Review: Breakfast at Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

You’re in for a real treat today as we take in breakfast at one of my favorite spots, Kona Cafe!

You’ll find Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The hotel continues to undergo vast renovations, but we’re so happy to report that Kona Cafe seems to be sticking around!

Meals at this spot are pretty consistently good. Lunch at Kona can offer a welcome respite from Magic Kingdom. And dinner is a hidden gem — many swear by Kona’s Steak. But breakfast offers some serious cult favorites for Disney veterans.

Atmosphere

Kona Cafe is located off of the center atrium at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s conveniently situated for guests of both the Polynesian, and, well, anywhere! Just steps away from the Monorail, it’s a quick ride from both the Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Disney Food Blog Kona-Sign-

Entrance to Kona Cafe

You may be tempted to dismiss Kona without much thought. After all, its open atmosphere makes it seem like any plain jane hotel restaurant. And I agree — it does look like a Hilton straight out of the mid-90s.

The general feel of the space is supposed to be tropical. Bold colors abound on walls and carpet, while lighter-stained wood and wrought iron round out the space.

DFB Kona-dining-room

Kona Cafe Atmosphere and Seating

Because it’s located off of the atrium, Imagineers have made an effort to give it sort of a garden feel. As a result, some of the lights, like these large leaf-shaped glass fixtures, mimic nature patterns.

more lights Kona Cafe

Lighting Fixtures

One of my favorite decorative features are the ceiling fans that run the length of the dining room.

lights Kona Cafe

These Super Cool Ceiling Fans Keep the Air Moving Nicely

The carpet is very…colorful. Big, splashy exotic blooms are scattered across it. Look closely, and you may just find a familiar shape among the flowers. :-)

Hidden-Mickey-in-Carpet Kona Cafe

Hidden Mickey, Hidden Very Well Indeed

Seating is a combination of round and rectangular tables. If you’re with your whole fam, this is a nice place to settle in!

Seating

Seating

The mixed seating with banquettes on one side and chairs on the other are a good compromise.

Seating Area

Booth Seating

A lot of times, we make a big deal about the view of the Monorail at the Contemporary when you’re dining at Chef Mickey’s. But did you know that you can also see it when you dine at Kona? Here’s proof!

Lighting and a View Outside

View of the Monorail Coming into the Station

But, it’s super not as fun since you can’t hear it, and it’s not exactly whizzing by overhead. ;-)

But we’re not here for the vehicle view anyway…let’s get to eating!

Eats

If you’ve been reading Disney Food Blog for any length of time, then you know that Kona is one of my favorite spots for breakfast. The biggest reason for this distinction is their selection of unique menu offerings.

Breakfast Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Breakfast Menu — Click to Enlarge

This visit was late last Fall, and I was happy to find that, in addition to the regular menu, Kona was offering one of their seasonal treats…Pumpkin Pancakes!

Breakfast Special -- Pumpkin Pancakes!!

Breakfast Special — Pumpkin Pancakes!!

We began our meal with some of Kona’s best beverages. If you visit, you have to try the Liliko’i Juice. A blend of Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava Juices, it’s pretty much the same as POG Juice and Jungle Juice, which you’ll find at other Disney restaurants. They just re-name it depending on the restaurant’s theme.

Lilikoi Juice

Liliko’i Juice

If you’re a coffee lover, you should definitely order a Press Pot of Kona Coffee, which serves two.

French Press of Kona Coffee

French Press of Kona Coffee

Soon enough, our food began to arrive, and I couldn’t wait to dig into those Pumpkin Pancakes. They’re served with Maple Pecan Butter, and they come with your choice of Bacon, Ham, or Sausage.

These were pretty good, but I really needed more butter! :-D Unfortunately, my server was pretty scarce during this visit, so by the time I got the chance to ask for more, I’d already eaten what I’d wanted of the pancakes.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes

And speaking of specialty pancakes, Kona offers different versions throughout the year. Keep an eye out soon for their Red Velvet pancake special, which should pop up for Valentine’s Day. They’re served with a cream cheese icing!

Valentine's Day Treat: Red Velvet Pancakes at Kona Cafe

Valentine’s Day Treat: Red Velvet Pancakes at Kona Cafe

If the specialty pancake isn’t your thing, though, we can recommend the Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes — another guest favorite at Kona.

Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes with Bacon

Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes with Bacon

The second order of the morning was something I’d actually never tried — the Samoan. This is sorta-kinda the Hawaiian cousin of Eggs Benedict. A little.

Poached Eggs sit atop a savory Pulled Pork Hash.

The Samoan

The Samoan

The stack is topped with a rich, tangy Hollandaise Sauce, and is garnished liberally with Arugula.

The Samoan -- Up Close

The Samoan — Up Close

The Eggs were were just you’d want when it comes to poached-ness. The whites were just set, while the yolk still slightly gooey.

The Samoan -- A Perfectly Poached Egg

The Samoan — A Perfectly Poached Egg

The Pulled Pork Hash was a flavorful addition to the mix. The Shredded Pork is moist and tender, and the diced White Potatoes do a great job of taking on all of the flavor of the meat. Together with the rich egg and hollandaise, it’s a great combination.

The Samoan Pulled Pork -- Up Close

The Samoan Pulled Pork — Up Close

So, I’ll admit, we skipped the Tonga Toast this time — I know! But be assured, it’s still on the menu. And it still looks great!

Tonga Toast with Bacon from Kona Cafe Will Keep You Going

Tonga Toast with Bacon

Another incredible breakfast at Kona! And fueled up for the day, it was time to see what we could get into!

And just a quick hello here to the awesome family I met while I was there! (They were sitting next to me!) Mom and Dad and two beautiful little girls — it was so fun to talk to you guys!

Overall

It’s so funny. There are places at Disney that are so inconsistent, so unpredictable, and then there are spots that you can count on every single time you visit to deliver in terms of food and service. Kona Cafe is on that short list.

We have visited for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and honestly, it’s always good to great. It’s not the decor to be sure. There’s no immersive experience at Kona. But the meals have been worth the money on a regular basis. And with breakfast items that are delicious and original, a visit to Kona is a fantastic way to start your Disney day.

Is dining at Kona Cafe for breakfast part of your busy Disney schedule? Comment below and tell us what you’d like to order the next time you visit!

Comments

  1. Trevor says

    I’ve eaten here twice even braved a tropical storm once to eat here. I really want to try the pineapple macadamia nut pancakes but tonga toast just keeps coming out of my mouth.

  2. Diane says

    Thanks for the great review, AJ! There’s something about the mix of natural light, tropical plants, and openness that just make this a great, relaxed way to start a day for breakfast, despite the equally good lunches and dinners that are served there. Plus for me, it’s a tiny remnant of family vacations years ago when it was the Coral Isle Cafe (my first taste of Tonga Toast, way back when!). Heaven knows it’s getting harder and harder to repeat those vintage experiences as so much about WDW has changed. So, yeah, this restaurant is a must-do for breakfast!

  3. Jamie says

    We eat breakfast here on the last day of every visit we’ve made to Disney World. The Tonga Toast is definitely a must. We were trying to figure out if the strawberry sauce that comes with it is the same (or close enough) to the Strawberry Soup served at 1900 Park Fare buffet at the Grand Floridian.

  4. Randi says

    I’ve only eaten lunch here (the Teriyaki steak plate lunch! Oh my goodness! Drooling!), but I would love to try breakfast. I’m not even a big fan of breakfast food, but every single time I read the description or see a picture of the Tonga Toast, I keep thinking that I need to try it as soon as I possible can.

  5. Liana says

    Based on recommendations here we started off a Disney vacation once by grabbing Sushi at Kona (which was incredible BTW – they make a sushi volcano thing that is not to be missed), followed by a Lapu Lapu on the beach while watching fireworks – it was simply the best kick-off to a vacation ever! Our last trip we got in and tried to hit a park at night right off the bat and it was a “must never do again” (kind of like showing up at a party after everyone is already drunk) …. next vacation, we’re starting at Kona again.

  6. Jen B says

    I ate at Kona Cafe in November and we loved it! I used this for one of our table serves on the DDP, we had lunch there. I picked this restaurant mainly because I saw that the kids menu offers Mickey shaped ravioli which I thought my kids would get a kick out of, and they loved it! I don’t know of any other places on property that offer the Mickey ravioli, but let me know if there is. It worked out great for us to take a break from MK, ride the Monorail around, have lunch at Kona Cafe, then go back to MK. It was a nice escape and a good breather for the kids. We had a table where we could see the Monorail coming and going and they enjoyed that – did not notice any noise. I enjoyed my meal too I got the fish tacos and I had the banana creme brulee dessert. Great service halso, too.

  7. Sarah says

    I finally got to try Kona Cafe for breakfast when we went this past October. So worth the trip! Of course I got Tonga Toast. It was fantastic. It definitely lived up to the hype it gets. The Liliko’i juice is delicious as well. I would go back in a heartbeat.

  8. Essie says

    I see Tonga Toast in my next trip. It looks very much like the crispy, crunchy ‘Puffed French Toast’ that they have at the Crystal Palace.

  9. Hannah says

    We tried Kona for lunch and, although the food was wonderful, the service was awful. We found out later we should have received Pineapple bread with our meal. We didn’t. Very disappointing. After seeing this breakfast review…..we need to try again. The only problem would be…..Tonga Toast?…Pineapple Macadamia Pancakes?…Samoan Pulled Pork?

  10. Kimberly says

    We’ve eaten here once for breakfast in 2013. Our server was MIA and I’m not a fan of the atmosphere of Kona (too open and, like you said, a lookalike Hilton dining room), but the food was great. We’d had Tonga Toast on our first trip in ’93 and it did not disappoint 20 years later! I wish this place had received a renovation with the lobby.

  11. Galloping Gourmond says

    Controversial starement: not a fan of Tonga Toast. Too much sugar too easy in the day. The sweet drowns out the banana and cinnamon. It’s also incredibly large. Either ought for two people.

    Non-controversial statement: Best breakfast place every at WDW. The pancakes are flavorful, light, and fluffy. The salmon and poached egg are perfect every time. One if the rare truly consistent places in “The World.”

  12. Rach says

    If you want to mitigate the sweetness of the Tonga Toast ask for a side of the macadamia nut butter when you order. I find I hardly touch the strawberry sauce when I have a little of that salty creaminess instead. It brings out the banana instead of masking it.

  13. Kristen says

    Kona is a must for breakfast on every trip. Not being a fan of sweet, I have the Samoan and am never disappointed. Plus, the French press coffee is some of the best on property.

  14. chip dicomo says

    Been a fan of tonga toast since before it was at kona cafe — which by the way were it’s better days — but it is still great ….Breakfast at Kona is sooo much more “comfortable” than most places at WDW….Probably the most comfortable breakfast spot was the Gulf Hospitality House (now Tony’s in MK)…the Poly is old home for me. Remember when my parents got us the only room left in the Poly – a honeymoon suite in the now renamed Bali Hai house. At the time it was the most expensive room on property for $55 a night.

  15. Tanya says

    Kona Cafe is definitely one of our favorites. My son, who is now 16, counts on at least one or two breakfasts at the Kona Cafe every time we have been there. He loves the Big Kahuna! I must admit it is very yummy, but somehow he always ends up eating his and part of mine and his sister’s. And my husband loves the Tonga Toast. It is a great way to start a busy day at Disney.

  16. Marion says

    I’m going to Orlando for a work conference in May and already have my Kona breakfast reservation! It’s not at Disney, but I’m going to make a special point to go for breakfast. I’ve been there for lunch and dinner several times. Since it’s just me (family at home), I can get up early and pop over for breakfast.

    I visited the Polynesian in early January to see the completed renovations and just loved it! Still very much THE POLY, but fresh and more modern.

    Very much looking forward to The Samoan and a pressed pot!

    Thanks AJ!

  17. Andrew G. says

    I LOVE the Samoan! It’s right up there with Chesapeake Benedict as my favorite breakfast dish ever!

  18. Michael Nolan says

    We do not even look at the menu anymore. Tonga toast with pressed pot coffee. Accept no substitutes!

  19. Marlin Yoder says

    Just had pulled pork hash a couple weeks ago and love it! Kona for breakfast is one of our family’s can’t miss for breakfast every trip!

  20. heidi says

    I LOVE the Macadamia Nut Pancakes! In fact, I’m going there shortly! I’ve tried the Tonga Toast but found it way too sweet for my liking.

  21. carol trainor says

    Our family stayed at the Polynesian when it first opened and we have returned time and time again. Began when our children were toddlers and now return with their children. Always loved eating at Kona Cafe whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Never disappointed.

  22. kevin hallin says

    I end every trip to WDW with breakfast at Kona Cafe. Although I have been there too many times to count I still order the exact same thing, the liliko’i juice, french press coffee and the Samoan with a side of bacon. To me there will never ever be a better breakfast anywhere in the entire world.

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