Despite having traveled to Hawaii on and off throughout my entire life, I hadn’t been to a luau until we were hosted at Drums of the Pacific, the luau on-site at Hyatt Regency Maui Spa and Resort in the gorgeous Kaanapali Beach Resort. I knew my 7-year-old would love it, but I wasn’t able to provide her with too much detail because I’d never seen the action first hand.

Drums of the Pacific Luau Arrival

It was pretty darn convenient to saunter from our room to the luau, which takes place near the resort’s luxe Marilyn Monroe Spa and water sports area. VIP seats have their own check-in, shorter line and are seated closest to the stage. The general admission line is longer but moves quickly once seating begins, but it does help to expect this in advance in case fidgety kids are in tow.

Each guest is professionally photographed against the ocean backdrop and given the option to purchase the photo at the end of the show ($20). Every guest receives a pretty shell lei as they walk into the amphitheater—a lovely take-home souvenir—and a welcome Mai Tai or non-alcoholic fruit punch to enjoy while being seated.

Drums of the Pacific Luau Seating

drums of the pacific luau maui

Guests are seated family-style at long, rectangular tables so expect to sit next to another party. VIP ticket holders are seated close to the stage for better viewing and photo taking. My daughter luckily requested to sit next to me rather than directly in front of me and it made all the difference in the world because she’s a shy kid. The hosts were totally fine with our side-by-side arrangement.

The luau check-in time is 5:30 p.m. (5:00 p.m. check-in time from October 1 – March 31) though people will queue earlier. During this time in June, the sun is still out. Bring a hat and wear sunscreen and you’ll be OK. I’d forgotten sun protection and the host would not accommodate my request to switch tables. However, an hour later, we were covered with shade. Parents with fidgety kids may want to ask to be seated toward the end of the table for easy access to walkways.

Hawaiian Food and Drinks

Our server was incredibly friendly and pretty quick to take further drink orders (wine, beer, and a variety of cocktails were available). Refills arrived quickly.

The emcee’s delivery is a little cheesy and reminiscent of a lounge singer but that’s seriously part of the charm. During initial drink service, he provides an overview of show and explains how the pig is slow-roasted underground for hours as we watch it ceremoniously dug up and escorted off. Don’t panic, the entire luau isn’t fed by one pig… it takes 3-5 pigs, typically, that are roasted elsewhere. The tables are then dismissed to the buffet in an orderly fashion as not to create too much of a line. VIP tables are dismissed first.

kaanapali maui luau food

Luaus provide an opportunity for guests to sample a variety of local Hawaiian dishes all at once. Drums of the Pacific Luau menu includes Kalua Pork, Huli Huli Chicken, Grilled Fish, Polynesian Rice, Vegetables Makamaka, Tropical Fruits Anuenue, Soba Noodles (though our noodles where similar to Chow Mein), Lomi Lomi Salmon, Pacific Ahi Poke, Tossed Green Salad, and Poi (taro). My daughter choose fruit, noodles, rice and chicken. No complaints. I tried everything and it was really good, especially considering it was a buffet for probably hundreds of people.

After every table has cycled through the buffet, it’s easy to go back for seconds if you like. The dessert table is on the grassy area near the ocean and is not a terrible place to satisfy a sweet tooth as the sun goes down.

drums of the pacific maui luau dessertsDrums of the Pacific Showtime!

The show begins with a fairly interesting demonstration regarding the various ways to tie a lava-lava, a traditional Polynesian cloth worn as a skirt or dress and even on men.

The following performances lead guests on a tour of the Pacific Islands through drumming, traditional dance and music of Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, and Rarotonga. My daughter was totally focused on the performances throughout the rest of the luau.

drums of the pacific luau maui dancers

She enjoyed the fire throwers most as their torches lit up the night sky.

drums of the pacific maui fire

The show ended with an opportunity for luau guests to go on stage and dance, an aspect enjoyed by kids. Expect to spend about three hours at the luau from start to finish, possibly a tad bit longer. Seating, show introduction and dining consist of about half the show with the remainder as the performance. Of course, you can duck out earlier but then you’d miss the fire dancers!

Luaus are a must-do on a family vacation in Maui and anyone, not just Hyatt Maui guests, can buy tickets for Drums of the Pacific. Yes, tickets are a financial commitment. Kids ages five and under are free, kids ages 6-12 are $65 and pricing for older kids and adults ranges from $95-$145. VIP seating is available only when booked through the Hyatt and Activities, Attractions & More. Yes, the experience draws tourists but that’s pretty normal.

The Maui Drums of the Pacific luau pricing includes bottomless food and drinks as well as memories your family will talk about for years to come. I’m very glad we went. The answer is yes—you should book it!

See also:

*Thanks to Hyatt Regency Maui Spa and Resort for hosting us and providing many of these photos.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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