TRIP REPORT: Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa (Part 7 – Table Service and Buffet Dining)

the bar counter at The 'Olelo Room at the Aulani
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Welcome back to my series of trip reports on Disney’s Aulani, a magical resort located on Oahu, Hawaii. We recently discussed all of the property’s quick service options and now, we will take a look at the Aulani’s table service and buffet dining venues.

Makahiki – The Bounty of the Islands

The entryway to Makakiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
Photo Credit: Rio McCarthy

One of the more popular restaurants at the Aulani is Makahiki. This buffet is open for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is always a character meal with the festivities lead by Auntie, a ukulele-toting woman with a penchant for play. Some nights are also visited by Disney characters, but not all. I would recommend checking with the concierge before booking if this a concern (also of note: the character dinners cost slightly more.)

The hallway to the dining room in Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
photo credit: Rio McCarthy
The decor found in the dining area of Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
photo credit: Rio McCarthy

The restaurant shares its name with a Hawaiian harvest festival. This is honored in Makahiki’s decor, from the hanging lights resembling different native foods to the murals depicting locals harvesting food, as well as taking part in the friendly competitions that are also a hallmark of the holiday.

The raw fish bar available at dinner at Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
photo credit: Rio McCarthy

The buffet is comprised of a series of stations organized across a long counter.

I visited for dinner and was impressed that many of the offerings had a Hawaiian vibe to them, such as these poké platters.

The fresh fruit served at dinner at Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
photo credit: Rio McCarthy

As one would expect from this tropical island paradise, there was fresh cut fruit available.

The Asian-inspire food available during dinner at Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
photo credit: Rio McCarthy

Some of the dishes had an Asian flair to them. The teriyaki chicken and Big Island lo mein were my two favorite items on the menu. So flavorful!

Rest assured, there were also some of the more typical buffets options for the less adventurous. Mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, and prime rib, among others, were available.

The dessert spread from dinner at Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
photo credit: Rio McCarthy
the kids' desserts from dinner at Makahiki, the buffet restaurant at the Aulani
photo credit: Rio McCarthy

The desserts were plentiful and had a great variety. There were even some that catered to the younger set (but adults should definitely give them a look.) I would suggest trying the bread pudding (don’t forget the sauce!), the worms in dirt, and the Smormallows (the Disney name for chocolate-dipped house-made marshmallows on a stick.)

The ‘Ōlelo Room

the bar counter at The 'Olelo Room at the Aulani

The ‘Ōlelo Room is the Aulani’s open-air lounge. The word “‘ōlelo” means “language” in Hawaiian and throughout the lounge are words in Hawaiian, accompanied by carvings or images of their meaning. Every cast member who works there is required to be fluent in native Hawaiian.

the front page of the menu at The 'Olelo Room at the Aulani

Open up the menu and you are greeted by this message.

The dining menu for The 'Olelo Room at the Aulani

Beyond drinks, both alcoholic and not, The ‘Ōlelo Room also offers a decent spread of food. They also have specials during “Sunset Hour,” which is from 5 to 7 PM. The garlic fries are the best thing on the menu, in my opinion.

One of the chairs in The 'Olelo Room at the Aulani

Items like the chairs and the table were labeled with their Hawaiian names.

A band setting up to play for guests at The 'Olelo Room at the Aulani

And in the evenings, there is live music; some artists played slack-key guitar while others sang. All the musicians were skilled!

‘Ama ‘Ama – Contemporary Island Cooking

The sign for 'Ama'Ama, the upscale restaurant at the Aulani

‘Ama ‘Ama is the upscale restaurant on property. Their menu is pricey, even compared to the rest of the dining options available. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and also offers children’s menus.

The entryway to 'Ama'Ama, the upscale restaurant at the Aulani

Confession time: I have never eaten here. It looks very swanky and all, with a lovely view of the beach from most of the tables. But the price tag – yikes! You can check out sample menus on Disney’s page for ‘Ama ‘Ama  and see what I mean. I was sorely tempted by tales of the breakfast menu’s buttermilk pancakes with macadamia nut-vanilla sauce, however. But, alas.

And that, my friends, sums up the Aulani’s table service and buffet dining. If you enjoyed this article, please take a look at the previous entries in this series:

Thanks for following along on my trip! I hope you had fun reading it. I certainly had fun reminiscing.

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About the author

Natalie Kipper

A native to Southern California, Natalie's first visit to Disneyland was on her second birthday and she has been going regularly ever since. If you are in the Parks, you will most likely find Natalie in line for the Haunted Mansion or scouring the Emporium for the latest Disney merchandise.
You can contact Natalie at [email protected]

2 Comments

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  • Ama Ama, while very pricey is quite amazing. The meals I have had there rank near the top of many places I have been. And when you time dinner to be there for sunset…well worth the price of admission!

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