Guest Review: ‘Ohana Character Breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

While Disney’s Polynesian Resort is undergoing extensive renovations (including Captain Cook’s), it’s still a good time to stop by ‘Ohana for the Best Friends Breakfast featuring the adorable Lilo & mischievous Stitch. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott reviews her family’s morning meal at Walt Disney World.

‘Ohana, located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, is an extremely popular dinner venue with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Its all-you-care-to-eat format of delicious Polynesian-inspired dishes and relaxed atmosphere earn it rave reviews from just about everyone that eats there.

But is the character breakfast equally as good? My husband, daughter and I decided to find out!

Atmosphere

The Polynesian is one of Walt Disney World’s original resorts. I remember going to the luau when I was a kid back in the 70s and feeling like I was in another country.

As an adult, I recognize that there’s something decidedly kitschy about it. I half expect to see Elvis a la Blue Hawaii round the corner with Joan Blackman on his arm. The theming is fantastic, and consistent.

Pluto Makes His Way Through the Dining Room

Pluto Makes His Way Through the Dining Room

‘Ohana is on the second level of the lobby, just a stone’s throw away from the monorail. Guests are required to check in at the host stand before entering the restaurant. We found this a little confusing, mostly because there were a lot of excited children swarming the area.

We ended up walking right past the host stand. We were re-directed to the “cousin” in the lobby’s host area who was pleasant and efficient and whisked us to the photo area. (Cast members are called “cousins” to reinforce the feeling that everyone at ‘Ohana is family.)

We had our picture taken in front of a Tiki-inspired hut and waited for our buzzer to go off. When it did a few minutes later, we made our way to the host stand inside the restaurant, where we were greeted warmly by more exceptionally friendly “cousins.”

Baskets of Welcome Bread Await Diners

Baskets of Welcome Bread Await Diners

Eats

On the way to our table, our host gave us helpful information about the service for our meal and tidbits about the open kitchen and some of the menu items.

We were seated at a sunny table near the window with a sweeping view of Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. (Editor’s Note: Views may be obstructed due to ongoing construction.) Our server quickly greeted us and also took a moment to explain the service style. Breakfast would arrive in a large skillet, with the ever-popular Mickey waffles brought separately. Before scurrying away, she uttered those six magical words, “It’s all you care to eat.

Live Kitchen Elements, Including This Grill, Are a Focal Point

Live Kitchen Elements, Including This Grill, Are a Focal Point

Our server returned with a basket of Hawaiian welcome bread flavored with pineapple and coconut, as well as iced cinnamon bread. Both were delicious.

Welcome Bread with Pineapple and Coconut, and Iced Cinnamon Bread

Welcome Bread with Pineapple and Coconut, and Iced Cinnamon Bread

She also brought ‘Ohana’s famous breakfast beverage – a combination of passion fruit, orange and guava juices, known as P.O.G. I would drink this juice intravenously if I could. It’s heaven.

P.O.G. – Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava Juice

P.O.G. – Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava Juice

Next came a fruit plate, with cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, and berries. Poor fruit plate. It barely got touched, because the gigantic skillet of breakfast yumminess arrived, heaped with [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant in Disney World’s Epcot

We’re heading back to Epcot’s Future World for dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant!

This is a DFB favorite, and it comes together as Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast. The dinner features an all-you-care-to-eat meal served Family Style.

If you’ve ever shied away from eating in Future World in favor of the more varied cuisine available in World Showcase, it may be time to give Disney World’s only rotating restaurant a chance.

Please join me, Chip ‘n Dale, Pluto, and the main Mouse himself (MICKEY!) at the Harvest Feast for some food and fun!

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere? Well, that depends… You see, the Garden Grill rotates over the various scenes of the Living with the Land attraction, so what you see depends on where in the rotation you are in the moment.

It takes about one hour to make the full rotation, so it’s slow enough that you don’t really notice the feel of it while you are dining — at least, I didn’t. I was too busy enjoying the views!  Take a look…

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse Dog!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- Rainforest

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — Rainforest

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Garden Grill Mural

Garden Grill Mural

We enjoyed all of this from our table on the lower level of this two-level restaurant. It’s definitely a score if you are seated on the lower level, which is fashioned with booths as opposed to the chairs and tables on the upper level.

Garden Grill booth

Garden Grill booth

The booths provide more of a “front row seat” experience for the attraction, so it’s worth asking at check-in to see if you can get one. I wasn’t expecting a booth since it was just my husband and me, but several of the booths are divided with drop-leaf tables, allowing for a larger family on one side, and a pair on the other. The drop-leaf, of course, can be raised to accommodate a larger group, if needed.

Larger Booth -- Family Side

Larger Booth — Family Side

Larger Booth -- Side for a pair

Larger Booth — Side for a pair

Of course, the special touches are in full effect here — check out this table setting! Remind you of a certain character?

Mickey Table Setting :)

Mickey Table Setting :)

Speaking of… The one thing with the ability to distract you from the attraction views is… well, it’s actually FOUR things: the Characters!

Here’s Chip striking a pose in front of the Prairie Desert.

Chip strikes a pose

Chip strikes a pose

Pluto stopped by to say “Hello!”

Pluto!

Pluto!

Dale plotted how he might sneak some of our food…

Dale Plotting...

Dale Plotting…

… but I informed him it was people food, and not well-suited for chipmunks. (That makes for a sad chipmunk!)

Sad Dale

Sad Dale

Okay, this next shot is not a shining example of terrific photography ;) . But I hope it conveys that moment of excitement when you first spot THE EARS over a nearby booth (c’mon, you can admit it!), and realize who will be at your table shortly…

EARS!

EARS!

Farmer Mickey Mouse — in OVERALLS, no less!!!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey

At the start of the meal, I was a bit [Read more…]

Guest Review: Garden Grill Restaurant

Jeff Kocan, an incredible writer and blogger over at www.CigarettesandCoffee.com (he was the evil photographer of this little ditty — don’t look if you’re hungry), kindly penned and photographed this review of the Garden Grill Restaurant in Epcot’s The Land. This rotating restaurant is in many of our childhood memories, but these days, it’s got a new “spin.” (Couldn’t help it.) Take it away, Jeff!

Garden Grill Restaurant

For too many Walt Disney World visitors, The Land pavilion on the east side of Epcot’s Future World is probably best known as the building you rush through twice per visit – once to get Soarin’ Fastpasses and once to redeem them. It’s worth spending a little extra time here, though, as the building also houses an above-average food court, a more-fun-than-it-sounds agricultural boat ride, and one of the park’s most unique restaurants, the revolving Garden Grill.

The Garden Grill has been around since Epcot’s (or, if you will, EPCOT Center’s) opening day on October 1, 1982. Back then it was known as the Good Turn Restaurant; it became the Land Grille Room in 1986 before taking its current name in ’93. Lunch service here ended in 2008, and the restaurant now exclusively hosts Chip and Dale’s Harvest Feast, a family-style character dinner.

Chip and Dale's Harvest Feast

The Atmosphere
I tend to think of the Garden Grill as one of Disney World’s “forgotten” character meals — it certainly isn’t mentioned as frequently as, say, Chef Mickey’s or Cinderella’s Royal Table. That said, during our Sunday-night visit, the restaurant was full and the adjacent waiting area was packed with diners waiting for their buzzers to buzz. Said waiting area is essentially a vacant corner near the public restrooms, and aside from a couple benches, the ground is the only available seating. Germophobes may prefer to stand.

Once you’re in the restaurant itself, you’re treated to an experience unlike any other in the parks: [Read more…]

Disney Canned Goods Sculpture — A Breakdown

So, being the person I am and writing the blog I write, it’s natural that I hung around after the canned goods sculpture reveal at the Disney “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” press event and took a few photos… :-) The world record-setting sculpture (yep — Guinness World Records authenticated it) was made up of 115,527 canned goods. The canned goods were donated to food banks in Orlando, Fla., Miami, and Atlanta.

This was part of a massive media event promoting what I believe to be one of the most game-changing Corporate/Non-Profit partnerships in the history of philanthropy. Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” volunteer program aims to encourage 1 million people to volunteer one day of service at a local nonprofit in exchange for one free day in a Disney park. Why is this game-changing? Because that 1 million people includes thousands of children, who will learn why it’s important to volunteer and help out in the community — and I don’t mean just getting a ticket to Disney World. This program will introduce thousands of people to the outstanding benefits volunteering can bring — both personally and to the community.

To date, Disney’s already hit the 600,000 person mark…and that’s in just six weeks. I’m guessing they’ll hit their 1 million person goal in no time flat.

But on to the Sculpture…
One thing I really wanted to capture was how many different types of items were used to create the sculpture, as well as the innovation of the “artists!” According to a Disney press release,

The sculpture contains approximately 44 tons of food – everything from albacore tuna and apricot halves to spaghetti, stewed tomatoes and mixed vegetables – destined to become more than 70,000 meals for the needy.

Let’s begin with a photo of the full sculpture. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see a cool time-lapse video of the sculpture being built!!:

NEW WORLD RECORD SET AT DISNEY

Here are a few breakdown photos that I thought were pretty interesting uses of canned, bagged, and boxed foods:

Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse was made up primarily of flesh-toned Kirkland Salmon cans. Black olive cans were used for his ears and nose, and pineapple chunk cans made up his eyes. All of the characters had popcorn plates for pupils!

Mickey’s paintbrush was made out of boxes of lasagna noodles, bags of spaghetti, and [Read more…]

‘Ohana Character Breakfast: Mickey and Friends

Pinvestigator Cody, of the Global Disney Pinvestigator Blog, is back with another round of comments and photos about a recent meal. This one, breakfast with Mickey and Friends at ‘Ohana, is one of his favorites; you’ll see why when you see these amazing photos! Thanks, Cody!

sign-11

‘Ohana means “family,” and the restaurant stretches that feeling throughout the meal! Opening at 7:30am, we arrived at 7:20 for a 7:40 Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR). There were about 20 families in front of us waiting to check in, but we were the second family to be seated (they really do pay attention to those ADR times!)

'Ohana Breakfast Open Kitchen

'Ohana Breakfast Open Kitchen

The hostess took us to our table, giving us a short tour of the restaurant along the way. We briefly stopped by the open kitchen where the hostess took our appetizer plate from the rows and rows of Pineapple and Cinnamon Raisin Bread (both are delicious, by the way), explaining that giving bread to family is one of the ‘Ohana customs celebrated at the restaurant.

Pineapple Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Pineapple Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread

We sat at our table, which included a great view of Cinderella Castle.

view from 'Ohana

Right away, a server came out with our “POG Juice” — Orange, Pineapple, Guava! It was delicious.

POG Juice

POG Juice

Not less than 5 minutes later, we got our food. It’s served family-style at ‘Ohana, with all-you-can-eat bacon, eggs, sausage, and potatoes.

breakfast

Another server also came around regularly with a bowl of Mickey Waffles, hot out of the “iron.”

Mickey Waffle

Mickey Waffle

Additionally, we received a small fruit platter, with pineapple, cantaloupe, grapes, and more.

'Ohana Fruit Platter

'Ohana Fruit Platter

Finally, the characters made their appearances! They were great and spent an equal amount of time at each table. Every 30-45 minutes is the ‘Ohana Family Parade, where the characters invite everyone to dance and sing and “shake!”, all to the song “Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride.”

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

Stitch

Stitch

Pluto

Pluto

Lilo

Lilo

Overall the meal was really enjoyable, and definitely delicious. This has to be my FAVORITE
Disney resort character breakfast.

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Tables in Wonderland: yes
Characters: 5 of 5
Food: 4.5 of 5