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“Must see in Hawaii”

Polynesian Cultural Center
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Polynesian Cultural Center Luau
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Circle Island with Pearl Harbor Tour
Ranked #2 of 15 things to do in Laie
Certificate of Excellence
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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
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Must see in Hawaii”
Reviewed March 21, 2007

This was a incredible experience. So rich in native culture. It was worth every penny we spent while vacationing in Hawaii. It was one of the highlights of our trip. The food is delicious. People friendly and helpful. The villages were exceptional. The Polynesian Culture Center is a must see when going to Hawaii.

4 Thank HelpersWest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“my favorite place to visit everytime”
Reviewed March 12, 2007

When i when to the PCC for the first time i was simply amazed. I read some other persons review about it and how they were falling asleep and it was a waste of their money and day. that simply isnt true. from watching the rafts float down the river to the dolphin movie to the night show and all the little places in between you learn alot about the islands different cultures. and it live people not some boring movie that a person suggested. my advice is go youll enjoy yourself but it does take up a whole day, so dont make any other plans.

6 Thank dubcbabygirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Beautiful performances, but can be overwhelming, redundant”
Reviewed February 22, 2007

We visited the center this past Monday and I knew from reading previous TripAdvisor entries much of what to expect. I had purchased the Ambassador Luau package (tour of the villages + dinner + night show). I did find it a bit confusing as to what the package options were, and it required quite a bit of research within the company's Web site. I ended up phoning them to clarify the packages and dining options. It still seemed a little unclear to me what exactly I was getting.

Upon entry into the center, we were asked to gather in a room to wait for our tour guide and to wear stickers showing that we were a part of the Ambassador group. Our tour guide gathered us, greeted us with shell leis, and explained she was a student of BYU. She then led the group (about 15 people) through the 7 different villages. The villages and center are lush, decorated with rocks, grass, waterfalls, palm trees and other foliage. There is a man-made river running through the middle of the villages. It is a little contrived, but I knew that going in, so I wasn't disappointed.

The villages offered both live performances (either dancing or educational demonstrations) and hands-on activities (such as making fire, weaving, etc.) for each of the cultures/islands. All performances were very well done, with beautiful costumes and entertaining presenters. We also attended the parade of ships; this was quite crowded, but a nice intro to the villages.

After each performance within a village, we'd meet up again with our tour guide who led us to the next event and then to our boat ride down the river to our dinner spots. The Ambassador Luau dinner was nice, but more of the same that we got earlier. The food was okay; exotic. I would say for the amount of people being served, the staff facilitated the groups to the buffets nicely. There were only non-caffeinated sodas.

After that was the nighttime final show in an auditorium. I have to say that these students/employees are highly talented and have wonderful presentation skills. But again, it was much of the same.

Could be improved upon:

1) Overkill with the audience participation - I can't tell you how many times I had to say back to the host/hostess of each performance, "Aloooooooha." Also, there were several performers who would continually ask you to clap to cheer them on, and then if the claps weren't loud enough, they'd ask for more–fine after about 1-2 times, but when seeing some 6-7 performances throughout the day, this became VERY annoying.

2) Having to follow the tour guide was nice in that the center became less intimidating/overwhelming, however, we missed many of the hands-on activities because to keep up with the schedule and our group. I know there was a lot left that we didn't explore. Also, because of the crowds, it was sometimes difficult to locate our guide.

3) Once, twice, three times a performance - The shows were beautiful and well-done, but it seemed like the same recycled show over and over and over again. By the end, the dancing, music, pageantry, costumes, and singing didn't seem so special anymore because you had seen it so many times throughout the day - these were all different performances, but essentially the same. Also, I felt a little beat over the head with the idea that the employees were students funding their way through BYU - I think this is wonderful, but, once again - too much!

4) Too much marketing - Throughout the center, your picture is taken several times and offered for sale at the end of the day. There are also tons of other marketing items jammed down your throat.

Overall, we were glad we went, but we felt ready to conclude the day at the end of the luau, and wanted to skip the night show (which was the best performance), but chose to stay. We did feel exhausted and it was a full day.

Kudos to these great student performers. Aloooooooooooha!

18 Thank mahalo425
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Waste of an entire day!”
Reviewed February 11, 2007

My husband and I were told by many people to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center while on our honeymoon in Hawaii. We should not have taken their advice. I love learning about different cultures and normally do not complain, but I had to say something. We wasted a valuable day of our vacation walking around aimlessly and waiting for the day to end. Basically, it is a tourist trap. If you take one of the hotel's buses, you're trapped there all day long. The nighttime entertainment was a bore. The food was horrible....did not know that the place was run by mormons who do not consume caffeinated beverages. So when you're falling asleep, you can't even get a Coke. We wish we would have left sooner. If you're looking for an educational opportunity, watch a half hour movie about the islands. Do not waste your time and money on this place.

10 Thank LuckygirlMilwaukee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
158 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 454 helpful votes
“A full day at the PCC”
Reviewed February 6, 2007

I was so surprised with this place. With the mediocre reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the PCC was wonderful. We had lunch and a tour arranged here as part of a circle island tour with Polynesian Adventures.
Our buffet lunch was really good and tasty.
The different exhibits and villages were really well done and entertaining and educational. The shows at each village were really well done as well.
The landscaping here is very beautiful, between the canal and trees and waterfalls, its a beautiful place to walk around in.
The water pageant was well done, however you need to be there early to get a good seat. Otherwise, it will be hard to see.
We were here for about 4 hours, and I would suggest allowing the entire day here, as we didn't see nearly enough.
Also, if you can, tour the PCC with a guide. Our guide knew exactly when each show was happening and was able to make sure we didn't miss anything.

13 Thank rob_hanson1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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