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This is the Disneyland version of Polynesia, operated by the Mormon Church. It’s a great show for families, informative and fun (the droll Samoan presentation amuses both adults and children). Here you can see the lifestyles, songs, dance, costumes, and architecture of six Pacific islands or archipelagos—Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Hawaii—in the re-created villages scattered throughout the 42-acre lagoon park. You won’t be able to see it all in a day, but a day is enough.

Native students from Polynesia who attend Hawaii’s Brigham Young University are the “inhabitants” of each village. They engage the audience with spear-throwing competitions, coconut tree–climbing presentations, and invitations to pound Tongan drums. One of my favorite shows is the canoe pageant, daily at 2:30pm; each island puts on a representation of their dance, music, and costume atop canoes in the lagoon. 

Don’t miss Ha: Breath of Life, a coming-of-age story told through the different Polynesian dances, some full of grace, some fierce, and all thrilling. It’s one of Oahu’s better shows.

Just beyond the center is the Hawaii Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, built of volcanic rock and concrete in the form of a Greek cross; it includes reflecting pools, formal gardens, and royal palms. Completed in 1919, it was the first Mormon temple built outside the continental United States. An optional tour of the Temple Visitors Center, as well as neighboring Brigham Young University Hawaii, is included in the package admission price.