Guest Review: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Join us in welcoming back Guest Reviewer Katie Roth with a review of ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Note that this review was written before the most recent round of ‘Ohana Menu Changes. Currently the Chicken Skewer is not being served at the restaurant. Aloha!

I have been staying at the Polynesian for years, but I had never eaten at ‘Ohana until last year! I know, I know…utter blasphemy! I was psyched that my husband and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Disney World AND were able to score a dinner reservation at ‘Ohana.

I admit that it was I that brought my husband into the light of Disney, and I just love getting to share my favorite experiences and eats with him whenever we visit Walt Disney World. Knowing how much he loves grilled meat, I absolutely could not wait to eat here with him!

To help control our excitement, we went to Tambu Lounge to temper those jitters. My husband went all out and ordered the Lapu Lapu while I went with a pineapple mojito (regular mojito with fresh pineapple chunks added). We loved our drinks and were primed for dinner ;)

Lapu Lapu!

In my opinion, ‘Ohana’s location lends itself to be one of those ‘would have missed it if I didn’t know it was there’ restaurants. The location of the restaurant is on the upper terrace of the Great Ceremonial House lobby tucked away behind the Tambu Lounge. If you are in front of Kona Café then you have gone too far!

As I’ve seen in the past couple of years, the easiest way to spot ‘Ohana is by the long line of people checking in for their Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) or those hopeful souls asking about a walk-in reservation. When it comes to Disney food (particularly at ‘Ohana), never leave fate to chance.

Lately, I have been eating a lot less meat and more fish for health reasons. I informed the host at the check-in station that I would like a vegetarian/pescetarian meal to which he replied would be no problem. I have heard great things about the vegetarian offerings at ‘Ohana and couldn’t wait to try them out! Just remember, if you are going to make a special request like this, check in early and let them know.

Once you are checked in, you will be given a buzzer and told to wait by the Tambu Lounge for your “cousin” (server) to take you to your table. If this is your first time to the restaurant, they will take you on a [Read more…]

Photo Tour and Review: NEW Polynesian Village Resort Lobby, and Tiramisu Cupcake at Captain Cook’s

Happy New Year!!

We don’t know a better way to celebrate than with this gorgeousness! OK, OK, we know you’ve probably got all kinds of resolutions for 2015. But, as far as I’m concerned, those start on MONDAY!!! Let’s take a look at one last indulgence, shall we…?

On a recent visit to the Polynesian Village Resort, I stopped by Captain Cook’s and peeked in the refrigerator, expecting to find the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cupcake, as per usual.

However, something unexpected caught my eye that I decided to pick up: the Tiramisu Cupcake.

Tiramisu Cupcake

Tiramisu Cupcake

Now, typically I might take you on a little tour around Captain Cook’s before we dig in, but the big news at the Polynesian is the recent reopening of the lobby at the Great Ceremonial House, which has been closed off for refurbishment for much of the year.

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

So, instead, I thought I might show some of the pictures of the refurbished lobby since the Polynesian is such a major dining destination at Disney World no matter which resort you choose to stay in. Obviously, our focus on this site is food, and since the Polynesian is home to such popular restaurants as ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe, we know that many DFB readers loved seeing the lobby upon arrival for their Advance Dining Reservation, whether they were preparing to enjoy breakfast with Stitch and Lilo at ‘Ohana, or the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.

Entering from the main downstairs entrance, the signature large waterfalls have been removed. Now this area features open space, lots of seating, and a small water feature (which differs from the original artist renderings for now, but I understand that the Tiki statue previously featured in the artwork may still become a part of the structure next year).

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

Seating in the lobby

Seating in the lobby

Water Feature

Water Feature

Without the presence of the large waterfalls, the new light fixtures become a major focal point.

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Moving upstairs, the natural light seems to stream more to dining areas such as Kona Cafe and Kona Island (although I really don’t know if that’s more due to the fact that construction walls have been cutting off much of the light in recent months, so my eyes may just be readjusting).

Kona Cafe

Kona Cafe

The seating area near Tambu Lounge and ‘Ohana has new furniture and carpeting as well.

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Captain Cook’s, however, remains unchanged (well, since the reopening from its own refurbishment in August, that is), so now that we’re there, why don’t we get straight to the cupcake?

Captain Cook's sign

Captain Cook’s sign

Captain Cook's dining room

Captain Cook’s dining room

When I spotted the Tiramisu Cupcake, the first thing I noticed were the peaks of frosting all over the top. I assumed it might be a marshmallow or whipped cream topping to mimic the light texture of tiramisu.

But it was actually — to my happy surprise — rich, dense peaks of cream cheese (I assume as a play on mascarpone), all dusted with cocoa like a proper tiramisu.

Tiramisu Cupcake

Tiramisu Cupcake

The white cake base resembles [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2014!

We are standing on the cusp of a brand New Year, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 holds in store for us — and Disney!

Top10DisneyFoodNewsStories

But we can’t wave goodbye to the old year without looking back on some of the biggest food news that happened throughout Disney Parks.

Most of this year’s big news happened at Walt Disney World, but we have a few memorable moments to share with you from Disneyland as well as other Disney Parks around the globe.

Today, we bring you a look back at 2014’s Biggest Disney Food News Stories! We have a LOT to cover — let’s get started!

First up, a little something I like to call…

The Beginning of Finally Doing Something with Pleasure Island

It’s the story we feel like we’ve been watching for years — what’s happening at Downtown Disney Orlando’s now defunct Pleasure Island??

Well, 2014 finally saw some solid progress, and the Disney Springs story seems to be coming to life.

An Artist's Rendering of Disney Springs

An Artist’s Rendering of Disney Springs

Lots of changes have made a trip to Downtown Disney a challenge in the last couple of years. But as the year draws to a close, the parking garages are open, and we are seeing some of the plans take shape!

2014 kicked off with a surprise restaurant opening of sorts — the House of Blues added a new counter service offering, The Smokehouse. We say surprise because we told you about the restaurant for the first time just days before the walls came down and the doors opened for business!

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse is strictly a walk-up window venue. But the covered outdoor seating is pleasant, and you can often take in live music as you enjoy barbecue favorites, like their Beef Brisket Sandwich, St. Louis Ribs, or Smoked Turkey Legs.

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw from The Smokehouse

But it wasn’t all good news for Downtown Disney this year. Guests at T-Rex Cafe last Spring were in for some decidedly unpleasant dinner excitement, as one of the restaurant’s humongous fish tanks sprang a leak during dinner service!

However, no one was injured and all of the fish were reportedly rescued. We’re glad that all turned out happily in the situation, but we’ll never look at those huge fish tanks quite the same way again!

Also in the Spring, we said hello to a spot that’s quickly become one of our most favorite spots to shop in all of Walt Disney World — the Marketplace Co-op!

Disney Centerpiece

Disney Centerpiece

We have found some totally awesome stuff in the store’s Disney Centerpiece Section, including dishes, glasses, and other tableware that celebrate all of our Disney cult favorites. Whether you’re a Dole Whip fan or love memorabilia celebrating Tomorrowland, chances are you’ll find something that you’ve just gotta have!

Orange Bird Section

Orange Bird Section

Starbucks also continued to [Read more…]

More Details of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Revealed at…Disneyland!?

We have some fun new updates for you today of what’s soon to be at Walt Disney World — but they’re coming to us from Disneyland!

Intrepid Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers attended the fun Mahaloween Luau event earlier this year at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel. While there, she grabbed a sneak peek of what we can expect at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. We also gleaned a few more details from The Atomic Grog!

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto Concept Art

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Concept Art — Coming Soon to Walt Disney World!

While details have been kept mostly under wraps since we were given our first glimpse of concept art last Spring, the presentation by Imagineers Brandon Kleyla and Kyle Barnes at the Mahaloween Luau served to add a few more pieces to the puzzle.

I'll Have Whatever She's Making, Please!

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Although we know that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto will be similar to the wildly popular Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in Disneyland Hotel, we’re also starting to get an idea of how they’ll differ. And the key is right here in some of the photos we are sharing with you today.

Trader Sam's Tiki in Orlando

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The most interesting thing to come out of the presentation is the subtle difference in themeing between the two different Trader Sam’s locations. While the Disneyland Trader Sam’s has a style more reflective of Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride — think African Queen — Imagineers have something entirely different in mind for the Grog Grotto.

At the Polynesian, Trader Sam’s will celebrate more of the nautical aspect of the intrepid head salesman’s adventures. Look for the primary themeing cues to come courtesy of the [Read more…]

Review: Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Kona Island in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Even if you’ve paid a visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you may not be familiar with Kona Island.

This pleasant little stop upstairs in the Great Ceremonial House sits directly next to a much larger restaurant: Kona Cafe. So it can be pretty easy to pass by — unless you are in the know of its reputation for being one of the places on property where you can enjoy some sushi, or even a press pot of Kona Coffee, brewed to order.

Kona Island was closed for a while in the late summer to accommodate some of the construction going on at the Polynesian (among those changes, the eagerly-anticipated addition of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to the resort).

Kona Island sign

Kona Island sign

But it reopened by the end of September, and more recently I finally had a chance to stop by and sample something I’d been curious about.

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Hawaiian Shaved Ice is now part of the offerings. You can get all one flavor (“Kumau”) for $3.99, or a combo of two flavors (“Haukalima”) for $4.99.

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

While flavors may vary due to available syrups, I was able to choose from eight on the day of my visit: orange, passion mango, cherry, coconut, blue raspberry, strawberry, pineapple, and pina colada. I could’ve happily tried all eight flavors (and many thanks to the extremely patient Cast Member who waited while I took a crazy long time to decide!). But I ultimately chose a combo of pina colada and cherry.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

The swirl of white (you can see it much better on the red cherry side) is [Read more…]

News! Allergy-friendly Menus Currently in Testing at Select Disney World Restaurants

Disney World continually seeks ways to help guests with food allergies feel more at ease during their travels. If you or any member of your traveling group has a food allergy, you may be interested to hear about a current test underway at a few dining locations in Disney World.

For a limited time, select Disney World restaurants are offering menus specifically geared towards those with food allergies to allow ease of ordering directly from the menus. Test locations at the resorts include World Premiere Food Court at All Star Movies Resort, Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk, and Kona Café and Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Village Resort.

Kona Cafe

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Sci-Fi Dine-in Restaurant, and ABC Commissary are taking part in the test.

ABC Commissary - Outside View

ABC Commissary

In these beginning phases, ABC Commissary’s menu [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: September 4th, 2014

We’re staring down the last of the dog days of summer as Disney World gears up for Fall… Join us on a tour around all four east coast Parks as we check out What’s New!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Fall Fun

With September upon us everyone is anticipating autumn and special seasonal events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (currently underway) and the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (more on that a little later in the post :). So it’s not surprising to see Magic Kingdom all decked out for the occasion!

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

(Love seeing this sign pop up [Read more…]

News! Pineapple Lanai Opens at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (Dole Whip!!)

Well, when we visited the newly refurbished Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Village Resort, we said we’d be back soon… and here we are, because the brand new Pineapple Lanai is now open!

Pineapple Lanai sign

Pineapple Lanai sign

So, why is Pineapple Lanai so important? It’s the new home to Dole Whip at the Polynesian! (For anyone unfamiliar with this beloved treat, check out a little Dole Whip info here. Then be sure to schedule some of your own personal snacking research on this pineapple soft serve — you’ll be glad you did!)

Pineapple and Vanilla Swirl Dole Whip in Tiki Bowl

Pineapple and Vanilla Swirl Dole Whip in Tiki Bowl

We’d love to take you on a quick tour of this new space.

Atmosphere

You’ll find Pineapple Lanai on [Read more…]

Photo Tour and Food Review: Captain Cook’s Reopens at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

It’s quite the whirlwind of activity around the Polynesian lately!

Construction continues to affect the lobby, the Nanea Volcano pool, and the entrance of the resort… not to mention the recent name change back to Disney’s Polynesian Resort Village.

Slowly but surely, some results of all that work are starting to be seen, beginning with the newly reopened Captain Cook’s: the Polynesian’s Quick Service location. We gave you a tour of the temporary location when Captain Cook’s refurbishment began in April, and now we’re excited to share the results of the past four months with you!

Say “Aloha” once again to Captain Cook’s!

Atmosphere

The entrance feels very familiar… mainly because it’s the same ;) .

Entrance to Captain Cook's

Entrance to Captain Cook’s

Captain Cook's sign

Captain Cook’s sign

In fact, though, the entire location feels familiar since most changes are cosmetic (with a few exceptions that we’ll explore a little later).

If you’ve visited Captain Cook’s before, you’ll still know exactly where to go. Upon entering, you’re greeted by the main dining area.

Captain Cook's dining room

Captain Cook’s main dining room

Captain Cook's main dining room

Captain Cook’s main dining room

The breezy, palm-trees-swaying vibe has changed to a darker color palette, which is offset by two things: attractive light wood flooring and super fun vintage travel “posters.”

Samoa and Niue posters

Samoa and Niue posters

Bora Bora poster

Bora Bora poster

Tokelau poster

Tokelau poster

Tonga poster

Tonga poster

The one thing competing for your attention with the artwork are [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: August 12, 2014

It’s time to take another trip around the World, from Downtown Disney to EPCOT… and we’ll be visiting all sorts of Disney Resorts along the way! Strap in, folks, because there’s always something to find when you’re searching for What’s New at Disney World with the DFB!

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Construction

The name of the game all over Downtown Disney these days continues to be, of course, construction for the transformation into Disney Springs. Here are a few recent shots of what will be The Boathouse restaurant, which seems to be coming along nicely.

The Boathouse construction

The Boathouse construction

The Boathouse construction

The Boathouse construction

The Smokehouse

On the West Side, The Smokehouse has introduced a new item: Smokehouse Nachos!

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse Menu

The Smokehouse Menu

The Nachos can be customized with [Read more…]