Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki is the Disney character breakfast at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. It’s the restaurant to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy in Hawaiian attire. This is a breakfast buffet, with Western and Asian options available. The restaurant is meant to be an international harvest, as “Makahiki” is an annual Hawaiian harvest festival held in O‘ahu to celebrate the season of bounty and peace. Calling this meal an “international harvest” is a bit of a stretch, but the food is quite good.
In terms of ambiance, since Makahiki doubles as a standard restaurant for dinner, and Disney has taken great lengths towards authenticity at Aulani, the restaurant is fairly elegant with jewel and glass motifs. Makahiki has a lot of sweeping lines in the design, and many murals gracing the walls. Like every restaurant at Aulani, it’s open air, with tables near the edge of the restaurant having nice views out into the Waikolohe Valley pool area.
The restaurant had plenty of open tables when we visited. Now that the character breakfast is offered daily, we understand this is typical. Although we didn’t think of it at the time, if quality character photos are important to you, request a table near the outer, open-air side of the restaurant. The lighting isn’t as harsh there, and will allow for better character photos.
Let’s take a look at the food and characters at Makahiki…
The check-in podium for Makahiki, with one of the beautiful, locally-designed murals to the right and the ‘Ōlelo Room, a bar and lounge inspired by the Hawaiian language, to the left.
After checking in, you’ll head outside to have a photo taken with Mickey Mouse. We had to wait in about a 10 minute line for this, and it was a quick series of photos and on your way type thing. The restaurant was about 75% full during our visit, so maybe if it were less busy the interactions would have been better?
After having some photos taken, we were immediately seated and the concept of the restaurant was explained to us, along with the split between Western and Chinese/Japanese foods. Here’s a sample menu, but note that what’s actually offered changes regularly.
Sarah and I had quite different experiences at Aunty’s character breakfast. Above is one of my plates of food, including items such as Eggs Benedict, Pork Sausage, Turkey Bacon, Bacon, Portuguese Sausage, and Ham. Pretty typical of what I had at the meal.
Here’s a typical dish of what Sarah had–a bunch ‘0 fruit. Not pictured are plate after plate of “Freshly Sliced Island Fruits” that she had.
Sarah also had a lot of smoked, grilled, and seared fish. Actually, we both had a lot of fish. It was all pretty good.
There were also potatoes and a couple types of egg concoctions. The eggs pictured above were an upgrade from the standard fake Disney eggs found in the US parks, but they still were nothing to write home about.
The breakfast desserts (err…”Keiki Corner” kids stuff). Stitch waffles were a neat change of pace from the normal Mickey Mouse waffles, but it would have been cooler if they were shaped like Stitch.
In terms of food, Sarah was incredibly enthusiastic about this breakfast buffet, calling it the best Disney breakfast buffet we’ve done. She said the fish and fruit were all incredibly fresh and full of flavor, both of which were a big deal to her. I agree with regard to the fish, and I also though the various types of sausage were pretty good, but I thought the rest of the items were fairly uninspired. For a restaurant premised on being an international harvest, the amount of cuisine that wasn’t standard Western food was minimal. The few Hawaiian items that were on the buffet were highlights, and while most things were good, I wasn’t really “wowed” by anything. Hawaii has some great local cuisine (and generally good Asian food), but Makahiki did a mediocre job of showcasing that, I think.
Still, the bar is fairly low when it comes to Disney breakfasts, so I don’t know how much I can dispute Sarah’s claim of this being the best Disney breakfast buffet we’ve done. I’d put it a good distance behind Enchanted Garden in Hong Kong Disneyland, but otherwise, it’s probably second best. (Note: we’ve never done breakfast at Boma.) Again, though, this isn’t all that big of an accomplishment, as we think Disney breakfast buffets are notoriously ‘meh.’ If you’re instead using other off-site restaurants in Hawaii as the measuring stick, Makahiki’s cuisine might only do okay.
In terms of character interaction, we thought Makahiki was probably hit or miss. The ‘greeter Mickey’ thing is what it is, but the other characters generally seemed better about spending more time with guests. Goofy made multiple stops at our table.
In terms of characters, I actually think that the Aunty character was the absolute highlight. She livened up the restaurant, leading kids on a parade around the dining room and singing traditional Hawaiian songs. She also interacted with guests, and really felt like what your Aunt might be like if you were Hawaiian. She had plenty “Aunty-isms” and various bits of Hawaiian wisdom. I wish every server were like Aunty, because she struck me as the Hawaiian version of “Mom” at 50’s Prime Time Cafe. She was a hoot.
We still hadn’t met Minnie Mouse when we were done eating, and after we paid it appeared that she was still a good distance away, so we mentioned that we hadn’t seen her to our server, who indicated that he’d get her to come over. No big deal, we thought, as this happens from time to time at Walt Disney World restaurants, and Cast Members are usually pretty good about bringing the characters over within 10 minutes or so.
Our friends with whom we visited waited for a bit, but ultimately left because it was taking too long. From the time we mentioned not having met Minnie Mouse to our server (which was about 15 minutes after we were done eating), it took another 30 minutes for her to make her way over to us. We understand the characters can’t just blow past tables of small children as they make their way over to a missed table of adults, but we thought this 30 minutes extra was unreasonable. Perhaps we are the ones being unreasonable, though? In any case, we’re not taking this into account when scoring the restaurant as it is highly anecdotal, but it still seemed worth mentioning.
Overall, it’s tough for me to get excited about the Makahiki character breakfast at Aulani. There are only three characters here, and the interactions were only okay (especially considering that Mickey Mouse is stationed out front of the restaurant and you’re lined up to see him). Add to this the fact that characters were especially easy to meet throughout Aulani (and in better-lit environments) and we don’t really see the value of this meal from the character perspective, unless you’re interested in seeing Aunty–and you should be.
In terms of cuisine, the food is very good as compared to other Disney character breakfasts, but average as compared to other breakfast options in Hawaii. There are some Hawaiian and Asian items to at least give a little interest to the buffet, but it’s mostly just American cuisine. What’s there is mostly good, but considering the cost and lack of variety in a locale where you could have some really interesting cuisine, it’s difficult to recommend too enthusiastically. If you absolutely must do character dining or don’t have interest in venturing off-site, this is a good option. Don’t let this tepid review dissuade you from trying Aunty’s character breakfast–Sarah absolutely loved it and would give it a higher score if she could. On the other hand, I think that it’s a one and done experience. I would like to venture off-site to try more interesting and authentic Hawaiian dining options in the Ko Olina area, but that doesn’t by any stretch mean this is a bad option. It’s pretty good.
If you are planning a trip to Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii, we highly recommend reading our Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa Trip Planning Guide for comprehensive advice for Aulani and beyond!
Overall Score: 8.5/10
To read other Disney restaurant reviews from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland, organized by location, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.
Have you been to Makahiki? What did you think of it? Is it something you’d like to try? Any specific recommendations from the buffet? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!