As you can probably guess since this is volume 9, my family are fans of character meals. Over my almost 30 years of visiting Walt Disney World I have eaten at just about every character meal that has been offered. One of the very few places that we had never eaten at was ‘Ohana, but on our last trip we found ourselves staying a few nights at the Polynesian Resort so there seemed no better time.
The restaurant space is located just off of the lobby of the Polynesian. The lobby itself is vibrant and clearly tropically themed, but the dining area itself is a bit more subtle. With exposed beam ceilings, carved pillars, a gorgeous open pit cooking area (that is not used for breakfast), and views including all the lush tropical foliage and Seven Seas Lagoon, the space is very pleasant without being over the top. The dining room is open and noisy, yet comfortable and pretty.
As you may know, ‘Ohana means ‘family’ and the restaurant sticks to that theme with lots of large tables and servers that refer to everyone as “cousin.” Personally, I was thrown off by the cousin references, thinking it was some weird slang our middle-aged waitress was employing. It was also very early in the morning so I was probably not at full mental capacity (full for me being about 38%).
During the meal they do attempt to raise the noise level by having a parade of children shaking maracas and marching around to “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride.” They do these parades at most character meals now and I am fairly indifferent to them. I am sure some kids enjoy them, but mine prefer to use their maracas to hit Pluto with (as pictured below…not my proudest moment as a parent).
Breakfast at ‘Ohana (the only character meal) is visited by Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto. The presence of Lilo and Stitch is much of the reason we had never eaten at ‘Ohana, not that we do not like them, but my kids had never seen the movie and did not know them. We made sure to introduce the movie “Lilo & Stitch (as well as “Stitch: The Movie” and “Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch”…these are NOT recommended)” to our children prior to visiting so they could become more familiar.
The characters themselves were great as always, wearing Hawaiian shirts (well, Mickey was) and leis. It was hard for me to judge the frequency of the character visits because we were one of the first families seated for the day. The sparse crowd during our meal meant that we saw each character twice, but there were a lot of empty tables so I cannot speak to such frequency when the restaurant is at capacity.
As I mentioned above, breakfast is the only character meal at ‘Ohana. Breakfast food throughout Disney World is remarkably similar; decent quality eggs, bacon, sausage, and Mickey waffles dominate most early morning menus. ‘Ohana is sadly no different in that respect, although the manner of service is different.
Rather than a buffet, which is used by most character meals, ‘Ohana is served ‘Ohana-style (family-style…get it?). A large skillet is brought to your table containing the eggs, bacon, sausage, and fried potatoes. Mickey waffles are brought separately by the servers and I detected a definite attempt to limit the number of waffles consumed. I do not doubt for a second that, had I requested 40 waffles I would have been given such a pile of food. However the server only brings out a small bowl of waffles and pointedly asks “would you like one or two” in an effort to make you think those are the only choices. I do not actually see this tactic as a negative, I just find it interesting since it is not done at buffet meals.
Two bonus points (on my non-existent rating scale) are the food quality and the rolls. I found the quality of the eggs and sausage especially to be better than other breakfasts. This may be simply that they are not sitting in warming trays for an undisclosed amount of time, but it was still noticeable. The rolls are sweet, cinnamon-like concoctions that are given to you as soon as you are seated. They were warm and delicious albeit sticky.
Odds, Ends, and Details
The ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast runs from 7:30am until 11am and costs $20.99 plus tax for ages 10 plus and $11.99 plus tax for ages 3-9. The menu can be found here.
I found ‘Ohana to be very nice. I was not blown away by any aspect of the meal, nor was I upset with any of it. The setting was pleasant, the food good if not special, and the characters were exactly as expected. I have yet to sit down and rank my character meal experiences, but I expect to be ‘Ohana to be above average. It felt a little calmer than many other character meals while still retaining that fun feeling of wonder. I would return and gladly recommend it to others.
Previous Character Meal Volumes: