If you ask any couple which romantic destinations are on their travel bucket list, the majority will likely include Hawaii. In fact, of all the places in the world, three of Hawaii’s islands rank within the top 12 of U.S. News and World Reports’ “Best Honeymoon Destinations.” A great way to experience Hawaiian culture without traveling is a luau in Orlando, and other date ideas.
Hawaii itself consists of eight large islands surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, several coral rings and numerous islets. If you’re unable to jet set across the country to be greeted with authentic Hawaiian leis, know that Greater Orlando has tons of local Hawaiian-inspired date ideas and destination experiences.
Our Picks for BEST Luau in Orlando
Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, 6300 Hollywood Way, Orlando, FL 32819
This impressive luau in Orlando and dinner show features Polynesian fare and festivities.
Held weekly on Saturdays at 6 pm under a spacious, outdoor-covered pavilion, this unique experience is one of the best at Loews Royal Pacific, which already boasts an exotic vibe and engaging landscape. The Wantilan Luau is as close to authentic as it gets — celebrating hula dancers, a fire knife performer, and traditional Hawaiian music.
Wantilan Luau Food and Drinks
Get your fill at the buffet featuring Ahi poke, island-spiced veggies, fire-grilled meats, Macadamia-crusted goat cheese, Pacific-fresh catch-of-the-day, teriyaki chicken, toasted coconut jasmine rice and, of course, pit-roasted suckling pig with rum-infused pineapple purée. Do save room for Hawaiian desserts, like Kona coffee ganache pineapple macadamia tart and passion fruit crème brûlée. Naturally, if you’re envisioning yourself with an umbrella-clad drink, know that Mai Tais are the go-to liberation, with beer and wine available as well.
If you happen to overindulge on the Hawaiian yumminess, work off some of those decadent calories by hula dancing with your luau date!
Price: regular section – $89 per adult; premium section (for up-close fun and a souvenir tiki mug) – $109 per adult
Hawaiian Inn Beach Resort, 2301 S. Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118
If you’re craving a side of culture with your Hawaiian cuisine, the Polynesian Fire Show serves up some tidbits about the origins of traditional hula, an artistic storytelling ritual dance once performed for Hawaiian goddesses and the likes. Plus, you’ll be mesmerized by the Samoan performer who handles fire knives flawlessly.
This buffet spread is equally as mouthwatering with selections such as assorted tropical fruit, candied carrots, fried rice, Kalua pork, Polynesian BBQ chicken and much more. For those with food allergies or dietary restrictions, know that suitable menu items are noted as either gluten-free or vegetarian when applicable; plus, none of the dishes are prepared with peanut oil.
FYI, if you’re staying on property, the Ohana Tiki Bar and Grill is the Hawaiian Inn’s poolside eatery. But do nosh lightly here so you can properly feast at Polynesian Fire.
Price: $49.99 per adult + cash bar for alcoholic drinks (most non-alcoholic beverages are included)
Volcano: A Polynesian Experience
Margaritaville Resort Orlando Fins Up Beach Club – 8000 Fins Up Circle Kissimmee, Florida 34747
This experience is included in resort stays at Margaritaville Orlando Resort every Satruday in March from 06:00 PM – 08:00 PM. From the classic leis to traditional Polynesian dances, games, and more, there is plenty of fun for all ages! This beachside mini-luau concludes with a live fire performance at the end.
Coming Soon: Big Kahuna Luau
Another Polynesian luau will soon make waves in Greater Orlando too. Guests will be treated to the sounds of Tahitian drums, Hawaiian conch shells, exotic lei necklaces and more. We'll share more details when they're available.
Orlando’s Best Hawaiian Staycations
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
1600 Seven Seas Dr., Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Your fellow island lover will be saying “Mahalo” (aka “thank you” in Hawaiian) when you treat him/her/they to this South Pacific-inspired staycation. Let’s face it–Disney resorts really are magical, and the Polynesian offers two inviting options!
At the Polynesian Village Resort, while it may not compare per se to the Pacific, you’ll soak up views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and, of course, the Walt Disney World theme park itself. And if you’re parkin’ it for epic thrills, the Resort Monorail makes a convenient stop at Polynesian Resort!
There are plenty of opportunities to nibble up Hawaiian, Asian and American-fusion flavors at this location. Find full menu offerings at Barefoot Pool Bar, Capt. Cook’s, Kona Café, Kona Island and Ohana.
Toast with a cocktail at the Oasis Bar, Tambu Lounge, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace. And while these are all delish spots, there is one more can’t-miss place: Pineapple Lanai. Instantly ignite chill mode here by ordering an iconic DOLE Whip, Disney’s legendary frozen concoction of soft serve and pineapple magic.
Or, to really take the plunge into island-inspired staycationing, opt for Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. These luxurious accommodations hoover right atop the water! Bungalows have everything you need and more, like a full kitchen, living area, dining area and, most importantly, a private deck with a plunge pool overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon.
In the evening, you’ll enjoy epic views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks right from your deck, which is equipped with speakers aligned with the show's music.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Universal Orlando, 6300 Hollywood Way, Orlando, FL 32819
Home of the Wantilan Luau, as previously noted, you may decide to stay for the night or the weekend after enjoying the Polynesian luau (though it’s not required). You might as well make it a true getaway while experiencing the best luau in Orlando.
While on the property, you can float along in the lagoon-style swimming pool and, although far from our state's shoreline, you can dig your toes into the sand on the beach. Plus, guests staying at Loews Royal Pacific Resort receive exclusive theme-park benefits to enhance the enjoyment of Universal Orlando's parks.
BONUS IDEA: Universal's Volcano Bay
If you truly want to immerse yourselves in a Hawaiian-inspired escape, head to Universal's Volcano Bay. Whether you stay at one of the above hotels or not, a day at Volcano Bay will feel like you've escaped to a mystical, magical Hawaiian island.
This ultimate water park is inspired by the Hawaiian and Polynesian islands and it is truly the best water park in Orlando for couples.
Take five minutes and read over our Guide to the Perfect Day at Volcano Bay – For Couples.
Orlando’s Hawaiian-Inspired Date Destinations
While we love a good luau in Orlando, they are expensive.
If you want to escape to Hawaii right here in Orlando, without a big cost, check these out. There are plenty of Hawaiian-themed bars and restaurants in Orlando. Each one is a great date idea.
Hawaiian-Inspired Cocktail Bars
Craving a fruity, island-inspired beverage? First, say “Ke aloha,” which basically equates to “Cheers” in Hawaiian.
- Aku Aku Tiki Bar (in downtown Lake Eola): Why not start with the namesake drink by ordering the Aku Aku? It’s a mix of Plantation dark rum, pineapple, mango and fresh mint.
- Suffering Bastard Tiki (in Sanford): Those who are 21 and older, can drink up craft cocktails served in funky island glassware. You’ll go nuts over the Moonkist Coconut!
Want to dine on Polynesian food without going to a luau in Orlando? These Hawaiian-themed restaurants in Orlando are the perfect recipe for a romantic date idea – no plane ticket required.
- Da Kine Poke Bowls (multiple locations): It’ll be hard to choose just one bowl, but Da Kine offers some interesting flavors, as with the Aloha Green Bowl. It has edamame, scallions, cucumber, cilantro, seaweed salad, avocado, green curry coconut miso sauce and crispy lo mein noodles.
- Hawaii Grill & Sushi (in St. Cloud): The diverse menu primarily features poke bowls, Hawaiian grill items, Hawaiian-inspired sushi and bento boxes.
- Honolulu Harry’s (in College Park): This tropical eatery has small bites, entrees and craft cocktail menus.
And the Tropical Mimosa Flight is delicious, fun, and perfect for sharing.
- Island Fin Poke (multiple locations): This place is build-your-own style. Start with a base (rice/salad), add protein and veggies, dress with more toppings and finish with a palate-pleasing sauce.
- Jimmy Hulas (multiple locations): This fun menu is comprised of fish tacos, burgers and other main and small plates. Bite into the Juan Jovi, a heaping of smoked pork, Swiss cheese, a pickle and honey habanero sauce.
- Poke by Gochi (in Winter Garden): Another build-your-own place, choose a bowl to satisfy your Hawaiian cravings. The Florida Bowl features salmon, avocado, cucumber, mango, carrots and bonito furikake.
- Thrive (in Downtown Orlando): Book a table to feast on assorted small plates, like Shroom, Shroom, a beautiful presentation of wild mushrooms, Sake cream reduction, soy sauce, parmesan and Rye toast.
- The 808 Orlando (in Downtown Orlando): Also aligned with the Aku Aku Tiki Bar, island grub at this cute spot is super tasty. Nibble on the Maui Chips, house-made Maui onion seasoned potato chips with signature 808 sauce.
Sweet Hawaiian Escapes
Treat your sweetie to an authentic Hawaiian sweet! Chill out though… the coolest island dessert destinations are nearby.
- Shaka Ice Co. (in SoDo): Far from the theme parks, you can snag a Dole Whip at Shaka, as well as assorted shaved ice. Plus, vegan frozen treats.
- Hanalei Shave Ice (in Mills50 district): The owner has Hawaiian roots so expect the real deal! These cool goodies are light and refreshing, with flavors such as matcha and strawberry shortcake.
- Poke Hona (in Windermere and also Mills/50): While this restaurant has main dishes, its assorted Acai Sorbet bowls are the best bet. Toppings include fresh fruit, rice mochi, coconut flakes and more.
Hawaiian Food Trucks Date Nights
Wouldn’t it be awesome to hop on a surfboard to ride the waves at North Shore? Well, here in town, there’s a different type of ride… and these Orlando food trucks really know how to drive home the Hawaiian experience.
- PokeKai: Apps, bowls, burgers and more are served regularly at A La Cart and elsewhere around town. Try the Hawaiian Loco-Moco, a dish of beef teriyaki, carrots, edamame, red onion, scallions, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sunny side up egg and avocado.
- OverRice: This food truck turned brick and mortar is all about flavor fusion. It has Filipino favorites, like Pork Adobo, Lumpia Shanghai and Pancit. Plus, Hawaiian classics, like Kalua Pork, Chicken Katsu and other sweet-savory bites.
More Must-Do Hawaiian Fun
- Aloha Productions Luau: This catering and entertainment company would be a great fit for couples planning to host a Hawaiian-themed rehearsal dinner, wedding or anniversary celebration. These party planners bring the Polynesian to you!
- FusionFest: FusionFest is a nonprofit working to celebrate the many different cultures that make Central Florida beautifully diverse. One of its many efforts is called Diversitastic. Held monthly, this dining experience invites locals to get a sense of culture through taste. Typically priced at $49.95 per person and includes a themed full-course menu + drink, and live entertainment.
- Hawaiian Rumble Adventure Golf: Mini-golf is one of those iconic date night experiences, right? Well, mix in some Hawaiian flare and you’ll be par for the course. Two 18-hole courses area available at Hawaiian Rumble. Onsite concessions include beer, ice cream and non-alcoholic drinks.
- Hōʻike Hawaiʻi Hula Competition: If hula is your dance of choice, grab your dancing partner and start practicing. The 2023 Hōʻike Hawaiʻi Hula Competition takes place in July!
Aloha Hawaiian lovers! Now start enjoying island time right here in Central Florida.
Feature image: Wantilan Luau at Royal Pacific, from Loews Hotels
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