Most Disney guests are familiar with ‘Ohana, as it truly has a cult following, but for those of you who are not, here’s the lowdown. ‘Ohana is a highly popular and recommended table service restaurant located in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (hence why we wrote a ‘Ohana dinner review). It is open for breakfast and dinner, with breakfast serving typical Disney breakfast menu items such as eggs and Mickey waffles. However, at dinner, things get a bit more to the resort’s namesake, bringing a bit of a Polynesian flare to the cuisine, with the different spices added to the food. We recommend making reservations right when your 180-day mark hits, as tables do fill up quickly. Now that we have made proper introductions to this popular eatery, here is our review.
Although we’ve had ‘Ohana breakfast many times over the past few years, and we love breakfast, we only have only had the opportunity to have dinner there a couple of times. I’m pretty sure the last time we had dinner at ‘Ohana our daughter was 9 months old and we hadn’t started the podcast yet so we didn’t even review it necessarily then. So, it’s been a while and we thought it was time to go back and give it a try.
If You Would Rather Listen
For those that would rather listen to our Ohana dinner review instead of reading about it, you can do that right here:
Our Ohana Dinner Review
Before we get into our Ohana dinner review, we first want to say that we love the Polynesian Resort. We typically do breakfast at ‘Ohana simply because it’s usually easier to get reservations for that time, but during this trip we were able to get a dinner reservation for 5:20pm. We checked in on time and waited about five minutes before the hostess showed us to our table. We were actually pretty surprised that the restaurant didn’t look that busy; there were a few empty tables around us.
Breakfast is usually packed, as not only is it great food, but has Disney characters Lilo and Stitch roaming around interacting with guests, so this was actually kind of nice. We didn’t have a window seat, but we were pretty close and were able to see the lava pool and Cinderella Castle way in the distance. If we had had a later reservation, it would have been a really cool spot to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.
The decor of ‘Ohana hasn’t changed in years, but again, how do you improve upon perfection? Ok, it’s not perfect, but if it’s not broke…
How Dinner Works At Ohana
How is ‘Ohana set up? This is something we hear asked a lot and other Ohana dinner review articles don’t always touch on. It’s a set-up you won’t see too often at Disney, the grill/kitchen area is in the middle of the room, with the tables located all around it – it’s almost set up the way a buffet would be, but instead of the buffet, you have cooks making your food. You kind of get a form of dinner entertainment, it’s a little more interactive and part of your overall experience.
If you’re not familiar with ‘Ohana, first of all, the word ‘Ohana means family. And the way that food here is served is taken from its name, family style, so instead of walking up to a buffet and piling food on your plate, the food comes to you on a large platter, and you get as much of it as you want. And believe me, you will want to eat as much as you possibly can. Now, on to the review.
Time For The Food
The way that you start off any Ohana dinner review and of course your meal at ‘Ohana is with a pineapple-coconut sweet bread (which they provide a plate of for you on your way to the table), and bring you salad. At this time, you will get to meet your server and they will take your drink order. We did not order any drinks at this meal, but if you are so inclined, make sure to try the Polynesian’s signature drink, the Lapu Lapu – a fruity concoction of rum, pineapple and orange juices, served in a hollowed-out pineapple.
Not only it is good, we love how it is presented. After the salad (which is good, but let’s be serious, we’re all here for the stuff that comes next, not the salad), they will first come by with items like pork dumplings (or potstickers), chicken wings, noodles, and stir-fried vegetables such as and broccoli. After they have given ample time for you to sample the appetizers, they will bring out the protein individually; like peel and eat shrimp, chicken, and Szechuan sirloin steak. So, there’s a ton of food and you can get as much of whatever items you want.
As always, the food was excellently prepared. Everything came out hot, and the Polynesian inspired spice blends that they use to season the food is excellent. The pork and vegetable dumplings are just little pasta pockets of deliciousness, and the lo mein noodles have a great teriyaki flavor to them . The chicken wings are addictive with a sticky honey-coriander glaze, and the meat and shrimp are all prepared over an oak fire, which brings a nice smokey flavor to the party, with the vegetables being tender but not overcooked and soft.
Our favorite savory dinner items (we’ll get to the sweet stuff in a bit) are the pork dumplings and lo mein noodles – and all the meat and shrimp. The peanut and sweet and sour sauces are good compliments to the food, but I just wish they provided some sort of sauce similar in flavor to the kind they have in Japanese steakhouses – I think it would complement the noodles and meat really well. The only thing we did not absolutely love about this meal was the steak. It was a little tough, a little overdone. We still ate all of it, but it wasn’t as tender as it usually is and it wasn’t our favorite. We purposely didn’t eat any salad so we would have room for everything else. Like dessert.
The dessert, oh the dessert. Two words. Bread. Pudding. The best bread pudding anywhere. Every time we’ve had it, it has been so, so good. It comes out warm with vanilla ice cream on top and a caramel sauce you can pour on top of it. Perfect combination of hot and cold and gooey…okay, now I’m craving one!
What Did We Think?
You’re basically having a four-course dinner at ‘Ohana. You have your bread and salad; then the pot stickers and noodles and other appetizers; then the shrimp, steak, and chicken; and to top it all off, bread pudding for dessert. As much bread pudding as you can eat. It is the conundrum that everyone dining at ‘Ohana has – do I fill up on the meat and have no room for this fabulous bread pudding or do I forego that last serving of protein for that 2nd (or 3rd) serving of dessert? So much bread pudding that you can make yourself feeling miserable and super uncomfortable. But it would have been well worth it, and that’s why belts have notches. This Ohana dinner review could easily turn into an Ohana Bread Pudding review but we will refrain from doing so… for now.
Is Ohana Worth It?
So now it comes down to the nitty gritty of the Ohana dinner review with the question of whether it’s worth the price or not. We left ‘Ohana feeling like we got our money’s worth, which is a good thing since this meal is not cheap.
Overall, everything we ate was excellent except the steak. Other times we’ve eaten at ‘Ohana and we’ve had the steak, it has been really good. Not a big deal, but if there was anything negative about the meal, that would be it.
There was a not-so-smooth moment that we do want to mention. As you may know, Jamie has a nut allergy (it’s not life threatening, and she knows what she can and can’t have), and she mentioned that to the hostess. Originally, we didn’t get any of the sweet bread because it has coconut in it and coconut is considered a tree nut. So, they were being on the cautious side. The chef came out and explained to her what she could and could not have, which is what they always do. After he left, I asked one of the servers if we could have some bread, since it was OK for Jamie to have some.
Now, we had two servers – a girl and a guy. All the guy did was bring the bread. That was it. So when our other server came over, she was like “so and so hasn’t brought you this either?” We told her no, and after that, she was the only server we had, and things went a lot smoother.
Don’t ever be afraid to tell the server (nicely, of course) that this item or that item didn’t come to your table. I know a lot of people don’t want to make a fuss and will just sit there for 15 or 20 minutes and wait. Don’t do that. This is Disney and they want to make it right, they want you to come back and tell others what a great experience or meal you had. Plus, you’re paying a good amount of money and you don’t want to miss out on all ‘Ohana has to offer.
We have heard recently in other Ohana dinner review articles that the service at ‘Ohana has not been as great. And we can attest to that the last time we were there for breakfast – we had to ask for things like more bacon and such that we normally would not have to. Typically, they keep a really good eye on your table and they would just bring more of everything without asking. And we understand that when it’s busy, the waitstaff can get behind or the kitchen gets backed up – it happens. But for how much you’re paying for this meal, they need to step it up a bit.
How Much Is It?
Many Ohana dinner review articles won’t talk about the price but we think it’s important to know as much information as possible before booking something for a vacation. The price does vary depending on the season. When we went, it was $59.99 per adult for dinner. They do take Annual Passholder discount of 10 percent (food only, no alcoholic beverages) and Tables in Wonderland for a 20 percent discount (off both food and alcohol). We’re still talking about $100.00 for two people, and you get a lot of food, but you also expect a certain level of service.
Based on our last couple of times dining there, and what I both hear from people and what I am reading when others provide their review, I don’t feel like the service at ‘Ohana has been living up to that standard. If we were only paying like $20.00 to $30.00 per person, the service is fine – I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. That being said, our service during this dinner ended up being really good; the server we finally ended up with was on it and when we were actually vlogging and stuff and she would come by and say do you want to take a picture of this? She was really helpful, but when we had the two servers, it just didn’t go well.
During dinner there were not any characters, but there was some entertainment and audience participation – at least for kids. They had the kids parade around the room and they had a race where they were sweeping coconuts with brooms. This guy was walking around singing to the tables – he was really loud and I don’t like people singing to me, but he sang a little to our daughter and that was really cute. The entertainment didn’t make the meal better or worse, it was just there. It did however, make it louder in the restaurant, and it was really hard to have a conversation. We pretty much had to almost yell to hear each other.
Overall, even with the steak not being perfectly cooked, and the overall volume, I would 100 percent recommend ‘Ohana. We paid roughly the same amount to eat at The Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, another all you care to enjoy option (the Crystal Palace does have Winnie the Pooh characters, however), ‘Ohana was way better. The food was fantastic, and I’d go back and do it again. Also doesn’t hurt that it is at the Polynesian, which is the best resort on Disney property in our opinion.
This isn’t really part of the Ohana dinner review but if you just want the bread pudding you don’t need a reservation to ‘Ohanas. You can order the same exact delicious bread pudding from the Tambu Lounge menu. So even if you can’t dine at ‘Ohana, you can still get the bread pudding. Also, if you are staying at the Poly and either couldn’t get a dinner reservation or just feel like eating in your room, you can order the Twilight Feast from ‘Ohana and they deliver it straight to your room. It costs $60 but they bring you so much of the same food you get when dining at ‘Ohana, that it is easily split between two people. We’ve never done it, but the next time we stay at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, this is #1 on our To Do list.
If you enjoyed this ‘Ohana dinner review, then you should check out some of our other articles, like our “Is Disney Free Dining Worth It?“. Be sure to also follow us on Social Media to get up to the minute information on all of the news coming out of Disney.