MickeyBlog Restaurant Review: ‘Ohana Dinner
Sometimes, you hear about a place so much that you think it cannot possibly live up to its hype.
Then, you finally experience the place for yourself, and you suddenly realize, “Okay, I totally get it.”
In a nutshell, that’s what the overwhelming majority of people do at the place I’m about to discuss.
Here’s a restaurant review of ‘Ohana, one of the true crowd-pleasers at Walt Disney World.
You’ll find ‘Ohana on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
The easiest way to get here is to ride the monorail from Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian stop.
You’ll merely exit the monorail station, enter the hotel, and walk across to the restaurant. It’s on the same floor as the monorail exit.
When you take a bus here, you’ll need to enter the Great Ceremonial House, walk to the back, and take the stairs to the second/top floor. You’ll either be standing by ‘Ohana or staring directly at the check-in station for it.
Basically, that entire side of the second floor exists for ‘Ohana, even though Kona Café is there as well.
The demand for ‘Ohana has remained outrageously high for as long as I can remember.
By the way, I should add that if you take the Friendship Boat to the Polynesian, you’ll need to do a bit more work.
You must exit the dock and head toward the Great Ceremonial House. You’ll know you’re going the right way if you see the Lava Pool.
The restaurant itself features precisely the kind of theming you’d expect. It’s just like the rest of the Great Ceremonial House: tropical, exotic, and soothing.
While sitting down here, you may have a view of the resort campus, including lush foliage, the surrounding waters, and possibly parts of Magic Kingdom.
At some angles, you can even get a good look at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Dining at ‘Ohana comes with a lot of pros, my friends.
The Check-In Process and Getting Started
Let me stress this point right now. You WILL need an Advanced Dining Reservation to dine at ‘Ohana.
For the past 15 years, this restaurant has maintained a permanent spot on the list of most popular places at Walt Disney World.
Without a reservation, you’ll have only the tiniest sliver of hope that you can eat here. There’s a Walk-Up Wait List available.
However, Disney won’t even look at it unless the schedule is light for the day, and that’s quite rare.
Once you have a dinner reservation, you’ll check-in via the My Disney Experience app. It’s your way of signaling that you’ve arrived for the meal.
You won’t sit down immediately, though. Instead, you’ll hang out in the sitting area between this restaurant and Kona Café.
You’ll find a combination of comfy sofas and chairs here. I should add that you can also shop at BouTiki or Moana Mercantile Souvenir Shop if you prefer.
Once your table is ready, a cast member will call out your name. So, at least one member of your party must stay in the lounge area to know when it’s your turn.
We always love that moment when we walk toward our table at ‘Ohana. The restaurant smells so lovely and looks so tranquil.
Plus, the giant windows here provide that tremendous view I mentioned earlier.
Lately, we’ve sat at one of the large communal tables more than often not. I prefer the side tables for couples, but it’s the tiniest nitpick.
The communal table where we sat this time was quite loud. We’re plenty used to it by now, though. The kinetic nature of ‘Ohana is part of its appeal.
The Dining Experience – Salad and Apps
Here’s something unique about a restaurant review at ‘Ohana compared to everywhere else. Everyone receives the same food!
Your server will deliver wave after wave of hot skillets of food.
Obviously, everyone at the table will vary in what they like and eat vs. what they leave in the skillet for others.
For example, my wife is vegetarian, while I eat meat. Yet, somehow, ‘Ohana serves a meal that’s pleasing to both of us.
‘Ohana serves all-you-care-to-enjoy (AYCE) courses. So, you can ask for more of anything you like.
The first course is for salads and bread. I actually can’t eat greens (it’s weird, I know), but I am in forever love with ‘Ohana’s bread.
The accompanying honey butter tastes like ambrosia. Note that there’s a vegan option for the bread service as well.
In fact, you say you want the plant-based course at the start, and your server takes care of everything else from there.
The vegan courses include the beloved noodles, beyond sausage, broccolini, and barbecue jackfruit.
Let’s be honest about the fact that you’re visiting ‘Ohana for the noodles and the bread pudding above all else.
Having said that, the jackfruit dish has turned plenty of heads since its arrival.
Meanwhile, I was on the main ‘Ohana track, the one with the chicken wings and pork dumplings.
I’m not good with hot foods for medical reasons involving a gruesome surgery. So, I always treat the garlic-chili sauce with caution, but these were gooood bites.
I also don’t care for fish – come at me, seafood lovers! – so, I skipped the shrimp. Instead, I filled up (WAY up) on the beef and grilled chicken.
‘Ohana’s savory-sweet flavors also suit my palate perfectly. I’m always in bliss here.
Please note that the courses occasionally change, which can frustrate super-fans.
Dessert and Final Thoughts
I should mention that the vegan menu doesn’t technically come with the bread pudding. Instead, it comes with a Doughnut with Soy-based Frozen Dessert.
You can substitute for the bread pudding if that’s your preference. My wife did just that, as it’s still vegetarian, which is good enough for her.
If you don’t know about ‘Ohana’s bread pudding, you’re living life wrong. It’s that simple. You should prioritize this restaurant on your next visit just for this dessert.
Disney dumps two giant scoops of ice cream and banana slices on top of this dish just to make it more decadent. It’s. So. Good.
Seriously, a Disney recipe book lacking the Bread Pudding recipe is basically useless. There’s a reason why YouTube is overflowing Bread Pudding attempts.
Many of them fail because it’s such a complex dish. At ‘Ohana, you’ll never eat a bad batch, though. They’ve mastered the art.
Overall, ‘Ohana remains just as good after the pandemic as it did before then. This place is a Disney institution, and its courses more than justify its lofty status.
You really should eat here during your next trip. It’s legitimately among the best handful of restaurants at Walt Disney World.