My original plan for June was to only dine at one table service restaurant we ate at previously. Chef Mickey’s was definitely for the kids and it made it easy to meet the characters. The original plan for Friday, our last night at WDW, was a free evening, and that’s how I made our dining reservations when I made them exactly 180 days in advance when the online reservations opened (another testament to the lack of spontaneity in today’s Disney World). Not long after this, my mother requests we go somewhere my sister’s fiancé would enjoy.
“How about that place with the meats?”
“That place with the meats?”
“Yeah, in the Polynesian.”
“Oh, ‘Ohana? I’m not sure I can get a reservation now. It fills up quick, but I’ll try.”
I got back on the website and was surprisingly able to snag a 6:40 pm reservation for 9 on Friday. Not nearly as much trouble as I thought it was going to be.
Fast forward now to the actual day. We got up a little later than usual and headed to Epcot to get in a few attractions and such that we didn’t make it to earlier in the week (I’m looking at you, Soarin’), then hopped the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.
While we were at Epcot, my wife bought an Arribas pilsner glass (you may have seen it in a couple of beer photos recently) as a surprise. For some reason my mother was holding onto it, so when we were heading to the Magic Kingdom, during bag check security had to take the pilsner glass and check it into Guest Relations for us to pick up on the way out. Keep in mind that this is the same pilsner glass you can purchase in the Crystal Arts shop on Main Street USA, which seems a bit odd since you can purchase the item in the park. Of course, all of this could have been avoided if they had sent the glass back to the hotel, but since I was unaware the glass had been purchased, I wasn’t able to remind them of this.
Moral of the story: don’t park hop with glass souvenirs.
First off, it’s been a while since I’ve been to ‘Ohana so when I entered the Great Ceremonial House I headed toward the Kona Café side to check in only to find out the desk isn’t there any more. It’s been moved to the other side (back right from the monorail entrance instead of back left). The entire back side of the Ceremonial House’s second floor has been taken over by ‘Ohana as a waiting area. However, the last time I ate at ‘Ohana I remember as we were leaving a huge line had formed in front of Kona Café, so perhaps this is a bit of an improvement.
While waiting for the pager to go off, the chain reaction restroom break began, where one needed to go to the restroom and in the end everyone except me needed to go to the restroom. I was the lucky one who got to wait with the pager and then with the hostess when the pager went off. Finally, everyone was ready to go in and the hostess gave us the usual talk about ‘Ohana and the fire pit as she led us to a large table in the middle of the restaurant.
The drink orders were first, and after inquiring about the beer selection (which was mostly the standard bar menu), I decided on a Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale. I’ve had it in the past but its hoppy flavors went well with the upcoming food. It’s a good pale ale to have while on property, and it also fits the theme of ‘Ohana since it’s from Hawai’i.
Not long after we ordered drinks, the food started coming. The welcome bread, mixed greens salad, pork dumplings, the chicken wings, the lo mein, and the stir fry vegetables all came out pretty quickly and at nearly the same time. The meats haven’t even started and our table for 9 is nearly full of plates. Also making her appearance early in the meal was the crazy guitar lady with the microphone who’s probably a fan of the movie Half Baked. Apparently she’s been limited to one appearance an evening, as she made sure to remind us of constantly. Every other sentence started or ended with “this is your only chance tonight”. My oldest wanted to participate in all the games and such so we let her.
All the appetizers are pretty good; the wings are better than the chicken that comes out on the skewers in my opinion. The salad is, well, salad. Don’t get me wrong, I like salad, but I wouldn’t go filling myself up on this salad at ‘Ohana with all the other food.
The meats started coming, and to be honest it started to turn into a bit of a frenzy at this point (which is why I hardly have any pictures). People are bring around skewers of beef, pork, chicken and shrimp to deposit some on your plate constantly while the children are pushing coconuts around the room or learning to hula. My younger two are also being especially picky at this point, but we get them to try a couple of things.
To me, the pork was the best of the four meats as it was juicy and well-seasoned, followed by the beef which was a little drier. The shrimp were fairly good as well but the chicken was just dry. Also, our waitress turned out to be rather pushy in the interest of “making sure we were getting our money’s worth.” She’d bring around a skewer and ask if we wanted more of a certain meat, and if you said you wanted one piece you’d end up with three. Yes, I know this meal isn’t cheap, but if I only want one piece of pork, for example, it doesn’t mean I really want three.
My oldest finally came back to the table when everyone else was nearly done eating. We got some meat, lo mein (she’s a big fan of lo mein) and vegetables on her plate and got some real food in her before the dessert came.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a big fan of the ‘Ohana bread pudding. I’ve actually made the bread pudding at home once and it was really good (and probably would have been even better if I had made the ‘Ohana bread first). And yes, a step for making the sauce calls for a flambé with spiced rum.
Anyway, the bread pudding was delicious as usual. A bit of banana, lots of caramel and ice cream, and a tasty bread pudding. We even asked for an extra serving (or maybe two).
Also, not one person in the restaurant called any of us “cousin”. I don’t think crazy guitar lady even said “cousin”, but I could be wrong. She was more interested in being the Pied Piper anyway. But the theme of the restaurant breaks down a bit when the servers aren’t even interested in participating in the family attitude.
‘Ohana was my favorite restaurant the previous time we went to Walt Disney World. Maybe it’s suffering from high expectations, but I wasn’t as impressed this time. The food’s still generally good (individual parts of the dinner range from fair to very good), but the whole atmosphere is less than inviting and the servers on this night weren’t even interested in the theme. For $40+ a person (which cost more than a dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant), I feel like we could have had a more enjoyable meal elsewhere.