Our trip to Hawai`i (2004)–More Oahu

Polynesian Cultural Center

We’ve discussed our favorite activities which we engaged in while here, and the Polynesian Cultural Center was Patty’s favorite, and my second favorite, topped only by the Jack Harter helicopter tour in Kaua`i.

There are a variety of ticket packages and options you can choose when you go there; whichever package you choose, you’re in for a full day of education, entertainment and fun. We chose the Ali`i Luau package, which included the Ali`i Luau feast, seven different island demonstrations, and preferred seating at the Horizons night show. We paid an additional $10 each for a guided narrated tour which saved us considerable time; we weren’t rushed and were able to spend time at the seven islands. It also included round-trip bus transportation from the Waikiki Beach Marriott just a few blocks away from the Park Shore. All together, our cost was $103 each, which we felt was a very good deal.

It would take too much space (and time, on my part, of course) to describe each of the island’s exhibits you can visit at PCC (go to the PCC web site for a detailed description of the exhibits). Suffice it to say that the entire guided tour takes about 4-5 hours and is worth it. After the end of the tour, you have a little free time before the Ali`i Luau begins. The food here is very good, almost on a par with the offerings at the Old Lahaina Luau. We especially liked the Kalua pork (naturally) and teriyaki chicken. Less impressive to us was the seasoned beef. Overall, this was a very tasty spread. One thing which strikes us, however, is the absence of any beverages with caffeine. You want coffee, you get decaf. You want coke, you get decaf. Is this tied into the fact that the Mormon Church runs the PCC? Hopefully we can get clarification on that. Be advised that if you have an active caffeine habit, you won’t get a “fix” here for that.

The Horizons night show was wonderfully done and the absolute highlight of our day. It may not have been “authentic Hawai`ian” like the Old Lahaina Luau but it was longer and simply better done.

We avoided this activity for some weird reason two years ago (probably it was me who decided that it didn’t look like something interesting to do, I dunno), but we’re grateful we included it on this trip. Rating: 10

(As a footnote to this, we’d like to say hi to Steve W.’s father, who we met at the PCC. Imagine my shock when I was approached and asked if I was the owner of minnhock.com, especially while in Hawai`i! Hope you and your family are all doing well and that you found Hawai`i as enjoyable as we did. Best of luck to the Agates this coming season. Drop an email if you get the chance)

Bus ride to the Polynesian Cultural Center

Ko`olau Mountains

Patty at the PCC entrance

Other O`ahu Stuff

We did a ton of walking in Waikiki; the Ala Wai canal has a nice walkway on the ocean side which we utilized more than once. Our favorite walk, however, was the loop around Kapiolani Park, which we did nearly every day (gotta work off that restaurant food somehow since we’re several thousand miles away from our bikes and the fitness center).

Final thoughts on O`ahu:

  • Get a car for at least a few days here; you’ll appreciate the freedom. We’re certainly glad we did.
  • Things we didn’t get a chance to do which are on the list for the next trip; cruise the leeward coast, Hawai`ian Waters Adventure Park, Pearl Harbor–Arizona Memorial.
  • For some reason, the crowds didn’t bother me as much on this trip…this doesn’t change the fact that Waikiki is a tourist mess and can be tourist hell if you’re looking for quiet.

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