Ali’i Luau Buffet at Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)

Polynesian Cultural Center - Ali'i Luau

When it comes to dining in Polynesian Cultural Center, or PCC, there are mainly two options: Ali’i Luau buffet and Gateway buffet.

In this article, I will introduce the Ali’i Luau and also compare with Gateway Restaurant.

  1. What is Ali’i Luau Buffet?
  2. How It Goes
  3. Food at Ali’i Luau Buffet
  4. Seat Level at the Evening Show
  5. Ali’i Luau vs the Evening Show
  6. Ali’i Luau might be the Best Deal on Oahu
  7. Packages with Ali’i Luau

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

What is Ali’i Luau?

“Ali’i luau”, or “royal luau”, is the name of the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center, where you can watch Polynesian dance performances and fill your stomach with all-you-can-eat Hawaiian/Polynesian food.

It is held everyday at “Hale Aloha”, a venue specially made for a great Luau experience, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. (Doors open at 4:45pm)

Buffet menu consist of a variety of Hawaiian dish such as Kalua Pork, Hulihuli Chicken, Ahi (Tuna) Poke, and Poi, and the list goes on. You can also enjoy seasonal local fruit, salad bar, roasted pork and local fish at the carving station.

The luau focuses on Hawaiian hula in terms of entertainment, and other Polynesian dances like Haka, Tahitian dance, and fire knife dance will be performed at the night show, “HA: Breath of Life”, the last and the biggest show in PCC.

Tour packages that include dining at Ali’i Luau are as follows.

How It Goes

When you enter the venue, you will be greeted with a flower lei and a commemorative photo. The staff will take you to your seat.

This is the pamphlet for the show.

Ali’i Luau, named “Onipa’a”, is a tribute to Queen Lili’uokalani who was the last ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

The walls tell stories of Queen Lili’uokalani with beautiful pictures.

Right after seating, they gave us these cute pina colada in pineapple fruits.

I was surprised in a good way because these used to be sold separately from the buffet for about $10.

After a while, the luau will start by taking out the whole steamed pig in the underground kiln at the Imu ceremony.

After that, the Hawaiian royal family “Ali’i” along with Queen Lili’uokalani herself appeared with the signal of the conch shell, and the show finally started.

First, the dancers perform hula kahiko (classical hula), followed by Hawaiian hula, Tahitian dance, Samoa, Fiji, etc., along with live instrumental performances.

You can have a good time while resting your tired body on the daytime tour.

Dances from other countries like Tahitian and Haka from Aotearoa, and fire knife dance will be performed at the night show HA: Breath of Life in a much larger scale.

The food menu is full of traditional Hawaiian dishes and desserts, they have a large selection such as poke, lomi lomi salmon, poi, taro bread and more.

Among them, the Kalua pork, which is actually steamed in an underground oven, is a popular gem.

You can also check Ali’i Luau’s latest menu here.

Shoyu Chicken
Kalua Pig
Ahi (Tuna) Poke

Along with Lomilomi Salmon and Poi that are common in luaus, there is Tofu Poke.

Who doesn’t want some good roasted pork from the carving station?

Roasted Pork and Local Fish

Deserts including Haupia and Kulolo

As well as the main meal, there is also a wide variety of desserts such as cakes.

PCC had some major upgrades in their food quality in the last couple of years, and I could clearly see and taste that when I visited in 2021.

I touched on it in my another article below, so please check it out.

▶︎ Better Food – PCC Evolves in Pandemic and It Has to be Recognized

Seat Level at the Evening Show

Actually, the package you purchase will determine your seating at the evening show, and the packages that feature dining at the Ali’i Luau are Super Ambassador Luau Package and Ali’i Luau Package.

Seat LevelPackageDiningAdultChild (4-11)
PlatinumSuper Ambassador LuauAli’i Luau$242.95$194.36
GoldAli’i LuauAli’i Luau$184.95$147.96
SilverGateway BuffetGateway Buffet$139.95$111.96
BronzeIslands of Polynesia & HA: Breath of LifeNot Included$119.95$95.96

Super Ambassador Luau Package offers “Platinum” level seating, and Ali’i Luau Package comes with “Gold” level seating.

Either way, you get close seats and good angles with “Gold” or “Platinum”, the seats for “Luau” packages.

Ali’i Luau vs the Evening Show

You might be thinking “What’s the point of watching dance performances twice, at the luau and the evening show?”.

Well, Ali’i Luau focuses on and elaborates different styles of Hawaiian hula and works of Queen Liliuokalani, while the night show includes performances of different Polynesian Islands such as New Zealand Haka, Tahitian dance and fire knife dance, at a much bigger scale with many more performers.

HA: Breath of Life

The night show has distinct characters who carry the story. The main character Mana, his family and friends in the tribe, and their enemies.

It makes the story very bold, and the show more cinematic.

I have been to PCC multiple times and been at the luau and the night show multiple times, and I can say they are completely different experiences with different contents at different venues and scales, especially with the current “Onipa’a” show at the luau.

You will still enjoy the evening show after watching the performance at the Ali’i Luau.

Ali’i Luau might be the Best Deal on Oahu

If you are considering going to a luau on the island, Ali’i Luau might just be the best deal around.

As you can see below, while other luaus are only for evening with, typically, pre-show activities and the actual luau, you are getting a full-day experience at PCC, for a price that is not so different from others.

And once you have signed up for Ali’i Luau, it comes with lots of other things.

You get immersed, learn and experience so much of different Polynesian cultures throughout the day.

Add that to all the unique benefits that Ali’i Luau itself can give you because of its venue and the upgraded food.

Same can be said about the Gateway Buffet Package, but if you are planning to go to a luau, you might as well do it at the PCC.

Packages with Ali’i Luau

So, hopefully you now have some idea what it is like to dine at the Ali’i Luau. You can enjoy Ali’i Luau in the packages below.

  • Ali’i Luau Package – PCC
    • Group guided tour through 6 island villages
    • Free 3-day pass to island villages
    • Gold level seating at “HA: Breath of Life” show
  • Super Ambassador Luau Package – PCC
    • Private guided tour through 6 island villages
    • Free 3-day pass to island villages
    • Platinum level seating at “HA: Breath of Life” show
    • Reserved seating at all village presentations
    • Reserved Canoe tour

Here are links you might want to check out to learn more about PCC.