Review: Lunch at Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Most of us know that Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is one of the best-kept dining secrets in all of Walt Disney World.

But these days, it’s becoming less a secret, and more of an established must-eat! If your list of advance dining reservations doesn’t include at least one meal here, then you’re sorta missing out.

By a long stretch, breakfast is the hottest meal ticket at Kona Cafe (Tonga Toast!!), followed by a loyal fan base at dinner time.

What about lunch, though? Well, I’m so glad you asked…


I’ve said it before, and to date, nothing has changed: the atmosphere at Kona Cafe is boring. This is one spot at Disney World that you aren’t frequenting for the epic design choices.

Kona Cafe Sign

The vibe is “modernized hotel lobby kind of Hawaiian chic.” And by “modernized,” I do mean last decade. That’s not to say that it’s unpleasant. You just (probably) won’t be squealing with delight as you take in every element.

Dining Area

Seating is functional and comfortable. I prefer these round tables to the other options however, since I feel a little less constricted here.


There are some interesting decor elements we should point out, though, especially if you look up or down. To begin, you have the seriously awesome natural light that comes from the skylights above. This is a great touch, since there are few combinations more wonderful to dine in than natural light and air conditioning.

These frosted glass “leaves” break up the monotony of the ceiling nicely and also soften the light a bit.

Lighting and Ceiling Decor

The fans here are one of the elements that brings “Polynesia” to this restaurant, and they keep the air circulating to make for a more comfortable space. Patterns on the amber light shades are reminiscent of Polynesian art as well.

Ceiling and Lighting

Carpeting includes vibrant colors that remind you of a tropical setting. Be sure to look closely at those flowers — you just might discover a little surprise!

Be Sure to Pay Attention -- A Hidden Mickey in the Carpet

If you’re looking for a [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: June 2, 2013

Hubba hubba! There are some serious new treats in Epcot right now, kids!

Ice Cream Martini in Epcot's France

Yep — the long-awaited L’Artisan des Glaces opened this week in the France Pavilion, and it’s surpassed all expectations. With 16 decadent flavors of ice cream and sorbet along with the option of topping them with three liqueurs, it’s a great stop for both grown-ups and kids!

Check out our first look, with photos and information about the new Epcot France ice cream shop; and enjoy some spectacular treats for the eyes with our review of the “ice cream martini!”

Disney Food News

Enjoy this week’s tidbits!

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 South African Winemakers Tour at Jiko, Heinz Natural Ketchup at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Steakhouse 55 Wine and Dine Experience for Disneyland’s Annual Passholders, Sorcerer Mickey Candy Apples at Disneyland candy locations, Be Our Guest Restaurant earns an award, Chef Chris Windus leaving Todd English’s bluezoo, and sushi update at Kona Island Sushi Bar in Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

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!

The Backlot Express seems to be dispensing some extra magic to guests lately. If you hear Cast Members chanting “magic tray”, they’ll be delivering a free dessert to the lucky guest! DFB reader Jennifer tweeted “ate at the Backlot Express & got the “Magic Tray” & won a free dessert! Lemon Meringue cupcake.” We still don’t know what the “magic tray” is, but we want one!

Lemon Meringue Cupcake!

And while you’re at Backlot Express, we suggest this delicious Angus Onion Straw Cheeseburger sent in by DFB Reader Mandi!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

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On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix features a classic Mickey Mouse waffle iron! Perfect for Summer Saturday breakfasts!

Classic Mickey Mouse Waffle Iron!

All About Ami explores popcorn stands at Tokyo Disneyland! (Keep scrolling down when you click over…it’s a LONG post, but you’ll get to the popcorn stands eventually!)

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups enjoys adult slushes in Epcot’s France pavilion.

Yesterland features the original billboards at Paradise Pier in Disney’s California Adventure. Includes Coca-Cola and McDonald’s advertisements!

Theme Park Insider dines at Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom.

disZine features an updated version of the cooking series That’s Fresh on the Disney Channel.

Main Street Gazette features the Grand Floridian Cafe.

The Evolution of the Kona Kone!

Happy Memorial Day! It’s time to talk ICE CREAM!

I’ve got some interesting news for those of you who lurve the Kona Kone at Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

Now, if you don’t know what a Kona Kone is, this is what it used to look like…

Past Life of the Kona Kone...when it was actually a cone

A real cone, stuffed with ice cream, topped with sprinkles and a little chocolate Mickey, and surrounded by clouds of fluffy cotton candy.

But apparently that long-standing favorite needed a change — and they’ve made some updates…

NOW, they’ve taken away the [Read more…]

Disney Ice Cream Gallery

July is National Ice Cream Month!!!

And since Sunday was National Ice Cream Day, we’ve put together a gallery of some of our favorite chilly treats from Disney parks and resorts! (Yes, you have permission to have ice cream for breakfast.)

We know we’re not covering everything, and we’d love it if you would leave us a comment mentioning your favorite ice cream-based dessert in a Disney restaurant. Can’t wait to find out what your choices are! :-)

So now, without further ado, here’s where to go to get some of our favorite sweet-cold treats in our favorite theme parks!

The Plaza Ice Cream Sundae

Scoops of vanilla ice cream drizzled with hot fudge is then covered in whipped cream when you order this Plaza Ice Cream Sundae. There’s not just one, but many crowning cherries on this divine treat.  And that’s all before you get to the crunch of a delicious waffle bowl (if you even make it that far…we didn’t)!

Okay, it’s served in a plastic bowl, which makes it a little less decadent but the crispy waffle bowl will make up for the lack of glassware. Got spare time while waiting curb-side for the parade? Grab one of these little beauties before staking out your piece of pavement! (Or, better yet, let someone else stake it out for you, then head over to the Main Street Ice Cream Parlor to snag one of your own.)

Location: Main Street Ice Cream Parlor

Plaza Ice Cream Parlor Sundae

And don’t forget to pick up this little favorite at the Plaza, too! A Mickey Ear ice cream cone!

Mickey Ice Cream Cone

Dole Whip Float

This is practically a food staple at WDW. Hey, it’s a daily fruit serving, right?! The Dole Whip float is soft serve treat with pineapple juice and should be on your Magic Kingdom touring plan.

No visit to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom is complete without a Dole Whip. Before your flight on Aladdin’s Magic Carpets, sit for a spell and give your taste buds a sensational journey!

Location: Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace

Disney World Aloha Isle Dole Whip Float

Kitchen Sink Sundae

It’s everything but the kitchen sink! This must-share, ginormous dessert begins with [Read more…]

Review: Kona Cafe

We escaped to the Kona Cafe after a madhouse morning in the Magic Kingdom on a recent Disney World visit, and I immediately knew how I was going to frame Kona for this review — it is, indeed, an escape from the hectic theme parks. Located in the Polynesian Resort — a resort located on the Monorail loop — it’s very easy to get to from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

As a sister to the Polynesian’s more popular restaurant, ‘Ohana, many folks only try Kona Cafe as a last resort — which means those of us who know better get first crack at it!

This unassuming restaurant is actually a den of cult favorite menu items for many Disney World veterans. Home of Tonga Toast, the Big Kahuna, the Kona Kone, and some of the best steaks on property, Kona Cafe is a frequented and beloved staple for many Disney guests.

Kona Cafe


Located in the Polynesian Resort‘s Great Ceremonial House, Kona Cafe is to the left of the entrance doors on the second floor of the lobby.

Kona Cafe Dining Room

Open to the lobby, the restaurant has the general feel of any ho-hum hotel restaurant, but you might find a few interesting shapes in the bright floral [Read more…]