Ok, if you are only here to enter the contest, just click ^^^^^^^ this image or click here and enter and you’ll be on your way. 🙂
For the rest of you, let us tell you of our stay in Laie…
Hawaii has been on our vacation dream list for a long time and we never seemed to get ourselves there. But this year we were invited by the Polynesian Cultural Center and were able to finally go! Since we had never been there before, I did a ton of asking around to all my family and friends who had been there so we would know what to do. Luckily I have really smart people in my life and we were able to do some really amazing things!
But our most favorite thing we did (and we crammed a lot of stuff into this week) was tour and experience the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was amazing! I can’t believe how much there was to do. I remember as I was talking to a lot of people before the trip, many of them briefly mentioned the PCC and told us we should stop one day and look around. This makes me think that there are many people out there that don’t even realize how much the PCC has to offer!
So now that we have spent 3 full days there, we feel like mini experts of the PCC and had to share all the things to do. Because if you are planning to visit the island of Oahu in Hawaii then YOU CANNOT MISS THE POLYNESIAN CULTRAL CENTER!!!
Here are 10 things you may not have known about the PCC:
1. The primary purpose of the Polynesian Cultural Center is to provide jobs for students that attend BYU Hawaii.
This was something that we didn’t realize until we were there. When a student (mostly students from South Pacific & Far East) get accepted to BYU Hawaii, they can be on a program called the I-Work program. This allows them to come to an American school get a full education and leave with no student loans or debt! (Isn’t this church amazing!) Many of these students come from poor countries and would never be able to afford an education if it wasn’t for this program. These are the students that are working at the PCC. They come in and share their culture with us in such a fun and beautiful way. They were all so kind and friendly and we felt like many of them were our friends by the time we left.
2. You can feel an amazing spirit at the Polynesian Cultural Center
One of the things we got to do while we were there is go behind the stage before the night show, “Ha: Breath of Life”. We were toured around and shown different parts of the set. And then we got to join the cast for their nightly devotional that they do before every show. These students that perform have so much love for their Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. And you could feel that during the devotional. The spirit was so strong and it was so special to have a sweet spiritual experience with them. We were able to talk to one of the students after the performance and ask him his favorite part of being able to work at the PCC and he teared up as he told us how much he loves being able to bring the spirit to so many people that have never experienced it.
3. Ha: Breath of Life
This is the night show that the PCC does in their beautiful theater. We went into this show thinking it would be very similar to the Luau show that they do during dinner and we were so surprised! It is a story about family. It made us laugh and I even cried in some parts. The message was so great and left the entire audience breathless at some points! It truly was an amazing show and you cannot miss it if you go to the PCC. (And the scene with the fire walkers is real guys…it is real fire and these boys are amazing at what they do!)
4. Lunar Legends
Have you guys ever tried paddle boarding? It’s something we’ve always wanted to try and Lunar Legends was the best way to experience it for the first time! This was our favorite activity we did while at the PCC. It was so much fun and such a different and unique experience. Lunar Legends is a night tour. You get to ride down the lagoon through the middle of the PCC on your own paddle board. (Don’t worry, it’s actually really easy. We even did it in our clothes.)
Each board is lite in the water with a light under the board. The water is calm, the temperature is warm, and it’s quiet and dark. It was awesome! Everyone paddles together down the lagoon going under bridges and through the beautiful scenery in the PCC. At each village you stop with your tour guide and listen to a legend from that village. Our favorite part was when we all laid back on our boards and looked at the stars. We were given a few minutes of silence to just look at the stars and think about what is important to us. It was so cool!! If you go to the Polynesian Cultural Center this is another must do!
5. The food!
We ate so much good food at the Polynesian Cultural Center that there was one point that I thought I was going to burst! The food is so good and so fresh. We are still talking about how amazing the food was a week after our trip! There are tons of options at the PCC. My favorite place we ate at was Pounders. The roasted garlic rib-eye steak with the mashed potatoes was so good. I don’t think I will ever eat a better steak. John’s favorite food was the garlic shrimp from Tita’s Grill in the Hukilau Market Place. These shrimp were so fresh and yummy. And then of course there is the giant buffet dinner option as well as the Ali’I Luau (which is #6) that were also amazing. There are also some other really great places to eat in Laie if you are on your way in or out.
Some of our favorites were:
6. The Ali’i Luau
One thing that everyone has to experience when they go to Hawaii is a luau. It is just part of the experience right?! The Ali’I Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center did not disappoint! They are the only Luau in Hawaii that still serves imu (pork cooked in an underground oven) which was so good, along with so many other amazing foods served buffet style so you get to just keep eating and eating! Then there is the show. It is set up on stage with a beautiful backdrop of waterfalls, rock walls, plants and flowers. The show includes all kinds of fun cultural dances from the different Polynesian islands including a fun fire twirling act. What’s better then eating? Being entertained while eating! This was such a fun night and we ate such great food!
7. Hukilau Marketplace
One of my favorite things to do on vacation is shop for souvenirs. Going to the Hukilau Marketplace is like going back in time. The shops are so cute and old fashioned tiki style shops. They have every kind of souvenirs for any budget and any age of person. You can get home décor, treats, toys, jewelry, and more. Even if you don’t want to spend more money it was so fun to just walk around and be in the atmosphere. Of course all the employees are so kind and helpful and most of them are students from BYU Hawaii and are from other countries. It was fun to chat with them and see where they were from. There is also daily entertainment in the Hukilau Marketplace as well as great food to eat. The Hukilau Marketplace has free parking, wi-fi, and bathrooms as well!
Photo courtesy of Scot Proctor – Meridian Magazine
One of my favorite shows that we went to in the Polynesian Cultural Center was in Samoa with Kap. He is the presenter and is hilarious! In this show you will see how Samoan’s are able to make fire by rubbing two sticks together, how to easily crack open a coconut using a small pebble, how to create coconut “milk” with your bare hands, and how the Samoans prepare their food (hint: it’s a man’s duty ) and watch a young man climb 40-foot coconut trees – in bare feet!! Kap had us all laughing throughout the show. This is one you don’t want to miss!
9. Free tour to the temple
Did you know that while you are at the Polynesian Cultural Center you can hop on a shuttle and get a free tour over to the Laie Temple?! I love that you can take some time out of your day to hop on and ride over and enjoy some cool (air conditioned), quiet, and spiritual time in the visitor’s center. There are several sister missionaries there that can answer any questions for you. And the temple is so beautiful. I love that so many people are able to go and feel the Spirit at the temple because of this free ride and that they are willing to do this.
10. Marriott Courtyard
Last but not least on our list of things about the Polynesian Cultural Center is the Marriott located just outside the PCC. This Marriott is brand new and just opened and has all of the latest amendities that a traveling family could ask for. They have an amazing pool that locals will literally spend the night at so they can just come to a fresh water pool. It’s gorgeous along with the variety of rooms that they have available for large families or just an individual. The best part of the location of the Marriott is that it is literally right next door to the PCC and minutes away from the North Shore.
All in all it was an amazing trip and we’ll be posting more about the Polynesian Cultural Center, the temple, and all of the other amazing things to do in this area that truly makes Laie a destination location.