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Sunday Brunch!

Sunday Brunch


October 25, 2020

Sunday Brunch: Family Style Feast for the Family by the Family

by Reuben Gutierrez

Originally published 21 June 2013

Author's note: This week we celebrate Who's Who Wednesday's author Erik Anderson! Our resident Disney character expert has recently covered such beloved Disney characters like Lilo Pelekai from 2002's Lilo and Stitch who is also a frequent visitor to Erik's favorite Walt Disney World restaurant 'Ohana.

I lai la
Ua i la
No mala hini ohana
Welcome cousins, e komo mai
Aloha e komo mai

Meeting Minnie at Ohana

In 1993, Minnie Mouse welcomed my cousins, my family, and all her guests to a 'French Colonial' restaurant called the Papeete Bay Verandah at the Polynesian Village Resort. While such details weren't retracted from my memory, the experience is one of my strongest memories: having breakfast with my brother, sister, and nearly all my cousins along with Minnie and her friends. Being one of the first Disney Character meals (and the first of my life), Minnie's Menehune Breakfast included a buffet meal with visits from all her friends decked out in colorful Hawaiian vacation attire. While the Papeete Bay Verandah served plenty of Walt Disney World guests, the winds of change closed its doors in the fall of 1994. When it finally reopened, it would become one of the most popular dining locations on property as 'Ohana.


'Ohana at breakfast time is pretty much the same as the Papeete Bay Verandah, though this time Lilo and Stitch join Minnie and Mickey. While the food is given Hawaiian names, it is generally a standard American breakfast of eggs, meat, potatoes and breads. At dinnertime, the menu takes leaps and bounds to an incredible Polynesian feast served family-style. The themes of family make guests feel right at home, even if they didn't grow up in a tropical house with a 16-foot long pit of fire in their kitchen. Everyone is family, as the restaurant name suggests, so your seater, server, cooks, and even the guests around you are all your cousins.

Ohana bread
Ohana food
Cousin Ava presents the dessert we'll be having that day and gathers our bread for our meal

After being seated, another cousin comes along to take your drink order and soon they just don't stop coming with platters and enormous skewers of food. There is no menu to order from, other than the list of dishes posted at the restaurant entrance. Cousins just come along and bring you course after course. Where else will you find family this eager to serve you?

Pineapple Coconut Bread at Ohana

When seated, your family is welcomed with amazing Pineapple Coconut bread, fresh and warm out of the oven.

Appetizers at Ohana

Appetizers arrive in rapid succession with such delectable treats as Mixed Greens with a Mango-Poppy Seed dressing, Honey Coriander Chicken Wings, Pork fried dumplings, and pineapple.

Appetizers at Ohana

Soon, entr'e accompaniments join the party: egg noodles with pineapple in a peanut sauce and stir fried vegetables.

Ohana fire pit
The Fire Pit!

Skewers at Ohana

Then the main attraction: oak fired skewers of chicken, pork, steak, and shrimp. The chicken is simply seasoned and oak grilled. The sirloin steak in a flavorful marinade was one of my favorites. Pork Loin is prepared in an Asian Barbecue style and giant shrimp is grilled spicy.

Skewers at Ohana

Dipping sauces at Ohana

Another nice touch is a trio of dipping sauces to enhance your feast: House-made Peanut sauce, Chimichurri Sauce, and Pineapple Sweet and Sour Sauce. According to my research, recent guests report the sauces have been reduced to only the house-made peanut sauce. Hopefully this is only temporary as all the sauces were incredible!

I've eaten at 'Ohana only twice, my first almost 10 years ago (wow!) being a memorable blur of food with my immediate family; the second was last year with my self-proclaimed 'ohana circle of friends. I had to rush to work right after (those were the days I worked overnight), so the meal already felt rushed, but I remember everything coming out so quick. My friends told Cousin Chris the situation and he made sure the meal came out with enough time for me to get to work!

'Ohana isn't just about the feast, it's about time with the family. Evening entertainment includes live musicians and coconut races for the kids. Probably the best part about eating dinner at 'Ohana (or any Magic Kingdom resort restaurant around the Seven Seas Lagoon) is that if timed right, you have a wonderful far off view of the evening's fireworks show. The music is played in the restaurant itself, creating a magical beginning, middle, or end to your meal.

Ohana pineapple drink
Cousin Kayleigh shows off her Beverage in a Pineapple!

In case you haven't realized, 'ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, and 'Ohana the restaurant does a terrific job in making sure that theme is clear. Family isn't just a classification of human beings related to each other. In addition to its literal meaning, family could apply to a group of friends, a group of coworkers, or even a group of strangers experiencing something terrific in the same moment. Family isn't just a group of people; it's togetherness, it's sharing, it's a feeling.




Past Sunday Brunch

     - Disney Theme Park Cookbook

     - Boardwalk's Chocolate Chip Crumbcake
     - Chef Mickey's Breakfast Pizza
     - Hamm Cupcakes
     - Honeydoodles
     - Kermit Cupcakes
     - Tonga Toast

Restaurant Reviews
     - 1900 Park Fare
     - 50's Prime Time
     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 1)
     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 2)

     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 3)
     - Be Our Guest Restaurant (Part 4)
     - Beaches and Cream
     - Bengal Barbecue (Disneyland)
     - Boardwalk Bakery (pre Refurbishment)

     - Boardwalk Bakery Post Refurbishment (Part 1/2)
     - Boulangerie Patisserie (France Bakery)
     - Captain Cook's (Polynesian)
     - Casey's Corner
     - Club 33

     - Columbia Harbour House
     - Coral Reef
     - Cozy Cone
     - Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store
     - Earl of Sandwich
     - El Pirata y el Perico
     - Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe (DCA)
     - Flame Tree Barbeque (part 1)

     - Flame Tree Barbeque (part 2)
     - Friar's Nook (Magic Kingdom)
     - Golden Oak Outpost
     - Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe (Disneyland)
     - Katsura Grill

     - Kona Cafe
     - Kouzzina
     - Kringla Bakeri og Kafe
     - Kringla Bakeri og Kafe (more snacks!)
     - Kusafiri Bakery

     - Landscape of Flavors (Art of Animation)
     - L'Artisan Des Glaces (France Pavilion)
     - Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie (France Pavilion)
     - Liberty Tree Tavern
     - Lotus Blossom
     - Main Street Bakery Starbucks
     - Main Street Bakery Starbucks (Part 2)

     - Min and Bill's Dockside Diner
     - Min and Bill's Dockside Diner Cones
     - 'Ohana
     - 'Ohana Revisted
     - Pepper Market (Coronado Springs)
     - Pinocchio's Village Haus

     - Pizza PlaNOT
     - Port Orleans Riverside Food Court
     - Prince Eric's Village Market
     - Rose and Crown
     - Sanaa
     - Sci-Fi Dine In

     - Tangaroa Terrace
     - Tangierene Cafe
     - Tokyo Dining
     - Trail's End
     - Tusker House
     - Tutto Gusto
     - Via Napoli
     - The Wave (Breakfast)

Tasty Treats
     - 4th of July Cupcake
     - Beignets (Port Orleans French Quarter)
     - Big Thunder Ranch dessert
     - Boardwalk Bakery Boxed Lunch
     - Caramel Apples (Karamell-Kuche)
     - Chicken and Waffles (Sleepy Hollow)
     - Chicken and Waffles (Trail's End)

     - Wolfgang Puck's Chinois Chicken Salad
     - Cinnamon Rolls (Main Street Bakery)
     - Crispy Cornflake French Toast (Wolfgang Puck)
     - Darth Vadar Cupcake
     - Disney Cruise Line Chocolate
     - Dole Whip
     - Dole Whips inside the Enchanted Tiki Room

     - Fish and Chips (United Kingdom)
     - Grilled Chicken Flatbread (Mama Melrose)
     - Guava Cupcake
     - Holiday Cupcakes
     - Holiday Sandwich at Earl
     - Japanese Disney Snack
     - LeFou's Brew

     - Mac and Cheese Hot Dog
     - Maurice's Amazing Popping Machine
     - Mexico Pavilion Tacos
     - Mickey's Magix
     - Mickey Fun Bar

     - Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar
     - Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar: Time for Seconds
     - Mickey Mouse Peanut Butter Cup
     - Mickey Mouse Pretzel
     - Milkshake (Whispering Canyon)
     - Mini Corn Dogs (Casey's Corner)
     - Peanut Butter Cupcake
     - Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Banana Pie (Boardwalk Bakery)
     - Pina Colada Bread Pudding (Disney Cruise Line)

     - Pineapple Cupcake (Sunshine Seasons)
     - Quiche of the Day (Boardwalk Bakery)
     - S'mores Brownie
     - S'mores Cupcake
     - Sacristain from France
     - Sunshine Tree Terrace Cup
     - Disney Parks Shortbread Rounds

     - Summer Delight cupcake (Hollywood Studios)
     - Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel
     - Teriyaki Chicken Handroll (2013 Food and Wine)
     - Marshmallow Kabob
     - Waffles around Walt Disney World
     - Yule Log (Sunshine Seasons)
     - Zebra Cupcakes and Zebra Domes

Forgotten Favorites
     - Mickey's Kitchen
     - Odyssey
     - The Odyssey of the Odyssey

Disney Food History
     - Cheshire Cafe
     - Village Fry Shoppe

Interesting Interviews
     - The World's Biggest Earl Fan?

     - Ratatouille Bonus Feature

     - Art of Animation Food Cart
     - Battle Gingerbread
     - Celebration, FL's Main Street Cafe
     - Culinary Adventures
     - Disney Mothers
     - Disney "Flower" Arrangements
     - Disneyland Popcorn Cart Avatars
     - Egg-celent adventure at Grand Floridian

     - Five Disney Restaurants
     - Pizza Planet's Easter Pineapple Coconut Cupcake
     - First French Toast ever served at Art of Animation
     - First Tonga Toast Experience
     - Food and Wine 2013
     - Food and Wine Part 1
     - Food and Wine Part 2
     - Food and Wine Part 3

     - Food and Wine Part 4
     - Grand Floridian Gingerbread House
     - Halloween Snacks around Disney
     - Holiday Homes Good Enough to Eat
     - Mama Melrose's Back Story
     - My Time at the Confectionary
     - Ode to Club Cool's Beverly

     - Sleepy Hollow Story
     - Snow White's Wishing Apple
     - Super Foods
     - Tales of a Magic Kingdom Nut Wagon Cast Member

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