Oahu, Hawaii – Visiting The Dole Plantation

In July 2019 my husband and I took a week long trip to Hawaii. We visited the islands of Kauai and Oahu. Part of our stay on Oahu was at Disney’s Aulani Resort. I am writing a blog series to cover our entire trip. My goal is to help you get an idea about what visiting Hawaii is like, offer some activity options, and to review our accommodations, dining and other experiences. See the links below to read about other portions of this vacation. 

Kauaihttps://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/10/21/my-trip-to-the-hawaiian-island-of-kauai/

Waikiki & Honoluluhttps://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/11/02/waikiki-and-honolulu-hawaii/

Pearl Harbor https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/11/10/visiting-pearl-harbor-oahu-hawaii/

Disney Aulani https://4ears4eyesforthemagic.travel.blog/2020/05/13/aulani-disney-in-hawaii/

I am a travel agent and I would love to help you plan your trip to Hawaii or anywhere else! All of my travel services are complimentary. 

If you would like to discuss your next adventure contact me at: katiev@themagicsyours.com 

Why Hawaii?

Really why not Hawaii? It is absolutely beautiful, has tons to do, offers something for every aged or type of traveler. Plus is you are coming from the mainland US you won’t have to worry about passports or changing money or any of the hassles of international travel. But you will feel like you are somewhere very different from home. 

We choose Hawaii as part of our journey to visit all 50 states as a couple, this was state 47. This was my second visit to Hawaii and my husbands first. 

Check out my Oahu post above to see why we choose to visit Oahu as an island. 

What Is The Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation located in Wahiawa, Oahu is a top attraction for vacationers. The Dole company started out in 1900 when James Drummond Dole, recently arrived in Hawaii, bought a 61-acre tract of land in Wahiawa, including today’s plantation. He was not the first to grow pineapples on Hawaii but he was the first to produce them on a large scale and eventually created a global agricultural empire. By the 1920’s Dole had huge plantations across Oahu and Lana’i. The company grew to the household name it is today. Currently the vast majority of Dole pineapples are grown in South American but some are still grown in Hawaii today including at the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa. Today you can visit The Dole Plantation and see how pineapples and other fruits are grown along with enjoying several other experiences. 

Getting There

The Dole Plantation is in Wahiawa and is about a 40 minute drive from Waikiki. If you plan to visit the North Shore the Dole Plantation is on the way. The simplest way to get to the Dole Planation is to drive there, and parking is free. You can take public bus transportation but the trip will take you much longer. Most resorts likely offer a visit to the planation as an excursion as well. We drove from Disney’s Aulani Resort and found the drive easy, it took around a half hour. 

Tickets

While you can visit the store and the dining opportunities without paying admission if you want to do any of the activities you will need to purchase tickets. Each activity, described below, has a separate cost, and you can bundle them in any way you would like. Each activity costs $12 and under per adult and $10 and under per children. A military discount is available. Children under 4 are free. You can purchase tickets before you visit on their website or once you arrive. 

The Plantation Grille & Store 

The Plantation Grille is your dining option at the Dole Plantation. Here you will find a counter service dining location with outdoor seating. They offer a few breakfast and lunch options, many featuring pineapple. The stars of the show here are the desserts most featuring pineapple. The signature Dole Whip is of course available here and my favorite. (This frozen treat is even dairy free) You may recognize Dole Whip from Disney Parks as they are a popular treat served there as well. My recommendation would be to plan to absolutely grab a treat here but make sure you are interested in the lunch or breakfast menu offered before you plan to eat a meal here.  

In the same building you have the retail store where you will find all of the Dole and pineapples themed souvenirs you could possibly imagine plus some finer local items. Including lots of pre-packaged food items. In the store you will also find pineapple cutting and preparing demonstrations. There is also a coffee bar. While we didn’t leave with any items this would be a great place to grab some pineapple treats to bring home for friends and family. 

Pineapple Express Train Tour

The highlight of a visit to the Dole Plantation is the train tour. You board one of the adorable vintage, trains for a 2 mile, 20 minute fully narrated tour. Be prepared to wait in line before you board the train. We were there during the a summer day at mid-morning and we waited in line (under cover) about 30 minutes to board our train. As you board they will take a commemorative photo for you that you can choose to purchase on your exit. During the tour you will see pineapples, bananas, and several other foods growing and learn how they are harvested and eventually make their way to your grocery store. I found it very interesting to see how all of these foods grow and the kind of machinery that harvests them. If you visit the Dole Plantation the train tour is not to be missed in my opinion. 

Plantation Garden Tour

The garden tour allows you to wonder through eight different gardens and get an up-close and person view of many of the foods you saw on the train tour from coffee to tropical fruit to colorful cacao pods. The gardens include many flowers including lei flowers like plumeria, pikake, and pua kenikeni. You can even use the Dole Plantation app to listen to Hawaiian folklore stories while you walk. If you are a big garden fan this is a great opportunity. We choose not to participate in the garden tour but did find that the landscaping around the main area and store were lovely. We were able to see pineapples up close in the general landscaping between the train boarding area and the store. 

Pineapple Garden Maze

This giant garden maze is over 3 acres and is crafted with many Hawaiian plants. Enter the maze and seek 8 hidden stations where you can stamp your maze map. As you find each station you will learn facts about Hawaii and start to unlock the mystery of the maze. You can even enhance your journey with the Dole Plantation app. Our time in the maze was enjoyable but we did lose interest before completing our map and finding all 8 stations. I think this would be a much more enjoyable experience for those traveling with children. If I were to visit again with just adults I would have chose the garden over the maze. Of course you can always choose to do all three experiences as well. 

Who Should Visit?

Though it is certainly a tourist attraction and that can turn some visitors off I recommend making a stop at the Dole Plantation if you have access to a car, or resort shuttle during your stay. There is something that everyone can enjoy between the three activities. 

I would recommend this destination most highly for families. There is a lot for kids to enjoy here. Also for those who are big gardeners, it’s an opportunity to see a lot of tropical plant life. 

Keep in mind that you will be outside for almost all of your visit and plan to dress and prepare accordingly. 

No matter who you are make sure you try at least one of the pineapple treats from the Plantation Grille!

I am a travel agent and I would love to help you plan your trip to Hawaii or anywhere else! All of my travel services are complimentary. 

If you would like to discuss your next adventure contact me at: katiev@themagicsyours.com 

Published by katiethemagicsyours

I am in independent travel agent with The Magic's Yours Travel. Here to plan all your Disney adventures, at no cost to you! I am a wife, cat mom, Aunt, Marylander, traveler, runner, and Disney fanatic. I have personal experience with Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line and Disney's Aulani, and I am here to share it with you. Contact me today for a FREE quote at katiev@themagicsyourstravel.com www.themagicsyours.com

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