plenty of time to do more.
Dorian and I did the canoe and the flower headbands/crowns. The crowns were made by the assistance of a older male employee, who was throwing shade left and right but Dorian and I thought it was funny.
Afterwards, when we got food, she went back and took pictures with the birds (another activity station available). I on the other hand was more focused on my food. Plus, my foot was still killing me from falling on Koko Head earlier that day.
My only regret is that we missed the reveal of the pig while waiting to do our crowns. But they had a few more "performances" before we sat down.
We saw a man climb a tree to get coconuts (I think) and there was live music. There was also a bar where you could use your gift card (each package had a different amount) and a gift shop.
By the time that was all over, I was so ready to eat and was hoping that the food wouldn't disappoint. Fortunately, everything was very good!
Once we were seated, they got the service going pretty quickly. They called us by tables (so choose wisely where you sit lol). The higher package received table side services, so they didn't have to deal with the bustle of the buffet line.
I was happy to see that the lines moved fairly quickly since I was starving by that time. While everyone was getting their food and drinks the emcee was chatting it up from up on stage with the crowd.
After most of the audience was seated with their food, the show started. I don't remember the exact order of how things went other than the fire portion was at the end and of course my phone was dead by then (didn't get much of a charge after our Koko Head hike)
But they pulled people on stage to perform with the dancers and it was fun. Because I had seen a smaller version of a luau in my neighborhood, I don't think my attention was as focused on the stage until the fire portion. I was having a fat girl moment and was worried more about stuffing my face than the direction it was pointing.
Overall, I am glad I got to experience a real luau (even if I missed the pig). I would definitely recommend going if you are staying at a hotel that doesn't already offer a luau.
If you have access to a military base, you should check out the MWR (or whatever is equivalent on the base you visit). It was about 20 or 30 dollars cheaper per ticket for us going through the MWR than through the Paradise Cove website.
Have you been to a luau before? Where did you go and how did you like it? Comment your experience down below.
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