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Disney World Rivalry: ‘Ohana Potatoes vs. Noodles

'Ohana Entry One thing that’s constant about Disney World is that it’s always changing, and that goes for restaurants as well. One in particular that can’t ever seem to maintain a dinner menu is the Polynesian Resort’s ‘Ohana. Over the many years I’ve been frequenting the World, ‘Ohana’s menu has been re-vamped at least four times.

I was there for the lazy susan with the fried rice. I was there for the pineapple with the caramel. I was there when they had the shrimp, and then they didn’t have the shrimp, and then they had the shrimp as an appetizer, and then they had the shrimp on the skewers again. I was there when the sausage came and went and came again, and when the chicken turned into turkey. Usually I just go with the flow. As long as I can get unlimited meat, I’m good to go.

But one of the recent changes was jarring. Nay…it was painful.

The loss of the scalloped potatoes.

RIP Scalloped Potatoes (photo courtesy Brett Young)

RIP Scalloped Potatoes (photo courtesy Brett Young)

In around 2005 (correct me if I’m wrong), a new sheriff (i.e. chef) came into town (i.e. ‘Ohana) and changed up the whole service of the restaurant. The lazy susan, on which appetizers had been served family style, was replaced with white ceramic bowls of food. The pineapple bread briefly went AWOL. There were suddenly fried wonton chips instead of dumplings. The pineapple and caramel was gone. It was a massacre.

But then the potatoes came.

It was as though the heavens had opened. I was a huge fan of scalloped potatoes — always had been — and these were incredible. ‘Ohana suddenly gained a permanent spot on my Priority Seating Arrangement list. We started requesting that they just bring two dishes of potatoes at the beginning of the meal, because we knew we’d polish them off.

So you can imagine our displeasure when, just about a year later, we arrived to find this instead of our beloved potatoes:

'Ohana Noodles

'Ohana Noodles

Inquiring as to the absence of our potatoes, our server made it very clear that 1.) She was tired of answering questions about the potatoes, and 2.) The reason was because the potatoes had trans fats, and the NON-trans-fats version the chef had tried was not as well liked as the original.

Now, she didn’t explicitly state that the disappearance of the potatoes was New York City’s fault, but we all know it is. Bloomberg and his team are clearly to blame for this abomination. Sigh.*

So, folks, I know that many of you actually prefer the noodles to the potatoes. And I, too, agree that they’re fine, and that we’ve been guilty of eating our fair share of the healthier dish. But every once in a while I miss that scrumptious, buttery (i.e. lard-y) bowl of starch and onions. Yes. Yes I do.

'Ohana Tiki

Let me know what you think about ‘Ohana’s changes — and about other dishes you miss at Disney World — by sending me a message or commenting on this blog post.

*Of course, in reality, I have no idea if this had anything to do with the decision. Or if the potatoes actually had trans fats. But it all made perfect sense at the time.

Potatoes photo courtesy @MrBrettYoung

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13 Comments

  1. Gray says:

    LOL! That 2nd paragraph is a hoot! You can always tell someone loves food when they mark the passing of the years by what food was served in their favorite restaurant.

    Having never eaten at Ohana at all, I can’t weigh in on the potato vs. noodle debate, but in general I have to agree it’s best not to consume trans fats.

  2. Michael says:

    WHAT THE FRAK?! THE POTATOES ARE GONE??!!!??!!!?! WHAT THE WHAT??!!!

    When did this happen?! The last time I was there, so were the potatoes!! I hadn’t heard this!! TRAGEDY…

    OK, I was mad when they heard they had brought the potatoes, and sure they have frak-all to do with Polynesia. But when I tasted them… Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I’d found you.

    This is a disaster of epic proportions. Literally – epic proportions of potatoes. Delicious cheesy potatoes.

    I’ve always wanted to have an “official” timeline of Ohana deliciousness. There were the dark days, when things got very cheap due to cost-cutting, but it’s rebounded nicely. What’s ironic is that the potatoes replaced the rice with replaced, in Ohana’s very early days, lo mein noodles. Is this the circle of life at work?

    I’m also trying to remember what the sausage replaced when it first arrived. I think there was salmon with the lo mein at first…

    Thank you for providing the public service of this warning. If I had gone in there expecting scalloped potatoes and found none, I might have flown into a rage and stabbed a hobo.

  3. admin says:

    Michael, I know. Tragedy is the correct word. And, of course, there’ve been rumors that the potatoes are coming back…but these have surfaced intermittently since their disappearance. It’s as though people really want to believe… . Alas.

    At this point, IMHO, ‘Ohana is hanging by the bread-pudding-with-bananas-foster-sauce thread. We shall see what happens next.

  4. Catie says:

    I was never fortunate to have the potatoes…but oh! those noodles are so good. Not usually a fan of pastas and breads (they’re so filling!) but I have been dreaming of those noodles since I left there last. I even tried to make them myself at home…which was a total waste of time. Sort of broke my heart, too. Waiting patiently to return to have the noodles again.

  5. Corri says:

    I agree with Catie. I have not had the potatoes, but I can NOT wait to get back to Ohana for those noodles. I imagine I would be pretty disappointed to find they had been taken off the menu (as the scalloped potato person was)after looking forward to having them. Does anyone have a good recipe for these noodles?

  6. Jill says:

    I think this noodle/potato situation reminds me of the movie Step Mom. These noodles, much like Julia Roberts, are fine but they could never fill the place of a dish like Susan Sarandon who is the scalloped potatoes.

  7. AJ says:

    Ba ha ha!! Jill, that’s awesome!

  8. I’m crying all over again over the loss of those potatoes. Many of us that have been gastrically altered find the noodles are like the alien in the movie of the same name. They take on a life of their own and, alas, must eventually evacuate the host in an ugly fashion.

    But the potatoes. Ahhhhh. Glorious, wonderful, delicious potatoes.

    Please pass the tissues :-(

  9. Elizabeth says:

    We’ve eaten at Ohana quite a few times over the years, and have even seen chicken, pork, turkey, steak, shrimp, etc… but Alas! somehow we missed the potatoes and have always been served the noodles. After reading this, I wish we could have tried the potatoes, they sounded wonderful!

  10. Dee says:

    I’ve only been to Disney once, in November 2010 and ate at Ohana and I still crave those noodles. Seriously, I’ve never been fixated on a certain food before, but I would give about anything for some more of those noodles. I’ve tried and tried to recreate the recipe, but just can’t measure up to what I was served that night.

    So we are booked to go back in September and I have two dinner ADR’s at Ohana. I was so tempted to only eat dinner there all week, but not sure the hubbie or son would approve of that, lol. I originally had three dinner ADR’s but cancelled one for Chef Mickey’s…since we are going to celebrate our little boys 4th birthday that seemed like the right thing to do :-)

  11. David R says:

    Before 2005, this place was a MUST-GO. After the changes it got divided into two camps that were easy to define. The first was the group that had been there before the changes, and thought it wasn’t as good. The second were people who had not eaten there before 2005, were going for the first time, and that group loved it.

    It seems each time this place “overhauls” it progressively isn’t as good as what it was previously.

    While Ill agree the potatoes were really good, I never understood their inclusion into the theme. Hawaii isn’t exactly famous for potato dishes. And the removal of the pineapple spears for the dessert was really bad for keeping to the theme as well.

    Things go in cycles though. Hopefully in 5 years we will all be here talking about how awesome the new changes are at Ohana!

  12. Suzanne says:

    So, I’m a little late to the party, but…

    I think you got served AJ. Served a side of bologna with those noodles! I’ve made those potatoes many times and while they are loaded with saturated fat, there’s no trans fat in them!

    I agree that potatoes are not particularly Polynesian, and the noodles are yummy, but long live Maui scallopedpotatoes!! (My tablet insists that scalloped potatoes is one word, except, not now.)

  13. Donna says:

    The potatoe should still be an options .im on vacation if I want to clog my arteries it is my right.

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