We visited WDW for the first time in 2016… and we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We pride ourselves on knowing everything there is to know about Disneyland. Walt Disney World is just a whole different ball game! There are over 25 resorts in Disney World, varying from Value to Deluxe. There are 4 main parks, and 2 water parks. Not to mention Disney Springs (WDW’s version of Downtown Disney). To learn more about how to book a Walt Disney World vacation, check out our post A First-Timers Guide to Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation: Part One.
In all of the parks and resorts, you will find various restaurants. Quick service is where you just go up to the counter and order (or mobile order). Table service usually requires reservations, and varies in experience and cost… and there are over 80 restaurants in this category at Walt Disney World. In 2016, we had no dining reservations besides an early dinner at Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom. Boy, did we have a lot to learn when it comes to eating at WDW!
Advance Dining Reservations (or ADRs) are well known for some, but for first timers it can come as a shock to learn that you can reserve your dining up to 180 days in advance of your trip. For personalities that don’t even know what they are having for dinner on a given night, this is very overwhelming! I am that person, and YES, the idea of having to nail down which days you will be in which parks and where and when you want to eat hurts my brain. Thankfully we have Erica in the family to help us organize that. You can’t always be spontaneous in life, at least as much as I’d like to be!
There are a few restaurants that typically book up very quickly… ‘Ohana is one of them. If you are native to Walt Disney World, then you know about ‘Ohana. But for those of us on the West Coast, or for people that haven’t visited WDW a lot, it’s not as well known. I happened to hear about this all-you-care-to-enjoy restaurant via a Disney podcast (Detour to Neverland) and it peaked my interest. I knew that it would be a great place to eat if we had the opportunity, and I put it on my “bucket list”.
Well, that opportunity came in February 2019! For our 15th wedding anniversary, we wanted to go somewhere warm (because we were married in February… who does that?); Hawaii or an all inclusive were out of the budget this year, so we started looking at other options. We were able to make Walt Disney World happen, and there were a lot of ups and downs on whether it was going to work out. Check out how we booked last minute here. During the flip flopping on deciding where we would be going, I started to look at dining. We honeymooned in Kauai, Hawaii… and had the great privilege of going there 3 times in the first 5 years of marriage (sadly we haven’t been back since!) For this reason, I knew that we wanted to try and get a reservation at ‘Ohana, the ever popular Polynesian-themed restaurant at Disney’s Deluxe resort, the Polynesian Village Resort. I also knew that it was going to be near impossible.
Reservations are necessary to eat at ‘Ohana. If we hadn’t gotten one I would’ve showed up at 2:30pm, since there were only 2 of us, and asked if there was a cancellation of any kind. If you are staying on property, you can book dining (at the resorts or in the parks) 180 days from your first night stay for up to 10 days… that gives you a bit of an edge.
For everyone else, it’s 180 days from the reservation day. We were also WELL within that time because we were booking in January for a trip a month away! ‘Ohana reservations are VERY hard to come by… so even before I booked our trip I decided that I would watch the app to see if a window came up. I checked daily, and I even called. The day after we booked our trip, I checked again, and a time came up on my app for the EXACT time we wanted! I snagged it up, and we were good to go. It’s a good idea to check as often as you can and you MAY just get lucky with a reservation!
To hold a reservation you put it on a valid credit card. If you need to cancel, you need to do it outside of 24 hours before the reservation or they could charge your card a cancellation fee (cancel by calling (407) WDW-DINE, or do it online). All restaurants offering ADRs charge a per-person cancellation fee for reservations cancelled after the designated cancellation period (this will be listed ON your reservation, so be sure to check your confirmation number). Each restaurant has a different fee.
The Polynesian Village Resort in and of itself is worth a visit. ‘Ohana’s atmosphere absolutely did not disappoint. There was live music when we went, tiki statues everywhere, and it really felt like we were back in Hawaii. It was serene and different than anything else I’ve experienced at Disney (except, of course, for the Enchanted Tiki Room).
The Nitty-Gritty Details
When on a Disney vacation, we are very modest with our food budget and daily allowance. So much so, in fact, that with our family of 5 we try to stay at an average of $50 a day for food for all of us. Check out our money saving tips for food at Disney in our blog post Operation Food Budget: Disneyland. We do, however, go out for dinner annually on our anniversary, so we did have some money set aside. But the truth of the matter is, if you are like us, spending over one hundred dollars in one sitting is a BIG deal. Even though it’s “all-you-care-to-enjoy”, we aren’t massive eaters and it takes a lot for us to feel like we got our money’s worth.
Sticker shock is a real thing in Disney for sure, here are the prices for eating at ‘Ohana:
Breakfast (7:30am to 12:00pm)
Cost: $41.00 for 10 and up, and $24.00 for kids ages 3-9
Breakfast is a character meal where you get to meet Lilo and Stitch, and a “few other Disney friends”, meaning you don’t know who you will have when you go.
Food for breakfast includes:
– Hua Paka (Scrambled Eggs)
– Uala Kahiki (Fried Island-style Potatoes)
– Pua’a (Pork Breakfast Sausage Links and Hawaiian-style Ham topped with Pineapple Compote)
– Mickey-shaped Waffles
– Freshly made Pineapple-Coconut Breakfast Bread
– Seasonal Fruit
Dinner (3:30pm to 10:00pm)
Cost: $54.00 for 10 and up, and $29.00 for kids ages 3-9
Food for dinner includes:
– ‘Ohana Pineapple-Coconut Bread
– Mixed Greens Salad with a Lilikoi dressing
Appetizers (served with peanut and sweet-n-sour sauces):
– Pork Dumplings tossed in Garlic-Ginger Sauce
– Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings
Skewers (prepared over an oak fire):
– Sweet-n-Sour Chicken
– Szechuan Sirloin Steak
– Spicy Grilled Peel-n-Eat Shrimp
– Teriyaki Noodles
– Stir-fried Vegetables
– ‘Ohana Bread Pudding a la mode (topped with Caramel Sauce and Bananas)
– Rice Krispies Treat with Sprinkles (kids option)
We had an early reservation for dinner, so we resort hopped in the morning and shared a light lunch on property at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, then headed to the Polynesian early to check out the resort. We had met some friends there, and they said that we would want to check in a little early. So we did… but then they actually called us to our table pretty early. We quickly said goodbye to our friends, and were ushered into the dining area with a lovely hostess, who had wonderful warmed coconut bread ready for us. She asked about why we were there (for our anniversary) and within about a minute, before we could even crack open the warm delicious bread, the server came to our table.
You most certainly want to come HUNGRY. The food is served family style, which means they bring large plates of food for the table, and it’s “all-you-care-to-enjoy”. It includes drinks, so we both ordered a soda. Then the food started coming… and it didn’t really stop. Then there were servers walking around with GIANT skewers of meat, asking if you wanted it, and we got all of the dishes at one time.
My biggest complaint was that they rushed us through the dinner. Now, if you have reservations for ‘Ohana on a park day, I could see how this would be an advantage. However, because we spent what we felt was a large amount of money for a nice anniversary meal, that was a big downer for us. I like to eat my food really really hot, and I like to enjoy the meal, and not feel rushed. My advice in regards to this is let your server know if you want things to come quickly or if you want to take your time. That would’ve made the meal significantly more enjoyable for us.
The food was good. It wasn’t rave-worthy, but it was good. When you arrive, they put fresh, warm bread on your table with a coconut pineapple butter. (This was so good I have dreams about it!) Next came the salad (it was okay), noodles (also just okay), pot stickers (really enjoyed those!), chicken wings (okay), and sauteed vegetables. The skewers of meat were nicely seasoned and hot! The highlight (besides the bread) was certainly the bread pudding at the end. They also brought us cupcakes to celebrate our anniversary, which was a nice touch! We were also pleasantly surprised to find out the soda was included.
It’s a nice experience. I’m really glad I tried it, and I’m really glad we did it in celebration of our anniversary. If you have the Disney Dining Plan, I would certainly use a Table Service credit here (for more information on the Dining Plan, you can read about it here). I recommend it if you are wanting a nicer sit down meal, and you really enjoy food.
STRESS FREE MICKEY’S RATING OF ‘OHANA (out of 10):
– Atmosphere: 10
– Food: 7
– Service: 8
– Value for your money: 7
– Overall Experience: 8
Have you eaten at ‘Ohana? I’d love to here what your thoughts are!
Thanks for stopping by and have a magical day!