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…]

News! First Look at the New California Grill Menu at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

We previously brought you the news that California Grill, one of Disney World’s most popular dining spots, will be closing for a major renovation on February 1.

The signature restaurant, located high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, will be closed until late summer. In the meantime, Chef Brian Piasecki is already busily creating a new menu that blends classic dishes with fresh updates. Thanks to Disney Parks Blog, we’re getting a few first looks at a few of the creations. First up: sushi!

Although Yoshie Cabral, the restaurant’s beloved sushi chef, is retiring, sushi will continue to play a big role on the menu.

New Sushi Creations

Some of the new items aren’t fish at all, but take their inspiration from traditional Japanese dishes, like Japanese-style Bone Marrow with Crunchy Panko and Sweet Onion Jam and Beef Tartare. I can’t wait to try these!

Traditionalists will also find Sea Urchin Nigiri with Mamanori (soybean paper), Salmon Roe and freshly grated Wasabi Root.

More New Sushi Options

Meat lovers will find plenty to tempt their palates, too. The 24-hour Braised Beef Short Rib with Truffle Whipped Potatoes, Vol-au-Vent (puff pastry) with Roasted Vegetables and Natural [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Kalua Pork Sliders

Many a wish came true when the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival booth menus were announced this year with the popular Kalua Pork Slider back at the Hawaii kiosk!

Once the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival begins on September 28th, you’ll be able to down as many of these as your wristlet gift card can handle!

Hawaii Booth at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

But in the meantime — and while we’re counting down to this year’s festival — we’ve got the recipe for what’s officially called “Kalua Pork Sliders with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise!” Who’s ready for dinner? ;-)

Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise

The 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival starts soon, and you know our advice: plan, plan, plan. Check out our preview of the Festival, including World Showcase booth menus food photos here!

Want to get even more information? Take advantage of our Grand Launch sale on the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Details here!

Kalua Pork Sliders with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise

Makes approximately 15 Sliders
Kalua Pork Ingredients:
1 (4-pound) boneless pork shoulder (also called boneless pork butt)
1 large organic banana leaf, cut in half widthwise (optional)
Coarse salt and freshly ground [Read more…]

Review: The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

We hadn’t been back to The Wave for a couple of years, so we knew it was time to head back for dinner!

The Wave is a unique table-service spot at Disney, because their menu focuses on local and sustainable ingredients. Because of the ever-changing and seasonal local offerings, they are one of the few moderate table service restaurants I’ve encountered that changes up the menu four times per year. (Usually that’s only allowed for signature restaurants!)

Available for breakfast (which also features a buffet), lunch, and dinner, you won’t necessarily find the same dish here that you had six months ago. That can be good and bad, but it’s always an adventure to stop in and see what’s new!


Located in the back left corner of the Contemporary Resort’s lobby (just past the concierge desks), you might miss The Wave altogether — except that they’ve dreamed up this groovy light tunnel for the entrance.

This gives you the feeling of heading below the waves for a culinary adventure. (Or it could also remind you of the dearly departed rainbow tunnel from the original Journey Into Your Imagination. Either way, it’s still cool.)

Wave Entry

The atmosphere is modern and contemporary, and the check-in and bar areas look a little “night-clubby,” actually! But never fear — this restaurant is very family-friendly.

Wave Check-In

You make your way around the beautiful and expansive bar as you walk to the dining area. Here, you’ll see more waves in the decor, like the backs of the comfortable bar chairs.

The bar features screw-top wines (more about that later) and fun organic local beers.

Wave Bar

As you enter the sleek dining room, the color palette changes from blue to harvest gold. Waves (amber waves of grain, perhaps?) continue to surround you, even from above.

Wave Dining Room

Although the look is decidedly modern, it maintains a comfortable feel, with padded seats and booths throughout. The finish also cleverly disguises [Read more…]

Review: Todd English’s bluezoo

We were very excited on a recent trip to see what was new at one of the chicest spots at Disney, Todd English’s bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Located in the Dolphin, the restaurant will trick you into thinking that you have strayed away from Theme Park Land and entered the glitzy glam of a sleek Las Vegas hotspot.

But the real story is the impeccable attention to detail that Chef Chris Windus shows at every turn.

We have a TON of food to cover, so let’s get right to it!


As I mentioned above, you’ll find a sophisticated and upscale vibe at bluezoo, which calls to mind a more grown up feeling. However, even though it may not seem super kid-friendly at first glance, this is still Walt Disney World and there will be kids there (yours are welcome, too!). bluezoo would also be a terrific spot for date night, if you decide to leave the kids at a kids’ club or with an in-room sitter while you strike out on your own.

bluezoo entry

As you enter, you’re immediately greeted by a fluid, aquatic feel. The effect goes beyond the visual — you hear the running water as well — but you are surrounded by a palette of vibrant blue, with accents of bright orange and flashes of silver.

bluezoo bar

Even when things aren’t moving, they may seem to be (especially after you start indulging in some of the unique bar drinks…haha!). For instance, when you enter through the bar, there is a stylized presentation of a school of silver-colored fish, seemingly alive with synchronized movement.

bluezoo bar table

The glossy, natural woods and comfortable booths complement the rest of the look of the bluezoo bar. And the touchscreen order system is a fun addition. You’ll feel like you’ve strayed into the future while choosing what to eat!

bluezoo interactive bar menu

bluezoo interactive bar menu

We reported this detail in 2011, and on this visit we were told that the touch-screen menus will be getting an upgraded look and feel very soon.

Beyond the bar, we made our way into the huge, airy main dining room. The soaring ceilings and beautiful bubbly lights are combined artfully with [Read more…]

Review: Bongos Cuban Cafe

At long last, we finally made it to the Downtown Disney hotspot that is Bongos Cuban Cafe!

I’ll admit, I’d been putting off my visit to this restaurant. I hadn’t heard great reviews, and I wasn’t sure I’d like the food. But I’m SUCH a giant loser — what have I been waiting for?!?

I had a great time, I had awesome food…and it’s finally time to peek inside and find out what the Big Pineapple has to offer!


With architecture billed as “Old Havana” in style, this breezy, open restaurant certainly puts you in the mood for a tropical drink and a conga line. ;-) When we visited just before St. Patrick’s Day, Downtown Disney was alive with the excitement of a young, vibrant crowd, ready to get their dance on! The traditional Cuban dance music pouring out from the restaurant beckons you to come take a closer look and listen, and was perfect for a warm, breezy Florida evening.

Bongos Sign

Originally, our Advanced Dining Reservation was scheduled for much later than our 7:30 meet up time. When we checked in at the podium, though, we had no trouble getting a seat immediately. As a newcomer to Cuban food, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the fun setting hinted of some adventurous eating ahead!

One of THE most amazing features of Bongos is the wide open feel of the place. Seating is available both inside and outside, giving the restaurant an authentic Cuban or Miami vibe. After all, these are places where people “live outside,” and restaurants in these locations really reflect that.

To help with the heat, both inside and out, we noticed high ceilings and lots of ceiling fans. It really lends to the impression of cool, airy spaces.

Outdoor Atmosphere

The upstairs veranda also provides a pleasant view of surrounding hotels, the Characters in Flight balloon, and the lake beyond. VERY cool view, eh??

Upstairs Outdoor Seating

While the walls inside are painted to give an old world, weathered feel (and the stone no doubt lends to a sense of coolness on a sweltering Florida summer day), there are plenty of [Read more…]

Guest Review: ‘Ama ‘Ama Lunch at Disney’s Aulani Resort

Aloha to guest author Anderson Dun! A native of Hawai’i currently living in Arizona, he brings us a delicious review of ‘Ama ‘Ama at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawai’i. Let’s hear it from an expert!

While I didn’t have a chance to stay there, I just knew that I had to visit the Disney resort and have a meal there during my trip home to Hawai’i. I thought about eating at Makahiki buffet, but after reading some good reviews of lunch at ‘Ama ‘Ama, I decided to try it out.


Pre-Lunch Visit to Off the Hook Pool Bar

When we first arrived at 11:10 AM, my mom and I were told that they were closed and didn’t have any openings until 12:45 PM. I was a bit surprised, but we took the time to wander about the resort.

The first thing we did was head next door to the Off the Hook Pool Bar. The pool bar is right next to the restaurant and offers food and drinks, but of course, we were [Read more…]

Review: Disney World’s Flying Fish Cafe

Ah, yes — I get to write about one of my very favorite restaurants in Disney World today!! Flying Fish Cafe is located on Disney’s Boardwalk in Walt Disney World, right next to the back entrance of the Boardwalk Inn.

The entrance is adorned with a giant neon sign complete with flying fish! You can’t miss it. ;-) And once inside, you’ll be treated to whimsical decor, an incredible seasonal menu, and an awesome view of Chef Tim Keating’s open kitchen.


I think this restaurant is the perfect mix of Disney magic and star-quality food. Plus, the place is just fun to look at. There are shiny things and smooth things and fun things and colorful things all around you when you walk in. Don’t miss the jumping fire at the grills in the open kitchen!

Flying Fish Chef's Counter

From the parachuting fish on the ceiling to the colorful circus-themed mural on the walls there’s always something you missed the last time you were there. And let’s not even start talking about the draped “circus-tent” room in the back of the restaurant where you get to eat if you’re really, really lucky!

Flying Fish Cafe Tables and Murals

Parachutes and Flying Fish

Can you see the hidden Mickey in this mural? I know, I know — I point it out all the time, but I [Read more…]

Review: Rose & Crown Restaurant’s New Menu

You know that the Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room is one of our favorite restaurants, and I’m excited to say there’s been another small menu change here! (Excited because that means I get to go eat there again!)


Since we’ve reviewed Rose and Crown previously, you can find loads of atmosphere photos here! But I’ll add a few below just to give you a good feel for the place.

Rose and Crown is fashioned after a neighborhood pub in Britain, with long expanses of polished wood, dark interiors, rich tapestry fabrics, and leaded glass windows.

Dining Room Seating Area

The pub and restaurant are separated by a low wooden wall with a swinging gate allowing restaurant patrons access to the restrooms that are through the pub area. There are separate entrances for both — if you’re headed to the pub, just walk in through the pub doors that face the World Showcase promenade.

View of the Pub and Bar

If you’re checking in to the restaurant, you’ll need to go to the [Read more…]

Countdown to Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Australia, Brazil, and Canada

The time is upon us again, my friends! The Epcot Food and Wine Festival will begin in just a couple of weeks, and I’ve decided to share my excitement by counting down to the Festival with a look at the International Marketplace booths that will be located around the World Showcase Lagoon!

For those who haven’t had the chance to go to the Festival, one of my favorite parts are the dozens of International Marketplaces — little booths, or kiosks, set up that represent a specific country or region. Each booth offers a short menu of tasting plates and drinks from the country or region represented. These tasting items cost anywhere from $2-$7, so they’re a great way to enjoy the Festival without breaking the bank.

Today, I’m going to highlight the representative menus from Australia, Brazil, and Canada!

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt as served at Food and Wine Fest


This year, Australia is highlighting a couple of the same items as they did last year, but they’re also bringing in an interesting dessert! Here’s the full menu for Australia:

  • Seared Barramundi with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes,Arugula, and Lemon Oil
  • Grilled Lamb Chop with Roasted Potato Salad and Red Wine Reduction (photo below from Tables in Wonderland 2010 Food and Wine Festival Preview)
  • Lamington (sponge cake dipped in chocolate)
  • Rosemount Traminer Riesling
  • Marquis Philips, Shiraz
  • Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet
  • Nugan Estate Riverina Chardonnay

I can highly recommend the Grilled Lamb Chop — it was one of my favorite festival items last year!

This year, the Australia booth will be located right between Morocco and Japan, right next to the Food and Wine Festival Merchandise tent.

Click here to see our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Australia Booth Page with Photos.

Pork Skewer with Farofa


Brazil returned to the Festival in 2009 with an incredible menu, and they’re bringing most of it back this year! Here’s the full 2010 menu:

  • Grilled Pork Skewer with Farofa
  • Shrimp Stew with Coconut and Lime
  • Leblon Frozen Caipirinha

I wasn’t too impressed with the grilled pork skewer last year, but heard great things about the shrimp stew!

This year, the Brazil booth is located right at the entrance to the World Showcase Promenade as coming from Future World, directly across the lagoon from the American Adventure pavilion.

Click here to see our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Brazil Booth page with photos.

Polenta and Sausage Appetizer -- as served in the restaurant


Always a favorite booth among Food and Wine Festival guests, Canada offers some dedicated standards (cheddar cheese soup) as well as new favorites (sausage and corn polenta and nanaimo bars). Here’s the full 2010 menu:

  • Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • Maple-Glazed Salmon with Lentil Salad
  • Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta
  • Nanaimo Bar
  • Moosehead Beer
  • Vidal Icewine
  • Chateau De Charmes Riesling
  • St. David’s Bench Vineyard Merlot

I am eagerly awaiting a sample of the nanaimo bars! These decadent goodies aren’t very well known in the states, but they are truly outstanding (assuming they don’t give you a heart attack mid-bite!). The sausage and sweet corn polenta is an exciting prospect as well; it’s a dish I adore at Le Cellier, Epcot’s Canadian table-service restaurant.

Click here to see our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Canada Booth page with photos.

Stay tuned for more booth highlights as we continue to count down to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

To see the rest of the booths, including full menus and photos when available, check out our Epcot Food and Wine Festival International Marketplace Booth Menus and Photos Guide. For more information on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, check out our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Index.

What booth are you most excited about visiting at this year’s Festival? Let us know in the comments section below!