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.


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


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…]

Guest Review: Breakfast and Lunch at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Welcome back guest author Carrie Hayward with a review of breakfast and lunch at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Cars Land, Disney California Adventure!

This Spring we got to attend an Annual Passholder preview of Cars Land. Everything was open, including new counter-service restaurant Flo’s V-8 Cafe.

We are usually pretty disappointed by the counter-service options at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland (Jolly Holiday Bakery excepted!), but we waited in the 20-minute line with our hopes high. Who wouldn’t want to eat in a life-size replica of the stylish drive-in from Cars?

Flo's Really Shines at Night!


Flo’s is HUGE inside, with four dining rooms.

The restaurant actually extends halfway down the block, but one wing is themed to an auto clinic [Read more…]

First Look: Flo’s V8 Cafe Revs Up for Business in Disney California Adventure!

A few weeks ago, I was able to get a media sneak peek and food preview of Cars Land.

While we were there, every single attendee was in awe of its landscape, then we were blown away even more when we were led into Flo’s V8 Cafe for a tasting!

Flo's V8 Cafe Signage

At that time, no photos were allowed. But, guess what? After 5 years, the time has come, the walls are down, and Flo’s is open for business!

Flo's Entrance

Flo’s V8 Cafe was modeled after a Route 66 stop called Midpoint Cafe in Midpoint, Texas.

And the backstory in Cars Land is that Flo’s caters to the growing number of Route 66 visitors and race fans coming to Radiator Springs, with a “showroom” dining area that overlooks the Radiator Springs Racers attraction. This is one of the amazing views…

Watch the Radiator Springs Racers and enjoy the view while you dine at Flo's!


The minute you walk into Flo’s, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. To me, it felt like the scene in Back to the Future when Marty enters the soda fountain to find his dad, George McFly sitting there.

You’re in complete awe of the music, the colors, the decor; everything. Flo’s is, in fact, so gorgeous that they have a Photo Pass photographer set up with a tripod out front to take pictures of people in front of the restaurant!

Here’s some of the fun outside “decor” that makes Flo’s so much fun to [Read more…]

First Look! Food Photos and Tasting Review From Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Cars Land

Today I had the pleasure of walking behind the closed off walls of Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. This brand new land in the Disneyland Resort has been under construction for years, and I couldn’t believe I was actually going to get a sneak peek…and even get to sample some of the brand new menu items that will be served there and on Buena Vista Street when they open next month! 

Standing under the mountains of Ornament Valley with the Radiator Springs Racers whizzing by, I had to take a deep breath.  Goosebumps on my arms, tears in my eyes. What in the world was happening to me? I’ve watched the progress of Cars Land from day one, and now, it’s nearly done.

Flo's V-8 Cafe Under Construction in Cars Land

Just weeks away from the June 15th grand opening and there I stood, inside getting a sneak peek!  The only way for me to describe Cars Land is simple and true. You are IN Radiator Springs. You have stepped into Cars. 

After telling myself to get it together and wishing I could take a photo, I followed the other attendees into Flo’s V8 Cafe for a sampling of the menu!

Menu and Backstory of Flo's V-8 Cafe

Because Flo’s is not 100% complete, photos were not allowed, the pictures you see here were from a “preview” room that we were taken to beforehand. 


I’ll do my best to describe to you in detail the atmosphere of Flo’s. Flo’s is a counter service restaurant serving up breakfast, lunch & dinner.  Upon entering, be sure to look up. There is a giant light fixture made of shiny tail pipes

Flo’s caters to the growing number of Route 66 visitors and race fans coming to Radiator Springs, with a “showroom” dining area that overlooks the Radiator Springs Racers attraction. The cafe also is home to Flo’s personal memorabilia, collected during her glamorous career as a singer with the Motorama Girls.

The service area includes several walk-up kiosks (or food pods) divided by road barrier type blockades to keep you in your line. The main color of the cafe is turquoise. There is a giant juke box fixture at the counter.  Two main dining rooms make up the cafe, and there is both indoor (booths & tables) and outdoor seating.

Best of all? You can’t beat the view from the dining rooms. One side features a perfect view of Sally’s Cozy Cones and the other — a breathtaking view of [Read more…]