If you are anything like me when you think of Hawaii you think of a luau. When I started planning my first trip to Hawaii I knew that I had to make sure I went to a luau. My friend and I were planning a trip to Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa and I was shocked when I found out that they did not have a luau. Well after some research I found out that the Paradise Cove Luau is a short walk from Aulani.
On my second trip to Hawaii I stayed with some friends in Waikiki and Paradise Cove picked us up on a shuttle bus and took us to the luau. Regardless of where you stay on the island you do have options for getting to Paradise Cove. If you do take a shuttle there will be a representative from Paradise Cove on there who will be your cousin for the night and give you your cards and information.
Your Paradise Cove card works as your ticket for the luau and also has some money on it that can be used for drinks (regular or with alcohol), for merchandise in their shop or to purchase any of the pictures that they take of you. Once you go through the gate you will be given a mai tai (virgin or regular) and depending on the type of ticket you purchase you will be given a lei or a shell necklace.
Next your group will get a picture taken and you can have some dancers in your picture if you wish. After the picture your cousin will take you to your seats and from there you are free to explore. On my first visit my friend and I were informed at the airport that Paradise Cove has tables set up where you can learn how to make flower headbands, bracelets and lei’s. You can also get temporary tattoos done as well. If any of this sounds like something you would like to do make sure to have around $2 to tip for each thing you want to do.
In addition to getting your flower power on there are lots of activities and games going on. One of the first events that kicks off the official start of the luau is when a guy climbs to the top of a palm tree and throws down flower petals. It is amazing how quickly these guys can climb a palm tree. Next you will be directed down to the beach where around eight men will have been previously picked out of the crowded and put into grass skirts. They will be taught some moves and even if you don’t know any of the men they pick it is really fun to watch. After they are done some girls will come out to hula. Then some men in the water will bring in their fishing nets and boat.
This spot on the beach is incredibly beautiful so it would be the perfect place to take some pictures with your group. Next you will be led to a grassy area where they show you the food you will be eating and show you the pig they will take out of the ground. The sun will be setting as this is happening so sit as close to the water as possible so that you can take some pictures before it slips away. Following this you might have an opportunity to take a picture with one of the fire dancers but be quick because the fire could go out at anytime.
When you go back to your seats you will be instructed on when you can go through the buffet. The food is really good and I always try to do my best and taste some of the traditional food of the area that I am visiting. For Hawaii a traditional food is poi which is the purple pudding looking stuff on the table. I did not like it so I am glad that I only put a tiny bit on my plate. Once everyone has their food they get ready to start the show. You will see a lot of different types of dancing throughout the night.
There will be a time when anyone who wants to learn how to hula will be invited up on stage. I went up on stage my first time and it was really fun. They give you a certificate so children will definitely enjoy it. My favorite of all of the dancers is the fire dancer. It is incredible what they can do, I would be a nervous wreck! All in all I really enjoyed my visits to Paradise Cove and believe that a luau is a must for your trip to Hawaii.