Kona Cafe review
Everything about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will make you forget where you are. Suddenly, it is as if you aren’t in central Florida anymore, but on a tropical island! The entrance to the resort is lined with beautiful tropical flowers, that are sure to catch your eye.
As you enter the lobby, you are greeted by a giant Polynesian tiki statue. Looking up, towards Kona Cafe, you will see unique and colorful hanging light fixtures.
There are plenty of things to catch your eye when you are walking through the Polynesian Village Resort, but if your destination in Kona Cafe, you’d be better off waiting to explore the resort at your leisure on a full stomach following your meal. Kona Café has something to offer for all meals, so it is something you’ll definitely want to try while vacationing at DIsney World.
Walking through the Polynesian Village Resort is a relaxing escape from the usually fast paced and crowded feeling of Disney World Parks. It’s a quick boat or monorail ride from Magic Kingdom, so if you need a little break from a hectic day, but don’t want to leave the immersive magic of Disney, the Polynesian Village Resort is a good option. It’s a great place to head for a meal, as there are several options at every meal.
Kona Café is a popular stop for every meal. Although it requires you to leave the parks for a little while, you won’t be far, and dining at a resort is a great option that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s understandable to think leaving the parks for a meal would take away from the precious time you have to spend enjoying the parks for your vacation.
However, Disney resorts are part of the experience. Like every part of every park at Disney World, the resorts will transport you to a new land. Going to the Polynesian Village Resort won’t feel like wasted time. You can walk past the volcano pool, walk down the sandy beach, and even relax in a hammock by the water before, or after your dining reservation at Kona Café.
Kona Cafe Review
Let’s begin with reviewing the decor at this restaurant.
Disney is famous for impeccable theming. If you are looking for something that will blow you away, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will definitely do that. It can transport you to another place, entirely. However, if you are expecting to feel like you are somewhere else while at Kona Café, you might find the décor a little disappointing.
It is not going to make you feel instantly transported to an island. As soon as you arrive at Kona Café, it will be clear that you will be having a casual dining experience, no matter what meal you are there for. The brightly colored, curved walls add a cozy feel to the open floor plan of the dining room. The hanging lights are a nice accent to the casual dining experience at Kona Café.
The atmosphere of Kona Café is perfect for a casual family dining experience. There is no pressure to dress or act a specific way. The friendly, but often times busy, waitstaff will laugh and smile with you, making you feel right at home. Like the rest of the Polynesian Village Resort, Kona Café is a relaxing experience.
The Polynesian Village Resort is a sight to behold at most times of the day, but in the morning, the smells alone can draw you in. The resort is also home to ‘Ohana, which features a rowdier character breakfast. You’re sure to see lots of people waiting to be seated, including kids who are anxious to meet Lilo and Stitch. Luckily, if you’re hungry and headed to Kona Café, that wait won’t be an issue for you.
Kona is a very popular destination for breakfast at Disney World, so, like most other restaurants at Disney World, it is advisable to make reservations before your trip. Wait time is not a major obstacle at Kona if you have reservations, as unlike ‘Ohana, there is not picture before the meal, and diners move along a little faster because they aren’t waiting to meet characters.
If you are a coffee drinker, Kona is definitely the breakfast spot to start your day. There is coffee available all over the parks and at all the resorts, but there is nothing quite like the Kona coffee. Like at most restaurants, your meal will start with your drink orders.
The drink options at breakfast might not typically be something people look forward to, but at Kona Café, the options are things that should not be missed. There are specialty drinks for everyone. Kids, adults, and those in need of a caffeine boost to jumpstart their day, will find exactly what they may or may not have known they were looking for.
Starting with the coffee options, there is a Kona blend available, and it is an average coffee option. If you absolutely love coffee and are looking for something that exceeds the usual Disney coffee, you’ll want to go with the Hawaiian Kona Maragogype Press Pot.
This is considered one of the best coffee selections at Disney World, and it serves two! If you are the only coffee lover in your dining party, and don’t think you can finish the whole pot on your own, the Kona blend will do the trick.
The Kona coffee isn’t the only drink option that shouldn’t be missed. Kona Café is one of a few restaurants where you can get Liliko’i juice. This is a blend of orange, passion fruit and guava juice. It is a great alternative to the usual orange juice you may have with breakfast.
The tropical, Hawaiian spin on a classic breakfast beverage will keep you swept up in the Polynesian theme Kona Café is creating. Of course, it also offers typical juice selections, a smoothie, and some specialty drinks for kids. The children’s specialty drink is just Minute Maid lemonade served in a souvenir cup with a glowing clip attached. This is available at many restaurants throughout Disney World, so it is not necessarily a must-have for your kids at this breakfast.
There are also specialty alcoholic beverages available at breakfast. It is vacation, after all, so you might want to give one of them a try. Kona serves a Liliko’i mimosa, which is a fun and fruity twist on the original. If you’re looking for something a little spicy. They’ve got you covered there with the Wasabi Bloody Mary. And then there is the Polynesian Red Eye, which is made with coconut rum, liliko’i juice, and grenadine.
The unique beverage options are just the beginning of what Kona Cafe has to offer diners. Kona Cafe offers basic breakfast fare that is sure to please event he pickiest eater in your dining party. this includes children. The kids’ menu is fairly basic, but special enough to make the kids feel like they are having something special.
All of the options on the kids’ menu are considered ”create-your-own-entrees.” This lets kids feel like they have all of the power in what they will be eating, and it also helps make sure they will actually get things they enjoy. The selections for kids are pretty standard. Meal choices include scrambled eggs, oatmeal, Mickey-shaped pancakes, and French toast.
The “create-your-own” part comes in when the kids get to choose their sides. each entree comes with two sides, and kids can pick from a fruit cup, yogurt, turkey bacon, breakfast potatoes, bacon, and sausage. Even the basic pancakes are shaped like Mickey Mouse, and bring a little bit of magic to your child’s breakfast.
Like the Kids’ menu, the rest of the menu includes some basic breakfast options. These are perfect for people who are not willing to try something a little different. If you’re looking for something you probably can’t get at home, there are some excellent choices for you on Kona Cafe’s breakfast menu.
There are five excellent and unique options for diners looking for something they don’t have at their local breakfast spot.
Tonga Toast: this Is a unique version of French toast that you won’t want to miss. The thick French toast is stuffed with bananas and rolled in cinnamon sugar. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, it is served with a strawberry compote.
Seven Seas Samoan: this is a hearty poached egg dish. The eggs are topped with a fruity hollandaise sauce and served with a pulled pork and turkey hash, all over a salad with a citrus vinaigrette.
Loco Moco: This is a traditional Polynesian Island brunch dish. It is made with rice, a hamburger patty, chorizo gravy and eggs, all topped with a salsa. Kona Cafe also offers a plant-based version of the dish, so it is a great option for vegetarian diners.
Macadamia Nut Pancakes: At first glance of the menu, this does not seem like the most unique thing to order. Don’t judge this item by name alone! These pancakes will become a favorite. They are topped with macadamia nut butter and pineapple sauce Unlike any you have ever had before.
Polynesian Egg Platter: This is a big hearty breakfast that includes eggs, fruit poke, a muffin, potatoes and the breakfast meat of your choice.
After enjoying one of those breakfast selections, your entire dining party will leave with full stomachs, ready to hit the parks and enjoy some Disney magic without having to slow down to find something to eat. You will not feel like a trip to Kona Cafe was a waste of valuable park time.
Florida afternoons can be brutal, and it’s hard enough to keep pushing through the heat and humidity when you aren’t hungry. By the afternoon, you might be in need of an escape from the heat, and the craziness of the parks.
Maybe you are looking to slow down and find a quiet place to relax and refuel for the rest of the day. That’s the perfect time to head over the Polynesian Village Resort and try Kona Cafe for lunch. This casual but fulfilling lunch could be just what you need to get you through a busy afternoon.
Kona Cafe has a short lunch service, and It is only available between 12:00 and 2:45 PM. This doesn’t give you many choices if you are planning ahead, but just be aware of that if you are hoping to try the lunch menu, which is slightly cheaper than the dinner menu. There are some items that are available at both lunch and dinner, but if you don’t want a heavy lunch, you can find something that is more reasonably priced.
Disney Parks have a lot of quick service meals available at fairly reasonable prices, and taking a trip to Kona for lunch might not be for everyone. Getting the kids out of the park might prove difficult, so this is not a must-do lunch for everyone. However, if you are looking to sit down and have a little bit of a break from the park, it might be just what you need.
After a long and eventful morning in the parks, it’s not a bad idea to start with a drink exclusive to the Polynesian Village Resort. Nothing says “Island vacation” quite like drinking out of a pineapple! And at Kona Café, you can order a Lapu Lapu, a rum based beverage served in a pineapple.
The fruity drink, but potent drink, will be a refreshing way to escape the, sometimes overwhelming, crowds. Drinks aren’t the only reason to visit Kona Café for lunch, though.
If you are looking for sushi, Kona Café should definitely be on your list of places to visit. There is a sushi bar located at Kona Cafe, and the sushi menu is also featured as part of the Kona lunch appetizers. The sushi is reasonably priced, typically within the $15-$20 range.
The menu includes basic sushi rolls, such as the California roll, the spicy tuna, the Volcano roll, and a variety of options for sashimi. This is not the best or most creative sushi you will likely have in your life, but if you are in the mood for sushi, this will hit the spot.
The Kona Cafe lunch menu offers a combination of foods that will truly embrace the Polynesian theme of the restaurant, and some that will only graze the surface of it. That can be a great thing for unsure diners.
If you have picky eaters in your group, even they will be able to find something that looks and sounds familiar enough that they will dare to give it a try. If you don’t opt for sushi, but are still looking for a good appetizer, there are several flavorful and popular options on the menu.
A popular selection at Kona Café is the glazed chicken wings appetizer. These sticky wings are sure to satisfy any wing lover, even if they typically just order buffalo wings. These aren’t spicy, but do have a bit of a kick from the hot mustard drizzled over the top of the order.
If wings aren’t interesting to you, there are several other appetizer choices. You may want to skip right to the main course though. Kona Café features a variety of lighter options for lunch. The choices include salads, sandwiches, and burgers with a Polynesian twist.
The sandwiches and salads includes:
Poached Chicken Noodle Salad
Polynesian Tuna Nicoise, which is a nice twist on the classic tuna nicoise with the addition of a soy-teriyaki dressing.
Crispy Cheddar Cheeseburger. This is a classic burger, perfect for a diner who is looking for a meal that feels familiar.
Big Kahuna Burger. A meat lover’s dream come true! This has both pastrami and corned beef.
Hawaiian-style Reuben. The Hawaiian-style version of the sandwich is far from what you would expect at a New York deli. In addition to the classic corned beef, this has Kalua Pork, and uses kimchi in place of sauerkraut.
Turkey Bahn Mi Sandwich is loaded with turkey, bacon, and pork pate, and offers some heat from jalapeno and poblano peppers.
Although sandwiches and salads often seem like small, light lunches, these are not. The lunch options at Kona Café are satisfying and will give you the boost you need to get back to the parks for the rest of the day. Of course, if you are looking for something more substantial than the sandwich and salad offerings, Kona also offers full size entrees during lunch. These are similar to the ones offered for dinner, and are a good alternative to the lighter fare, especially if you don’t have set dinner plans that day.
Much like the breakfast menu, the kid’s lunch menu is considered “Make your own” as the kids can choose their two sides with every entrée. The menu has the typical kids’ menu selections, such as macaroni and cheese, and a cheeseburger. It also has some more unique offerings, including a chicken taco, a noodle bowl, and sushi. Kids won’t feel too limited here. If they are sick of chicken fingers and mac and cheese, this is a good option.
Desserts are small and all come served in a glass. There are plenty of offerings, but if you are headed back into the parks, you might want to wait until you get back. The desserts are not anything too special that you will regret missing out on.
Dinner at Kona
Dinner at Kona Café offers many of the same selections that are available for lunch, but the heartier, substantial meals, are exclusive to the dinner menu. The kids’ menu is the same at dinner as it is for lunch, so there is nothing unexpected there.
The meal is started off with warm rolls and macadamia nut butter. This is not to be missed! If you tried the macadamia nut pancakes at breakfast, you will have had a chance to try the butter already. Add that to the warm, slightly sweet, rolls, and you will have a hard time stopping at one!
Although the dinner menu at Kona Café features many of the same options as the lunch menu, if you are looking for seafood or steak, dinner is definitely the perfect time to head to Kona. The sandwiches offered at lunch, remain available for dinner, so if you aren’t in the mood for an overly heavy meal, those are available to you. Sushi is also available for an appetizer or full meal, so that is always an option.
The steak and seafood options will not give you a laundry list of options to choose from, but they so offer hearty alternatives to the lunch menu. There are two different steak options, a beef tenderloin and a New York strip, both served with herb butter and braised cipollini. For seafood, Kona offers a Verlasso Salmon Steak. The choices are limited, but the steak will satisfy any red meat lover.
If steak and seafood are not really what you are looking for, you are in luck! The Kona Café menu actually offers a wider selection of unique options if you are looking for something that isn’t necessarily available at most restaurants at Disney World. There are a few unique favorites offered on the Kona Café dinner menu.
These unique favorites include:
Mahi, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, which is a deconstructed alternative to the traditional BLT, with the addition of mahi and wasabi caviar.
Kona Braised Short Rib is another great option for the red meat lover.
Duck Fried Rice with Leg Confit is a very popular option at Kona Café, that is also available at lunch.
Duck Ramen is a traditional ramen dish that is sure to hit the spot.
Beef Pho, is an unexpected option on the menu, but whether you love pho, or have always been curious about trying it, this is a great option.
Dinner at Kona Café is not necessarily going to be an unexpected find, but it will be a great meal anyway. Most importantly, the options will make everyone you are dining with happy and satisfied.
Should You Eat at Kona Café?
Whether you are looking for a traditional breakfast, a hearty dinner, or something in between, Kona Café has options that can meet any of your dining needs. Breakfast at Kona Café surpasses most of the other breakfast options at Disney World.
There are definitely other great options for breakfast, but Kona Café has a lot to offer, and is definitely worth an early morning stop before hitting the parks. Whether you want macadamia nut pancakes, Tonga Toast, or simple eggs, you can’t go wrong with Kona Café, especially when you pair the meal with Kona coffee or liliko’i juice.
If you want to take a midday break and grab a nice lunch away from the parks, you can’t go wrong stopping by the Polynesian Village Resort to enjoy a meal at Kona Café. A quick sandwich or a few sushi rolls can be just enough to help you power through the rest of your afternoon in the parks.
It is a good option if you are spending the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom, but it may cut into your park time if you plan to be at a different park following lunch. It may not be worth traveling too far off your path to visit Kona Café for lunch.
Dinner is worth visiting for. Arrive hungry, and be prepared to devour the dinner rolls and macadamia nut butter. With a hungry dining party, ordering appetizers should not be missed. Some diners would insist that one of the best things Kona Café has to offer is its chicken wings.
The excellent, sticky wings will set the tone for the rest of your meal. If you have a later dinner reservation at Kona Café, it is a good idea to take a walk down to the beach and catch the Electrical Water Pageant. This is a cool, hidden gem that can be seen from the Polynesian Village Resort before the fireworks start at Magic Kingdom.
After the water pageant, stick around for the fireworks. The Polynesian Village Resort plays the music from Magic Kingdom during the fireworks, allowing guests to enjoy the full beauty of the fireworks display.
When given the opportunity, Kona Café is absolutely worth the trip. Make the trip over to the Polynesian Village Resort because it’s one of the great things to do at Disney World, and to take in the incredible atmosphere, but don’t leave without stopping by Kona Café. It is not to be missed.
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