Ohana Restaurant & Tambu Lounge – Orlando, FL

Ohana restaurant at Disney's Polynesian Resort

‘Ohana is the main dining event at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, located upstairs in the Great Ceremonial House near the Kona Cafe. It serves “character breakfasts” where folks dressed up like Disney characters visit your table, and also AYCE dinners of barbecued meats and Asian-inspired side dishes.

Tikis at Ohana

Flanking the entrance are these awesome tall tiki statues. Now, if you’ve seen “Lilo & Stitch” then you should know that “ohana” means “family,” so it should be no surprise that the food here is served family-style. (Of course, after I write that sentence I look at their official site and they said pretty much the same thing…guess I could be a copywriter for Disney.)

Ohana dining room

It’s too bright to see, but these second-story windows look out over the Polynesian Resort grounds and the lake. In the distance you can even see Space Mountain, which was kind of surreal to spot something retro high-tech in contrast to this faux-natural paradise. (Although, the whole Disney experience is pretty surreal, I suppose.)

Slurp

When I showed Mr. Baseball my photos from this trip, he thought this tiki was posed rather…suggestively. There are a bunch of these standing sentry around the room.

Tambu Lounge

The plan had been to have a drink at the Tambu Lounge next to the restaurant, but it didn’t open until 1 p.m., which was about an hour away. The staff at the Polynesian Resort recommended we go to the Barefoot Pool Bar instead to get our drink on, so off we went. To be continued…

Polynesian Resort at Disney World

‘Ohana Restaurant & Tambu Lounge
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
1600 Seven Seas Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-WDW-DINE

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Capt. Cook’s & Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Capt. Cook's

On our expedition around Disney’s Polynesian Resort, we also looked at the various dining options on the property. They’re mostly oriented around the Great Ceremonial House a.k.a. the lobby.

Inside Captain Cook's

Captain Cooks is on the ground floor on your way to the pool, and there are tables outside among the tropical foliage where it would be nice to eat if it isn’t a thousand degrees and humid. (Not likely.) This Hawaiian/American hybrid restaurant is counter service and is the best option for a cheap meal—apparently they even offer the famous Tonga Toast that’s a specialty of the Kona Cafe. (More on that later…)

Dole Whip!

I wouldn’t have considered Capt. Cook’s to be very noteworthy if it weren’t for this! I really like the fact that you can get Pineapple Dole Whip here at the Polynesian Resort, not just at The Enchanted Tiki Room in the park.

Kona Cafe

On the second floor is Kona Cafe, which has an unenclosed design that reminds me of Vegas casino restaurants. They’re known for their Tonga Toast, which is banana-stuffed sourdough french toast rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Now if only it wasn’t stuffed with something I’m allergic to, then I would be all over it…

Tikis on the wall of Kona

I dig the tikis on the wall, of course. I think it saves Kona Cafe from looking like an Elephant Bar. Still more to come from the Polynesian Resort at Disney World!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is undergoing extensive renovations in 2014. Capt. Cook’s has reopened, but there’s no longer a self-service Dole Whip machine. Instead, it will be available at the Pinapple Lanai. More information can be found on the Disney Parks Blog.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Orlando, FL

Disney's Polynesian Resort

My family went to Disney World this summer and I thought the parks were great, of course, but I was almost more impressed by the resorts The Mouse has built to house his tourists. I love themed things, and the attention to detail given to each of the hotels is staggering—especially the Animal Kingdom Villas, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and the TIKI-themed Polynesian Resort.

Tikis watching over the valet parking station

However, this is a “deluxe” resort and one of Disney’s most popular so rooms start at $355 per night! Needless to say, we stayed elsewhere but I had to make a trip out there to do some exploring.

Once you enter the realm of Disney, you’re immediately transported from a concrete parking lot to a tropical paradise. Waterfalls, hibiscus and lush foliage surround the wooden bridge that takes you into the lobby.

The lobby

I like all the bamboo in the lobby area. With all the greenery and openness of the main building, the resort looked and felt very Hawaiian to me. Guests even get orchid leis when they check in.

The Great Ceremonial House

Their site says that the Great Ceremonial House is supposed to resemble a royal Tahitian assembly lodge and that there’s more than 75 kinds of plantlife in this oasis they have going on in the atrium. You have to appreciate how Disney can go all out!

You can’t really see here, but there are “hidden” Mickeys designed into the pattern of the rug. In the background you can see the display window of their main store, the Bou-Tiki.

A village longhouse

Surrounding this main building are nearly a dozen “village longhouses” where the actual hotel rooms are located. Each of the longhouses are named after Polynesian islands (Rapa Nui, Hawaii, etc.) and feature a unique design with those red, brown and orange colors straight out of the seventies.

The Polynesian Resort

Though that shouldn’t be surprising considering the Polynesian Resort opened back in 1971 as one of Disney World’s first on-site hotels.

Rongo tiki

Among the tiki statues we found while wandering the grounds was Rongo, who may look familiar to you from Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room.

I heart hammocks

Near the pool is a beach area with hammocks that were just too tempting not to lounge in for a bit. Hammocks are definitely a plus in my book.

This spot is also supposed to be a good place to watch the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom park across the lake. (Swimming in the Seven Seas Lagoon is forbidden…alligators, perhaps? This is Florida, after all.)

Polynesian Resort at Disney World

Polynesian Resort at Disney World
1600 Seven Seas Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
407-824-2000
disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/polynesian-resort

EDITOR’S NOTE: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is undergoing extensive renovations in 2014, so consider this a time capsule. For the latest updates, you should check out Tikiman’s Unofficial Polynesian Resort Pages