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…]

2014 Disney Gift Guide: Wearing Your Favorite Disney Snacks

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?

Peace, Love, & Dole Whip tee

Peace, Love, & Dole Whip tee

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.

Please Stand Clear of My Dole Whip tee

Please Stand Clear of My Dole Whip tee

Simple and classic, here’s a Dole Whip Mug.

Dole Whip Mug

Dole Whip Mug

Okay, here’s one you don’t see every day… I am loving this Lapu-Lapu tote bag for fans of this Tambu Lounge beverage!

Lapu-Lapu tote

Lapu-Lapu tote

Do you heart School Bread? Well, so do [Read more…]

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…]

Review: The Tambu Lounge in Disney’s Polynesian Resort

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!

Atmosphere

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.

Tambu Lounge at Disney's Polynesian Resort

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.

Eats

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.

Tambu Specialty Drink Menu

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!

Lapu Lapu at the Polynesian's Tambu Lounge

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…]

The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (and Alternatives When They’re Full)

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

Scoring an advance dining reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for their table service dinner can be a daunting task.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

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 newest restaurant. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland is still the hottest ticket in Walt Disney World since its 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. You almost expect to look down and find your food animated!

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, there is huge novelty surrounding the fact that you can now order beer and wine in the formerly dry Magic Kingdom (for dinner only).

So, what to do if you can’t [Read more…]

What’s Your Disney “First Day Tradition?”

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!

I usually choose one of two options once I get there: Either lounge in a comfy, wicker chair at the Tambu Lounge, or head to ‘Ohana for a sunset dinner! (And sometimes I do both!)

Tambu Sign

“The Poly” offers lots of choices for [Read more…]

Introducing: Disney Food iPhone and iPod Cases!

We love finding a way to show off how much we love Disney food — and these cases will wrap your technology in favorite Disney treats! I couldn’t wait to share these with you. :-)

Carry a Mickey Ice Cream Bar around with you everyday! We guarantee – no melting!

The pink version is adorable. Just look at that vanilla ice cream peeking out!

Mickey Ice Cream Bar Pink Case

And, of course, we have to pay homage to the uber-popular Dole Whip!

Show off your love for the Dole Whip!

Feeling really hungry? This pink turkey leg case is low on calories! I love the Hidden Mickeys in the tin foil here. There’s also a [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: October 23, 2011

Cottontop Tamarin Cupcake

A new cupcake and lots of foodie photos (and reviews) from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival are highlighted this week! Let’s get right to the yummy news.

Latest Disney Food News

Read on for this week’s Disney Food news highlights!

Don’t forget to stay up-to-date with our Epcot Food & Wine Festival coverage — we’re still buzzing with news, reviews, and updates over on our Epcot Food & Wine Festival Pages!

The DFB Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book Review

Thanks to Gabe Travers with WESH.com, Orlando’s NBC affiliate news source, for this recent review of our Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival! Here’s an excerpt…

If you want some tried and true picks, it’s worth it to check out the Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which features five themed “crawls” you can use to tackle the World Showcase marketplaces. Read the full review here!

You can get YOUR copy of our new e-Book right here! Be sure to use code CHEF at check-out for a $2 discount!

On to the Round-Up!

Walt Disney World for Grownups says Aloha! Escape to the Tambu Lounge for a Lapu Lapu and some yummy new bar food! The bread service looks delicious!

DisMarks continues to highlight Disney news in the blogosphere with their 32nd Disney Blog Carnival! Tons of great Disney articles here — head over and check ‘em out! :-)

Main Street Gazette provides a catalog of Epcot’s restaurant signs! Love this!

DisneyTouristBlog.com names some top snacks at the Food and Wine Festival, along with gorgeous taste-testing photos!

Stitch Kingdom offers the latest news on new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which will open in stages beginning May 31, 2012. We can’t wait to taste-test the fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and Mongolian barbecue in the food court!

AllEars.Net has updated Blizzard Beach menus, including the eats at Lottawatta Lodge.

The Portland Daily Sun showcases Linda Bean’s success with her lobster offerings at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. (Thanks to Erin Foster and Epcyclopedia for the tip!)

Top 10 Disney World Bars and Lounges

South African Wine at Jiko

When it comes to a happy hour beverage, a night out with your spouse or some friends, or…let’s face it…a margarita at the stroke of noon…there are a few spots in Disney World that get the job done better than others! FYI — The Disney Food Blog offers a full list of bars and lounges — complete with descriptions of each place — in our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book.

Now, let’s take a tour of our Top Ten Disney World bars and lounges — these are the places that really make us want to get up and dance. ;-) Don’t forget to check out our list of Honorable Mentions at the end! Many of these spots offer the standard Disney Parks bar and lounge menu should you be interested.

Top Ten WDW Bars and Lounges

Top Ten Walt Disney World Bars and Lounges

1. La Cava del Tequila

Nestled in the twilit atmosphere of the Mexican pavilion in Epcot, La Cava del Tequila is popular with tequila and margarita fans. Try the Avocado Margarita while perusing the limited appetizer menu. See our margarita reviews here and a pic of the tequila flight here!

Due to its cozy and dark location, La Cava makes a great place to escape the heat and bright sunshine while touring World Showcase. However, it gets crowded quickly, so to ensure that you get a table, head over to La Cava at opening time — noon!

La Cava Bar

2. Jellyrolls

While Jellyrolls isn’t for everyone, if you love music from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and especially if you love dueling piano improv, it’s going to fit the bill for you!

An entertainment spot on Disney’s Boardwalk bringing you non-stop dueling pianos, the bar at Jellyrolls plays second fiddle to [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Adult Thirst-Quenchers

Thanks to all who have contributed their photos to the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza! Keep on sending ‘em! The Disney Food Pics of the Week feature adult beverages! Slàinte!

This margarita flight is served at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion! Salud!
Photographer: shnewell

Margarita Flight

The Lapu Lapu is served in a pineapple at the Tambu Lounge at [Read more…]