Yester California Adventure at Yesterland

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau

Continuously from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily
Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau banner

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

It’s 2002 at Yester California Adventure. Young Hawaiian girl Lilo and her “dog” Stitch—actually a dangerous extra-terrestrial fugitive—invite you to hang around the Pizza Oom Mow Mow patio area for Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow, a California surf culture-themed counter-service restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, is the most Hawaiian part of California Adventure. After all, the state’s surf culture was imported from Hawai‘i.

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, Lilo and hostess

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

“Aloha!” from the emcee

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, Lilo and audience

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Hawai‘i in California

What are Hawai‘i residents Lilo and Stitch doing in a park whose theme is California? The official story is that they’re taking a California vacation. They brought their Ohana Luau along, complete with the hula and the limbo. Of course, Lilo brought her favorite Elvis Presley songs.

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, Lilo dancing with hostess

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Gathering around for live music and dance

On a specially built stage, the stars of the animated feature, along with Hawaiian drummers and tropically-attired hosts and hostesses, take turns entertaining guests.

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, hula lesson

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Learning how to hula

“Ohana” means family, so there are plenty of family activities. Enjoy games, such as Lilo’s “Hang Loose, Man!,” a Hawaiian-themed “hangman” game. Take hula lessons. Do the limbo. Try to win a hula-hoop contest.

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, Lilo at edge of stage

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Kids at the edge of the stage

There’s more for kids than just watching the performers and interacting with them. Kids can create Hawaiian-themed souvenirs at the “ArtsVenture” activity area. Hawaiian-garbed Cast Members show kids how to make and decorate miniature surfboards, paper orchids, and ti leaf bracelets and anklets.

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, Lilo

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Parade approaching?

The Ohana Luau goes on almost continuously for seven and one half hours every day. The only pause is when Eureka! The California Adventure Parade passes by each afternoon.

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, Lilo’s Photo Hut

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Meeting Stitch at Lilo’s Photo Hut

If you’ve seen the film Lilo & Stitch, you know that Lilo was an avid photographer. So visit Lilo’s Photo Hut adjacent to the Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau for a photo with Stitch. Perhaps Lilo will come over too.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow sign

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

Pineapple and ham-topped pizza available inside

What’s a luau without food? Don’t worry. There are some special island-style menu items at Pizza Oom Mow Mow. How about pineapple and ham-topped pizza? Maybe you’d prefer pineapple-banana shortcakes. Quench your thirst with Hawaiian specialty drinks.

If you sit outdoors, you’ll enjoy the music from Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau. If you prefer to sit indoors, Pizza Oom Mow has new background music in honor of the luau. Listen to Elvis tunes, such as Elvis’ original recordings of “Blue Hawaii” and “Rock-A-Hula Baby.” How about “Burnin’ Love” performed by Wynonna Judd and “Can’t Help Falling In Love” performed by the A*Teens from the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack? Annette Funicello fans will enjoy “Pineapple Princess” and other Hawaiian-themed classics by Annette.

Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau, Lilo’s feet

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Boots that look like bare feet in sandals

There’s Lilo & Stitch merchandise available nearby. Alas, you can’t buy boots like the ones that Lilo wears. Wouldn’t you like boots that have molded plastic toes? If you live in a northern climate, just think of the looks you’d get trudging through the snow.

Lilo & Stitch, the traditionally animated feature from Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida, opened in U.S. movie theaters on June 21, 2002. The same day, Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau opened adjacent to the Pizza Oom Mow Mow outdoor patio at Disney’s California Adventure park. The Ohana Luau ran daily through September 30, 2002.

Guests who expected something resembling an actual Hawaiian luau or a big movie tie-in show, along the lines of The Spirit of Pocahontas, were disappointed. Ohana Luau was small-scale entertainment.

But other guests—especially those with young children—who came upon the festivities while walking around the Paradise Pier Lagoon enjoyed the energetic performers, the activities for children, and the opportunity for a picture with Stitch.

During summer 2002, Ohana Luau was the only location at the Disneyland Resort at which the characters from Lilo and Stitch appeared. Any guests looking for a “meet and greet” with the popular stars of the successful 2002 animated feature had to visit Disneyland Park’s much less popular neighbor.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow opened in February 2001 as one of the original eateries of Disney’s California Adventure. It closed permanently in September 2010, as part of California Adventure’s billion dollar makeover.

In the years since 2002, Lilo and Stitch have appeared in parades and meet-and-greets at Disney theme parks in North America, Europe, and Asia. There were shows too—notably Lilo & Stitch Catch the Wave Party, a stage show in Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris, and Lilo’s Luau & Fun, a lunchtime show at the Polynesian Terrace Restaurant in Tokyo Disneyland.

Angel and Stitch at Aulani

Photo courtesy of Disney Signature Experiences, 2021 © Disney

Angel (experiment 624) and Stitch (experiment 626) at Aulani

You might think that Lilo and Stitch would be part of the character schedule at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i.

You would be half right.

Stitch appears at Aulani, but Lilo does not. It you ask a cast member where Lilo is, you’re likely to be told she’s in school or surfing with her sister. If you wait until school is out and the ocean is completely calm, you still won’t find Lilo at Aulani.

Lilo’s absence could be justified as maintaining “story.” When traditional Disney characters appear at Aulani, they’re visiting the resort from the mainland—just as Lilo and Stitch were visiting Disney’s California Adventure from Hawai‘i. Stitch is a mischievous character who can fly all over Hawai‘i, so it makes sense that he would pop up at Aulani. Lilo, on the other hand, is a child on Kauai who would be unlikely to visit an expensive resort on O‘ahu.

However, a more likely explanation is that having a “rubberhead” representing a local child could be seen as inappropriate and even insulting. Lilo is too young to be played by a face character, so that’s not an option.

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Updated April 8, 2022