‘Ohana Dinner Review


Located at Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Resort, adjacent to Kona Cafe, ‘Ohana serves family-style Polynesian specialties. Dinner options include meat skewers roasted over an expansive 18-foot oak fire pit (more on these delicious, delicious skewers later!) and side dishes such as stir-fried vegetables, fried dumplings, lo mein noodles and salad. The restaurant participates in the Disney Dining Plan. It also accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount. ‘Ohana is a reasonably good value on the Disney Dining Plan. ‘Ohana also offers a character breakfast, but this review focuses solely on the dinner menu.

What’s so great about ‘Ohana? Let’s start with its location. Disney’s Polynesian Resort is, without question, our favorite resort at Walt Disney World, and not just because we got engaged there. The ambiance, vestiges of the “Vacation Kingdom of the World,” and awesome photo ops make the resort top notch. If only we could actually afford to stay there! Although the resort conspicuously lacks a Signature Dining option (sorry, Spirit of Aloha, you don’t count), its restaurants are yet another reason why we love the place. ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo & Stitch is one of our favorite breakfast options, but where we feel the restaurant really shines is at dinner.

062210543.jpg

We had done breakfast prior to doing dinner at ‘Ohana, and while breakfast was great, I am always a little skeptical towards family style or buffet dinners. In the real world, the food is invariably cold, sub-par, or best for people who place an emphasis on quantity over quality when eating. I think the family style restaurants and buffets at Walt Disney World are, surprisingly, typically far superior to real-world buffets. Highly subjective, of course, but that has been Sarah’s and my experience at the buffets.

062210393.jpg

Any skepticism we had was wiped away as soon as we were seated for our ADRs after a long wait. The energy of  ‘Ohana was palpable, with the cooks in plain view preparing meals over flame as the restaurant pulsed with tropical song and rhythm. We received a window table, which made the experience all the better. Shortly after being seated, the first side dishes arrived, which included stir-fried vegetables, cooked pineapple, fried pork dumplings, lo mein noodles, and salad. Although we were hungry, upon seeing some of the meat being served all around us, we quickly learned to enjoy these sides in moderation.

062210395.jpg

1106300083

As I mentioned above, we had eaten at Ohana for breakfast a few years ago, and we really enjoyed it. We knew it wouldn’t be at all the same for dinner, but one of our favorite things about the restaurant is the ambiance. This should be no surprise, as I don’t think I’ve ever written or spoken a negative word about the Poly.

062210615.jpg

062210616.jpg

062210617.jpg

The meats were delicious, especially cooked over the fire pit and brought around on skewers. The skewered meat included Oak Grilled Chicken, Asian Barbecued Pork Loin, Marinated Sirloin Steak, Spicy Grilled Shrimp, with Honey Coriander Chicken Wings also served, sans skewers. The shrimp were easily our favorite, with the sirloin steak being second; both of these had excellent flavor. The pork loins and grilled chicken were fairly good, albeit slightly dry.

Had I ordered a dish with either one of these, alone, I would have considered it a decent meal, but as we were eating family style and much better options were at our table, we instead opted for those better options–making it an excellent meal. While we ate, various entertainment, including song, dance, and entertainment for children, took place, continuing that fun atmosphere.

062210709.jpg

062210397.jpg

Potentially adding to the atmosphere were the Lapu Lapus that we ordered from the Tambu Lounge after seeing them at the table adjacent to us. One Part Myers’s Rum, One Part Bacardi 151, One Part Orange Juice, One Part Sweet-and-Sour Mix, and a whole lot of Disney Magic combined together in a pineapple for this delicious drink. While it’s not particularly manly (although depending upon how much 151 is in there, it could be!), being manly wasn’t my primary objective this particular evening.

The drink was somewhat expensive at $12.95, and obviously a bit gimmicky, but those little gimmicks can be what makes a Disney vacation so fun. I’d recommend this drink–just make sure to scrape the sides of the pineapple when you’re done to get all of the fruity nutrients (which, I’ve heard, offset any potential health risks contained in alcohol).

062210544.jpg

062210618.jpg

We didn’t get quite as many shrimp as we wanted, and we both were itching to get back into the Magic Kingdom after dinner, and we didn’t want to wait around for more to be brought to us, plus we were already pretty full (so much so that we passed on the banana bread pudding dessert–although we did split a small cupcake). Readers have told us that the banana bread pudding is absolutely not to be missed, so if you do visit ‘Ohana, make sure to have that!

062210620.jpg

062210404.jpg

Overall, ‘Ohana is a great restaurant to visit for a relaxing meal–just don’t expect it to be quiet. The atmosphere here should in no way be considered a negative. Unlike California Grill or another Signature Restaurant, this is a family restaurant and its ambiance should reflect that. It has a level of “relaxed excitement”–a seeming contradiction in terms–that makes it one of the most enjoyable restaurants at Walt Disney World from the perspective of ambiance. When you go, bring your childlike enthusiasm, let loose and unwind, and have a good time. With delicious food, drinks, and even some entertainment, the restaurant is a top notch option that is not to be missed. While I would consider the often overlooked Kona Cafe superior to ‘Ohana by a slight margin from the perspective of cuisine, ‘Ohana edges it in ambiance and fun (Sarah thinks the cuisine, too, is better at ‘Ohana–it is one of her absolute favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World). It quite possibly offers the best combination of fun and food at any Walt Disney World restaurant!

Your Thoughts…

Do you share our praise for ‘Ohana, or do you think it’s overrated? If you’ve never been to ‘Ohana, do you plan on going? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Read our other Walt Disney World restaurant reviews and Disney Dining Plan resources

Overall Score: 9/10

468 ad

34 Responses to “‘Ohana Dinner Review”

  1. Thanks so much for this review. All the times we have been to WDW resort, we have not eaten at ‘Ohana but have reservations this coming August for our family of 5 – plus 2 grandparents! The food looks yummy, and I am an extremely picky eater. Looking forward to enjoying this too.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      ‘Ohana means family and I think it would make a great–and fun–dinner destination for the entire family! Enjoy!

  2. FynWDW (Dave) says:

    Next time – save room for the banana pudding. I don’t particularly love bananas, nor pudding, yet this has become one of my favorite desserts after our trip last May. I know, it’ll be awful suffering through that meal again just to try the dessert, but I think you should. You know, for completeness of the review.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Well…that’s not what I wanted to hear! I mean, I’m glad that it’s good, but I’m disappointed that we skipped it. Darn, looks like we’ll have to go back!

      • FynWDW (Dave) says:

        We’re also doing it a bit of a disservice by referring to it as “Banana Pudding”. A dessert this epic deserves it’s full epic name – “‘Ohana bread pudding a la mode with Banana Fosters sauce.”

        Damn I just made myself hungry.

      • Donnie says:

        Agreed, the banana bread pudding is worth the cost of the meal by itself!

      • Adam Lawrence says:

        You absolutely missed the best part of the meal by skipping the dessert. You just though that the shrimp and steak were good.

        Also, stated earlier, it is not “Banana Pudding.” That is like calling an alligator a lizard. :)

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Well, it sounds like we need to make a trip back to try this delicious banana bread pudding!

  3. Photogineer (Doug) says:

    Tom, First off thanks for making me extremely hungry. I am supposed to be on a diet and this is not helping. :-P The real reason for the comment is to ask you what aperture/lens you shot the food with. I like the lighting and DOF on these shots. I have been trying more food photos but have been having a problem eating before I take the shot. Self control is just not there.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Food shots are difficult. These are probably some of my best ones (and that isn’t saying much). I think I used an aperture around f/2-3.5 for these. I was using the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, but definitely not wide open (except for that straw shot). If it weren’t rude, I’d probably bounce the flash off the ceiling.

  4. B.O. says:

    Wow great post!!! Thanx so much, visiting WDW in August and made a reservation for our first night… Whats the price for the dinner buffet? Does it include drinks and dessert? or just food?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    B.O.

  5. Maureen says:

    I dragged my feet with this Restaurant when scheduling my ADR’s, I am hoping to get lucky and pick up a dropped Resi!

  6. Rachel says:

    Yes, next time you MUST try the banana pudding dessert! It is amazingly delicious! :) I just recently went with my family at the beginning of July and while I was up doing the limbo and getting some lei’s from the very nice lady, I returned to my table to find that they practically devoured the dessert! :O I knew I would regret not having some so I asked our kind waiter if she could bring us out another one. I wasn’t going to eat the whole thing by myself but hey it didn’t hurt to ask, that’s what an all you can eat is for right? ;) As always, I love all of your photos and great review!

  7. Shannon says:

    We are going to WDW in a few months and debating doing the Aloha dinner show or Ohana. Can you offer some advice?

  8. Adam Lawrence says:

    You absolutely missed the best part of the meal by skipping the dessert. You just though that the shrimp and steak were good.

    Also, stated earlier, it is not “Banana Pudding.” That is like calling an alligator a lizard. :)

  9. Adam Lawrence says:

    Celebrations magazine tweeted the other day that “If you could have one Disney meal for lunch today, what would it be?” I picked ‘Ohana.

  10. James Norwood says:

    ‘Ohana is a must do for my wife and I when we go down every time. It is our favorite and we walk out happy and fat. I love the wings and steak my wife is a fan of the shrimp and noodles.

  11. Jen says:

    Wasnt even considering this place for our next trip till I read this review. Now I think it would be perfect day of arrival meal followed by fireworks on the beach!

  12. Ellie says:

    You missed one of the best desserts at Disney by not having the bread pudding dessert. Worth going just for that.

  13. Amanda says:

    Loved the photos, just gorgeous! I agree with everyone else, save room for the bread pudding!

  14. Tracy B says:

    Great review!! Your food pictures are fantastic. I agree with the others, the dessert is worth the reservation alone. We love ‘Ohana, it is a must do every trip. We just love the entertainer Lipoa and the atmosphere is wonderful. We try to get a reservation right before Wishes, they pipe the music in and you can see the fireworks from some of the tables.

  15. Michelle says:

    This is one of, if not, our favorite place to dine at WDW! It is always a must do. Thanks for the wonderful review. Can’t wait for our ADR in June!

  16. Larry says:

    We LOVED ‘Ohana and would definitely eat there again! The Polynesian is such a great backdrop for this restaurant, it makes the atmosphere really good for kids.

  17. Dan says:

    This is also our favorite place to eat and hang out. When our children were young we booked a breakfast here every trip. Now that the children are older (17 and 21(a former intern at WDW and hopefully a future WDW employee after graduation in May), we still come here every trip for dinner. And, we eat at the Kona cafe for at least 1 meal every trip. A “must do”.

  18. Susan says:

    I had dinner at Ohana on December 22nd, first day of my weeklong disney vacation. Absolutely loved everything about the place! Awesome food, good music and entertainment, and the banana bread pudding was to die for!! Dinner there is something you HAVE to do if you are at disney! Great food and an overall awesome experience. The fact that it was even part of the dining plan made it even better!

  19. Kristin says:

    The first time I ate at ‘Ohana for dinner was the summer of 2010 and after that first dinner my boyfriend and I were hooked! We couldn’t get ADR until 8:45 at night and were kind of upset about it at first until they sat us next to the window. During the middle of our dinner the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom started and it was the icing on the cake for us. Not only was the food good, but I want to go eat there later in the night every time I go to Disney now! I am going in May with my aunt and cousins and we are eating there for dinner late again. I highly recommend ‘Ohana for dinner and yes DO eat the bread pudding, even if you are stuffed!

  20. Betsy says:

    My husband and I are taking our 2 and 4 year old to Disney for the first time in May. I wanted to try ‘Ohana for breakfast and for dinner and after I made all of our reservations, I realized we are going twice in the same day! haha I’m excited to try it nevertheless!

  21. Tammy says:

    We had dinner here last week. Window seat on a cold rainy day, but still beautiful atmosphere. (found a plug near our table to charge my phone while we ate – bonus!) We’re vegetarian, and the chef made us a hummus platter appetizer, stir-fried tofu and vegetables (heavy on the broccoli, but good.) Nice mango and grapefruit salad. The bread pudding and ice cream with carmel sauce is heavenly, and yes, we were full, but still ate it! Fun family atmosphere, kids had a coconut race and drum parade. A lovely evening, great table service.

  22. Roxanne says:

    We have eaten at O’hana’s the last 2 trips, most recently November 2013 and have taken family and friends with us. We all enjoyed it very much, the food is DELICIOUS. I would suggest however that you pace yourself with all the starters, i.e. salad, potstickers and noodles as I find I am full by the time the meat and shrimp comes around. Dessert is amazing!! Everyone has to try O’hana’s once and you will for sure go back again and again. It is great value for those on the dining plan too!

  23. Alison says:

    We are staying at a Disney resort for our upcoming trip, but not at the Polynesian. Is it still worth making reservations? Would it be possible to get to via monorail from Magic Kingdom? Everything about this place looks amazing!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yes. It’s very easy to get to the Polynesian from the Magic Kingdom via the “Resort” monorail. Have fun! :)

  24. blackthidot says:

    I did a HUGE Disney Restaurant March Madness type poll on my food page. ‘Ohana walked through the tournament.

    I just don’t get it though. Anytime I have ate here the food has been really really dry and not much flavor. My brother who ate the same meal we did loved it. So it must be just us. I want to love “Ohana…but I just can’t. Even the shrimp which was great was also annoying because it’s peel and eat. Who really wants to spend 30 minutes on that?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I really like ‘Ohana, but I think it has overtaken Le Cellier as Walt Disney World’s most overrated restaurants. How it’s so popular, I’m not sure. It’s good, but not THAT good.

      • blackthidot says:

        Yeah I mean it was not bad…I just felt like “This is really what everyone is going crazy over?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>