Every now and then you have to splurge on a really special experience and a dinner at ‘Ohana is definitely worth the trip. The first challenge is to get a reservation! If you haven’t booked six months in advance it can be tough to get one of these coveted spots. My most successful technique has been to check for reservations the week before, especially 24-48 hours in advance. I’ve gotten a great last-minute reservation with that technique. Disney charges a no-show fee if you don’t cancel at least 24 hours prior to your reservation, so primo spots will often open up about a week prior!
‘Ohana is located on the second floor of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. There are several options to get there. You can drive and park in the resort parking lot as long as you have a confirmed reservation (they may scan your Magic Band to make sure), you can take the monorail from the Magic Kingdom, you can take a bus from any Disney park, or you can even walk a short distance from the Ticket & Transportation Center. Of course, a cab is always an option, but Disney transportation will usually get you there without too much hassle.
After you check in, you get a buzzer and you get to wait in a large waiting room with lots of cushy chairs. A cast member can even take your drink order if you’d like something from the bar while you wait.
After the buzzer goes off, you meet another Cast Member right at the entrance who will pick up a loaf of pineapple welcome bread and lead you to your table. On our last visit, they let our preschooler carry the bread to our table which he thought was “super cool”.
Most of the tables have great views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. We’ve had a lovely table overlooking the volcano slide and pool at the resort. Depending on your seating time and location, you may be lucky enough to see the Electrical Water Pageant or Wishes fireworks while you enjoy dinner. ‘Ohana is an all-you-care-to-eat style restaurant where the courses are served family style. If you’d like more of any dish, just ask your server (they refer to themselves as your cousins which is fun). My first tip is the most important…don’t fill up on the bread! One tiny bite is all you should indulge in because this dining experience will stretch even the biggest eater’s limits! Eli didn’t listen to us on this one! Soft drinks and iced tea are included in the price, but you also have the option to purchase a wide variety of beer, wine and mixed drinks. Erik enjoyed both beers he tried on our visits and I have enjoyed both the riesling and a fruity mixed drink on different visits. We’re usually so thirsty from visiting the parks that we try to down a few glasses of water first though! Ok, before we go any further, here is where I have to give you a heads up that I am the worst food blogger in existence. I NEVER remember to take a picture before I start eating a dish. So all pictures from here on out are going to be about 75% devoured. Sorry about that!
The first course is a delicious salad. I am not usually a salad fan, but the dressing on this one is just wonderful! It has little asian crispy thingies in it too (official foodie term). Next up are the pan seared dumplings (my personal favorite) and wings. I don’t eat chicken wings (I know, I’m strange) but my family seemed to enjoy them. The dumplings are the only item that I tend to ask for seconds. Mmmmmmm. Asian style lo mein noodles and grilled (maybe stir fried?) veggies come next. I’m usually still savoring the dumplings, but my family adores the noodles. By now, you’re probably already full but you have to pace yourself because the next course gets brought around by your cousin/server on skewers. First comes the grilled chicken followed by beef and then, just when you don’t think you can eat any more, comes the shrimp. Our experience has been that this is all delicious and that they’ll come around several times offering more. I apparently have no pictures of the grilled meat and shrimp, despite three separate visits! But you do get this delicious duo of dipping sauces, both of which are quite tasty. Finally, you are served ‘Ohana’s signature dessert, the bread pudding with bananas foster sauce and ice cream. So delicious! Without even asking, they brought my kids out an alternative dessert, brownies with marshmallow icing and m&ms. If the food, ambiance and view weren’t enough to make this a signature dining experience (and they are!), the entertainment pushes it over the edge into a must-do experience. We’ve seen three different shows, generally two during any one dining experience, but never all three. The one that seems to always happen is the cast member strolling around singing and playing a ukelele (or something like that). They’ll often ask for people celebrating special occasions and will do something special for them.
The hula lesson is really fun and they invite kids and adults to participate. Everyone gets a lei and the cast member walks you through a simple hula dance. It is a whole lot of fun! The other/alternate activity is the coconut race. Eli had a great time with this one. The coconut race is kids only and everyone lines up, each child is given a broom and a coconut and when everyone is ready, they use the brooms to push the coconuts around the perimeter of the restaurant. Very chaotic but lots of fun. Eli made friends with the cast members handing out the coconuts and brooms (he’s a bit of a charmer) and they loaded him up with extra leis! ‘Ohana is a wonderful experience. The only drawbacks are the difficulty in getting a reservation and the price (it changes depending on the time of year, but it’s fairly steep). We use the Tables in Wonderland card for a discount and ‘Ohana is two credits on the Disney Dining Plan. We don’t indulge on every trip, but we do try to go once every year or two. Have you ever been? What was your favorite part?