‘Ohana Dinner Review
Located at Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort, ‘Ohana serves is a family-style restaurant serving Polynesian cuisine. This review features food photos, thoughts on the ambiance, the difficulties of dining at ‘Ohana, some comparisons to Kona Cafe, and other general thoughts on the restaurant.
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. Polynesian Village Resort is one of our favorite resorts 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 solid 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.
This atmosphere is a big part of what takes ‘Ohana to the next level. In our experience there, it perfectly toes the line between “festive” and “rambunctious.” Even before you get to the actual in-restaurant ambiance there’s the open air kitchen where the food is cooked over flame (setting the tone for the whole experience).
There are also storytellers and a parade around the restaurant for younger guests, all of which is cute and fun to watch. At other restaurants, this kind of thing has a tendency to cause a loud atmosphere, but we found it all to be enjoyable at ‘Ohana.
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, 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).
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!
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 a solid alternative, ‘Ohana edges it by a significant margin in terms of ambiance and fun. ‘Ohana quite possibly offers the best combination of fun and food at any Walt Disney World restaurant.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? If you’re interested in learning more about hotels, our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page is a good place to start. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. Once you arrive at the parks, our Walt Disney World “Ride Guides”are great for determining what to do and when to do it. Want more dining tips? Check out our 101 Delicious Walt Disney World Dining Tips. If you are planning a Walt Disney World trip, make sure to also read our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
Do you share our praise for ‘Ohana, or do you think it’s overrated? Do you have any favorite dishes at ‘Ohana? If you’ve done both breakfast and dinner at ‘Ohana, which did you prefer? If you’ve never been to ‘Ohana, do you plan on going? Any questions? Hearing readers’ perspectives is both interesting and informative, so please share your opinion in the comments!
So HUGE update on Ohana , we did a preview today with and the menu is 100% different. If you are a HUGE ohana food fan you will probably be disappointed. So what was the big changes.
1. Bread totally different , and not a good different.
2. Potstickers (my favorite) totally changed
3. Chicken is not like it use to be now it’s on the bone and a little hard to eat.
4. Steak is a teriyaki pepper corn steak now (good flavor) probably the only thing I was ok with changing.
5. Veggies are now just broccoli nothing else
6. Went back to noodles which I was good with this change as well.
7. NO DIPPING SAUCE , yep you heard it no peanut sauce (most sad about)
8. Salad, again a good change
I will not go back like I did 1-2 a month
Went from a 5 star to a 3 star to me
Start the chants to change it back.
WOW! O’hanna is Now Slipping On Customer Satisfaction! This was one of our Favorite ADR Scores! Sad to See that Disneys push to Decrease Costs and Increase Profit has Affected One of There Longstanding Premier Dining Table Service Credits…….The Push of Less for More Has No Bounds………Terrible!
I learned a lot from reading your posts – we took many of your suggestions and loved them. Our stay at Polynesian was wonderful and the Trader Sam’s bar (which I would never have known existed without reading your site!) was tons of fun. I do want to offer our experience at ‘Ohana. We had dinner there 7/26/19. 7:45 reservation, seated a little before 8:30 – which was fine because we found the bar and got the fun pineapple drink. The meal itself was disappointing. We didn’t see any kid games, parades or special engagement of kids in any way. We did see a guy playing some Hawaiian-like music briefly. The salad and appetizers/sides were fine. The meat was a big disappointment. My daughter asked me to “poke” all of my meat pieces to find her one that wasn’t so hard. I have no idea if we had both chicken and pork – because everything was the same hard chunk. Steak was way overcooked and shrimp was just passable. With all of the other choices available, we would pass on this meal in the future. As we left, we heard another couple talking about how the experience wasn’t as good as they thought it would be…. and maybe that is the best way to look at this. The meal doesn’t live up to the rather high expectations of the reviews available. Hopefully this helps someone else. I think I could have lived with the quality of the food if the atmosphere had been more lively. I appreciate all of the advice and guidance you have made available here! Thank you.
People rave about O’hana’s food. We loved the noodles, broccoli, salad, wings, bread, and bread pudding. But we agree with you, the star of the show, the meats, were dry and hard, and the shrimp was mushy. The food wasn’t worth the money. And the service was poor. They came around once for each meat and gave us each 2 pieces. We had to flag down a waiter to get anything. Nobody asked to go again for our trip in December. For the money, we are going to enjoy Fogo de chao offsite. We have a car.
I agree with both of you. We were there in late Aug 2019 and this restaurant was a disappointment after reading all the rave reviews. Will definitely skip this restaurant on our next trip.
Do you have a review of ‘Ohana Breakfast? Trying to choose between the ‘Ohana Breakfast or Garden Grill breakfast (which we found your review off) 🙂
Just kidding…your review of Garden Grill was also dinner. Can’t decide on breakfast between the two. From what we’ve read, Garden Grill has the cinnamon rolls where ‘Ohana has the typical breakfast offerings. Anything special about the ‘Ohana breakfast that sets it apart. Everyone rave’s about ‘Ohanas breakfast. Let me know your thoughts.
You won’t find Lilo & Stitch at any other character spot (that we’ve ever found). Chip N Dale, though, are also in Animal Kingdom. If you’re going with children for the character experience, Ohana is the better bet.
But there’s also the ham with a Hawaiian compote on top of it and the infamous pineapple bread.
Hi Tom! Thanks for all of your great reviews! I always look forward to seeing new email from you in my inbox! My family and I love Ohana, and we eat there every time we go to Disney. This trip, we are considering the Spirit of Aloha dinner show instead. I haven’t found your review of SOA. Have I overlooked it, or maybe you haven’t done one? If not, I would love your take on it! Ohana vs SOA. What do you think? Thank you from a loyal reader!
can the night time fireworks in the MK be seen from Ohana’s? If so, what is the best time to make a reservation?
Reservations at 6:30 or 7:00pm
Great view of Magic Kingdom
You can also see the fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian. You can eat before and go to the beach to view the fireworks before heading back to your resort, Great alternative since you can’t be guaranteed a window seat
Just to add to the growing consensus of the “Don”t miss the Bread Pudding” gang… My husband and I loved O’hana despite the volume of food being a touch overwhelming (He’s big, I’m small- with our powers combined, we eat the average of one normal sized human)- we will return again and again because we cannot find the bread pudding they serve anywhere at Dis. The first time we ate at O’hana, we were both popping at the seams from shameless over-indulgence by the time the last chicken wing was scarfed down. As though timed perfectly (it was… due to my amazing ADR skillz) our dessert was served as Wishes! began. We both agreed we would only have one bite of dessert because we were too full to try any harder than that, but needed to reach the finish line of course. One bite and we were obsessed. It is THE treat we still fantasize about when we get home. Its warm, its gooey, it banananny, its chocolatey…. it made us (almost) ignore Wishes! Not that we don’t love O’hana but we really wish that this golden ticket dessert was served somewhere else so we could order it after we’ve enjoyed meals that better suit our food volume needs….– Maybe Kona Cafe serves upon request? If anyone knows, please share!
Tambu Lounge a la carte $6+/-
Ohana is one of our favorite restaurants in Disney World. The men in my family love the ‘all you can eat’ meat! We think the food is excellent and also love the atmosphere. My only problem is that we can almost never get a reservation there. We are DVC members for about 12 years and only ate there 2 or 3 times. We are able to book restaurant reservations 6 months in advance and still have trouble getting in. We’re going in November and pray we can get in, even if we have to eat at 10 pm!!!
My husband and I are staying at All Star Movies next month (yeah, I read your review of this resort, but it was AFTER we already booked. What can I say, we’re first-timers….oh well!) and I was wondering if you could give me advice on this situation: We have breakfast reservations for 7:45 AM at O’hana and from there we’ll be going to Animal Kingdom. Do you think it’s best for us to drive our own vehicle from All Star Movies to O’hana, and then to AK? I read your review about the bus system at the All Star Resorts and my husband doesn’t want to shell out $25 plus for a taxi.
We ate dinner here in April 2015 (and in 2011). The food was good and they bring a lot to your table, maybe even too much – loved the chicken wings – but the atmosphere was way too noisy and busy for my taste. I do understand that it’s family oriented but other similar places (for example Crystal Palace or Tuskers) are not as loud or crazy. At night it also seemed somewhat dark – but that might be that I am getting older 🙂 The tables are arranged very close together.
However, the Polynesian is not to be missed – it’s my favorite resort and I love eating at Kona and shopping at Boutiki. We’ve stayed there twice and loved it.
Tom, great article as always. Ohana has a special place in my family’s heart. Easily our favorite restaurant in the world. Couldn’t agree more with this review! Keep up the great work.
Great review Tom and I couldn’t agree more!! While my wife and I try to change up our dining options on each trip to keep things fresh, we’ve never cut out ‘Ohana because it’s SO GOOD!!! We’ve done similar Brazilian style steakhouses locally and while the food is comparable (although I would still give the edge to ‘Ohana), nothing can touch the ambiance or the fun atmosphere. We usually back load our trips with any favorite meals at the end and this is almost always our last day because we just look forward to it so much! Also….BREAD PUDDING!!! You can justify a meal here based on nothing but that – major bummer you missed out! =)
I have only been able to find a 9:40 ADR for december 13th…is that still a good time for the whole O’hana dining experience?
Having a tough time choosing between this place and Kona Cafe for a dinner reservation.
Hey I really enjoyed your blog and I am reading everything on here. I am going to disney during the Christmas with my bf, and I am a huge fan of LILO&STITCH and I read so many reviews about this restaurant and I really wanna try. The problem is I tried to make a dinner reservation but it’s so popular and it’s all booked. I am really upset that I can’t go. So I am still hoping to get a chance. Is there any advice you can give me? Thanks so much!
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?
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.
Yeah I mean it was not bad…I just felt like “This is really what everyone is going crazy over?”
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!
Yes. It’s very easy to get to the Polynesian from the Magic Kingdom via the “Resort” monorail. Have fun! 🙂
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!
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.