Solo in The Kingdom-Part 2 of Day 2
The Spirit of Aloha dinner show at the Polynesian Resort!
The advertisement for The Spirit of Aloha dinner show offers traditions throughout Polynesia including dances from Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and Hawaii. On my previous visit to Walt Disney World this show was sold out. I am really looking foward to seeing it this time! I am here at the Polynesian Resort about 30 minutes before my scheduled 5:15pm dinner time. Come with me as I get into the Spirit- with authentic dances, enchanting music and an “all-you-care-to-enjoy” feast.
As I approach the Polynesian Resort, tropical plants, surrounding cascading waterfalls, set the tone of the South Pacific. Lush greenery, totems and statues of tiki gods adorn the gardens. Inside of the Great Ceremonial House, the tropical scene extends throughout the lobby. An indoor garden, more tiki and the rushing sound of water provide just the right atmosphere. It is tropical and reminiscent of the tiki culture of the 50’s. I love the theming of this classic resort.
Lobby wall sculpture
The restaurant Ohana is empty at this hour. On my last visit, it was so crowded that I decided to eat at the Kona Cafe sushi bar. Even though this post is not about Ohana, it is worth noting the detailed theming and wonderful Polynesian atmosphere throughout.
Palm frond shaped dining chairs at Ohana
Gods of the tiki bar
Leaving Ohana from the Ceremonial House, I begin to look for Luau Cove where the show is. Following a short, winding pathway past beautifully manicured lawns, trees and bushes where large, looming tiki reside, and a view of Seven Seas Lagoon; I eventually arrive at a small hut.
A woman greets me, smiles and places a lei around my neck. I wait in a line to check in with the host. Since I booked my reservation online, I wonder if I will have any difficulty checking in. The host checks a list for my name. Everything goes smoothly, no problem. I request a good seat. Since I am solo I really want to be close to the stage to fully experience the show. The host nods and gives me a ticket to bring to the second check in area. I am not sure if it was a nod of “I got you covered” or a nod of “Yeah, keep on moving, NEXT!”
The Lei maker
While waiting to get to the next check point, pictures are taken of the guests in their lei by resort photographers as an option for later purchase. I decline and head over to the next hut where I will receive my designated seat and assigned server.
I’m not sure why, but even with a great deal of patience, the wait at this stop was extremely long. It took a very long time for the two people in front of me to get the information they needed. A really, really long time.
I got to know the backs of these two very well.
After getting my pass, I join a throng of people waiting for seating to begin. This is the most uncomfortable part of my experience. After getting stuck waiting in a long line of two (yes, sarcasm) I now get funneled into a stagnant group of hot, sweaty bodies.
Waiting to be seated was neither cute nor fun in the humidity.
When seating begins we are bottle-necked down a short path to an open air stage. Next to the stage is an area of covered seating. The tables appear to be long tables with community seating. In fact they are separate tables lined up resembling one long table.
I have paid for premium seating (which means a table in the area closest to the stage). My table is about three tables back from the stage. After twice requesting a table closer to the stage, the server suggests I speak to a manager. “When everyone is seated, if there are any closer tables available, you can move to that table”. As this does not seem likely to happen, I choose to go with the flow, sit at my given table and hope that once I eat I will be happier.
It is a table for two and I have it to myself. On one side is a family of four. On the side closer to the stage is a young couple with a baby. I can feel myself about to get cranky. Immediately food and drink is brought to me by a very friendly server. I feel the potential for crankiness melt away. The stage isn’t that far after all. I am ready to sit back and consume as much delicious food as I “care-to-enjoy”. I wonder if this change in wording from “all-you-can-eat” to “all-you-care-to-eat” is Disney’s way of encouraging a healthier lifestyle. Maybe some guests were taking “all you can eat” too literally.
Start the show!
The show is divided into three parts with two intermissions. The intermissions provide time to enjoy each course without having to chew fast, gulp it down and turn your head to watch. (Tables are not facing the stage directly, they are perpendicular to the stage so you have to turn your head).
The first course consists of pineapple-coconut bread, mixed greens with mango-poppy seed dressing and fresh pineapple. The salad is much tastier than it looks. Not that it looks bad, but it’s really good! Just the right amount of dressing, it is sweet and fresh. The pineapple bread is good too but I am careful not to fill up before the main course. Beverages that are “complimentary” with the meal include-beer, wine, soda, lemonade, coffee, tea and milk. Some specialty cocktails are offered for an extra cost. Pele’s Fire Punch sounds good. It is a mix of rum, banana liquor, blackberry brandy, pineapple juice and grenadine. It’s served in a hand-carved Monkey Coconut. This would make an interesting and collectible souvenir. But I am going to Magic Kingdom directly from here and I don’t want to carry a Monkey Coconut around the park. Plus, it’s $15 so I decide to pass.
Food is served on an elevated canoe-shaped platter
After the first course is set out, the show begins. Characters come onto the stage and begin to perform a light-hearted comedy sketch. It has something to do with an aunt, unrequited love between two teenagers and a goofy slacker who won’t leave home. The plot is thin but it’s not really important. This is just the appetizer of the show. The main course will bring the beef.
The cast of characters-Can you spot which are the "lovers", how about the "slacker goofball"?
During the first break, the band plays while the characters change costumes. Appetizers are cleared, drinks refilled and the second course is brought out. It consists of Roasted Chicken, Polynesian Rice, Broccoli and Barbecued Pork Ribs (the ribs are my favorite). All of the food is delicious beyond my expectations. The ribs are smothered in BBQ sauce. I eat as much as I want without feeling overly full. My server is very attentive without being intrusive. I am offered more of anything and any type of beverage. I stick with the lemonade. Never mix, never worry.
At this time the second act begins. The second act focuses less on dialogue and more on performance. Characters take the stage in native Polynesian costumes and perform as the sun begins to set.
I am really starting to settle in to the rhythm and feel of the show. The dance performances are exciting and full of color. The costumes are bold and at times scant. The music is tribal, pulsating and entrancing. The dancers are fully involved in the music and ritual. All of the dancers are appealing. Everyone is taken into the feeling and spirit of the show both on stage and in the audience. As much as I want to reach for a BBQ Rib, I can’t take my eyes off the stage. The show is fast paced and I don’t want to miss any of its awesomeness. Yes, it is awesome.
As the second act ends, the band continues to play through intermission. Dessert and coffee is brought out. I get my own platter with three Kilauea Volcano Delight desserts on it! Basically it’s a chocolate lava cake in the shape of a pyramid. The dessert is so good and not at all heavy considering it is all chocolate. And I ate all three. No problem! I am still in the enjoy zone, not the ready to burst zone.
Once the dessert and coffee is brought out, the final act begins. The performers welcome children, anyone celebrating a birthday or anyone who is celebrating anything to come up on the stage. Some audience members are selected by hand. Please don’t choose me! Phew. I usually don’t manage to escape situations like this.
A guest gets jiggy.
Next, more performances by the dancers. This time mostly solo.
Next, the stage is cleared for the fire dancer. This is must-see and definately a crowd pleaser.
The show is exuberant, enjoyable, light-hearted, entertaining, thrilling, interactive and sexy! If you are planning to visit WDW and you want an adult friendly dinner show, this is the one.
Aloha and goodbye
After feeling refueled and re-energized from this experience, I set out for a walk along the beach of the Polynesian Resort. The Seven Seas Lagoon looks beautiful with the setting sun coloring the surface of its serene water. I walk past the longhouses. The lamps of the docks are glowing orange. Several types of watercraft are available to rent. It is an enchanting time of day at this beautiful resort. Across the lagoon, I admire the modern structure of the Contemporary and the stately Grand Floridian Resort.
I highly recommend this show. Don’t miss it. Book tickets for The Spirit of Aloha at the Disney website.
Seating is three-tiered with the most expensive seating being closest to the stage. (There is a $3-$5 price difference between tiers).
The price for the show may seem steep but take these things into consideration-
- Table service dinner in any Disney resort or park is going to be somewhat pricey. Here you can eat as much as you’d like.
- You also get to enjoy three acts of a really enjoyable show.
- The 5:15 pm dinner show is a nice break for refuel between park hopping. (There are two shows per night 5:15 pm and 8:00pm)
- You are at the Polynesian Resort with all of it’s beautiful views and beach to explore afterword.
- And finally, you are on vacation. Create some wonderful memories!
Now it is time for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Come with me as I get on the monorail to The Magic Kingdom.
Part 3 of day 2 next.