Guest Review: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Join us in welcoming guest author Kevin Carpenter with a dinner review of ‘Ohana. This Polynesian Resort restaurant at Walt Disney World is popular for its all-you-care-to-eat fare served family-style. Aloha!

Dining at ‘Ohana is not an experience entered into without expectation. The restaurant regularly claims a spot among the best table-service venues on Disney property and it enjoys word of mouth that is nothing short of exemplary. As such, reservations go quickly.

After years of close calls and near misses, I finally secured a dinner reservation – for a party of nineteen, no less – and my hopes were sky high for my first visit to ‘Ohana.

The Entrance to ‘Ohana

As we arrived at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a large crowd already milled about outside ‘Ohana’s entrance. Seeing this, I feared our large group would be in for quite a wait. After all, our party – extended family members enjoying a Disney vacation together for the first time in many years – was well used to lengthy waits for tables. And this night looked to be no different.

We checked in and, much to my surprise, were immediately whisked to our table. I should have known that there is very little the Cast Members of Walt Disney World are not prepared to handle.

Atmosphere

From my very first steps past the Tiki idols guarding the entranceway, I was impressed by ‘Ohana’s ambiance. In true Disney style, the interior theming strikes a fine balance between subtlety and traditional Hawaiian decor.

Tiki idols stand watch as you enter ‘Ohana

As we reached our long table, one thing became abundantly clear – we had made the perfect choice for our trip’s centerpiece meal. The word ‘Ohana, meaning family, would prove to be more than simply the name of the restaurant. Everything – from the unending salads and appetizers to the main course and dessert – would be served family style. Even the servers are considered honorary “cousins”. What place could be better for a large family meal?!

While we had many cousins gathered around our table, it was our server, “Cousin” Candy, who stood out the most. She may have been a member of the family for just this one evening, but she fit right in with remarkable warmth and attentiveness.

Where all the magic happens – ‘Ohana’s grilling area

Eats

We had scarcely taken our seats before the table was filled with the incredibly tasty Welcome Bread and bowls of salad with passion fruit dressing. I could have been quite content to savor the bread’s rich tones of pineapple and coconut all night, but the few ‘Ohana veterans among us had warned not to fill up on the bread.

Welcome Bread

Salad with Passion Fruit Dressing

Next came plates of honey-coriander chicken wings and pork dumplings. These were labeled appetizers, but they could have sufficed as meals unto themselves. Especially as everything was all-you-can-eat!

Tangy and delicious, the trays of wings and dumplings demanded refilling several times. Thankfully, my seat at the end of the table afforded an excellent view of the grilling area, where skewers upon skewers of meat and shrimp delivered a firm reminder that the best was yet to come.

Chicken Wings & Pork Dumplings

Several of us requested drinks from the bar, including one who chose to fully immerse himself in the evening’s Hawaiian spirit by ordering the Lapu Lapu. This blend of rum and fruit juices comes in extravagant style – served inside a hollowed-out pineapple.

Much to the chagrin of the one who ordered it, the Lapu Lapu made its way around the table as everyone wanted a taste. It received high marks from all who sampled it. And, honestly, our meal just felt that much more traditionally Hawaiian for having the Lapu Lapu on the table!

Lapu Lapu

One important consideration to note is that it was not only the size of our party that posed a challenge, but that we were a motley crew of adventurous and picky eaters, with a dietary restriction thrown into the mix as well. One family member suffers from gluten intolerance and required special dietary accommodation. The chef came out to speak with her before any food arrived on the table, and he promised to keep her well-stocked with an assortment of gluten-free alternatives (including gluten-free bread, noodles, and dessert).

The ‘Ohana chefs worked hard to ensure that she did not miss out on any aspect of the meal and she could not have been happier with the results.

Gluten-Free Bread

Gluten-Free Dessert

“Cousin” Candy soon delivered [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: November 10, 2013

This week, we take a look at Disneyland’s NEW Market House, featuring Starbucks. You’ll want to stop here for brew, goodies, AND the cozy decor!

Starbucks Logo on the Window of Market House

I love the holiday season at the Disney parks; mark your calendar with the Disneyland Candy Cane dates. Those sweet swirls are a popular tradition and not-to-be missed!

If you missed any Disney food news this week, check out the articles below!

Disney Food News

  • Starbucks has opened at the Market House on Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A.!
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to one of our favorite bakeries in Walt Disney World — Writer’s Stop.
  • Check out the Disneyland Candy Cane Dates for 2013!
  • Check out the new Mickey Macaroons!
  • The Old Port Royale Food Court at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort showcases tropical pastries. Look for Mango Almond Tartlets, Banana Turnovers, and more!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including restaurant closures, TripAdvisor Award for Victoria & Albert’s, Splitsville Adds Gluten Free Dishes, and more!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

DFB Reader Jennifer emailed us a picture of the Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich at Captain’s Grille. She says “… It’s served on Foccacia bread with an arugula & red onion vinaigrette. It’s served with orzo salad or French fries. … It is my favorite lunch of all time.

The bread is flavorful, soft, but crisped on the outside. The tomatoes are sweet and the fresh cheese, creamy. The arugula vinaigrette adds just enough tangy bite and brings the entire sandwich together nicely. I usually ask for extra dressing and started using it for my fries also. I thought it was a hidden gem, I should share!”

Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich

Thanks for sending your yummy photos and tips!

The “DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013″ Grand Launch!

Tis the season for the Grand Launch of the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2013 e-Book!

And since we want you to save some cash right NOW, we have a steep discount for DFB readers (as always!). Get the brand new guide today for $3 off the regular purchase price for a limited time! How? Use code JINGLE at the check-out!

The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013 e-Book features 270 pages of all the info you need to know before you head to Walt Disney World for the holiday season, including NEW events and holiday happenings, over 250 photos, and an informative FAQ section. It includes:

  • Detailed descriptions and photos of every holiday event and activity happening at the parks and resorts this year — including tips on how to make the best use of your time and money when visiting!
  • A fully comprehensive holiday dining section with listings of holiday snacks, treats, meals, and menu items offered this year — from popcorn kiosks all the way to Signature Restaurants.
  • A clickable 3-Month Schedule of Holiday Events so you can see at-a-glance what looks interesting to you.
  • Comprehensive listings — with color photos! — of Disney Resort holiday decor and gingerbread displays
  • Our recommendations on ways to SAVE while you’re in Disney World this holiday season.
  • A section dedicated to all “New for 2013″ events, dining options, and activities, including what’s new at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, The Celebrate the Magic Castle Show, and the Epcot Candlelight Processional.
  • NEW Scavenger Hunts
  • NEW Disney Cruise Line Chapter
  • A Preview of the 2014 Holidays in Disney World
  • And more!

For more detailed information and sample pages from The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013, head over to the DFB Store!

And if you want an even BETTER deal, snap up our DFB Holiday Bundle! This includes the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays AND our original DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013!

With a 100% 30-day, money-back guarantee on all of our guides, you have nothing to lose! :-)

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix warms our hearts (and stomachs) with this Mickey and Minnie cookie jar! Order now; for Disney fans on your holiday list!!

Mickey and Minnie Cookie Jar!

Daveland highlights the new Starbucks at the Market House in Disneyland.

Walt Disney World For Grown Ups features new cocktails on Disney World’s bar and lounge menu.

Disney Hipsters visits Sommerfest in Epcot’s Germany pavilion.

Mouse on the Mind receives some Disney Magic — a free Mickey Ice Cream Bar!

TripAdvisor names Victoria & Albert’s as top 3 fine dining restaurant in United States!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 7, 2013

I hope you had an awesome Independence Day Week if you’re in the USA!

Mickey Mouse July 4th Cupcake!

We had a great time covering all of the Limited Time Magic treats in the Disney World parks for the 4th of July!

These are available through today, July 7th, but hopefully that strawberry and blueberry shortcake sundae will stick around… :-)

And there’s lots more Disney Food News where that came from! Let’s check it out…

Disney Food News

Catch up on the latest food news from Disney!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including a possible closing date for Cap’n Jack’s at Downtown Disney Orlando.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Monsters University treats have all over Disney parks, and have been inspiring DFB readers at home! Take a look at these homemade Mike cookies sent in by DFB Reader Angela!

Homemade cookies!

And DFB Reader Joe sent us these fun cake pops in the making!

Cake Pops!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining Holiday Sale

Hurry! Our holiday discount ends today! Pick up our 2013 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book for $4 off using code STARS!

This comprehensive e-Book offers over 400 pages of expert information, color photographs, advice, reviews, and details about Dining in Disney World. And these awesome bonus items are included:

  • Downloadable worksheets for planning your trip.
  • Seven sample one-day dining itineraries to help you with brainstorming.
  • A comprehensive index of bars and lounges.
  • An index of some of our favorite Top 5 lists.
  • Four food-themed scavenger hunts — one for each Disney World theme park!
  • Disney Dining Trivia to play while waiting in line, or waiting for a table.

Pick up your copy today with code STARS for a $4 discount! As a downloadable PDF, the book can be read on your computer, smartphone, and tablet easily!

Want Even More Savings?

If you’re headed to Disney World this year or in early 2014, our BEST DEAL can be found when you bundle for savings!

Right now, get over 40% off of four of our most popular Disney Dining Guides with the DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle.

Including the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining AND all three of our DFB Snacks Guides. Get more information about the DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle here!

On to the Round-Up!

Eat, Sleep, Run Disney dines at Carthay Circle in Disney California Adventure.

Mickey Fix delights with this Darth Vader candy and ice cube mold! Perfect for summer parties; we love the Vader S’mores idea!

Pop Century Site highlights Tie-Dye Cheesecake and Pop Waffles!

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups stops by Liberty Square Marketin the Magic Kingdom.

Running at Disney enjoys a feast at Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney Hipsters enjoys a vegetarian lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe.

Main Street Gazette samples goodies at the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge.

Disney Parks Blog heads to Disneyland to make s’mores!

Reader Question: Is Dole Whip Vegan and Gluten Free?

For guests visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland with a special diet, the popular Dole Whip treat is now just about the perfect snack! Dole Whip’s fruit flavors are now vegan! And Dole Whip has always been gluten free.

Dole Whip fruit flavors are now vegan!

At least, they are according to the official Dole Whip Mix website – Unified Enterprises Corporation. You can now enjoy any fruit flavor of Dole Whip on your vegan and/or gluten free diet!

Taken From Website of Unified Enterprises Corp

At Disney, you’ll find pineapple Dole Whips! There’s also an option for a Dole Whip Float, which adds pineapple juice to the mix. (The vanilla flavor that has been offered at some locations is not considered vegan at this time.)

Disneyland Dole Whip Float

Dole Whip Nutritional Information

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Brownies

I always find instant inspiration when I take a look at the reader photos in our Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr. We’ve featured our picks for Best Disney Brownies on the blog before, but it’s always fun to see what you guys love the most!

Dad’s Brownie Sundae

Dad’s Brownie Sundae at 50’s Primetime Cafe is an over-the-top treat. Love the caramel popcorn garnish!

Photographer: WinnieAtePooh

Dad's Brownie Sundae at 50's Primetime Cafe

Paw Print Brownie

This fun shot of the adorable Paw Print Brownie at Animal Kingdom’s Kusafiri Bakery makes me want to hop a plane and head there right now!

Photographer: TheAviator1992

Paw Print Brownie at Kusafiri Bakery

Brownie Cupcake with Mint Frosting

Looking for a [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 30, 2012

Hey all!! Happy last-round-up-of-2012!! Tomorrow we’ll have an awesome collection of our Top 10 Disney Food News Stories from 2012 — AND we’ll be sending out out Disney Food Blog Newsletter! Click here to sign up!

Limited Time Magic Cookie

Also, don’t forget that Disney’s newest promo — Limited Time Magic — will be starting in just a couple of days! Keep your eyes open for limited time events and special options while you’re in Disney World and Disneyland this year! Food-wise, look for specialty menus, limited edition eats, and more!

But since we’re still in 2012, let’s take a peek at the latest Disney Food News…

Disney Dining News

Scoop up some Disney Dining news over on our Disney Food News Pin Board!!

  • Gasparilla Grill & Games at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort will be re-opening soon as Gasparilla Island Grill.
  • An on-line ordering feature is being tested for Be Our Guest Restaurant’s lunch guests.
  • Walt Disney World has been named the “Best Gluten Free Vacation Destination” in the 3rd Annual Gluten Free Awards!
  • Starbucks in the Magic Kingdom is reportedly opening on May 18th after a lengthy refurbishment of the Main Street Bakery! Note that Disney refurbs often open late, so stay tuned for updated opening dates.
  • Disneyland pays tribute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue!
  • More News Year’s Eve options at Walt Disney World Announced!
  • Temporary bar kiosks will be set up in World Showcase for New Year’s Eve!
  • Menu changes have taken place at Carthay Circle restaurant in Disney California Adventure.

We’ve got additional food news, including restaurant closures, and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food in or from Disney, share a photo with us so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Erin, our Disney Food for Families columnist, discovered fresh snickerdoodles, cider, and candy canes in the lobby of the Wilderness Lobby during her holiday vacation. We heard that the Polynesian was offering similar goodies to those lucky enough to be in WDW during the holidays!

Holiday Treats at the Wilderness Lodge

Our editor, Kim LaPaglia, spotted this new popcorn t-shirt ($23.95) featuring the original Disneyland popcorn box at Keystone Clothiers in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Popcorn T-shirt

MEGA SALE on our DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays e-Book!

Headed to Disney World during the holidays this year or next year? Take advantage of our lowest price ever on our best-selling DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2012 e-Book! This is an awesome time to start planning for next year’s trip!

With 230 pages of detailed information and multiple bonus extras, it WILL save you time and money during the busiest season in Walt Disney World! And whether you’re going this year, or getting a jump on planning for next year, don’t tackle the Disney holidays without it!

Take advantage of this deep savings sale NOW, with a discount for DFB readers. Get the 2012 guide today for our lowest price ever$4 off the regular purchase price for the next 7 days! How? Use code GINGERBREAD at the check-out!

On to the Round-Up

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups visits Epcot’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for an adults-only princess meal.

Disney Parks Blog shares ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve at Disney Quest, Bongos Cuban Cafe, Splitsville, Raglan Road, La Nouba, or Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney Orlando.

AND, they win a point in our book for looking at the roastie toasties at Disneyland’s popcorn carts.

Mouse on the Mind looks at some freebies at Old Key West resort, including [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: October 7, 2012

Whew! What a week!

As you know, I’ve been busy at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival eating my way around the World and updating ALL of our World Showcase Booth food pictures!!

But the best part? TV!! Those of you in Orlando may have seen me talking Food and Wine on Fox 35 News Orlando last Tuesday morning; and if you’re in Tampa you may have heard me chat about the Festival on WTSP 10 News yesterday morning!

Be sure to check out this clip all about my money-saving tips for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

But in addition to that, we’ve also got some fun new updates from the rest of the World of Disney to share with you… . Let’s take a look!

Disney Food News

Get ready to dig in to this week’s sweet and savory headlines from Disney!

We’ve got additional food news (including a clawdaddy food truck at Downtown Disney, self-ordering kiosk at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, restaurant closure updates and LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Updates

The 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is in full swing, but we’re still updating our coverage daily with World Showcase booth reviews, new photos, and other news popping up from the Festival Center!

Check out this fun video of some Food and Wine Festival Entertainers in Future World!

Find all of the latest Epcot Food and Wine Festival News and Reviews here, and stay tuned this week for our take on several seminars and events around the festival (including exclusive pics of ME in WADERS in the OCEAN SPRAY CRANBERRY BOG!).

Also, our great DFB Deals of the Week for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Opening Week have been extended!!

Check out the awesome discounts we have available on our Disney Dining e-Book Bundles and our 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Guide!

More to come… stay tuned!

On to the Round-Up

Mickey Fix shares some very cool Alice in Wonderland teacups and saucers (which I haven’t ever seen before)!

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups sips on a Caramel Apple Frozen Margarita at Boardwalk Joe’s.

Passport to Dreams takes us on a vintage tour of Disneyland’s food service history. Wow!

Studios Central reminisces about extinct food once served at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Gorillas Don’t Blog discovers a vintage picture of Disney Legend Ginny Tyler sitting in front of Hills Bros. Coffee House in Disneyland.

Main Street Gazette dishes up Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumettes from the Caribbean marketplace at the Food and Wine Festival.

All Ears shows us the history of Dinoland, including the Restaurantosaurus.

Disney Parks Blog unveils the recipe for Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli served at the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

New! Gluten Free Menu for the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Finally!! Guests visiting the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival now have access to an official map with the location of menu items that are gluten-free!

See photos of ALL gluten-free items on our 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Gluten Free Page!!

Gluten Free Map for the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Here are your Disney-approved options for gluten-free eats at this year’s Festival:

Argentina
Grilled Beef Skewer – Order without the Chimichurri Sauce!

Australia
Shrimp on the Barbie
Grilled Lamb Chop

Caribbean Islands
Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick

Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney

Canada
Beef Filet Mignon

Cheese
Cheese offerings are gluten-free – skip the bread!

Florida Local
White Corn [Read more…]

Fun Gluten-Free and Allergy-Free Snacks in Epcot

Vacationing with dietary requirements can sometimes be a challenge, but Disney continues to lead the field in options available to guests who have special dietary needs.

On a recent trip to Epcot’s The Land and its fabulous counter service spot, Sunshine Seasons, we spied some fun eats for special diets!

First up: who doesn’t love a little something sweet, crunchy, and indulgent on a trip to Walt Disney World? If you need to find a treat that is gluten- or nut-free, check out Rocky Mountain Caramel Popcorn! Perfect for sharing — if you want to!

Gluten and Nut Free Caramel Popcorn

Gluten and Nut Free Caramel Popcorn - Close-up

If you’re looking for a delicious cookie, but you’d like to avoid [Read more…]

Tips For Visiting the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is coming up soon, and we’re already covering the latest news about the event.

Shrimp Tacos, Rib Eye Tacos, Flan and Strawberry Lime Margarita from the Mexico Booth

You can “follow the festival” on our Food and Wine Festival page here, and start making plans to attend September 28-November 12, 2012.

This annual event showcases food, wine, and other beverages from around the globe at marketplaces set up around Epcot’s World Showcase. You can also take advantage of some of the great seminars, demos, and events going on throughout the festival!

So, to kick off our coverage appropriately, let’s take a look at our…

Fun Tips for Visiting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Here are a few of our favorite dining tips when it comes to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival! I hope they’re helpful, and that you’ll share some of your great tips, too!

1. Make It A Meal

The World Showcase Booths around the Lagoon offer some great eats in small, appetizer sizes! Save one or two (or three!) meals for “eating around the World” Showcase.

Some of the perennial favorites include: Canada’s Cheddar Cheese Soup; Australia’s Shrimp on the Barbie; Italy’s Baked Cheese Ravioli; Argentina’s Grilled Beef Skewer; Poland’s Pierogies; and Germany’s sausage. We’re hoping that griddled cheese is [Read more…]