Luau with food, fun, and plenty of pre-show activities for the kids.
General: Cost: Paid
General: Fun and Games
General: Has Gift Shop
General: Kid Activities
General: Photo Opportunity
Sightseeing: Great Views
Cultural & Historical: Luau
Paradise Cove Luau is located on the west side of O'ahu in the Ko Olina Resort within the city of Kapolei. This luau is fairly unique compared to others for a few reasons. First, it's not located in or associated with a hotel so it feels a bit more authentic. Second, it's on a large piece of oceanfront land which includes their own "private" and protected beach area (more on that in a bit). Third, it has all sorts of pre-show activities, games, and craft making stations that are perfect for kids.
Things To Do
About that "private" beach, known as Lanikuhonua (Paradise Cove) Beach. It's actually not at all private because all beaches in Hawaii are public. During the day it's open to the public like every other beach but it closes at dusk like every beach as well. The evening luau usually let's you in around 5pm or so and thus pretty much anyone that was at the beach for the day will be gone and it becomes a "private" beach by default. That's a good thing as it gives guests a chance to hop in and help paddle a canoe, which is free but they welcome tips (and more on that in a bit too).
They have a few games that you can try, one is some sort of Hawaiian bowling which is smaller keiki (kids) might enjoy. The other game let's you throw a large sharp stick at a bullseye which is harder than it looks. Another game will let you play with some poi balls to satisfy your inner cheerleader. Then they have various stations where you can get a tattoo, get your picture taken with a large bird, or make a lei or other such wearable item. Most of these stations are completely free and some of those have little boxes for Tipping.
Food & Show
The show they put on is well done and we've seen it a few times ourselves now. If you pay for the better seats you'll get a better show, the cheap seats are cheap for a reason but you'll still be able to see it all. They do some cool fire dancing stuff towards the end which is always a crowd favorite.
Most people we've talked to agree that the food at this buffet is quite good (the pork is surprisingly good for luau food) and better than most other luaus we've been to and they handle the crowd fairly well. The problem is that if you are on the far side of the seating you'll eat last and they don't keep the buffet open very long so you can eat fast and get a second plate but going back for a third (for dessert) might be tough.
The drinks are good here but they're pricey and the "free" drink coupons you get with your package won't go far and often will only pay for part of a drink or certain "lesser" drinks so you'll be paying up yet again. For example, they'll tell you how their special "Paradise Punch" drink which is tasty and comes in souvenir glass (for you to store in your cabinets, never to be used again) but it will cost you one of those free drink coupons PLUS $12.00.
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