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A not-so-good Polynesian Cultural Center experience.

A not-so-good Polynesian Cultural Center experience.

Dec 11th, 2006, 01:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3
A not-so-good Polynesian Cultural Center experience.

I must say that I was not overly thrilled with my experience at PCC. My boyfriend and I were signed up for the Ambassador Luau which included a tour guide and sticking with the guide was a HUGE mistake. She was a student at BYU, like pretty much everyone else who works there, and even though she was really nice, her English was really hard to understand and she kept rushing us. At one point during the canoe pageant, she got our little group together BEFORE the pageant even ended and had us head over to another village and saying, “You can see the same thing here anyway.” My boyfriend got kind of irritated because the guide skipped the two villages he wanted to see, the Marquesas and Aotearoa, after saying that we would be heading there shortly. The guide also kept mentioning the tram tour of Laie, which is actually a tour of the Mormon Temple rather than of the town of Laie. The villages themselves were nice and it would have been better if we would have had a chance to peruse them at our leisure, so yes, my main reason for not liking the village aspect of PCC was having a guide. A map would have sufficed for me.

Now, as for the luau, the food was definitely better than Paradise Cove (the ahi poke was way yummy and since no one was eating it, there was plenty for me but not as good as the Royal Hawaiian Luau. As for the whole “luau” aspect, it was pretty bad. It was essentially a glorified dinner show with some hula thrown in for good measure. They also had these awful Christmas hulas with the dancers in turtle necks and tinsel leis. My co-worker went to the Ambassador Buffet and she said that the food was great and she would recommend just eating there since you get the Hawaii show experience when you see “Horizons”.

My recommendation would be to nix the guide if you want to be able to see everything, or else sign up for the Super Ambassador because you get a private tour guide so you will have more of a say of where you want to go and for how long.
Miyukittykitty is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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As you mentioned your guide was also a student there which is how they pay their tuition just like the School of the Ozarks. We did the buffet and the food was ok thought the Horizons show was very good. We did a guide as well and were satisfied as we don't know if we would have seen the best part of each villageon our own. We really liked the Tonga, Samoa and Tahiti and Hawaiian villages.
hulajake is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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I think it is important for people to realize that PCC is sponsored by the Mormon Church.
suze is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 03:32 PM
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Very good point Suze. I was there over 25 years ago, and my personal preference was to skip it my last visit on Oahu.
trippinkpj is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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I have been to Honolulu over 50 times. One visit to the PCC was more than enough for me, LOL.
vivi is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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No appeal for me either. The postcard my Grandmother sent decades ago was enough for me.
starrsville is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 06:11 PM
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Same for me. Just no need to go back. OK, I'll just say it..I think it's a total rip off. Isn't it Dusty (?)..the one who's always promoting it. I normally just keep my mouth shut...I mean it's one of those things that people just have to see for themselves. I actually have seen posts from people who DID like it..so there ya go.
crefloors is online now  
Dec 11th, 2006, 06:27 PM
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I liked it, but that was about 20 years ago, maybe they have changed it? I enjoyed the village areas and the show was nice.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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I enjoy it every couple of years, you just have to think there's probably nothing else similar in the world, so enjoy. i wouldn't get a guide though.
matnikstym is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 06:51 PM
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PCC, disneyland, las Vegas...all are similar in that people can love em or hate em, all on the same day.

I like PCC and take or refer visitors there occasionally. Most are very happy with the experience. I wouldn't bother with a guide though.
lcuy is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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PCC is great.

I've always recommended it.

I've never recommended getting a guide because I think a guide is a waste of $$.

The luau itself is only average. But, with the luau comes great seats for 'Horizons'.

In my posts, I always mention Tonga & Samoa villages to be the best of the villages.

I've also never recommended the tram to the Morman Temple. Total waste of time.

dusty56438 is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 08:51 PM
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We went to the PCC once ages ago. It was OK, the food was OK, but we never went back. We didn't know at the time who sponsered it. We probably would have gone anyway just to have the experience but since we went when people have asked us if it was worth it unless they were staying enough days to not take away from the rest of the island we always said in our opinion it was something that could be skipped. I am always interested in Fodorites opinions regarding the experience at the PCC.
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 10:56 PM
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When I lived on Oahu back in the 1960's people were saying the same things about it then that they are now.
Dukey is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 03:58 AM
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We visited the PCC in 1994. We were staying in a hotel on Waikiki and decided to drive our (rental) car instead of taking a tour bus. There were no problems getting to the PCC, in fact, the drive was very scenic.

The ticket package we purchased included the buffet dinner and the show. Since we would not be getting out until about 9 P.M., I wanted some coffee or a coke (with caffeine) with dinner to provide some degree of increased mental alertness for the drive back to our hotel. The roads were narrow, poorly marked and there was not a lot of light on that portion of Oahu.

I remember one of the food service workers in the buffet saying something like, "Sure, we have Coke". What I found out later was that it was all decaffeinated and this fact was never disclosed to diners. The PCC management/Mormon Church had already decided that guests would not have that choice. I felt tricked. Fortunately, as we were leaving around 9, we saw a McDonalds, just outside the PCC parking lot, and I was able to get a cup of (real) coffee there for the long drive back to our hotel.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 06:50 AM
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I am so glad to know that I am not in the minority because my experience there (mumble mumble) years ago was less noteworthy. We were just 'under-impressed' and since then everytime I have mentioned it to someone, the reaction has been as if I have two heads. TY for restoring my confidence in my sense of value.
pollyvw is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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I think the OPs real point is the fact that they did not enjoy their tour.

When signing up for a tour anywhere, it's always a good idea to ask, and know, exactly what you are getting for your money.
Dayle is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 07:28 AM
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To me the fact that it is operated by the Mormon church is not really an issue for me. They are not preaching to me.
As far as the caffiene goes... the same thing could be said for many companies. I go to Taco Bell and order a coke and they give me Pepsi. That's probably not the best example because you see it (and they are part of the same company) but I have been plenty of places and asked for a diet coke and after tasting it, when I complained, was told it was Pepsi.
Unless you are just totally against the Mormon church, it makes no difference.
The PCC is a tourist attraction, good or bad, just like Dollywood or any other tourist attraction.
TxTravelPro is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Well it DOES make a difference to some people, so I think it is OK to get the word out. As above, many people do not realize this is a Mormon church enterprise. It's not about preaching, or lack thereof, rather what the money I would spend is going to support.
suze is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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As others have said, I guess you either liked/loved the PCC or not. I took my kids there (no tour, no luau, bought tickets separately for the show) when they were about 11 (girl) and 8 (boy). They liked it so much the first day that we decided to go back again the next day (free admission).

Only negative (not really about PCC) was that, besides McDonald's, there was no place else to eat nearby. Needless to say, since McDonald's was the only place around, it was VERY crowded.
jlaughs is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Well, I can see not buying knock off goods because they support illegal activities but I suppose I just don't have think the Mormons are evil or underhanded or anything really.
They are just a church. Not my beliefs but they are generally about good and honesty.
There is a Hare Krishna restaurant here in Dallas (or used to be) that served pretty good food. I ate there even though I don't follow or even know about that religion. If a legitimate group that is not really controversial is making an honest living and in no way pushes their agenda at customers, what difference does it make? They aren't hurting me and their church does not hurt people.
But I suppose that's just me and I respect that people have different opinions.
If this sort of thing bothers you, then you should probably look into the ownership of many other attractions, restaurants, Inns, etc...
TxTravelPro is offline  

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