I have wanted to go to Hawaii for pretty much as long as I can remember. I’m a BIG Elvis fan and the movie Blue Hawaii probably influenced this in some way. A tan, handsome, young Elvis gyrating among the beautiful scenery of a Polynesian background? What’s not to like?! I guess since I love the thought of Hawaii, I love the thought of a luau, even if it’s just right here in my home town of Orlando Florida.
My mother first came up with the idea a few months before. She wanted to get the family all together for something really special and fun. I promise I did not suggest or influence her in any way to pick the Disney luau, she came up with it all on her own. It took about a month to get our entire group to agree on a date but it finally happened. We picked Friday April 27, 2012. This also happened to be my cousin’s birthday. Matt is a quiet guy who doesn’t like a lot of hoopla or attention on his birthday but he agreed this might be ok as long as we didn’t buy gifts or go to crazy.
I sent out the first email and everyone seemed excited about the big day! I made a list of all the names and counted it 4 times. Could we really be a group of 16??? Yes we could – and in fact — we ended up adding one more a couple weeks later for a grand total of 17. Wow! We lost my Dad about a year ago and I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much he would have loved this. I missed him through the whole process (and again on the big night) but I feel like he was watching the whole time. I think he would’ve loved to make it a party of 18.
My Mom decided on category 2 seating. When I called to make the reservation – all that was left was category 1. There was no changing the date now — so we went with it. I read and researched all I could about the luau just so I could make sure it was something everyone would like AND to try and help things to go as smoothly as I possibly could. The main thing that bugged me was why we had to be there an hour early. Disney policy states this for the luau and they even read you that policy again when you book the reservation. There was very little I could find on the internet about why this policy was in place.
My Mom and I headed to the Polynesian a couple of days early to pick up what I thought were going to be “tickets” to the luau, which are normally at the concierge desk. It was that magic time of around 7:30pm however. I knew there would be cast members at the luau podium this time of night so we made a beeline for the podium first with my list of questions in hand.
Sure enough, the crowds were filing in for the 8pm show and there were cast members waiting to greet us. I told them we were early for the Friday night show (this was Wednesday) and I had some questions. They were happy to assist. My first question was about parking. When my Mom and I pulled up that night we got one of the last spaces available. I was fearful with our big group that there might not be enough spaces for all of us! The cast member didn’t really know what to say. Just then I really lucked out and a manager approached us! The cast member repeated the question for him and just like that – that manager was MINE. The poor guy had no idea what he was getting in to. He politely calmed my fears by stating that parking has never been a problem for luau guests– and we could always pay to valet if we really needed to. He was surprised to hear the lot was so full on this particular evening. OK, so I was satisfied with that answer. I smiled sweetly and asked, “Do you have a few more minutes to answer my other questions?”
“Sure!” he replied in all his typical Disney helpfulness. So off we went…
“We have a group of 17. Do we really need to be here an hour early?” His response: “There is no reason for you to get here that early IF you have already picked up your ticket.”
“Ticket?” I asked, “I thought there would be 17 tickets.”
“Nope,” he replied, “ What you actually get is a slip of paper that has your confirmation number on it and says party of 17. That acts as your admission to the luau.”
WOW! One little slip?
I was shocked. This was a wonderful thing because I had no idea how I would see everyone beforehand to give them a ticket and what if they lost it? It’s just one little slip so I didn’t have to give anyone anything. Awesome.
Next I asked him about being tardy. My nephew Jason would be working that night and not able to get to the luau until probably 9pm or later. The manager said that wasn’t a problem and if my nephew was REALLY late we could ask for a refund on his ticket.
Finally, I asked him about seating. All he could promise me was that we’d be in Category 1 because that’s what was paid for. Oh well, I tried.
Friday night finally came and we all met at my Mom’s to carpool.
We got through all the gates and parking without incident. Everyone was in a great mood when we arrived. I was SO glad I had talked to the manager because even though we weren’t super early, we still ended up standing around outside with no where to sit for 20 minutes or so, even after the formal pictures were taken.
When we finally got in however, things went great. The food was fantastic, the show and costumes were awesome. I couldn’t help but bob my head and wiggle a little in my chair to that music. It was a wonderful night. One of the highlights of the night was that they just happened to pick my nephew, pull him up on stage, and have his shake his booty like a rock-star. He was a great sport!
Here’s a few photos from our big night.
This is not video that I took but it’s a great 4 minute clip of what the show is like.
All in all, we had a blast. Go see this thing if you get a chance! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.