Did you know that the sights and sounds of the Pacific Islands are right here in Daytona Beach? While I had heard about Polynesian Fire when it was beachside, it was not until this past spring, after it moved Downtown to 180 Beach Street, that I was able to attend. I enjoyed it so much as a date with my husband that I went back about a month later with friends!
You will need to make a reservation ahead of time by phone or on the website, as there is assigned seating. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a lei and led to your seat. I did not realize until my second visit that the lovely men and women taking you to your seats are actually the performers, a Samoan family from the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. So please be extra polite as these are the folks that will be handling fire in front of you very soon!
Dinner is first with a buffet of options. There are salads, fried rice, meats like pulled pork and teriyaki chicken, and steamed vegetables. Dessert and drinks like tea, soda and lemonade are included in the meal. There is a cash bar with some of Daytona’s finest bartenders behind it, too! I highly recommend the Funky Monkey as the perfect chocolate and banana dessert drink to sip on during the show.
My first visit was in April for my birthday. You can write on your reservation on the website when booking tickets if you are celebrating anything special, like birthdays or anniversaries. Don’t skip this line as the performers will announce, by name, all the special occasions during the musical portion of the show, while eating dinner. They called my name and others and then led the audience in singing, “Happy Birthday” to us in two different languages!
Getting into the show portion and speaking of multiple languages, I really enjoyed how each island we “visited” was introduced by teaching us a greeting in a native tongue. The most well-known probably being “Aloha!” when in Hawaii. The dances were explained before being performed, too. As examples, traditional hula dances include a big smile on the dancer’s face while a warrior dance demands no smiling at all.
Besides audience participation in learning new phrases, we were taught how to dance ourselves! The men were invited to learn a Haka, as tribes in New Zealand would, and the women learned how to Hula. I really need to work on my moves, but it was a great way to get out of our seats and take part in the fun of the evening!
“Fun” really is my key takeaway from both visits. You can feel the heat of the fire as multiple dances include clubs, knives or torches lit up in seemingly dangerous and yet beautiful displays. The performers tell jokes along the way and stay after the show for pictures. Everyone does a great job of welcoming locals and tourists into this new ’Ohana, or family, where Polynesia meets Daytona Beach!
180 N. Beach Street