Review: Kona Cafe {Polynesian Resort, Disney World}

by Cate on May 29, 2013

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If money were no object and someone asked for a hotel recommendation at Disney World, I will always recommend the Polynesian Resort. When we visited Disney a few years ago, when Nick was four, we found ourselves continuing to go back to the Polynesian Resort time and time again.

For, what I consider, the best gift shop out of all the resorts.

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For the awesome character family-style breakfast and dinner at ‘Ohana.

For the gorgeous environment.

May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013

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And now, after our most recent trip, I can say that another draw of this particular resort is that they have the self-serve Dole Whips, a must-eat when visiting Disney World.

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When we arrived on the Friday night of our weekend away, after checking into our hotel, we headed straight over to the Polynesian Resort, intent on killing two birds with one monorail trip.

Dinner. And (our first ever) Dole Whip.

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Unfortunately there were no openings to be had at ‘Ohana, so we ended up at their Kona Cafe. Because we had a 45-minute wait even for that, we killed our time by exploring the grounds and hitting the gift shop. The restaurant gives waiting guests a beeper that vibrates when your table is ready, and since it works anywhere on the property, it gave us free rein to keep ourselves busy elsewhere.

And for pressed penny fans, there is a machine next to the gift shop.

Score.

Our wait ended up being thirty minutes, which was perfectly timed to be right after we paid for our gift shop treasures.

The menu, while not exhaustive, covers a lot of ground. Sushi (from a spot right next door), salads, chicken, pasta, fish, and a decent selection of kids items. I ordered a salad with grilled shrimp and Gorgonzola, and since we were having dinner around 8 pm, I all but inhaled it.

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The kids both went with ravioli (shaped like Mickey, natch), and the servings were perfect. It seems that usually when you order kids’ ravioli, it is a scant four pieces. Sometimes that’s ok. Not so much for a growing, ravenous ten-year-old boy.

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A sweet bread with a honey nut butter was delivered during our meal and was scavenged. Although the kids’ meals came with dessert, we opted to skip it because we wanted to get a little Epcot time in before we headed back to our hotel. Hearing that, our waitress offered the kids cotton candy to go. And cotton candy is pretty much never denied. Unless it is in those gross, pre-packaged containers at the grocery store. Ick. And while this wasn’t carnival cotton candy, it was good.

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Although ‘Ohana is still my favorite, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Kona Cafe. The waitress was very friendly and outgoing, and service was perfect. The meal was reasonably priced, and the kids’ meals were a veritable bargain ($8.59 for their entree, drink, side item, and dessert).

A quick pop downstairs to get our Dole Whips, and we hopped on the monorail heading for an evening at Epcot.

Quick tip! As you’re leaving the Polynesian Resort, do take a moment and stop at the front desk for your free leis!

Hungry for more?
Pictures from the first time Nick visited Disney World, six years ago. Adorable baby-faced pictures from a visit he largely doesn’t remember.

Tomorrow? A review on Goddess Garden Organics and a giveaway. And while we’re talking giveaways, you still have a little bit of time to enter the Origami Owl giveaway – go get ‘em!
Friday? Book review!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole May 30, 2013 at 4:30 am

If you have time, you MUST go back to Kona Cafe for breakfast – their French toast is to.die.for. And I don’t even like French toast…. :)

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Cate O'Malley May 30, 2013 at 8:12 am

Thanks for the heads up – will totally check it out next time we’re there.
Cate O’Malley recently posted..Review: Kona Cafe {Polynesian Resort, Disney World}

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Joanne May 30, 2013 at 6:38 am

Sounds like a great dinner! I think we went to Ohana once when I was a kid and I remember it being super good.
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Asparagus and Leek Flan with Escarole and Potato Hash

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Cate O'Malley May 30, 2013 at 8:12 am

Easy and delicious > my kind of restaurant.
Cate O’Malley recently posted..Review: Kona Cafe {Polynesian Resort, Disney World}

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Terri May 30, 2013 at 8:42 am

Yum! We live just minutes away from the Polynesian and frequent the resort for the Dole Whips! They are awesome…and O’hana’s is one of our favorites as well but hard to get into…so we have been to Kona a few times…they have seasonal creme brulee’s, had a banana one once that was to die for as well!

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Cate May 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm

So jealous that you live so close to it!

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Meg May 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I’ve heard so much about Dole Whips recently that I actually had to Google them! And yes, they look absolutely delicious. I’ve been to Disney a few times, mostly as a kid, and am sorry to say I don’t remember a ton about this excursions . . . a fact that pains my parents! They spent plenty of money and resources to get us there — and my memory is pretty spotty. Still, we have plenty of photos to remind us of our adventures . . . and I do remember staying at the Polynesian! It was mesmerizing to us as kids. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane! :)
Meg recently posted..Book review: ‘The Wonder Bread Summer’ by Jessica Anya Blau

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Nicole May 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Meg (and others), I’m not sure if they have nation-wide locations and/or how flavors vary amongst them…BUT our local Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt carries Dole Whip, so you may be able to get your fix there. There’s also a few copycat recipes floating around the internet – it’s not quite the same without Lilo but you could close your eyes and pretend :)

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Cate May 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for the heads up – I will definitely hunt down a copykat recipe to try (we’re out of luck on Menchie’s, I think).

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Cate May 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm

This was my fourth time to Disney, and this year was the first time I had actually heard of the famous Dole Whips, so you’re in good company! Glad it brought back some good memories. :)

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