Flora Frog's Note: Today's post comes from Undercover Tourist customer and lifestyle blogger Leah with Five for the Road. She and her family hopped to Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort on their recent vacation. Look for more family-friendly posts from her trip in the coming weeks!
Every family vacation should include some evening enchantment. During my family's recent Orlando trip, we visited the Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando Resort. Packed with Polynesian-themed fun, this is a great family-friendly show.
The Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando celebrates authentic Polynesian culture, food and entertainment. This weekly dinner show features an all-you-can-eat tropical buffet and live music. Plus there are fire dancers and enchanting hula girls. It's a small slice of the islands.
As of this writing, prices are $76 for adults and $40 for children ages 3 to 9 (priority seating) and $69 for adults and $35 for children ages 3 to 9 (regular seating). Children 2 and under get in free. Prices do not include tax but do include gratuity, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer and Mai Tais. Make reservations here.
Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando Location & Check-In
The Wantilan Luau takes place at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. The hotel itself is an island oasis in the middle of Orlando. Its lush landscape transports you to a tropical paradise. Our visit took place in August — Florida's rainy season. Torrential downpours welcomed us on arrival! It almost felt like part of the feel of the resort. Thankfully, the show is located under a covered pavilion.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort is located near Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay. To reach the hotel from the theme parks, you may walk or take the water taxi or bus (for Volcano Bay). Speaking of hotels, Undercover Tourist offers discounts on all Universal Orlando Resort Hotels. If you drive, you can park for free or pay a discounted rate to valet. Be sure to have your ticket validated at the end of the show. The hotel front desk can't validate your ticket.
Plan on arriving 20-30 minutes before the offical start time. Our large party (nine of us) arrived early to secure seating together. I also called ahead to connect our reservations. At check-in, you will receive your lei. Live music and a dancer from the show entertain you as you wait.
Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando Buffet
When it's dinner show time, you'll head off to find your table. Seating is family-style so you may be sitting with other groups. Once guests are seated, you are called by table number to the buffet.
The buffet at the Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando offers many fantastic food choices. The buffet featured Hawaiian Chicken Teriyaki and Fire Grilled Beef, salads and fruit, a catch of the day and a pit-roasted pig. Don't worry about the picky eaters. The children’s buffet has chicken fingers, mac & cheese and pizza. My kids tried a little from both buffets. I was happy to have the options available.
There are also Hawaiian inspired desserts — Kona Coffee Ganache Pineapple Macadamia Tart, Tropical Fresh Fruit With White Chocolate Mousse Shots and Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée. I had to try them all! They were delicious, and it was fun to sample new foods.
Mai Tais, beer, wine, lemonade, coffee and tea are included. Kid-friendly Mai Tais are also available. The wait staff was very attentive. Plates disappeared. Drinks were refilled as needed.
Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando Entertainment
The highlight of the Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando is the entertainment. A band entertains you as you enter the seating area and find your table. As mealtime winds down, the show kicks off. Hula girls begin with traditional dances. The lively girls interact with the crowd. A few lucky participants are brought on stage. They teach audience members how to hula too. It is fun to see how difficult the dance really is.
About halfway through the show, the fire dancer lit up the stage. This was incredible. The kids watched in disbelief. The fire dancer was really impressive! Near the end of the show, the dancers invite more members of the audience to participate. If you want to learn to hula, this is your chance! All of my kids got on stage and learned with the dancers.
Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando Tips
- Plan your vacation based on the show date. There is one weekly Saturday dinner show.
- Make reservations early. Some nights are sold out.
- If you have a large party or are dining with other families, ask Universal to make a note of it on your reservation. Universal team members were helpful in keeping our party together.
- Wait a few minutes after your table is called before you line up for the buffet. It can get congested!
- Know your kids/family. This show is geared toward school-age children and up. It's not the best show for babies or those with short attention spans. You are mostly seated for the duration of the show.
- After the show, there is an opportunity to meet the dancers. The kids liked getting their pictures taken with the performers.
With a beautiful atmosphere and delicious food, the Wantilan Luau is a great night of entertainment. It is part entertainment and part lesson in Hawaiian culture. It blends Hawaiian stories with a terrific meal and dinner show.
Leah writes the family lifestyle blog Five for the Road. She shares her family travel adventures, planning tips, and everyday family fun to inspire families to get out there and enjoy the moments. You can find her spending time with her family or planning their next adventure. Follow along at Five for the Road, Instagram, and Facebook.
Want to experience the best of Universal Orlando? Check out our planning resources, including our downloadable Quick-Start Guide! Ready to sail away to the islands on vacation? Book your discount Universal Orlando hotel! Mahalo.