On select nights, Disney’s Aulani Resort hosts a luau on the Halawai Lawn. Ka Wa’a Aulani Luau welcomes guests to learn about Hawaiian culture while enjoying a special feast. Experiencing a luau was on our family bucket list, so I splurged on the Disney Aulani Luau VIP experience. Find out if the VIP experience was worth the additional cost plus everything there is to experience at the Disney Aulani Luau with a general or VIP ticket.
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Pre-Dinner Activities at Disney Aulani Ka Wa’a Luau
Before dinner there are five different activity stations to explore. Kids can learn to make poi which is a dish made from taro root and a staple of the Hawaiian diet, learn to play a little tune on the ukulele, use ancient stamping techniques to make a bookmark, make a bracelet out of orchids, or even get a tribal inspired temporary tattoo.
Disney Aulani Luau Dinner
At 6 pm Aunty, one of the emcees of the luau, came on stage to wish a happy birthday to those celebrating. Aunty was then joined by Moana to welcome everyone to the Disney Aulani Luau. After this quick welcome, staff began to dismiss tables for the dinner buffet.
There are two areas with exactly the same food items for adults (or kids who like lots of options). A separate kids line buffet has more traditional child-friendly foods like carrots with ranch, fruit cups, mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and cupcakes.
The adult buffet lines were split in two sections: cold and hot foods. The cold food buffet table had items like mixed green salad, potato salad, poke, and Lomi Lomi salmon salad.
The hot food tables had lots of options like white rice, sweet potato mash, stir-fry vegetables, white fish with macadamia nut sauce, teriyaki chicken, whole roasted pig, and an incredible pulled pork. There was also a carving station that served prime rib the night we attended the luau.
After the dinner buffet there is a short dance show on stage before attendees are encouraged to get dessert. The dessert options are brownies, cake, fresh fruit, and bread pudding, but we didn’t think the dessert options were very good. I was glad I filled up on delicious dinner options instead of leaving room for dessert.
Dealing With Food Allergies At Disney Aulani Luau
Our daughter, Elizabeth, has a food allergy so eating out makes us nervous. When checking in for our meal, staff asked if anyone in our group had a food allergy. After notifying staff of Elizabeth’s allergy, we were seated at our dinner table and told a manager and chef would come talk to us.
The chef was surprisingly knowledgeable about our daughter’s corn allergy. He walked us through the buffet line indicating what was safe and what Elizabeth should avoid.
Disney Aulani Luau Performances
The real Disney Aulani Luau performance begins about 7:10pm after everyone has had a chance to eat and relax. Kids are invited to come in front of the main stage to learn a hula, and Mickey and Minnie briefly stop on stage to say hi.
After the kids hula, the professional dancers take the stage with the live musicians, Aunty, and Uncle. Aunty and Uncle are the emcees of the event and teach the crowd about Hawaiian culture from the wayfarers that originally found the islands to how chiefs and warriors ruled the islands until not long ago.
Amazing choreographed dances are interwoven with these stories of Hawaiian ancestors and beliefs. The dances ranged from beautiful and serene to intense and mesmerizing. One of the most impressive routines was the fire dance that accompanied the story of the demigod Maui catching the sun.
Most of the dancing and storytelling takes place on the main stage, but there are other platforms in the middle of the Halawai Lawn. Performers use these small stages to bring stories to life throughout the Disney Aulani Luau crowd.
The performance and production values of the Disney Aulani Luau are extremely impressive. The hour-long show passed very quickly for us, and Elizabeth was disappointed when it ended.
Tips For The Disney Aulani Luau
The Luau Is Long
The Disney Aulani Luau takes about three hours total. This three hours is spent on pre-dinner activities, dinner, dessert, and the main show. We enjoyed the whole experience, but some families had smaller kids getting restless by the end of the luau.
Use Insect Repellent
The Disney Aulani Luau takes place outdoors from early evening into nighttime. I am always the first to be bitten by mosquitos, so before dinner I lightly applied some insect repellent. Unfortunately, I should have done a more thorough job, because I still ended up getting a few bug bites.
There is some repellent available near the luau check in stations, but I always pack these wipes (affiliate link: buy it on Amazon) for vacations.
Don’t Be Afraid To Let Your Kids Get The Temporary Tattoo
One of the pre-show activity stations is a temporary tattoo. These tattoos are large and very dark. I was concerned the temporary tattoo would last for a long time because of the color and size. However, it washed off in just one shower with some mild scrubbing.
Stay After The Show Ends
After the Disney Aulani Luau ends many of the performers wait near the exit. This is a great opportunity to meet, talk to the performers, and take pictures with them. I loved being able to personally compliment the dancers on their amazing performances.
The Bathrooms Are A Long Walk
There are no bathrooms in the Halawai Lawn area. The nearest restrooms are a few minutes walk back toward the main building across from the Olelo Room.
You Will Be Seated With Strangers
The luau seating is at long picnic style tables. This means you will be seated next to or, in the case of odd number groups, across from another group.
There Is More Than One Stage
Most of the dancing and storytelling takes place on the main stage in front of the tables. However, there are other smaller platforms where performers dance or act out bits of story. This gives people away from the main stage the ability to see some of the show up close.
Was The Disney Aulani Luau VIP Package Worth It?
The Disney Aulani Luau VIP package has a few perks versus a regular admission ticket. The first advantage of the VIP Luau experience is early admission to the pre-show activities. We were able to participate in about half of the pre-show experiences before general admission guests were allowed in.
Another advantage of the Disney Aulani Luau VIP package is complimentary beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. We foolishly did not take advantage of this perk and only ended up getting one beverage each during our meal.
When checking in for the luau, VIP guests receive an “enhanced” lei. This VIP package lei was slightly nicer that the ones given to the general admission guests. I thought this was the least interesting perk of the Disney Aulani Ka Wa’a Luau VIP experience, but Elizabeth thought it was pretty.
On the other hand, we think the best perk of the Disney Aulani Luau VIP experience is having a premium seat for the show. Our table was as close to the front and center of the main stage as possible and one of the first tables dismissed for the dinner buffet. This meant we were done eating by the time many tables were just starting their meal.
We enjoyed the early access to pre-show luau activities, early buffet access, and great seats to view the Disney Aulani Luau show. For a one-time splurge I am glad we took advantage of the Disney Aulani Luau VIP experience.
However, if the extra cost of a VIP luau ticket would prevent you from doing something else on your trip to Hawaii I suggest you skip the upgrade. I think you can still have a great time with the general admission ticket.
Disney Aulani Luau Cost
As of July 2019 these are the prices of the Disney Aulani Ka Wa’a Luau:
- Adults (age 10 years and older) are $139 per person for general admission or $179 per person for VIP seating
- Keiki (age 3 to 9 years old) are $89 per person for general admission or $109 per person for VIP seating
- Keiki under age 3 years are no charge
Final Thoughts On Our Disney Aulani Luau Experience
Seeing a luau was very important to us when visiting Hawaii and the Disney Aulani resort. Is the Disney Aulani Ka Wa’a Luau the most authentic one on Oahu? Honestly, that is outside my area of expertise. I can say we thought the show was extremely entertaining and the meal was better than expected.
Having the luau on-site at Aulani was very convenient and even had the tiniest bit of Disney magic since a couple of characters briefly say hello on stage. If you are looking for a more involved Disney character experience at Aulani look into a true character meal option.
Overall, we had a fun time at the Disney Aulani Luau and enjoyed the perks of the VIP seating experience. Check this article if you are looking for some free activities at Disney Aulani to help stretch your vacation dollar.
Here’s a video of some of our favorite Disney Aulani activities and the luau, too.
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