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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Paradise Cove Luau

The Need to Knows:
  • The Paradise Cove Luau is located at 92-1089 Aliinui Drive, Kapolei, HI 96707.  It's exact location can be found here:
  • Paradise Cove is open every day except for October 31st and December 15th from 5PM to 9PM.
  • There are three luau packages available: Hawaiian ($88/adult, $78/youth [ages 13-20], $68/child [ages 3-12]); Orchid ($119/adult, $105/youth, $92/child); and Deluxe ($153/adult, $137/youth, $124/child).  All prices are from the Paradise Cove website; keep in mind there can possibly be deals found elsewhere, particularly if you are kama'aina and/or military.  Infants 3 and under are free.
  • If you are driving yourself, make sure to get there at 5pm to beat the tour buses.
  • The dress code is typical for any luau -- casual and comfortable.  Since it's on the beach, I prefer to wear flip flops as well!
  • For more information, check out their website at www.paradisecove.com.

Back when my dad and my brother came all the way out from Alabama to visit me and Mr. L, they were dead set on checking out a luau (my brother's first and my dad's second).  Since my dad had already experienced Germaine's Luau, this time we decided to treat them to a different luau that we'd heard lots of good things about called Paradise Cove.

Paradise Cove is in a beautiful location right next to the famous Ko'Olina Lagoons on the west side of Oahu.  It's actually super easy to get to and find and the parking is plentiful (always a big plus for Oahu!).  We arrived a little bit before 5PM (before all the tour buses got there), turned in our ticket vouchers that we purchased from our ITT office on Pearl Harbor, and got in line and waited for the luau to officially open.  Thankfully it didn't take too long to get in after we arrived and we made our way onto the Paradise Cove grounds with a complimentary Mai Tai in hand.

Mai Tai line (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options)
Sitting at our table
The first thing we noticed after we found our table (the seating is assigned here, unlike Germaine's) was all the activities available to the luau guests.  This was actually probably my favorite part of the experience.  It felt very interactive and fun, especially when all three of my guys decided to participate in some good old-fashioned spear throwing!

There also may or may not be video footage of my brother and Mr. L being forced to do the hula...however, they'd probably kill me if I posted it here!  :)

Other activities that Paradise Cove offered were lei making, pictures with parrots, a short canoe ride around the lagoon, and .  It was definitely a great set up to keep kids entertained and I could see why many people had suggested this luau if you were bringing them along.

The cove where you can take a quick canoe ride

There were also demonstrations of various things like how to open a coconut.  The performers here were very entertaining, even well before the actual show part of the luau began.

After the spear throwing, my family and I decided to walk the grounds a little bit.  We made our way over close to the water and gazed at the gorgeous Oahu coastline while the sun began to sink towards the horizon.  It was beautiful!

We then moved on over to an arena-esque area where the pig was roasting whole in traditional Hawaiian fashion.  As we sat and relaxed, more and more people walked over to sit down, and then the presentation of the pig began.

After some initial dancing and an introduction, two men moved the pig out of the pit and brought it around the arena for all of us to see.  

By then our stomachs were seriously rumbling and we were ready to eat, so shortly thereafter the buffet lines opened.  Since we had gotten the mid-tier seats (Orchid package) through our local ITT office for a great price, our group was the first to get in line for our dinner.  Thankfully there were three lines so they moved pretty quickly.  Light music played during dinner (which was pretty delicious with a variety of items -- menu can be found here) and then the entertainment officially kicked off!

The performers were fantastic throughout the show.  They did a few different kinds of hula, sang a Hawaiian wedding song, and even invited audience members up to learn how to perform a hula which is always popular.  The best part of the show were the fire performers though.  They're always incredibly impressive and everyone always seems to be amazed with their talent!

My family and I had a great time visiting Paradise Cove for their luau.  I definitely saw why they come highly recommended from lots of people, even people who live here who have hit up plenty of luaus in their time.  With that said, there were some things I wasn't a fan of.  I really didn't like that they nickel and dimed you when it came to the drink selection.  Water was free, but even sodas cost drink tickets (or six dollars cash) which I felt was a little silly.  The tickets should be reserved for alcoholic drinks like how the other luaus do it.  I also wasn't too big of a fan of the assigned seating, but it didn't bother me as much as the drink situation.

However, we did enjoy ourselves, the food, and the show, so if we ever have family or friends come to visit us in our short time left on island and demand a luau, Paradise Cove will definitely be a serious contender!

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