The first time we visited Hawaii, we were encouraged to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center, and, if possible, attend the luau, as well. When we checked the price, we knew it was not in our budget. We were traveling with four others, who most likely could afford it, but had not included it on the “Must Do and See” list. I am a “glass half full” person; my life was not going to end if I didn’t get there, and I certainly was enjoying all the places we were traveling around the Island.
My husband was determined to make the Polynesian Cultural Center happen. We found a tourist magazine with a discount coupon. One of the guys on the street asked what we were looking for. We told him about our wish to go to the Cultural Center, and that there were six of us in the group. He made a quick phone call and told us if we were willing to go to a meeting about a time-share program, we would get six tickets to the Cultural Center for that evening, complete with a shuttle to and from the Center and the Luau. He added that the IMAX theatre alone was an incredible experience. We quickly accepted, and he directed us to the meeting.
What a presentation! We were offered cookies, pineapple juice, coffee, tea, and water. The chairs were comfy. The room was pleasant, and the speakers exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. What was particularly great is that the agents knew they had a great product. When we explained we were not in the market at that time for buying, there was no heavy-handed pressure. We were given the six tickets, with directions on where to meet the shuttle from our hotel. There were several shuttles scheduled; we opted to take the early one.
Sure enough, when we arrived at the shuttle pick-up point, a nice passenger van was there. The driver was great, and pointed out sights along the way. He also told of inexpensive or free events we could attend, and where the best surfing was. He sang some songs, such as “Just Hang Loose” and “Hukilau.” Then we got to sing. It was fun, and we got to the other end of the island full of good spirits and cheer.
The luau was awesome. The hula dancing was impressive. IMAX was every bit as incredible as promised. The enjoyment that many of the college students had in providing the cultural lessons was contagious. We met a great red-headed kid from New Zealand who was thrilled to be part of the Center. He reminded us that the English influence allowed everyone to be part of the South Pacific experience. Riding in the canoes reminded me of Elvis Presley and “Blue Hawaii.” The thing that meant the most to me, though, was knowing that my husband loved me enough to find a way to make the Polynesian Cultural Center part of our holiday.
Based on personal experience of the author