Aulani doesn’t have a luau like some of the other resorts. Instead there’s the Starlit Hui, which is like a luau with just a stage show and activities beforehand, no meal. It’s held at 7:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays only, which worked out perfectly with our vow renewal. I’d read a few things about guests lining up early to get good spots on the lawn in front of the stage, so I asked my planner if our vow renewal entitled us to any kind of reserved seating or early entry or something (gotta milk that package for all it’s worth!). There’s nothing officially part of the package, but she put me in touch with someone in the entertainment department who promised to set aside a spot for us in the front and asked if we wanted chairs or just a mat. Not wanting to tick off all the families sitting on the lawn behind us, we went with the mat.
After dinner we walked from ‘AMA ‘AMA around the end of the Ewa tower to the Halawai Lawn (which you may recall is one of the wedding venues) and found them still setting up for the hui.
The pool area is really lovely after dark, so we went to try to get some photos. I hope the Roots got some, cuz ours don’t really show the neat lighting effects in the fountains over the lazy river.
When we got back to the Halawai Lawn, we found the cheerful cast member who’d set aside our spot, and she brought us up to the very front row. Awesome!
Our buddy the Storyteller made a pre-show announcement about the craft stations that families could visit before the hui started. Some of the dancers also came out and taught hula lessons in front of the stage, which made for *adorable* preshow entertainment by the kids in the audience. It was also a chance to begin to identify some of our fellow guests. I imagine that Aulani feels a bit like a cruise ship because you start to see the same guests over and over. The pouty little boy from the photo op that morning turned up in the hula line, and we later ran into some of the other hula dancers in the elevators or at restaurants and felt like we sorta knew them!
Cast members were leading various craft projects on the perimeter of the seating area.
The first act in the show was a trio performing traditional songs. They were quite good!
Now polished performers, the children from the preshow dance class returned to bring down the house.
The next act was a group of female dancers wearing dresses designed by Hefty and male dancers wearing almost nothing at all…
Some of the Yelp reviews I’ve read of the various luaus on the island contain a lot of virtual drool over scantily clad male performers, but I didn’t expect that kind of pec-flexing and hip-thrusting at Disney’s show. Glancing over at Jensey, I saw a mirror image of my own horrified expression, and we both cracked up!
Up next was a dueling ukulele act. It seemed a bit cheesy at first, but the performers were so charming—and accomplished!—that they whipped the audience into a frenzy as they played faster and faster, practically burning up their fretboards.
Another dance number…
And just when you thought it was over….
… it turned into a character dance party.
…And that’s all she wrote! The hordes of now thoroughly amped-up children were returned to parents who had absolutely NO idea how they’d get their offspring to go to bed now.
The Starlit Hui was fun—certainly way more polished and professional than it had to be for a free show—but not something to plan your whole trip around. For us it was close enough to a luau that we didn’t feel like we needed to go pay for one, but I don’t think it’s a substitute if you are looking for the full luau experience.