When it comes to dining inside Polynesian Cultural Center, or PCC, there are mainly two options: Ali’i Luau buffet and Gateway buffet.
In this article, I will walk you through what you can expect from the Ali’i Luau.
If you want to compare Ali’i Luau and Gateway Buffet, please read this article.
- What is Ali’i Luau Buffet?
- How It Goes
- Food at Ali’i Luau Buffet
- Seat Level at the Night Show
- Ali’i Luau vs the Night Show
- Why Ali’i Luau might just be the Best Deal on Oahu
- Packages with Ali’i Luau
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
What is Ali’i Luau?
|Performance||Song, Dance, Storytelling|
|Hours||17:00-18:30 (seating starts at 16:30)|
|Seat Level at Evening Show||Premium or Gold|
|Package||Super Ambassador Luau Package|
Ali’i Luau Package
“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.
Ali’i Luau is held everyday at “Hale Aloha”, the amphitheatre-like venue specially made to achieve 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.
Food at Ali’i Luau Buffet
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.
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
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.
Seat Level at the Night Show
Your seat level at the night show “HA: Breath of Life” will be determined by the package you purchase.
|Seat Level||Package||Dining||Adult||Child (4-11)|
|Platinum||Super Ambassador Luau||Ali’i Luau||$269.95||$215.96|
|Gold||Ali’i Luau||Ali’i Luau||$189.95||$151.96|
|Silver||Gateway Buffet||Gateway Buffet||$139.95||$111.96|
|Bronze||Islands of Polynesia & HA: Breath of Life||Not Included||$119.95||$95.96|
Simply put, you get close seats with good angles if you purchase a “Luau” package.
Ali’i Luau vs the Night Show
You might be thinking “What’s the point of watching dance performances twice, at the luau and the night show?”.
Well, Ali’i Luau focuses on and elaborates different styles of Hawaiian hula and works of Queen Liliuokalani, while the evening 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.
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.
Why Ali’i Luau might just 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, typically with pre-show activities and the actual luau show, you are getting a full-day experience at PCC, for a price that is not very 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 advantages that Ali’i Luau itself can provide you because of its venue and the upgraded food.
So, if you are planning to go to a luau but not sure which one, I personally think you might as well try PCC at least once.
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.