Polynesian Village Resort is a relaxing tropical getaway — with some great dining and drinking to boot! And since it’s on the Resort Monorail Loop, it’s easy to stop in any time of the day or night on your way to or from Magic Kingdom.
Kona Cafe may not be all that interesting to look at.
Considered a bit of a hidden gem, Kona is normally a pretty easy spot for snagging an advance dining reservation. And with its super convenient location in the Polynesian Village Resort (right on the Magic Kingdom Monorail line!), it’s easily accessible from — well, pretty much anywhere.
But while we’ve enjoyed meals every time of the day here throughout the years, I never rely on past experiences to predict future outcomes. And so I made it my mission on a recent visit to take in lunch at Kona once again.
Sure, it meant missing out on some of my most favorite breakfast items (sob — Tonga Toast!) — but hey, it’s worth it to bring you all the latest! Right?
So hop on the monorail with me, and let’s head to Kona for a midday meal.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out the newly renovated Polynesian Village Resort, be sure to pencil in a little extra time when you head to Kona Cafe. I think Disney has done a great job of simultaneously breathing fresh air into this original Disney World spot and celebrating history. It’s new and old at the same time!
Unfortunately, the Imagineering Love didn’t reach all the way to Kona. So you’ll find the same decor that’s been here for quite some time. [Read more…]
Happy New Year! We hope you had a great time ringing in 2016! We just know this year is going to be the best one yet!
Last year was full of Disney food news and we saw the opening of several great new restaurants at Disney Springs and the Magic Kingdom.
But this year is going to be even more amazing with the opening of more new spots at Disney Springs including STK Orlando, The Edison, and Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza!
We’re also looking forward to Tiffin’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and we’ll admit we can’t wait to see what happens with Toy Story Pizza Planet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
We have a lot to share, so let’s jump right in…
Disney Food News
- We looked back at the top Disney Food News Stories of 2015!
- You’ll want to check out our review of Cookes of Dublin!
- We’re hearing that major changes might be coming to Toy Story Pizza Planet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
- Check out this recipe for the Gingerbread Beignets from Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans.
- This week’s #OnTheList is all about the Lapu Lapu at the Tambu Lounge in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort! Cheers!
Happy 2016!! What better way to celebrate than with a bunch of rum in a pineapple!?
The Lapu Lapu may not rank quite as high on the list as the Jumbo Turkey Leg or Dole Whip as far as iconic Disney World indulgences go. Nope — this gem is for the kids in the know, and once YOU know about it, you may just want to put it #OnTheList!
We recently visited Tambu Lounge in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to celebrate its single-serve portion of ‘Ohana Bread Pudding. And now we’re already back to sing the praises of the Lapu Lapu. [Read more…]
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
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…]
Is there someone on your holiday gift list who loves Dole Whip more than life? (Wait… is there anyone on your list who doesn’t?). Well, what could be better than giving them a way to enjoy their favorite Disney snack all year long? It may not be exactly the same as a personal delivery of the real deal, but these t-shirts, mugs, totes, and phone cases might just be be the next best thing!
This Peace, Love, and Dole Whip t-shirt pretty much sums up all the best things in life, doesn’t it?
Those who don this Please Stand Clear of My Dole Whip Tee can pay homage to the monorail and their beloved Dole Whip at the same time.
Simple and classic, here’s a Dole Whip Mug.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
“Cousin” Candy soon delivered [Read more…]
Today we’re headed to one a lounge that’s achieved cult favorite status among Disney fans in the know like you guys — The Tambu Lounge!
Located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, this is one of my favorite spots in the entire resort to kick back, relax, and enjoy an adult beverage while awaiting my table at ‘Ohana. But what you might not know is that Tambu also serves up some tasty island-inspired pub grub as well.
It had been a while since I’d indulged in the menu here, so when the opportunity arose (in the form of a huge impending rainstorm) I knew just the place to hide away!
Tambu Lounge is located in the open air atrium lobby of the Polynesian Resort. It actually serves as the waiting area for Disney guest-favorite restaurant ‘Ohana, and it’s also a stone’s throw from Kona Cafe, the resort’s other table service restaurant. This makes Tambu the perfect place to indulge in before dinner cocktails. But I had another idea in mind.
Since the space is open, the same decor that serves for the rest of the resort is found here as well. Dark walls, tikis, thatched roofs, and folk art serve to signal that you’ve traveled to Polynesia. And because this is Disney, you’ll often see guests of all ages here.
The comfortable, airy lounge features floor-to-ceiling picture windows that look out on the lush garden paths of the resort, and you can just catch a glimpse of the water through the trees. If you haven’t started the relaxation process by the time you hit Tambu, this spot is likely to get you moving in the right direction.
As I said before, normally Tambu is a Disney first day tradition for me. Either I’m awaiting my table at ‘Ohana, or I’m grabbing a Lapu Lapu before heading to the Polynesian’s beach to watch Wishes from my favorite spot.
But today, I was all about noshing, and I couldn’t wait to check out the menu. We started, of course, by taking a look at the Specialty Drink Offerings.
Although Disney has switched to a resort-wide beverage list for many of their bars and lounges, you can find some unique specialty cocktails at several of the resorts…and I’m so glad Tambu has kept several of theirs!
All the drinks are delicious, but nothing says “kicked back and relaxed” to me like that Lapu Lapu!
This is one of my all-time favorites in Disney World. Served in a hollowed-out pineapple, it’s a delicious blend of dark rum and tropical fruit juices. In my opinion, it’s [Read more…]
Many Disney guests agree that the most important Disney Dining Tips lists include one specific piece of advice:
Making Advance Dining Reservations is an absolute must when it comes to planning.
While many seasoned Disney travelers are aware of this, there are lots of folks who visit the parks and are stunned to find no tables available at their top restaurant choices. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at one time or another…and we’ve got solutions for you!
Today, we’ve updated our list of the most popular Disney restaurants and terrific alternatives if you can’t score a table at your coveted spot!
Let’s take a look at the most elusive restaurants to book these days…
Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant
From the time that they first announced the restaurant’s soft opening until now, we have heard from many readers who haven’t been able to secure a spot at Magic Kingdom’s other castle restaurant (the first being Cinderella’s Royal Table, of course!). Here are a couple of reasons why:
Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the relative novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland are still a hot ticket in Walt Disney World since the expanded land’s grand opening in December 2012.
Incredible, Immersive Themeing: The impeccable themeing means that stepping into Beast’s Castle is truly like climbing through a portal into Beauty and the Beast (the original or the live-action version!). You almost expect to look down and find your plate come to life!
Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, Be Our Guest was the first place in formerly-dry Magic Kingdom to order beer and wine, and that added to the location’s novelty.
So, what to do if you can’t get a reservation at Be Our Guest? [Read more…]
It’s time to talk Disney trip traditions!!! Over the years, my “first day at Disney” traditions have changed and evolved. But there’s nothing like looking forward to that thing you love to do first when you get to Disney World or Disneyland.
So my question for you today is this: Do you have a favorite “Welcome to Disney” tradition that you always look forward to? Let us know in the comments below — I might just have to change mine once I get inspired by a few of yours!
In the interest of fairness, I’ll share one of mine, too…
Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy the View
One of my favorite “first night traditions” in Disney World is shaking off the stress of travel with a deep breath and a relaxing view. The best place to do this in my opinion? Disney’s Polynesian Resort!
“The Poly” offers lots of choices for [Read more…]