Trying to choose Mary Ann's and my favorite dining experiences is an extremely difficult selection to pin down. There are so many places at which we love to dine while at Walt Disney World. In reality, during every visit we find a new favorite so the list just keeps on growing. As a result, I will use our last visit as the focus of my post, and then add a highlight five more at the end.
It is safe to say ‘Ohana was our favorite restaurant during our last trip in October. It had all the characteristics of a great Disney restaurant. We love buffets, since you pick among the many items available, especially items different than the norm. It’s why we love Boma as well. ‘Ohana takes this to a different level, in that the food is plentiful, different than an everyday restaurant at the parks and brought to you family style.
Another reason: 'Ohana is a great choice for couples, families or even larger groups as you feel that everyone is welcome and part of a giant family. This is emphasized through the very entertaining atmosphere; it’s fun to visit the Polynesian Resort and to eat at ‘Ohana.
As a result I believe it is a real value to dine there, especially if you are on the Dining Plan. It is clearly a high quality use of a single table service credit. Out-of-pocket expense is moderate for Disney restaurants, and the prices will change (go higher) depending on the season. The most recent cost for adults I've seen is $33.00 for dinner, and for kids up to 9 years old, $16.00. Breakfast is $21.00 and $12.00 respectively. 'Ohana Open Fire Pit
The Polynesian itself has some of the most wonderful scenic views of anywhere in WDW, such as standing on the beach and enjoying a glorious sunset (or the fireworks) with the Magic Kingdom as a background. The picture windows of ‘Ohana offers this same experience.
'Ohana is located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. There is a Lilo and Stitch character breakfast (also Mickey and Pluto), but what we attended was the family-style Polynesian feast where meats and seafood are grilled over an open fire pit. 'Ohana means "family" in Hawaiian culture, and the seating and atmosphere reflect that. And you are all "cousins" at 'Ohana.
There’s no specific menu to choose from, everyone shares in everything they offer that evening. Mary Ann and I were also lucky and were seated near the rear windows, which was a real treat during the fireworks as the music and narrative are piped into the dining room plus we had a great view of the show.
The 'Ohana Parade during dinner.
Let me review some the menu, but first, you need to pace yourself and don't fill-up before you get to the main course. There is the 'Ohana Welcome Bread infused with coconut and pineapple and then salad covered with honey-lime dressing. Next are appetizers of chicken wings, pork fried dumplings, some of the best Asian-style noodles (similar to Lo-Mein) I have ever had and steamed vegetables of broccoli, snow peas and carrots.
Eventually you get to the main course (really, more food) broiled to perfection over an oak fire. Large skewers of Turkey, Asian BBQ Pork Loin, Steak, and Shrimp (unpeeled). They also provide dipping sauces with a recommendation for each of your main course items; however I mixed them up and enjoyed them all. There are three, a peanut sauce, chimichurri sauce and a mustard sauce. How many? I'll take them all!
You conclude with a large slice of 'Ohana bread pudding a la mode with Banana Foster sauce. I must admit, it was a struggle to eat even a couple of bites, in fact, Mary Ann and I shared a single serving, since I couldn't have been more stuffed than I was.
And although we haven’t yet, we plan on taking in the ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast at the Poly. The menu selections include scrambled eggs, Island-style fried potatoes, Hawaiian pork sausages, smoked bacon and a variety of fresh fruits and breads and also served family style.
I’ve written a full review of our Ohana experience after our last visit which you can visit by clicking here
. And for some other articles, here are some web links you can check out.
By the way, there are two great new foodie resources for everyone planning their next trip to Walt Disney World. First, the Disney Dining FAQ from the Disney Food Blog
. It includes guides to the restaurants, information on the Dining Plan and various discounts, the “best of” categories and more. And blogger AJ has added a wonderful new comprehensive resource, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining
. It’s now my second “must purchase” guidebook every year. The DFB Guide $19 and it’s worth it, but if you also sign up for her online newsletter, I’ve seen a discount posted there on occasion. (My first favorite is The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2011 (Unofficial Guides)
.) And don't forget the Coconut Races.
And as promised, from our most recent trips
to the World, these would be more great places to eat and must be considered for your own bucket lists (in no particular order). Plus, it’s grown to 10 (I couldn’t do just five), broken down in Table Service and Counter Service categories.
- Boma in Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Flying Fish on the Boardwalk
- Kouzzina on the Boardwalk
- Sanaa in Kidani Village
- Via Napoli in Italy (Epcot)
- Columbia Harbour House (Magic Kingdom)
- Flame Tree Barbeque (Animal Kingdom)
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn (Magic Kingdom)
- Sunshine Seasons (Epcot)
- Wolfgang Puck Express (Downtown Disney)
A WORLD VIEW