Guest Review: ‘Ohana Character Breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

While Disney’s Polynesian Resort is undergoing extensive renovations (including Captain Cook’s), it’s still a good time to stop by ‘Ohana for the Best Friends Breakfast featuring the adorable Lilo & mischievous Stitch. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott reviews her family’s morning meal at Walt Disney World.

‘Ohana, located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, is an extremely popular dinner venue with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Its all-you-care-to-eat format of delicious Polynesian-inspired dishes and relaxed atmosphere earn it rave reviews from just about everyone that eats there.

But is the character breakfast equally as good? My husband, daughter and I decided to find out!

Atmosphere

The Polynesian is one of Walt Disney World’s original resorts. I remember going to the luau when I was a kid back in the 70s and feeling like I was in another country.

As an adult, I recognize that there’s something decidedly kitschy about it. I half expect to see Elvis a la Blue Hawaii round the corner with Joan Blackman on his arm. The theming is fantastic, and consistent.

Pluto Makes His Way Through the Dining Room

Pluto Makes His Way Through the Dining Room

‘Ohana is on the second level of the lobby, just a stone’s throw away from the monorail. Guests are required to check in at the host stand before entering the restaurant. We found this a little confusing, mostly because there were a lot of excited children swarming the area.

We ended up walking right past the host stand. We were re-directed to the “cousin” in the lobby’s host area who was pleasant and efficient and whisked us to the photo area. (Cast members are called “cousins” to reinforce the feeling that everyone at ‘Ohana is family.)

We had our picture taken in front of a Tiki-inspired hut and waited for our buzzer to go off. When it did a few minutes later, we made our way to the host stand inside the restaurant, where we were greeted warmly by more exceptionally friendly “cousins.”

Baskets of Welcome Bread Await Diners

Baskets of Welcome Bread Await Diners

Eats

On the way to our table, our host gave us helpful information about the service for our meal and tidbits about the open kitchen and some of the menu items.

We were seated at a sunny table near the window with a sweeping view of Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. (Editor’s Note: Views may be obstructed due to ongoing construction.) Our server quickly greeted us and also took a moment to explain the service style. Breakfast would arrive in a large skillet, with the ever-popular Mickey waffles brought separately. Before scurrying away, she uttered those six magical words, “It’s all you care to eat.

Live Kitchen Elements, Including This Grill, Are a Focal Point

Live Kitchen Elements, Including This Grill, Are a Focal Point

Our server returned with a basket of Hawaiian welcome bread flavored with pineapple and coconut, as well as iced cinnamon bread. Both were delicious.

Welcome Bread with Pineapple and Coconut, and Iced Cinnamon Bread

Welcome Bread with Pineapple and Coconut, and Iced Cinnamon Bread

She also brought ‘Ohana’s famous breakfast beverage – a combination of passion fruit, orange and guava juices, known as P.O.G. I would drink this juice intravenously if I could. It’s heaven.

P.O.G. – Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava Juice

P.O.G. – Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava Juice

Next came a fruit plate, with cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, and berries. Poor fruit plate. It barely got touched, because the gigantic skillet of breakfast yumminess arrived, heaped with [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: More Breakfast Goodness!

It’s always so fun to flip through the fantastic photos that our members post on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! We think a virtual trip to Disney is a great way to take a break from your busy day. :-)

And today, we are all about the tons of yummo breakfast options that you have at Walt Disney World! Let’s take a trip to some of our favorite Disney breakfast spots today for our latest installment in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series!

Breakfast Skillet at ‘Ohana

Photographer: Ryesah

Yay for the words: “all you care to enjoy” and “Mickey Waffles”! You only need fun interaction with cool characters like Lilo, Stitch, and Mickey and Friends to make this character breakfast at ‘Ohana completely awesome!

Breakfast Skillet at 'Ohana

Breakfast Skillet at ‘Ohana

Baked French Toast at Cinderella’s Royal Table

Photographer: Nancy RK

Starting your day in Cinderella Castle for breakfast? Lucky you! We’ve had some [Read more…]

Father’s Day Sale! DFB Disney World Dining Guidebook Discounts — Limited Time!

This weekend, it’s all about Dad, and we have a terrific way for you to show him just how awesome you think he is! And — even better — it’s a great deal for you and it will save him money! How can you beat that??

For a limited time, you can enjoy $4 off of our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014 by using code DadDay!

And scroll to the bottom of this post for details on additional ways to save!

2014 dfb guide 3d cover

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014

Our comprehensive e-Book offers and incredible value! With 450 full-color pages to help you plan your very best Disney World vacation yet, you’ll also enjoy peace of mind knowing that it’s fully guaranteed. Not happy? Just let us know and you’ll get your money back!

Our handy e-Book format has been completely updated for your 2014-15 Disney World vacation. And with reviews, tips, expert advice, and hundreds of color photographs, we know that you’ll enjoy savings of both time and money — much needed on a Disney World vacation!

Inside the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014, you’ll find plenty of must-know information, reviews of every restaurant and kiosk on property, and more; including:

  • Seven sample one-day dining itineraries to help you start the planning process. There are hundreds of dining options in Disney World. These examples, which highlight particular theme parks, touring styles, and dietary needs, will help you get an idea of what a perfect dining day might look like for you and your family.
  • Four free, downloadable worksheets for planning your trip. These worksheets are designed to help you execute all the steps of planning the perfect Disney dining experience. And they’re reusable for all of your future trips!
  • Details about how the My Magic+ Planning System and FastPass+ affect your vacation planning. These brand new tools make planning every aspect of your vacation easier than ever before. We’ll walk you through some of the
  • A comprehensive index of bars and lounges. Disney Food Blog readers asked for this feature, and we were happy to make it happen! An often under-appreciated option for both dining and entertainment, we devote a whole index to the topic. Every single bar and lounge in Disney World is covered — and includes a review!
  • Tables that help you understand if the Disney Dining Plan will save you money. It’s a question we get all the time: is the Disney Dining Plan really a good deal? We walk you through comparisons to determine if the Disney Dining Plan is a good fit for you!
Sample Page from the 2014 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining

Sample Page from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014

  • Fun activities, like Trivia and Scavenger Hunts to pass the time while you’re waiting in line or for FastPasses!
  • Disney Food Bingo Cards — because we know you love to play with your food just like us!
  • Plus SO much more!

And the best part is [Read more…]

Guest Review: Disney’s Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast with Darth Vader

Are you ready for an out-of-this-world guest review? Join me in welcoming guest author Miranda Roberts! She’s sharing her experience at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World!

My husband and I are not morning people. Not remotely. We are the people who are last out of the park at night, and stay sound asleep until late morning. We love cocktails and fireworks and chilling out by the pool.

But we could not pass up the chance to eat breakfast with Darth Vader! So, despite not really knowing anything else about the set up of this event, we took a chance and made a rare breakfast reservation. We were super excited about this meal!

Atmosphere

As we approached the Sci-Fi restaurant on a very sunny morning, there were friendly cast members waiting to direct us to the check-in desk, and they had added special signs to the front of the restaurant. Having extra cast members with directional arrows helped us overcome our bleary-eyed morning confusion about where we were heading.

Cast Member directs guests to the galactic breakfast!

Cast Member directs guests to the galactic breakfast!

Outdoor waiting area

Outdoor waiting area

Check In here!

Check In here!

This is the line for Vader!

This is the line for Vader!

Once we had checked in, we were told to wait near the entrance until we were called. We only had to wait around five minutes before a server came looking for us “To join the rebellion”.

We joined a short line of about 6 people at the restaurant entrance to have our PhotoPass picture taken with Darth Vader and Boba Fett. The price of this was already built into the meal. Then a server showed us to our seats and explained a little about the restaurant to us.

Shaun and Miranda with Boba Fett and Darth Vader

Shaun and Miranda with Boba Fett and Darth Vader

Special Event PhotoPass

Special Event PhotoPass

If you have dined at the Sci-Fi before, the set-up is exactly as normal with a couple of extra signs outside to advertise the event. For those who haven’t eaten here before, the restaurant is one large room made up like a movie set to look like a drive-in movie theatre from the 50’s. The lighting is very low, to make it seem like evening, and there are stars twinkling in the night sky around you.

Interior restaurant

Interior restaurant

The tables are mostly cars that have three rows of seats. Each row seats 2 adults or 3 kids. Since my husband and I were alone on this trip, we were seated in the back row of a car, and the family in front were told they had picked us up as galactic hitch-hikers!

Movie Screen

Movie Screen

All the cars face the big movie screen at the front, which was showing a series of clips from Star Wars and related spin-offs. There were clips from all the different episodes, plus some cartoon adaptations and some spoof adverts and posters. The Cantina band also had a segment, which was really cool.

Jawa warning!

Jawa warning!

The twilight setting and movie clips set a great atmosphere for the event. Throughout the meal, characters circulated that included Stormtroopers, Jawas, and Greedo. They were all pretty playful, with a Stormtrooper trying to steal my chocolate milk, and making guests kneel like prisoners for photos! It’s worth noting that we only saw bad guy or neutral characters – there were no “hero” characters at this meal.

Watch out for stormtroopers!

Watch out for stormtroopers!

But with the dark lighting in the restaurant, most guests were having problems taking pictures with the characters. With a flash, faces were too over-exposed, and the backdrop looked weird. Without the flash, you can barely see who is in the photo. You’re going to see I struggled with the same problem for these food pictures too; sorry :-(

To help you time your FastPasses, it’s worth saying that we were seated at 9:40am and we left the restaurant at 10:50am. There is no way we could have eaten faster, so this was one of the longer Disney meals we have shared based on our experience that day. Other people might have quicker days, but it would be a shame to rush it with so much to see on the screen and around you.

Now let’s talk about the food!

Eats

The menu and our server explained that we would automatically be brought a selection of pastries. These would then be followed by our choice of fruit salad or yogurt parfait, and then we had a choice of entrée. The meal would then end with a “sweet surprise”.

Food Menu

Food Menu

Beverage Menu

Beverage Menu

She started us off with a choice of drinks, and there was a very wide choice of refillable drinks -– tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juices, sodas, chocolate milk, and a fun Blue Milk (like Luke Skywalker drank in Episode 4 at home on Tatooine).

Blue Milk

Blue Milk

It was blue raspberry flavored and my husband enjoyed the fun and novelty of it, but switched to Coke after one glass. There were also a couple of cocktails, but not being morning people, that was too much of a stretch for our systems. We stuck with soft drinks!

Our pastry platter had six pieces, with three different offerings. All these came automatically, almost as soon as we had sat down.

Star Wars Pastries

Star Wars Pastries

The swirl pastry, that our server said “looks like Princess Leia’s hairdo”, was an almond pastry, the C3PO chocolate one was a mini double chocolate muffin, and the one with Darth Vader was a mini vanilla cream puff. All three were really delicious.

The almond swirl kind of reminded me of frangipane (which I know is popular with the DFB team!) and the chocolate muffin was very moist with good chocolate chunks, but we both liked the Darth cream puff best. It had a really delicious sweet vanilla custard inside, while the pastry was crisp and flaky.

For our next course, my husband had the fruit salad and I had the yogurt parfait. Both came with adorable [Read more…]

Top 5 Restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park in Disney World when I’m in it. The themeing is incredible. I could wander around just looking at things there for days! But the other thing that keeps me coming back to Animal Kingdom again are some seriously awesome restaurants. This place has it all!

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites — and what sets them each apart from the crowd.

Top Five Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Tusker House

If you haven’t booked a meal at Tusker House, then you’re missing out.

This sprawling restaurant sits on the main thoroughfare in Harambe village within the Africa section of the park. And with some of the best immersive themeing anywhere at Disney World, it’s hard to take in all of the intricate details and imagineering here with just one meal.

Tusker House -- Outside View

Tusker House — Outside View

But it’s not just the surroundings that are interesting. Tusker House has some incredible food as well. Inspired by the flavors of Africa, you’re in for a treat, whether you’re dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We especially love the Spit-Roasted Meats. And taking advantage of the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet may save you on other meals during the day.

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

But if you’re still looking to add a character dining experience to your list of advance dining reservations, be sure to book the breakfast or lunch, as characters don’t appear at dinner.

Eating a big breakfast will fill you up -- and cost less than dining big later in the day!

Seeing Your Favorite Disney Friends in Safari Garb at Breakfast and Lunch is Super Fun!

It’s always a kick to add pics Mickey and Friends in different outfits, and at Tusker House, they’re dressed to go on a Kilimanjaro Safari with you!

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Looking for something exotic with an Asian twist? Then check out Yak and Yeti Restaurant. You can’t miss the big purple building in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom!

Themed as a grand home that’s been converted to a hotel, guests to the town of Anandapur are guaranteed to find

[Read more…]

The Best (and the Worst!) Pizza in Disney World

Ahhhh…Pizza. Most of us love the stuff, whether it’s high end, low end, or homemade.

bestandworstpizzaindisneyworld

But one thing’s for sure — you and I both know that not all pizza is created equal — and this is definitely true when it comes to Disney.

Today, we’re awarding some Pizza Pie Superlatives. From Best to Worst and Everything In Between, let’s take a look at a few.

And when we’re finished with the awards, I’ve love to hear if you agree! Leave us a comment with your best and worst!

Best All-Around Pizza in Disney World

If you’ve been reading Disney Food Blog for any amount of time, the winner in this category will come as no shock to you. The hands-down best pizza in all of Disney World are the pies you find at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion.

With authentic ingredients right down to the flour, tomatoes, and water they use, these are some serious pies that come closest to the real deal from Naples, Italy. They also taste the most like my favorite New York Style pizza (Lombardi’s!!!!) — the gold standard, as far as I’m concerned!

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas you order here, whether you’re getting a personal size, or you’re sharing with the table.

Build Your Own Pizza with Prosciutto

Build Your Own Pizza with Prosciutto (and/or Other Ingredients…Whatever)

We give high marks to the Quattro Formaggi White Pizza, as well as the Build Your Own with Prosciutto. But really, there are no wrong choices here!

Worst Disney World Pizza

When it comes to pizza that you can safely — no, you definitely should — skip, we’ll chalk this up to… [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant in Disney World’s Epcot

We’re heading back to Epcot’s Future World for dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant!

This is a DFB favorite, and it comes together as Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast. The dinner features an all-you-care-to-eat meal served Family Style.

If you’ve ever shied away from eating in Future World in favor of the more varied cuisine available in World Showcase, it may be time to give Disney World’s only rotating restaurant a chance.

Please join me, Chip ‘n Dale, Pluto, and the main Mouse himself (MICKEY!) at the Harvest Feast for some food and fun!

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere? Well, that depends… You see, the Garden Grill rotates over the various scenes of the Living with the Land attraction, so what you see depends on where in the rotation you are in the moment.

It takes about one hour to make the full rotation, so it’s slow enough that you don’t really notice the feel of it while you are dining — at least, I didn’t. I was too busy enjoying the views!  Take a look…

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse Dog!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- Rainforest

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — Rainforest

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Garden Grill Mural

Garden Grill Mural

We enjoyed all of this from our table on the lower level of this two-level restaurant. It’s definitely a score if you are seated on the lower level, which is fashioned with booths as opposed to the chairs and tables on the upper level.

Garden Grill booth

Garden Grill booth

The booths provide more of a “front row seat” experience for the attraction, so it’s worth asking at check-in to see if you can get one. I wasn’t expecting a booth since it was just my husband and me, but several of the booths are divided with drop-leaf tables, allowing for a larger family on one side, and a pair on the other. The drop-leaf, of course, can be raised to accommodate a larger group, if needed.

Larger Booth -- Family Side

Larger Booth — Family Side

Larger Booth -- Side for a pair

Larger Booth — Side for a pair

Of course, the special touches are in full effect here — check out this table setting! Remind you of a certain character?

Mickey Table Setting :)

Mickey Table Setting :)

Speaking of… The one thing with the ability to distract you from the attraction views is… well, it’s actually FOUR things: the Characters!

Here’s Chip striking a pose in front of the Prairie Desert.

Chip strikes a pose

Chip strikes a pose

Pluto stopped by to say “Hello!”

Pluto!

Pluto!

Dale plotted how he might sneak some of our food…

Dale Plotting...

Dale Plotting…

… but I informed him it was people food, and not well-suited for chipmunks. (That makes for a sad chipmunk!)

Sad Dale

Sad Dale

Okay, this next shot is not a shining example of terrific photography ;) . But I hope it conveys that moment of excitement when you first spot THE EARS over a nearby booth (c’mon, you can admit it!), and realize who will be at your table shortly…

EARS!

EARS!

Farmer Mickey Mouse — in OVERALLS, no less!!!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey

At the start of the meal, I was a bit [Read more…]

News!! Star Wars Themed Character Meals at Disney World During Star Wars Weekends

Yes. You heard us correctly.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature new Star Wars themed character meals for a limited time only!

When Star Wars Character Meals begin on May 4th, dinner at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant and breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater will offer these galactic experiences through June 15, 2014. Note that the character meals are available all week — not just on weekends!

Star Wars Themed Character Meals

Meet These Awesome Friends at Star Wars Themed Character Meals This Year!

Booking begins March 26! These will be popular so we recommend dialing (407) 939-5277 at lightspeed.

The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine

At Hollywood and Vine, dinner will feature Disney characters wearing their Star Wars best! You may get the chance to meet Ewok Chip & Dale, Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and/or Stormtrooper Donald. Dinner seatings start at 4:15pm and go until park close (8pm-9:30pm) for $55.99 adults and $33.99 kids 3-9.

Make your Star Wars experience extra special with a Fantasmic dinner package for adults $59.99; kids 3-9 are $36.99. The meals include a digital download of a photograph with Chip and Dale! Sweet.

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast

Sci-Fi will offer breakfast reservations from 8am until noon — so fun! The cost is $47.99 for adults and $29.99 for young padawans. This also includes a digital photo of your party on a commemorative PhotoPass card.

Characters for breakfast include Stormtroopers, Jawa, Greedo, Boba Fett, and DARTH VADER.

Share yer waffles with this guy!

Share yer waffles with this guy!

Instead of the usual science fiction movie clips, the restaurant’s big screen will feature

[Read more…]

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

Everyone’s looking to save money and to wring just a little bit more enjoyment out of their Disney dollars. We’re right there with you!

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

So today, we’re bringing you the details on some of our favorite Disney Dining Deals!

These little-known tricks and tips could save you big on your next Disney World vacation, so let’s get planning!

Prix-Fixe Menus

One of my favorite ways to save a little dough around Disney World is by taking advantage of Prix-Fixe Meals — specialty multi-course menus that let you choose from a variety of the restaurant’s popular dishes for a discounted price.  While you’ll find them here and there in a number of places, lots of Epcot World Showcase restaurants offer them.

For real savings, check out the prix-fixe offering at Les Chefs de France in the France Pavilion.

This beautiful spot is one of my favorite places to dine in all of Disney World anyway, so saving money is a great perk.

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France -- Click to Enlarge

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France — Click to Enlarge

When you compare the price with the a la carte prices for each item, you can really see the savings!

Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Appetizers — Click to Enlarge

Entrees -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees — Click to Enlarge

With desserts set at $8.99, that’s a $7 savings!

Enjoy fan favorites, like Bisque de Homard and the Croque Monsieur. And you have your pick of dessert! We love the Profiteroles here!

Save Room for the Profiteroles!

We Pick Profiteroles!

The savings are a little slimmer at [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Celebrating Your Child’s Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re reaching into our mailbag to answer another reader question! Since we often get the same question from several of our readers, what better way to share the answers than in a post for all of you to see?

Today’s question comes from a mom who plans to celebrate her young son’s birthday in style during an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World.

I was interested in having my son’s 7th birthday in Disney World. I want an awesome cake and I would like Mickey as well as some other characters to be there. Do you have any information regarding how to arrange this?

When it comes to celebrating a birthday (or any special occasion) at Walt Disney World, you have lots of options!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

Character Dining

You could choose to make a reservation at a character meal experience, like Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, or Crystal Palace. Character dining spots such as these feature interaction with several Disney characters, who will visit with you at your table as you dine for no extra charge. It’s a great opportunity for photo ops. And no standing in line — they come to you!

In many Disney restaurants, if you mention that you’re celebrating a birthday to your server, they’ll arrange for a special birthday treat!

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Restaurant Cakes

Most table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World can accommodate an on-the-spot birthday cake request. Simply let the host or hostess at the restaurant’s podium know that you’d like a cake for your celebration, and they can provide you with a choice of a basic vanilla or chocolate cake.

Customized Cakes

Customized birthday cakes are available throughout Walt Disney World at most table-service restaurants.

Chip 'n Dale Cake at California Grill

Chip ‘n Dale Cake at California Grill for a DFB Reader

The resort asks that you provide 48 hours notice to create your custom cake. To arrange for a Disney bakery cake, call 407-827-2253. For all the skinny on ordering your Disney special occasion cake, be sure to check out our Disney World Cake FAQ page.

Don’t forget to check out our Disney Birthday Cake Gallery for [Read more…]