Over the past year, many of us in the DVC Fan Facebook Group went about our lives patiently awaiting the return of our favorite Walt Disney World restaurants. The excitement that ensued when it was announced ‘Ohana would reopen was of no surprise to many. After all, who didn’t miss those glorious noodles and dumplings? Without hesitation, our travel party for July decided to snag a much sought-after reservation (thank you travel wizard, Elaine Edwards) to experience this beloved establishment. Let’s take a look at our experience at ‘Ohana!
I’ve been a server myself in my college days. It’s not an easy job by any means. My own experience has left me with a lot of grace and understanding of what it takes to wait tables. Unfortunately, the service we received at ‘Ohana was mostly nonexistent. It’s a popular restaurant and I think they are still working out their reopening kinks and adjusting to a new menu. The place wasn’t full by any means. There were several empty tables blocked off for social distancing (one of the few restaurants we have seen still doing that as of July).
The food was brought out in a strange order leaving us wondering if things were forgotten or if they were just coming at random. We had to ask for some things on the menu that were never brought like the sauce for the dumplings. It also would take a long while before we had the ability to ask for extra items. For some dishes, you will want lots of extras. They simply don’t give you enough of the best items to start for the number of people at your table. However, they will overload you with the things you don’t need. I’m sure we could have fed another three tables with the double crocks of shrimp casserole. Overall, with missing items and long waits to ask for things and receive water, I would rate the service here as a 4/10. It just left a lot to be desired.
Paul and I honestly always had a love-hate relationship with the food at ‘Ohana. I am ashamed to admit for the two of us, it was our first time back since 2015. From before, we knew we loved the noodles, wings, vegetables, and dumplings. We remember the meats being too chared and rubbery for our liking and the service was rushed in the past. So our expectations were not all that high going in. Here is a breakdown of how the food went.
First is the price. The per-person cost for this all-you-care-to-enjoy family-style meal is $55 per adult and $33 per child plus taxes and of course, gratuity.
Salad: The salad is a mixed greens salad with a citrus vinegarette. I enjoyed this salad a lot actually. The mixed greens included arugula which always adds a great flavor and is a more expensive green. The dressing was flavorful. I wanted more salad and felt like the salad plate got whisked away by the server before I had the chance. It was probably for the best as there was a ton of food coming, but the salad was one of the more enjoyable dishes.
Bread: The bread service has definitely changed and instead of the pineapple coconut loaf of bread, they serve coconut papaya and cheddar bacon biscuits (according to the menu). While the menu says cheddar bacon biscuits, we definitely only had the papaya scones. I can’t complain, they were actually pretty good-slightly sweet and still savory. The pieces of papaya worked well. Overall, I enjoyed them but didn’t want to fill up on them since I knew we had a lot more food coming.
Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings: These are pretty similar to what they were before and they were as good as I remember. They are very approachable to any pallet, not spicy with simple flavors. Not the best wings on property, but good for an all-you-can-eat meal. They do not provide you with enough of these, so be sure to ask for more.
Pork Dumplings Tossed in Garlic-Chili Sauce: I’m using the titles for these directly from the menu on Disney’s site. But that’s laughable since we have already been missing items from the menu. We received the dumplings and I do love them, but we didn’t get any sauce. It took a long while to get some and by the time it came, well…we needed more dumplings. The sauce is an important part of enjoying them so be sure to make sure you get it and while you’re at it, ask for more dumplings.
Kielbasa Sausage: Our table was all in agreement that the kielbasa was an excellent addition to the menu. The sausage is robust with flavor. If anything changes, I sure hope this item sticks around.
Roasted Eight-Way Chicken with Chimichurri Sauce: While the kielbasa was great, the chicken was bland and boring. The only saving grace here was the chimichurri sauce, but there is only a small amount. You can ask for more sauce though and it does help the chicken quite a bit.
Roasted Broccolini: These were basically long, undercooked, flavorless mini trees. I miss the old vegetables.
‘Ohana Noodles: The noodles were a saving grace and as good as I remembered. Perfectly savory with a touch of sweetness. They start you off with such a small amount, you’ll want to ask for more. If they sold just these noodles, I would buy them by the vat to enjoy whenever I stay at the Polynesian. The noodles at Captain Cooks aren’t quite the same.
Woodfire Grilled Teriyaki Beef: This and the shrimp casserole came way later than the rest of our meal. I guess it’s a good thing because we were already nearly full so the fact that it was not good wasn’t as big of a disappointment. The basic gist is that it’s still tough pieces of meat with very little flavor. Despite being covered in sauce, it didn’t disguise how abysmal this was. And thus, a giant plate of meat sat uneaten on our table. I really hate wasting food like that.
Shrimp Casserole: I am pretty sure I am one of a few people on this planet that was actually excited for this shrimp casserole. I love casseroles and I have had many fantastic seafood au gratin-casserole-like dishes before. So I had a vision for how amazing I thought this shrimp casserole could be. Instead, I was met with a bowl of overcooked shrimp swimming in flavorless soup. There was no real substance or binding agent to really qualify this as a casserole. It was more bland soup on a plate. These poor innocent shrimp sacrificed their lives for this nonsense. As we looked around to other tables, we could see this dish was going mostly uneaten. There are just so many better uses for all these good-sized shrimp.
Bread Pudding: Although it was different than before, the bread pudding was quite enjoyable. What I loved about it also was that it wasn’t too dense or heavy so it was easy to enjoy after such a big meal. If I could make any suggestion for this, ask for extra ice cream, especially if you’re sharing it with a larger party.
There were some hits and some misses with ‘Ohana. The complete experience caused our group to cancel an upcoming reservation in October and make other plans. If you have been looking forward to trying it out, I recommend you go and experience it for yourself. Your experience may be better. I’m still glad we went. I love those noodles and dumplings and they were still great, as were some of the other additions.
Have you tried the “new” ‘Ohana recently? What do you think of the new menu items? Let us know in the comments and as always, check out DVCFan.com for the latest happenings of all things Disney Vacation Club!