With a few recent adjustments to the menu at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, some fans have grown anxious as other Disney news outlets have suggested some major changes. For the sake of due diligence, we at WDWNT popped over for dinner. It’s tough work, but someone’s gotta do it! We are pleased to debunk several assertions made by others, as well as provide a review of the current offerings for those who have yet to try this staple of Disney dining.
More island chic than tiki room kitsch (head down to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto for that), the low-lit atmosphere combines exceptionally well with sweeping views of Bay Lake (depending where you get seated). The top of Cinderella Castle can be spotted, as well as the nighttime fireworks if you’re lucky. As a bonus, they pipe in “Happily Ever After” to give you the full experience. But the fun is not just outside. During the review, the room was both serenaded with ukulele and given a chance to perform a little hula to the glee of many Moana-cosplaying kids.
‘Ohana acts as an all-you-can-eat establishment, but it actually isn’t a buffet. Here, you’re provided with a heaping bowl of side dishes while the waitstaff stop by your table every so often to offer another heaping helping from a selection of meat skewers. The food parade culminates with dessert. And what a selection of food you’re given!
‘Ohana provides many of the same beverages found around the Polynesian resort, but that’s because they’re so good.
Polynesian Mai Tai – With Myers’s Dark Rum, Bacardi, Bols Orange Curaçao, Lime, Orgeat and cane sugar, this might be the strongest Mai Tai this reviewer has ever had. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (and could have been a fluke), but, if you’re looking for a stiff one, this is your call.
Lapu Lapu – Myers’s Dark Rum and fruit juices make for a tasty beverage, but let’s not kid ourselves – we’re here for the pineapple. A resort classic, it’s a dazzling tiki drink that goes down as good as it will look on your Instagram (because you’re definitely going to do that).
‘Ohana Pineapple-Coconut Bread – Though sweet, this bread is more subtle than the name might imply. While perfectly fine, it certainly sits in the shadow of the Sweet Bread with Macadamia Honey Butter found at the nearby Kona Cafe. If you’re worried about getting full too early, (because there’s plenty to come) it’s an acceptable pass.
Mixed Greens Salad with a Lilikoi dressing – A new addition, this offering (of mostly spinach) replaces the previous romaine version. Lilikoi is Hawaii’s yellow passion fruit. Its tanginess mixes really well with the greens.
Pork Dumplings tossed in Garlic-Ginger Sauce – With its crisp exterior and soft, flavorful filling, this was a stand-out favorite. They also paired well with both the peanut and sweet and sour sauces provided with our meal.
Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings – While made well, nothing sticks out about these wings. Neither the honey or coriander flavors were overly recognizable, and with so much else to try, give this a nibble and move on to other offerings.
Teriyaki Noodles – Reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. While other sites seemed unsure about the beloved noodles, the “rice test” appears to be over and they remain on the menu (and are as good as ever!)
Stir-fried Vegetables – Packed with flavor and never soggy, these veggies maintained their crispness. The baby corn brings a nice texture to the overall blend.
Sweet and Sour Chicken – Grilled to perfection, this is why you should skip the wings. Save some stomach space for these savory bites and remember to pour on some more sweet and sour sauce to really bring out the flavor.
Szechuan Sirloin Steak – A little tough, the steak was the least enjoyed of the three skewers, but still had an overall good flavor.
Spicy Grilled Peel-n-Eat Shrimp – Yes, it’s a bit of work to peel every last shrimp, but juicy goodness is the end result. Paired nicely when mixed with a forkful of teriyaki noodles.
‘Ohana Bread Pudding à la mode – Served with banana and caramel sauce, this sweet treat is a thing of beauty and the reason many come back to Ohana… but it is a heavy ending for an already heavy meal. Make sure you leave some room so you can go for a second slice of this. It’s worth it!
With lots of delectable choices and some recent positive changes, ‘Ohana remains a staple of Disney resort dining and it’s easy to see why. It’s the perfect place to take your ‘Ohana… because ‘Ohana means food.
Dinner at ‘Ohana ranges from $35.00 to $59.99 per adult depending on when you go, but they do honor discounts such as 10% off for Annual Passholders and 20% off for Tables in Wonderland cardholders. They also take the Disney Dining Plan at 1 credit per guest.