When Did Ohana Get So Popular?

Photo by Jon Self

Acquiring an advance dining reservation at Walt Disney World stresses out many a would-be diner. With the current 60 day in advance policy (with additional days for on-site hotel guests) for dining reservations, waking up at 5:45am Florida time 60 days in advance to acquire that perfect dining reservation plagues many visitors to Lake Buena Vista, FL. For some reason ‘Ohana is one of the hardest reservations to get.

In a Redditt thread, we learned that the ‘Ohana restaurant currently claims the most searched for advance dining reservation spot among restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. This means people searched more for this restaurant than Topolino’s Terrace, California Grill, or Chef Mickey’s. The owner of MouseDining said on a recent podcast that Ohana was not only most searched for in the hotel category but most searched for across all of Walt Disney World Resort property. What makes ‘Ohana so special?

Photo by Jon Self

Having dined at ‘Ohana for breakfast myself back in August, this place offers many positives. The setting within Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort creates a wonderful environment. This place serves the signature POG juice and pineapple bread. All meals at ‘Ohana qualify as all you care to eat featuring skillets brought to your table. Though some guests debate the quality of food here compared to other Walt Disney World options, most guests love the food here. The combination of food and atmosphere creates a wonderful experience. For full disclosure, at time of writing, I am still trying to obtain a dinner reservation at ‘Ohana for next week.

Vegan Breakfast Skillet
Photo by Jon Self

The Walt Disney World website describes the meal offered here for breakfast or dinner. Besides breakfast pineapple bread and fruit, the unlimited breakfast skillets here contain scrambled eggs, pork sausage links, Hawaiian-style ham topped with pineapple compote, fried island-style potatoes, Mickey-shaped waffles, and biscuits. For the record, when I dined here, I got Stitch waffles also. In addition, I found the vegan version of this breakfast quite good also.

The dinner menu, at Ohana, contains a mixed green salad, signature bread, chicken wings, pork dumplings, and the dinner skillet. The dinner skillets come filled with teriyaki beef, spicy shrimp, grilled chicken, ‘Ohana noodles, and roasted broccolini. The meal concludes with the signature bread pudding.

When I had breakfast here, I thought the food tasted great. Yet, I enjoyed the excellent Topolino’s Terrace breakfast the day before. By comparison, ‘Ohana was good but inferior to Topolino’s Terrace breakfast. Of course, back in August, Topolino’s Terrace cost $45/adult while Ohana cost $25/adult. Based on that price point, I see why ‘Ohana would be so popular. However, things have changed since then. Back then, Topolino’s Terrace held the top spot for most searched for resort restaurants.

However, the character breakfast returned to ‘Ohana in September. This return appears to coincide with the demand for reservations. However, the breakfast at’Ohana enjoying time with Lilo & Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto will now cost you $45. As I expressed concern when Disney announced characters returning to ‘Ohana, the price increased significantly. In fact, it increased more than I anticipated.

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Personally, at this price point, I would go enjoy a better meal over at Topolino’s Terrace. ‘Ohana has always been popular for dinner time. The rapid increase in breakfast demand shows that people love Lilo and Stitch. Since this is one of few places you can encounter those two, I can respect that. Yet, the $20 price increase since my breakfast in August makes me wonder if ‘Ohana will stay on top in terms of demand for a table. Only time will tell us about that. If you desire to dine at ‘Ohana, expect some competition for an advance dining reservation. Based on the current evidence, people love Lilo and Stitch. If you do also, plan accordingly.

In fairness, ‘Ohana offers a great meal and experience for breakfast or dinner. Since the Hawaiian word, ‘Ohana, refers to one’s extended family including friends (and apparently experiment 626, Stitch) breakfast or dinner at this restaurant should make you feel part of a wonderful family. As always, eat like you mean it (even if Stitch is around)!

Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.