We ate at 'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort THREE times during our recent visit. It's one of my favorite restaurants in all of Disney World because gluten free at 'Ohana is always so good!
I've thought about putting my Disney reviews on hold through this unusual and uncertain time, but don't we all need a little happily ever after right now? What better way to step away from our own reality than to talk about all things Disney?!?! Therefore, I'll continue my weekly reviews of my gluten free eats at Disney until I'm through all of them 😊
"'Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind...or forgotten." If you don't know what movie that's from, you've either been living under a rock or you don't know Disney movies at all.
I lost count of how many times I watched Lilo and Stitch when my kids were growing up. Probably because every time I turned around, my son was putting the tape in the VCR. Haha! It was his favorite movie when he was little, and one of mine, too!
It's not surprising that 'Ohana is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Disney World. It IS at my favorite place in Disney World after all--the Polynesian Village Resort. I always tell people when they ask what the Poly is like is that it's like having the best of both worlds.
Imaging being on a tropical island with all the beautiful lush greenery, tiki torches nightly, and island music piped throughout. As you walk by a cast member, with a big smile they say "Aloha!" You can then look across the water and see Cinderella's Castle. I mean, what really could be better than that???
Gluten Free Waffles
Before I continue, I must divulge that the mix used at the Polynesian for the gf waffles (Golden Malted) is made on shared lines with other top 8 allergens. See this post from Alexis's Gluten Free Adventures for more on that.
But I'll be honest, I've never had one single symptom after eating gluten free waffles from 'Ohana and my symptoms are highly exacerbated from just a single crumb of gluten. Do with this information what you will and make choices for your own health.
Eating Gluten Free at 'Ohana for Breakfast
There are no menus at 'Ohana and everything is brought to the table family style ('Ohana means family after all). When first seated, we were served POG, which is passion fruit, orange, and guava juice. So yummy!! Our waitress asked me if I wanted the chef to come to the table and I told her it wasn't necessary. I've eaten gluten free at 'Ohana many times and I thoroughly trust their food.
Small plates of fresh fruit and small plates of pineapple bread are brought to the table. The pineapple bread is NOT gluten free (but if you're looking to make this gf at home, check out my copycat recipe here).
The waitress brought the rest of my family a large platter full (and I mean full) of food to share. That included scrambled eggs, sausages, ham with a pineapple compote, biscuits, Mickey and Stitch waffles, and home fries (potatoes).
Since no one else was eating gluten free at my table, I got my very own platter all to myself. Everything that was on the large platter was on my platter, minus the biscuits. The waffles were light and crisp and I ate every one of them! It's rare that I leave a Mickey (or Stitch) waffle behind when at Disney (gotta fuel for the 10+ miles we walk daily, right?).
The sausages were perfectly cooked, juicy and flavorful. I'm not usually a big ham person, but I'd eat ham with pineapple compote all the time if I could.
Although hidden by the waffles, the home fries were crispy, just the way I like potatoes, nothing out of the ordinary. Sometimes scrambled eggs can be dry, but these were nice and soft.
Gluten Free at 'Ohana for Dinner
Our next trip to 'Ohana was for dinner. 'Ohana's dinner service consists of all-you-care-to-eat Polynesian-style cuisine. It's one of my favorite dinners at Disney World, mainly because most of the food is naturally gluten free. And it's so delicious!!
Our waiter told me the chef would be coming to the table to talk to me (and my daughter, who is vegan). When he came out, he said I could have everything but the bread (they brought me two gluten free rolls), and that they would bring me my own appetizer platter.
I'm not impressed with the prepackaged rolls offered in restaurants, probably because I've been making my own for so long now. I don't know what brand the gluten free rolls were, but they were nothing special.
Salad and Appetizers
The salad was a mixed greens salad mostly consisting of kale and spinach. It was naturally gluten free and it was delicious!! I wish I could make a kale salad at home that tasted as good as this one. The dressing was a Lilikoi (passion fruit) dressing. The kale was wilted just enough to make it tender without being mushy, and the dressing was bright and tangy.
White rice, wings, and stir-fried vegetables filled the appetizer platter set in front of me. The honey coriander wings were good, but even better when dipped in the peanut sauce. I specifically asked the chef about the peanut sauce because it was NOT gluten free the last time I was there. The stir-fried vegetables were flavorful and perfectly cooked.
I was so excited about the main course that I got to eatin' before taking pics! Lol! One day I'll learn, but until then you can see my empty shrimp shells and the few remnants of chicken and beef on my plate😜
For the main course at 'Ohana, they start bringing out skewers of grilled chicken, followed by skewers of beef and then shrimp. The chicken was flavorful, but even better dipped in the peanut sauce.
My favorite skewers by far were the beef and shrimp! Usually sirloin is tough, but not this sirloin. It was SUPER tender, wonderfully charred, and cooked to PERFECTION at a medium rare!!!
I think what made the shrimp skewers so juicy was leaving the shells on. They were still de-veined, but the shells held all the juices IN the shrimp instead of dripping through the grill. I really need to try this at home!!
They used to have a brownie sundae as the gluten free dessert, but this time it was what looked like one of Erin McKenna's donuts topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The donut was very dry and incredibly hard to put my spoon through.
My daughter (the vegan) got the same dessert that I did. This was another example of Disney trying to make one dish or dessert to fill the needs of all the allergens. But it really didn't matter because I was absolutely stuffed from dinner and could hardly eat another bite!
Our Final Breakfast at 'Ohana
We chose 'Ohana as our final breakfast before we left for the airport later that day for good reason. 'Ohana and the Polynesian always make us feel like we're home and it seems to have become a tradition to make our final meal at Disney breakfast at 'Ohana.
This time the chef came to the table shortly after we were seated. He was a little on the hurried side, but still pleasant and accommodating. He told me he'd bring me the usual platter.
The food was just like our first breakfast, delicious as always! They only brought me two waffles this time, though. I'm all about the waffles when I'm at Disney, because they're so yummy but also because they're something we as gluten free aren't normally offered anywhere else. Still, though, it was plenty of food, more than I could ever finish.
I forgot to mention that 'Ohana's breakfast is a character breakfast. Lilo and Stitch, Mickey in his Hawaiian shirt, and Pluto are all there to great you and take pictures and sign autograph books. Pluto is in the check-in area ready to have his photo taken with your family by a Disney cast member.
If you have young kids or if you're a kid at heart, seeing these characters is a treasure and a memory to last a lifetime.
'Ohana is one of our most beloved restaurants in all of Disney World for good reason. They're consistent, their food is fabulous, and the atmosphere is wonderful! Have you ever been to 'Ohana?