You will find that seating at the Old Lahaina Luau is like being around a horseshoe theater. What I think on being the best seats are the ones that face directly toward the stage with the Pacific Ocean and the island of Lanai as your background. Many of the other seats are to the side, where we were placed.
The dancers do make an honest attempt on performing to all sides. I called their 800 number and found out how one could "snag" one of those premier area seats. "You will have to reserve a year in advance," I was told by this sweet voice. And, there are no guarantees since "the computer" will finally place you. Unlike booking a show in Las Vegas where you have a definite seat, Old Lahaina Luau leaves it up to "their computer." And, if a tour company booked before you, as I was told, they may add seats up to show time. If you do make your reservations early, I would recommend calling to confirm your seating area.
Regardless, it is prudent that you reserve your seats months in advance. We tried on three other occasions after arriving on Maui and it was always booked. The Old Lahaina Luau is revered as on of the top shows in Hawaii.
If you don't get there early, parking may be a problem. You can also park up and down the street or across the mall. We had picked up our tickets on the morning of the show and noticed that parking at the Luau was at a premium. We arrived early and walked across to the mall for an early "Happy Hour."
We were warned by several locals that the Luau's Mai Tai's that are given when you first arrive are pre-mixed and are usually watered down--which it was. After being seated, you may order most any drink which is included as part of the show.
The food is buffet style, good, but nothing fantastic. I particularly liked the friend rice. Seconds were offered.
The show is totally open and vulnerable to the weather. It did start to sprinkle on us and I wondered what would have happended if it continued to rain. I asked about this challenge and was told that cancellations due to weather happen "four to five times a year." If you had already eaten the meal, and the show had not started, they "will charge you the difference." And, to what that difference would be, I don't know. Weather be warned!
We were placed with two other couples at our table (you may elect to actually have a lower table which are actually closer to the stage.) Luckily, our conversation was lively and the people enjoyable. "Frank," our Hawaiian waiter, took real good care of us. The only recommendation I have here is that the waiters clean after the show. It is rather distracting to watch the show and even film with our waiters clearing away the dishes and silverware.
As for the show, it is well done. There is a major emphasis on Hawaiian history and traditional dances. At the end of the show, a number of performers dance the livelier "Polynesian" style. I believe it would not hurt the show to incorporate more of Polynesia as the true Hawaiians originally came from the South Pacific (as related by James Michener's book, HAWAII).
We were actually familier with many of the dances. You can actually see other resort shows just by walking along Kaanapali Beach pathway at night. It you happen in Hawaii duirng King Kamehemeha celebrations, you can catch a free show on Coconut Island in Hilo. One of my favorite experiences was watching the show at the Royal Hawaiian ocean bar in Oahu. You may watch them dancing, but you can't eat the food!
I do recommend the Great Lahaina Luau for the first time travelers to Hawaii and Maui.
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