I was recently invited to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in Laie on Oahu’s north shore, for a press tour, for the chance to experience all that this landmark has to offer. Over the extensive two-day tour I came away with a lot of new things to share, as well as a sense of how best to experience this attraction for future visitors. This is part one of a two-part series about this iconic Hawaiian featured attraction.
Being a resident here on Oahu for 20 years, I’ve been to the PCC park several times. But I’ve never experienced it quite like this. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit Disney World before the doors open? That is exactly what this was like. There were no big crowds, no ambient noise; just a peaceful setting for the great day ahead that was scheduled exclusively for us.
While I don’t have enough space to write about everything we did, these are some of the highlights I think you’ll like:
The first ting I learned through my visit about the PCC was how important it is to experience each of the islands’ cultures through the activities they offer. It provides a much more intimate setting then just going to the shows, with rich culture built into every activity. You can connect on a personal level with the folks at each of the villages too, ask questions, and feel involved. You can spend as much or as little time as you’d like, making it a leisurely self-guided tour. It’s one thing to see the shows they offer, but it’s a totally different adventure when you participate in the craft making, hands-on-experiences, and personal exchange of knowledge and interest with the native islanders. You receive a much deeper connection with the various cultures by participating in all the activities within each of the Villages.
For example, in the Hawaii pavilion, I spent some time learning how to make and string a tropical flower lei. While this simple exercise may not seem like much, it’s actually both relaxing and fun. I learned that there isn’t merely one way to make a lei. It’s really an expression of how you feel towards someone you love, and the gift of a lei is really about the person you’re making it for. There’s no particular method to making it a certain way, you just go with the flow and with your feelings. You think about the person you care about as you make the lei. I found myself really getting into it, blocking out the whole world and all its troubles and just focusing on stringing the flowers. This method I found extremely relaxing and therapeutic.
Another thing we did in the Hawaiian Village was learn the traditional hula. Yes, I have to admit, I’ve never tried hula before because I’ve been so embarrassed to do it! But because we had a private setting, I let loose and gave it a try. And wouldn’t you know, I learned so much from this little lesson that I actually got pretty good at the moves. I learned how to say I love you with my hands and learned that hula is all about the hips!
Next we checked out one of the new attractions at the park, outrigger canoe paddling. We traversed the parks’ winding river while paddling with the help of our guide. He pointed out important landmarks of each of the villages that we passed by during our cruise, including a Kapakahi (twisted) palm tree used in the Elvis movie “Paradise Hawaiian Style.”
We also experienced fire making with our bare hands at the Tongan Village (which I didn’t have much luck at) and Samoan cooking and tree climbing before the day was done. It is for this reason I highly recommend you take part in the activities at the Polynesian Cultural Center, because they really made more of an impact on me than I had anticipated. I came away with a better sense of how important these Polynesian cultures are to the shaping of the Hawaiian Islands’ rich history. I highly encourage you to take advantage of cultural activities in each of theVillages, as I had an incredible experience and an amazingly fun and unique day.
If you would like more info on the PPC, just give us a call and reach out to one of our travel agents. You can order tickets and packages to the PCC here Also, check out these great posts .
Big Changes in store for PCC
Taste of Samoa in Hawaii
From Hula to Laulau; Sights and sounds of Hawaii