Hi, I’m Adrianna. I like watching the sunrise, breathing in fresh mountain air, splashing around at the beach, screaming through roller coaster loops, any tapas-style restaurant, farmers markets, binge watching comfort shows on my couch, and the occasional game of pinball, amongst MANY other things.
I don’t tell you this just because I’m an oversharer with a keyboard. The point is that I, like you, have way too many interests (and way too little vacation time) to spend it on a one-trick trip. I like to take the buffet-style approach to vacation, a nibble here and there experiencing ALL the things. This is exactly why I love Universal Orlando Resort. Where else can I enjoy all that the best things theme parks have to offer while experiencing the majesty of the South Pacific Islands. That’s right. Nowhere.
After a long day in the theme parks, coming “home” to Loews Royal Pacific Resort transports you to an exotic South Seas paradise rich with culture. And let me tell you, the true Royal Pacific experience isn’t complete without a night at the Wantilan Luau. You didn’t think these intro paragraphs would mutter the word “buffet” and speak strictly metaphorically, did you? The Wantilan Luau is an all-you-can-eat — and drink *wink* — dinner show complete with captivating hula and fire dancers that’ll leave you enchanted by the stories of the South Seas.
Aloha – Welcome to the Feast
The Wantilan Luau is a feast featuring the treasured flavors of the South Pacific — so pack your loose-fitting Hawaiian shirts and an empty stomach. If you have an “eww pineapple on pizza is gross” kind of person traveling with you, maybe leave them home. Just kiddinggggg. Plot twist, I’m actually that person in my family. Rare is it that I like when my sweet and savory mix, but trust me, this is the exception.
When you arrive at the luau you’ll be seated underneath the Wantilan Pavilion with a view of the resort’s lush greenery, stage, fire pit, and of course, the BUFFET. Once seated, you’re able to grab your beverages and peruse all of the buffet offerings non-stop through the remainder of the night (and during the show!)
A pro tip from a self-proclaimed all-you-can-eat expert: Immediately take a visit to the buffet when you’re seated and put a litttttle bit of everything on your plate to start. Do the chit chatty things with your loved ones to get settled WHILE tasting all of the available offerings. THEN, right before the show starts, pile up your plate with your favorite Polynesian flavors, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
My favorite menu items were the iconic Pit-roasted Suckling Pig, Ahi Poke Salad, Fire-grilled Tender Beef, and Coconut Toasted Jasmine Rice. For dessert, the star was the Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée. All of this paired fabulously with the all-you-care-to-enjoy mai tais I sipped on in my souvenir tiki mug (included with premium seating).
The Storytelling Dance of the South Seas
When you watch the dances, chants, and live music, you’re not just watching a show void of meaning. You’re experiencing fine art with rich history and culture as the performers share a slice of their ancestral knowledge on the stage.
A monologue begins our journey connecting the story of the show to the lore of Loews Royal Pacific Resort. You might be thinking “Lore? You’re telling me there’s a story behind this resort?” YOU BET THERE IS. In true nerd fashion, if there’s world-building lore I am HERE for it. So here’s some background…
The story starts in the era known as the Golden Age of Travel. Master pilot and adventurer Captain Jake embodied the spirit of the era and carried travelers throughout Polynesia sharing his love for the traditions and culture of the islands celebrated through the show. According to legend, Jake’s plane landed at Loews Royal Pacific Resort (you can spot it floating in the lagoon) and while he has since disappeared, his adventurous spirit remains around the resort. As the show prepares to begin, the narrator encourages you to sit back, relax, and, like our beloved Captain Jake, savor the journey through the South Pacific.
- While you’re adventuring around Royal Pacific on your way to the luau, be sure to visit Jake’s American Bar, built in his honor, and read the papers and plaques to piece together the details around this tale.
The show travels from the fire pit, to the stage, to the audience, and is split into five acts taking you through the Pacific islands of Hawaii, New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, and Samoa. As we venture through the five islands we witness the story come to life through the traditional dances, roaring chants, radiant costumes, pounding of the Nafa Drums, twirling of the Maori Poi Balls, flaming knives, and of course, audience participation — cue the mai tais.
As cliche as it sounds, the Wantilan Luau really does have something for everyone and very much so fits into my “buffet-style” itinerary for vacation. It’s a performance full of beauty and emotion that will keep you entranced the whole way through, while diversifying your Universal vacation in a way you didn’t think possible. You’ll know it was a good night when you’re a little sad that it has to end, but a walk through the Royal Pacific lobby breathing in that iconic Royal Pacific scent makes it all just a little bit better.
The Wantilan Luau is a weekly dinner show taking place most Saturday nights at 6 p.m. at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. The Wantilan Luau is a separately ticketed event. Tickets may be purchased here.
Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.