‘Ohana means family, so we’re not leaving anyone behind and heading to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to chow down — TOGETHER!
And since we’re looking to feed our whole crew, we’re heading back to ‘Ohana to fill up with their all-you-care-to-eat dinner. Our past few trips have varied wildly food-wise, even though the atmosphere is consistently spot-on. So we’re back to give the entrees another shot and find out if this restaurant is worth adding to your must do Walt Disney World list (and because you KNOW we can’t resist their bread pudding!).
‘Ohana is a Table Service restaurant located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort on Seven Seas Lagoon — across from both Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the dreamy Cinderella Castle. It can be a hard to snag reservation (re: bread pudding), so your best bet is to plan ahead if possible! If your first search comes up blank but you really want to go, it can be worth checking back from time to time because cancellations do happen!
Now that we have our reservation and we’re ready to go, let’s head to ‘Ohana! There is a large waiting area outside the restaurant, but be prepared to stand or explore around while you wait to be seated — and make sure to take in all those tantalizing smells (that’s your dinner!)!
Once your table is ready, you’ll make your way into the main dining area structured around the large open fire pit where your dinner may already be roasting away!
You truly feel like you have been transported to the islands as you walk into the dining room. The tall thatched roof with the ocean waves, the tiki god pillars, and tiki torches are fit for a luau — but one of our favorite perks of ‘Ohana is that VIEW!
Much of the dining room is surrounded by windows so you can catch beautiful glimpses of the Lagoon or the Magic Kingdom fireworks if you time it just right! We aim to grab a reservation about 30 minutes before the scheduled show (remember to ask for a fireworks view table when you check in — several tables do NOT have a fireworks view!); and ‘Ohana really outdoes themselves by playing the soundtrack and dimming the lights for the fireworks show. Dinner and a show? Yes please. Oh and some more bread would be lovely! Have we reached the height of casual luxury??
Since ‘Ohana is all about celebrating family, they try to ensure all members of your party have a wonderful time on the island. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and there are often live music or games to entertain any kiddos at your table! Don’t forget to do the coconut race!
Now service here can unfortunately be very hit or miss. On my many, MANY visits to ‘Ohana, I’ve had servers who rush us through the meal service…or, on the flip side, disappear and leave drinks and food plates unfilled for far too long. It’s a hectic restaurant — lots going on and likely short-staffed for how many times the tables turn over. But I always want to keep you informed of our experiences so that you can be prepared. On this visit, things were fine.
We haven’t even gotten to the food and you may already be able to tell why we keep returning to ‘Ohana. The location, views, atmosphere, and entertainment make this popular dinner spot attractive to guests of all ages — and rightfully so! But we’re here for dinner, after all, so how is the FOOD?
Dinner at ‘Ohana is an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal with a set menu. This experience is different than a traditional buffet, because most of the food is served family-style, which means you don’t even have to get up to grab seconds (LUXURY!).
Because the menu is already set, you’ll definitely want to let your server know if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. In our experience, ‘Ohana has worked very hard to accommodate a variety of guests, but if you have severe allergies or several food restrictions, there may only be so much tweaking that can be done to the set menu. If in doubt, you can call ahead to see if ‘Ohana could be a good fit for you! And if you still want to dine there, they can create specialty menu options just for you that are safe for your dietary needs.
Is everyone comfortable, relaxed, and living the island life now? Good! Bring on the FEAST! Disney has found a creative way to say there is a LOT of food here. You’ll begin with Starters, then move to Appetizers, Accompaniments, Skewers, then Dessert. Get ready because there are at least two of each!
Our meal started off with the signature ‘Ohana Pineapple-Coconut Bread. This was a sweet and tasty way to calm a ravenous stomach, but you’ll definitely want to save room because there’s so much more to come!
While we were
stuffing our faces with enjoying the bread, the second Starter arrived: the Mixed Green Salad with Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Dressing. We think this was a wise choice to lead with veggies because once the meat arrives, we’re not turning back!
Although the Likikoi Dressing stuck around from our last visit, we saw a bit of a changeup with the salad this time around. Last time, the salad was mainly iceberg lettuce topped with edamame, mushrooms, carrots, and crispy wonton strips. This time, we got some green leaf lettuce and spinach action (which made for a much brighter bowl) topped with dried cranberries and crispy chow mein noodles.
After the salad, our appetizers and sides arrived together, piled high! First, we tried the Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings (we’ve also spotted them over at Kona Cafe) and they were just as delicious and sticky as we remembered — but don’t forget there is plenty more meat to come!
We then worked our way over to the crispy Pork Dumplings tossed in Garlic-Ginger Sauce. These crispy little pockets paired well with the Garlic-Ginger sauce they were tossed in, but don’t mind us going for a double dunk because we can’t resist a sauce.
The wings and dumplings were served with Peanut Sauce and Sweet n Sour Sauce and there are no rules when it comes to this stuff — use it on whatever you please!
Our wings and dumplings were resting on a little mountain of ‘Ohana’s beloved Teriyaki Noodles. These classic noods with a lil teriyaki glaze have grown to become an iconic staple of ‘Ohana and we seriously adore them. We were pretty thrilled we when spotted them on TWO different menus outside the restaurant (the Twilight Feast and on the secret menu of Tambu Lounge)!
(Remember when ‘Ohana tried to switch the noodles for rice a few years ago, and the angry outcry quickly put an end to that notion?!? Though we DO still miss those amazing au gratin potatoes RIP.)
Our appetizers were rounded out with a serving of Stir-fried Vegetables. In the past, these veggies have been a traditional stir-fry mix featuring snow peas, broccoli, carrots, red peppers, and red onions. This time, the mix was a little bit different as it seemed to swap out the snow peas for baby corn and the veggies were overall less hearty. We may have gotten the little pieces at the bottom of the bag, but honestly, we aren’t here for the veggies anyway!
This time around, we were dining with a little one who wasn’t all that excited about dining on ‘Ohana’s menu. Luckily, our kind server was able to get us a few classic Disney chicken nuggets and a whole lotta french fries.
Note that this isn’t the standard ‘Ohana kids’ plate. Usually kids are supposed to dine off of the main menu like everyone else. But if you have a child who doesn’t like that food, you might be able to score something more amenable for them like a grilled cheese sandwich or nuggets. Note that you WILL be paying the same amount for that plate as you would for the full meal for your child.
Fortunately, we didn’t have time to be jealous of the fries because our plate was already overflowing with noodles and wings!
While we munched our way to the main course, we sipped on a Lapu Lapu. This specialty cocktail is also available at Tambu Lounge and is a mix of Plantation Original Dark Rum, Tropical Fruit Juices, and Gosling’s 151 Rum, all served in a fresh pineapple. It was just as refreshing as our last visit! If you visit ‘Ohana and don’t get a Lapu Lapu, did you really visit ‘Ohana?! 😉 This is my favorite way to start vacation!
We’ve made it to the main event! This isn’t our first rodeo, so we knew to save room for the meats! The meats will be brought to your table on a skewer and plated for you by a server. They’re supposed to be circulating continually, but on our past few visits, we usually only get one crack at the meats unless we specifically ask for more. So don’t be afraid to ASK! This is an all you care to eat meal.
We started off with the Spicy Grilled Peel-n-eat Shrimp. These were some hefty lil shrimps and although we wouldn’t describe them as “spicy,” they were definitely tasty! Our shrimp were tender and flavorful, and the shells were scored, so they peeled right off! We did notice they weren’t quite as saucy as the other shrimp we’ve had here before, so you better believe we sent these shrimp for a swim in the Peanut and Sweet and Sour sauces!
Next came our real test for ‘Ohana. Will they continue to deliver juicy, delicious meat, or will they revert back to their old ways of triple roasting until it’s bone dry?
Guys. They’re back. They have done it again and delivered with three great entrees across the board. The Szechuan Sirloin Steak was also not as saucy as our previous visit but it was full of flavor!
The Sweet and Sour Chicken was also juicy and packed with sweet and savory flavors we would be happy to come back for! Don’t mind us as we sneak back over to the noodles to make the perfect bite!
The servers continually checked on us throughout the meal and were happy to replenish any items if we hadn’t gotten our fill! After we finished up all the meat we wanted, we waved our white flag and surrendered to the final course.
We noticed a theme as we were eating: the meal just kept getting better! But, we couldn’t forget that the best was yet to come. One of the reasons we keep coming back — despite the entrees being hit or miss — is because we can’t stay away from the ‘Ohana Bread Pudding.
The Bread Pudding was served with a mega-scoop of vanilla ice cream and a side of caramel and banana sauce. The way the sauce starts to melt the ice cream and create the perfect blend with every bite — we truly can’t get enough.
Now, if your little ones aren’t yet fans of the finer things in life (or you’re keeping all that bread pudding to yourself), they can dig into the Children’s Dessert, which was a Rice Krispies Treat with Mickey Sprinkles in our case.
If you can’t make it to ‘Ohana for the Bread Pudding, you can try to snag some at Tambu Lounge after 4 PM or make it at home with this recipe!
It’s no secret we’ve been returning to ‘Ohana for the atmosphere or views (and the bread pudding, of course) and maybe not so much for the entrées. We came expecting some pretty dry meat that likely spent a lil too much time roasting on that giant fire pit, but we are thrilled that our more recent visits have been definite HITS! Our latest trip to the island had us smiling through every course and we are delighted that the food is finally catching up to all the other great parts of this dining experience.
An all-you-care-to-eat dinner at ‘Ohana will set you back $55 for adults and $33 for children ages 3-9, so you’re going to want to make sure you come hungry! This can be a great use of a Table Service Credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.
This might not be the best place for you if you want to grab a spontaneous dinner (reservations can fill up quickly), if you are are a light or selective eater (a set menu might not be your jam), or if you are traveling with several kids who wouldn’t like this type of food. Don’t get us wrong, ‘Ohana is a great place for kids and your kiddos would probably have a fantastic time — but if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, $33 chicken tenders might be tough to come to terms with, so consider your kids’ tastes before heading to ‘Ohana.
All in all, we will continue to return to ‘Ohana because of the amazing views, caring staff, now delicious food, and you can’t beat that Bread Pudding… (have we said that enough yet? 🙂 )
If you’re looking to enjoy the ‘Ohana with some of your favorite Disney CHARACTERS, check out our full review of ‘Ohana’s Best Friend Breakfast HERE!
Have you ever eaten at ‘Ohana? Would you recommend it to a friend? Let us know in the comments below!