French fries and chicken strips. Hot dogs, snow cones and Mickey ice cream sandwiches. Lilo and Stitch waffles with Goofy. This is what you can look forward to at the Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, on Oahu. You will see a lot of your typical theme-park food here, but there are a few Aulani dining surprises inside the resort and out.
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Character Breakfast at Makahiki
This is the best meal at the resort, but it doesn’t come cheap. The French toast (also available at Ulu Café) is tasty, omelets are made to order, the bacon is crispy, coffee is brought to parents as soon as you are seated, and there is a great assortment of Asian dishes for international travelers. Say hello to Goofy, Chip and Dale as they make their way from table to table taking pictures, but make sure you go back to the buffet multiple times. If you eat enough you can play straight through breakfast and have an early dinner.
The chop salad lunch is decent, but dinner will be pricey, and not necessarily the best. The staff is very kind, but the fish dishes we ordered were uninspiring. Breakfast is delicious with chocolate milk-dipped haupia bread French toast stuffed with bananas and peanut butter, fresh fruit, pastries and eggs. Gluten-free options are available.
This new dining option is an easy one for families with hungry kids. Grab pastries, yogurt, milk and entrees within minutes. Take them back to your room, onto the patio or eat by the pool. Some of the same breakfast options (like French toast- yum!) at the Character Breakfast are also offered at Ulu. It is a cheaper option if you don’t want to eat a ton, but still need to feed your family.
Off the Hook
The lunch menu offers decent burgers, fries, flatbreads, assorted fish and pina coladas. Outdoor seating by the pool makes it the perfect spot to eat while the sun is high and your kids need to refuel. If you are hoping for burgers for dinner make sure you order before they switch over to the limited small-plate evening menu after about 5 p.m.
Mama’s Snack Shop
While dragging the kids from pool to pool you can grab a hot dog, sandwich wrap, chicken strips and fries to keep everyone full. Shaved ice is available next door at Pāpālua Shave Ice, or pick up some frozen yogurt from the Lava Shack.
Leave the resort
Across the street from Aulani is the Ko Olina Station and Center. You will find the Island Country Market with milk, cereal, pasta, a few ready-made dishes, souvenirs and more. Prices are high, but not as high as the resort and there is a bit more variety. There are also a few restaurants worth noting, including:
- Monkey Pod
- Sushi YuZu Ko Olina
- Just Tacos Mexican Grill & Cantina
- Ko Olina Hawaiian- Bar-b-que
- Pizza Corner
- Monkey Pod Kitchen
- Two Scoops Ice Cream
- Island Vintage Coffee Company
One thing that Disney is known for and very good at is catering to food allergies. Whenever dining at one of the resort restaurants let the staff know of any allergies you or your children have. They can make substitutes for gluten and those who are lactose intolerant. The chef of ‘Ama ‘Ama even made a special risotto for me when he found out I was allergic to mushrooms, an ingredient that was featured in that night’s dinner special.
Many thanks to Aulani, a Disney Resort, for hosting my family during our stay. I was given a resort credit to experience the dining options, but paid for food out of pocket as well. As always my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.
*Featured photo provided by Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa