is a luau feast featuring Polynesian-inspired food and entertainment in an open-air setting.
Located in Luau Cove at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, this dinner show highlights hula traditions, enthusiastic drumming, fire dancing, and more as diners enjoy platters of all-you-care-to-enjoy eats.
The Disney official backstory of Spirit of Aloha is that the host of the luau, Auntie Wini, is bidding aloha to one of her ‘ohana who’s heading “to the mainland” for college. And because when you’re at the Polynesian, everyone is ‘ohana, you’re invited to the celebration, too!
And we have to say: Auntie Wini does know how to put on a show! But would we be as taken with the food as we were with the entertainment? Let’s take a ride on the Hawaiian roller coaster that is Spirit of Aloha and see is we feel the love.
Check-In and Arrival
Disney’s Spirit of Aloha offers two showtimes: 5:15PM and 8:15PM. You can check in starting up to one hour before the show begins, and we recommend getting there early so you have time to explore the Resort and make the walk to Luau Cove.
When we checked in, we received a faux-flower lei and our tickets for seating at the show. Seating is assigned ahead of time depending on the category of seating you selected (more of that in a bit!), so there’s no reason to rush for a “good seat”.
After checking in, we were told we could pose for a PhotoPass pic with the Poly Lobby’s central tiki figure (that’s the carved gentleman in the back, not the friendly guy with the camera) or follow the signs for Luau Cove.
We took a pass on a photo this time and made our way to Luau Cove.
Luau Cove is located on the far left of the Resort when you exit the Great Ceremonial House facing toward the pool and beach beyond.
As you begin your somewhat lengthy walk to Luau Cove, don’t forget to take in your surroundings. The Polynesian is beautiful at every turn (and check out that dusky sky!).
Winding paths lead you to Luau Cove, with occasional signs pointing you in the right direction along the way.
Just before you enter Luau Cove, there’s a large waiting area (outdoor with no covering) where you’ll hang out until cast members begin guiding guests to their pre-assigned tables.
The area can fill up quite a bit as showtime nears, but because it’s an open-air space, it’s not uncomfortable. The heat, on the other hand… it can be a little much. Prepare for that if you’re visiting on a particularly balmy evening.
Along the path we did make a new friend: this guy! He’s an auspicious tiki, and you’re encouraged to rub his nose for good luck. (We’re hoping for delicious eats, but that’s just us.)
The atmosphere of Luau Cove is classic Polynesian. Anywhere the designers could get away with using bamboo, they used it. 😉
You’ll also pass under this sign as you enter the seating area. No hanging ten here, but we appreciate the sentiment of a surfboard spanning overhead (and that sky again!).
The stage is the centerpiece of Luau Cove, as well it should be for this dinner-and-a-show! It features some classic Polynesian design elements like carved wood, thatched roofs, and more bamboo.
The stage is also set with percussion instruments and plenty of space for breaking it down Polynesian style. (There will be hula, in case you were wondering.)
Tables are stone and tile, while seating is slightly padded bamboo. Table settings are simple, with rectangular white plates, silverware, golden yellow cloth napkins, and water glasses. Appetizers and a water pitcher were waiting for us when we arrived. There are two leaf-shaped metal platform trays on the table to help conserve some space since there will be plenty of food and drinks covering the table top throughout your meal.
Spirit of Aloha has three categories of seating arrayed in front of the stage on two levels. Category 1 seating is front and center, close to the action on stage. Category 2 is in the center of the second level of seating and on the right and left flanks of the lower level Category 1 seating. Category three seating is furthest to the right and left of the seating area on both the lower and upper levels.
As one would expect, these categories correlate to price. Category 1 is $78 per adult and $46 per child (3-9). Category 2 is $74 for adults and $44 for children. Category 3 costs $66 for adults and $39 for kids. If you’re using the Disney Dining Plan, only Categories 2 and 3 are eligible, and they require 2 credits per person on the standard Disney Dining Plan and on the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan.
But let’s stop talking numbers and start talking LUAU!
The entertainment begins as soon as diners are seated. Introductions and a welcome song start the show as diners begin digging into their appetizers.
The stage is well-lit and clearly the focus of the night, as the dining space itself is not particularly bright.
After introductions (as diners continue with their apps), it is time for a hula lesson! ‘Ohana of all ages can participate, and as you can see, it was a ton of fun.
There are a few other interactive parts of the show, including one where grown-ups are invited on stage for a dance lesson and times when performers dance through the dining space, bringing the show to the people. (They didn’t pause for photos, so we’ll spare you the blurry pics!)
As dinner progresses, the entertainment on stage continues. Traditional music, song, and dance take many forms.
Performers also sing “Happy Birthday” for those celebrating in the audience…
…and there’s a romantic song for those enjoying anniversaries, engagements, and marriages.
To give you some perspective on the views, we opted for Category 2 seating, and we were on the upper level. You can see that the “upper level” is really only two steps higher than the lower level, so those of smaller stature may have some difficulty seeing from their seats.
There’s a seat cushion for that! We were dining with kiddos, and we were offered high chairs, booster seats, and these seat cushions to help them see a little better over the crowd.
Note that some of the Category 3 seating may have obstructed views, so consider that when deciding which Category to choose.
The entertainment is timed to coincide with the meal, so throughout the performances, we are attended to by servers who are available to refill drinks, bring second (or third) helpings of food, and assist with anything else diners might need.
The right side of the menu at Spirit of Aloha displays your All-You-Care-To-Enjoy feast items, including Appetizers, Main Courses, and Desserts. There are Na Keiki (kids’) offerings, too, so mention these to your server if you’d like to add them (at no charge). Complimentary beverages include fountain drinks, tea, milk, coffee, and beer or wine for those over 21. You can enjoy unlimited drinks and even change them up through the meal.
The left side of the menu highlights offerings that add to your cost, including the Signature Cocktail, Specialty Cocktails, Craft Beers, and Non-Alcoholic Concoctions.
We went with Beso Del Sol Sangria which was fine. It came with two orange slices and lots of ice. We also ordered a Diet Coke.
The Appetizer platter included some lovely fresh, tropical fruit. We had watermelon and pineapple, and as the meal progressed, we requested seconds of this. The additional fruit was brought in a small bowl, but if we had requested seconds of everything on the platter, they would bring out a second full platter. The same method is used for the Main Courses, too, so hopefully this cuts down on food waste.
The Iceberg Wedge Salad was topped with Ginger-Lime Dressing that we really liked. It’s very ginger-y, though, so if you think you’d like something different, you’ll want to ask.
Our favorite Appetizer was the Edamame Salad with Noodles. This is served cold and lightly dressed, and it was one of our favorite parts of the meal. Definitely dig into this!
It’s packed with corn, edamame, red onion, black beans, and diced tomato. It was light and refreshing.
The Main Course is a platter that consists of a bed of Coconut-Jasmine Rice, Roasted Broccolini with Basil-Olive Oil, Aloha Pulled Pork. Polynesian Barbecued Ribs, and Roasted Chicken.
We loved the fragrant Coconut-Jasmine Rice. Picky eaters may want to see if they can bring plain rice, but if you’re a fan of coconut, this is delicious. We know: it’s rice! But it’s really good!
The Aloha Pulled Pork is flavored with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce. This was tender and flavorful meat that’s presented simply — no sauce on top or served on the side. So you’re getting the Chipotle Barbecue Sauce in the meat itself from the cooking process. The pork was meaty with very little fat. It was probably our favorite protein on the platter.
The Polynesian Barbecued Pork Ribs were also tender and flavorful. This time, there’s sweet sauce poured over the meat once it’s plated, which is good news because when the sauce seeps into the rice, you’ve got a delicious combo!
We enjoyed the ribs, but though the meat was tender, it wasn’t fall-off-the-bone tender, which is what we were hoping for. (You’ll notice there’s a bit of green tucked in there behind the ribs; the seasonal veggie on our visit was Broccolini. It was fine but slightly overcooked. It would be nice to get a separate dish with more vegetables, but this is pretty much a meat fest.)
The Roasted Chicken with Poly-Churri Sauce was seasoned well and quite good. The Poly-Churri Sauce was herbaceous and salty, but we think most picky eaters would still like this. The seasoning was not overpowering.
But if you do have very picky eaters in tow (or kids, as we did), the kids’ menu offers a few options. Disney Check Meals include Grilled Chicken Breast or Fish of the Day served with green beans, brown rice, and fresh fruit. Our little hula dancers opted for the Mini Corn Dogs with Tater Bites and the Cheese Pizza instead.
These two items were standard theme park food, which is good if that’s what you’re looking for. (Picky grown-ups can also request items from the kids’ menu, so note that if you’ve got one in your group!)
When the Main Course platter and plates were removed, our server brought over dessert plates with spoons so we could dig into the family-style sweets.
Dessert included two large portions of two different cakes: Mocha Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Pineapple.
We enjoyed both of these sweet treats, and it was more than enough for four after the previous courses.
The Mocha Chocolate Cake isn’t too heavy on the mocha, but if you’re averse, you can request not to get this. It’s topped with the mini chocolate balls we’re starting to see used on desserts around Walt Disney World. The cake itself was moist and sweet, and the frosting was delicious.
The Toasted Coconut Pineapple Cake is layered with pineapple sauce and coconut, and the whole thing is iced simply with a thin layer of vanilla frosting topped with more coconut. Unsurprisingly, the coconut is pretty strong, and we loved how light this was after all those heavy proteins in the previous course.
The cakes were a great way to end the meal, and while we couldn’t eat more than they brought over, you can request more if you’d like. And that’s a good attribute of this meal: you’re likely not to leave hungry! And each course included items we really liked, so for us, the food was a pleasant surprise.
Luau or Not?
Loosen up your hula hips if:
- You love the festivity of a luau and want to experience Disney’s version.
- It’s time to celebrate a big event in your life with a big event on vacation!
- You are a student of Polynesian culture and want to see how Disney interprets it.
See how far you’ll go elsewhere if:
- You don’t want to experience Disney’s version of Polynesian food and entertainment.
- The Polynesian Village Resort is off the beaten path for you, and you don’t want to travel for dining.
- A lengthy table service meal (it IS quite long) doesn’t fit in your Disney World touring schedule
Spirit of Aloha is a fun experience. The energy of the performers and those moments when they interact with the audience are engaging and truly entertaining. The food at Spirit of Aloha isn’t winning any awards, but it was still tasty, and we enjoyed being able to eat a little of this and a little of that. We think that for most guests, this is probably a one-and-done, but even as such, it’s a fun one-and-done that will leave you with plenty of memories and a sense of aloha which, after all, is the soul of the show.