Thursday, April 18, 2013

Polynesian Cultural Center: part II

The Mission Statement of the Polynesian Cultural Center:

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a unique treasure
created to share with the world
the cultures, diversity and spirit of the nations of Polynesia.
In accomplishing this we will:
  • Preserve and portray the cultures, arts and crafts of Polynesia.
  • Contribute to the educational development and growth of all people at Brigham Young University-Hawai'i and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
  • Demonstrate and radiate a spirit of love and service which will contribute to the betterment,uplifting and blessing of all who visit this special place.
Authentic Tongan snack bar

A sales cart on the "river"

Empty activity area


"Here are some displays and random crap. Figure it out yourself."

"Do not remove the benches"
 I should start this off by saying when we bought our general admission tickets (the lowest package possible) the cost came out to $105 until we showed our Hawaii ID's. Then it came down to $30.  They were running a special rate for locals at the time.

 Seeing the commercials and brochures for the Polynesian Cultural Center, we expected to actually visit a cultural center.  Each of the seven villages boasts that it has a show and cultural activities for you to participate in.  For instance, in Tonga there was supposed to be shuffleboard, spear throwing, basket weaving, and fishing.  Tonga was the first village we went to.  When we arrived, there was already a show happening so we went to visit the cultural activities.  At spear throwing there was no one, we were ignored by three people at basket weaving and we couldn't even find shuffle board. At this point the show was ending and we watched as tour guides led large groups of people to the activities, then all of the sudden, the basket weaver was ready to go!

That was when we figured it out. Yes, there are some cultural activities for you to participate in but, if you actually want to do them you need to  A) Pay extra for a guided tour or B) Follow the tour groups around. Because apparently they only do the cultural activities after the shows which is only every couple hours. But after the show is over and each tour group goes from one activity to the next, they don't keep doing activities, they were done until the next show or tour group arrived. We walked through every single village and the only place where anyone said "can I answer any questions or show you anything" was at Iospea which is a replica of a  big canoe that was used during ancient migration. Some of the villages we walked through there were people in the employees only area talking very loudly about their weekend plans and Friday nights. The only places where there was constantly people ready to help was anywhere you could spend money.  Snack bars and gift shops were everywhere. Even on the "river" during the canoe pageant. 

But, even after you get past the fact that you probably aren't going to be able to do any activities, the village displays aren't very good.  Half of them had corners or back walls filled with junk like cardboard boxes, old tables, trash, and more.  There is also a healthy amount of information on how the Mormons helped these cultures with their missionary work. Also, nearly all of the benches have signs that said "Don't move" because apparently they have a really big bench theft problem there. 

Each time we went to jump on a canoe ride, we were denied.  The only way we got on one was when we ended up with a tour group briefly.  It was purely by accident, so I hope we're not contacted to pay additional fees or charged with theft of services.  

We couldn't believe that if we had come here on vacation we would of wasted a whole day driving out there and then spent over  $100 to be ignored and learn nothing.

Even more to come...

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