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“Fun, a little cheesy, but expensive” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center
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Polynesian Cultural Center Luau
Ranked #2 of 15 things to do in Laie
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: One of the top Hawaii attractions includes the Polynesian Cultural Center, which features a 42-acre facility on the North Shore of Oahu. Founded in 1963, the nonprofit Center was created so that the students of nearby Brigham Young University Hawaii could work their way through college by sharing their island heritage with visitors. The students come from an area that covers approximately 12 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
A TripAdvisor Member
“Fun, a little cheesy, but expensive”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 25, 2005

My wife and I visited on our honeymoon... we arrived a bit late, but they still sold us the $110-ambassador package. It turned out that we were too late to benefit from the guided tour or other "extras", and we could have paid a lot less. We only made it to a couple of the island exhibits - Samoa and Tonga - both great fun. The performances were fun, and some of the performers had great stage presence.

The Ali'i Luau was a mixed bag. The food was fine for a giant buffet, although the neon-purple taro rolls tasted a lot like the rolls at my elementary school cafeteria. My wife and I still laugh about the corny Ali'i Luau theme song, but they had a good band with steel guitar and all. King Kamehameha in his royal finery was portrayed by a bored-looking teenager wearing a red-and-yellow beach towel and a silly foam headpiece - a lot less impressive than the buff guy in the brochure. One of the male hula dancers at the luau was really impressive - probably the best we saw in our trip to Hawaii. The "ceremony" of removing the roast pig from the imu was pretty lame - a couple of guys just come and pull the tarp off and put the pig on a stretcher and carry it away. We think it was a plastic pig, actually... certainly not what they used to prepare the Kalua pork, since that was on the buffet about 1 minute later.

The luau would have been a lot better if there was alcohol. Not that we're big drinkers, but if they're going to sell smoothies in cheap plastic souvenir cups for $10, they should at least put some rum in it for you. And I just don't think blue Powerade or caffeine-free Diet Coke are the best complements for the island specialties. The Kalua pork just cries out for some good beer. But hey, it's run by the LDS church, and they don't serve alcohol.

The night show was pretty good. The fire dancers were some of the better ones we saw in Hawaii. The "preferred seating" or whatever you get from the more expensive packages is nothing special - the theater isn't that big, and you would get just as good a view from the regular seating. Also the free Pineapple Deelite that you get with the expensive package wasn't that great. Maybe again because this is an LDS church function, the performers wore a lot more clothes than I would expect in "authentic" Polynesian dance. But during the Tahitian dance, I did here a kid behind me say "man, that's some fast booty!" No, I don't think most of the performers are full-blooded Polynesians from the specific cultures they represent, but they're not just bored Caucasian college kids as some other reviewers have suggested.

This is definitely a tourist trap. It's no accident that they give you an hour between dinner and the show, and the only part of the park that's open is the gift shop. They do sell $10 smoothies and $5 fruit & sherbet cups "to support the students at nearby Brigham Young University" (because apparently your $110 admission isn't enough support). We had a good time, but felt kind of ripped off.

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2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“PCC experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2005

We booked the Super Ambassdor at the PCC. If money is not the concern, defintely book this. It is well worth it. You have your own tour guide and get front seat in every villages and also at the Horizon show at night. The ground is beautiful with lots of trees. Make sure you get there right when they are open so you get to see the whole place. We choose the 12 noon pick up from our hotel and did not get there until 2pm. We only have time to see 5 villages instead of 7. We did not get to take much pictures because we were rushed from one village to the next so we won't miss the show. Not at all the tour guide fault but because we did not have much time and he tried to take us to as much villages as possible. So get there early and there is no need to rush. Since we went to Paradise Cove for the luau we did not want to do another luau at the PCC so we had regular dining instead. We got to choose what 2 main entrees, soup, salad, appetizer and deserts. That is alot of food. In addition we also get the pineapple icecream desert during the intermission of the Horizon show. The performer from the Soam village was hilarious. He had us all laughing form beginning to the end. One lady even felt off her bench from laughing so hard. Make sure you don't miss this village. If I go again, I would defintely skip the canoe ride. It is a waste of time. You just sit in the canoe and see the same thing as you would have if you were walking so it is repetitive. The canoe pagent was very interesting and worth seeing. Overall it was a good cultural experience as well as entertaining.

15 Thank tifltif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Claremont, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“A great place to visit but would skip the luau.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 19, 2005

The park is definitely a place to visit while you are in Oahu, but I would skip the luau. It's nothing more than an over-priced buffet. Just get the Admission-and-Show-Only tickets. If you have a car, start your day early and stop at Kualoa ranch on the way for a horseback ride through the beautiful valley where Jurassic Park was fimed and along the spectacular Kuhala Coast. They have 1-hour guided ride started every hour from 8:30 on. There's a 2-for-1 coupon in the Entertainment Book that can save you quite a bit. After the visit at Kualoa Park, you can continue driving up the coast, have lunch at any place along the way. There are 2 small strip malls near Polynesian Culture Center, one about 1 mile south of the entrance, one is about 1 mile north, both had excellent eateries. We like L&L Barbecue. It has every type of food for everyone: from hamburger and chicken for the kids to Asian food, steak, mahi-mahi, and Kalbi ribs for the grown-ups. Even the combination plates cost less than 10 bucks. When you get to the park, avoid the villages near the entrance. Instead, go all the way to the back and work your way back. That way, you can avoid the crowd. When you get tired from the heat, go to the IMAX to relax and enjoy the large-screen movie in the air-conditioned theater. Most of the village activities end at 5:30, giving you plenty of time to drive back to town for a nice dinner before heading back to the park for the evening show. Make sure to bring along a big hat and lots of water. I found only 2 drinking fountains in the whole park, and both were well hidden. There are lots of things to see and do at the park. Just relax and take time to enjoy them all. There are many activities and displays at each village beside the demonstrating shows. So take time to appreciate the uniqueness of each place. And if you can not do it all in one day, you can return within 4 days for free.

29 Thank tlt57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Don't miss the village performances”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 18, 2005

The Polynesian Cultural Centre is something you really should go to see if you have never been to Oahu before. The 90 minute ride from Waikiki up the windward coast is spectacular and worth the trip itself. I would recommend leaving Waikiki right after breakfast and taking your time to drive to the cultural centre. There are many little villages and view points you will want to stop at on the way. The cultural centre does not open until lunch time anyway, so there is no point in getting there too early, unless you want to visit the beautiful Mormon Temple which is just a few blocks north of the Polynesian Cultural Centre.
The individual shows at each of the islands are entertaining and informative, but make sure you follow the guide you get when you enter the gates and get to each of the shows five to ten minutes early so you get a place to sit down.
The only negative about the cultural centre is that there are almost too many good things to see and it makes it tough to get through all of it in one day, you are rushing from village to village and it's hard to absorb. They will allow you to re-enter for up to three days after your first visit, but most people stay at the opposite end of Oahu and don't really care to make the long drive back up once they have already been to the Cultural Centre.
One way to buy a little more time is to skip the Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Centre and get a bite to eat at their snack bar then spend more time visiting the exhibits that you missed during the day. I would only do this if you are planning on attending another luau at some point during your visit, as they are a must do kind of thing when in Hawaii. If you don't do the Luau at the PCC it will also save you quite a few $$ that you can put towards other activities while on Oahu. We did the Luau last time we were there, this time we skipped it and got the basic package and used the Hawaii Entertainment book and the total cost for attendance and the evening show spectacular was $150 for our family of four, which saved us well over $100 which paid for the kids surfing lessons with Sunset Suzie on the north shore.

21 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Do Not Miss this Experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 17, 2005

We visited the Polynesian Cultural Center as part of our family's Hawaiian adventure. We had a fantastic experience and wished that we could have returned for another visit before we came home. It poured rain the entire day we were there, but they continued with all of the activities (although they moved the canoe pageant into the amphitheater because the canoes would have been dangerous for the dancers). We enjoyed visiting the villages and learned quite a bit in the process. The luau had great entertainment and the food was fairly good. The night show was fabulous and we couldn't believe how completely the performers captured our attention. It was definitely a DO NOT MISS experience! Also, the shopping in the center had some of the lowest souvenir prices we found in all the islands -- make sure you leave yourself time to shop. We love the PCC and will definitely return to spend the entire day there next time we are in Hawaii.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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