Aulani offers a lot of great family-friendly activities to entertain adults and kids alike. One of the activities we’ve really enjoyed is the Ka Wa’a Luau. It’s good food and great entertainment that is sure to please guests of all ages.
Booking the Luau
The Luau is offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays weekly. Seating can be booked online or by calling (844) 284-7644. Doors open for the Luau at 5pm for Preferred Seating and at 5:10pm for General Seating (more on the differences between these two options below).
As of this writing Preferred Seating costs $189 for adults, and $114 for children age 3-9. Children under 3 are free. In May 2022, adult pricing increases to $199, and children will be $119.
General Seating is currently $160 for adults, and $94 for children age 3-9. Again, children under 3 are free. In May 2022, adult pricing increases to $170, and children will be $99.
You can find current pricing on Aulani’s website. Note, because the Luau is operated by a separate vendor, no DVC discounts are available.
The show operates rain or shine, unless there’s sustained or heavy rain, in which case it will be canceled. There’s no indoor option, and seating is entirely open-air.
All seating options include a phot opportunity, food, unlimited drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and entertainment.
As you enter the luau you’ll be given an opportunity to get a photo with two people in traditional native Hawaiian wear. Photos can be purchased for $35 for a single print ($10 for each additional print), $35 for all digital images (available via the Disneyland app within 24-48 hours), or $45 for a single print and all digital downloads.
For food, adults receive a three-course bento-box style meal. The first box is salads, fruit, poke and, of course a taste of Hawaiian poi. The second box contains the main courses, including teriyaki chicken and beef, Kalua pork, and fish, as well as some vegetables, rice and mashed purple potatoes. The final course is a trio of deserts. Recently, that has included a chocolate cake, coconut flan, and a guava cake.
Kids receive a single bento box with fruit cup, mac n’cheese, chicken fingers, braised pork, and stir-fry vegetables. The kids desert is a Moana themed chocolate cake.
Food portions are good, and if there is something you particularly like you can request more.
As you enter the luau you are given the option of at least one alcoholic beverage and one non-alcoholic beverage (kids are also given the non-alcoholic beverage). Once seated, beverages are unlimited, at least as often as you can flag down your server. This includes mixed drinks, beer, wine and non-alcoholic options.
The entertainment includes table demonstrations of flower bracelet making, hula tutorials throughout the show, and, of course, the main attraction – the Luau itself.
All told, from doors open to the end of the show, the experience is approximately 3 hours.
Preferred vs. General Seating
So, at $29 more, is preferred seating that much better? It really depends. The lawn where the luau is held is big, but also feels intimate. Unlike other shows we’ve seen, the show is also not limited to the main stage up front. Instead, three smaller satellite stages also occupy the main aisle, where single performers are sometimes the star of the show.
Preferred seating puts you closest to the main stage, but even general seating is not the far from the action and is closer to most of the satellite stages.
We’ve sat in both and frankly think the view is just as good in general seating. The only additional benefit is early admission and a shorter line into the luau. For our family, general seating is perfectly fine, and did not detract from the experience.
The Exeperience and Some Drawbacks
Overall, the show is the kind of quality we’ve come to expect from Disney entertainment. It showcases Disney’s signature story-telling, but without turning into a cartoonish reproduction or variety-style show of Disney animated films and IP. Sure, Mickey and Minnie come out briefly to do the Aulani hula, and there’s a segment on the mythical story of Maui lassoing the sun. But this isn’t an opportunity for a pared-down version of Moano or Lily and Stitch. Plus the show’s crescendo is fire-dancing, which is a crowd-please for all ages.
There is one significant drawback to the show, in our experience. It’s long. As mentioned above, it clocks in at 3 hours, which is a long time to ask kids to sit for dinner and a show. That said, the intermissions are brief, the kids’ food comes quickly and the story-telling and other activities are engaging and captivating. But, just be prepared if your kiddos are not ones who enjoy waiting or who may be tired in the early evening as they adjust to Hawaiian time.
Overall, we think the Luau is a first-rate experience, and have really enjoyed it each time we go.