Kona Café Breakfast – Beyond Tonga Toast

Tonga Toast at Kona Café is a Walt Disney World original.  This breakfast specialty has thousands of loyal fans and tops the list of must-do’s for those who have not yet had the privilege.  A generous serving of “Banana-stuffed Sourdough French Toast rolled in Cinnamon Sugar and served with a Strawberry Compote and your choice of Ham, Bacon, or Sausage” – Sounds heavenly and if you love sweet breakfast foods, you will not be disappointed.  Unless you’re me and you prefer savory eats first thing in the morning.

Kona Café Breakfast – Beyond Tonga Toast

For quite some time now, Kona Café has been a Disney vacation tradition.  Raymond and I (and now Joseph) are partial to the Egg White Omelet with roasted red peppers and goat cheese.  It comes with a side of berries and is an all around solid (and healthy) breakfast choice.  In fact, that’s just what they both ordered on our departure day.  Kona Café Breakfast - Beyond Tonga ToastMe? I decided to break away from the usual and try something new.  With quite a few delicious-sounding choices on the menu, I took my time selecting what I considered a splurge.  One, very simple-sounding dish caught my eye:  The Samoan.

Described as, “Poached Eggs with Hollandaise served over Smoked Pulled Pork Hash“, what could I not love about that?  All my favorite food-types in one dish.  In short order, my plate arrived.  It looked much fancier than I’d imagined.  Kona Café Breakfast - Beyond Tonga ToastBeneath a handful of gently sautéed arugula, the “hash” was actually some large, tender fried potatoes in a ring around the pulled pork.  This circle of yumminess was topped with two perfectly prepared poached eggs – yolks soft but not runny, whites firm but not rubbery.  The hollandaise sauce was smooth, thick and tangy.  I was uncharacteristically quiet as I savored every bite.

If you’ve been under the impression that Tonga Toast is your only breakfast option at Kona Café, think again.  Haven’t tried Kona Café yet?  Add it to your to-do list and you just might find a morning visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort becoming a vacation tradition for you, too.

Are you a Kona Café fan?  What’s your favorite breakfast item?

Kid Free Disney

If your nest is still full and you love Disney vacations, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to take a kid-free trip to Walt Disney World.  If you fell in love with Disney World before you had kids, you have some idea how that is, and may long for the eventual return of park touring sans stroller, bags full of supplies, and meltdowns.  RM-DuffyTo do what you want to do, go where you want to go…where the only whining you hear is your own on the day you have to leave.  Think about it!  Once the kids are grown, it’s your turn to enjoy Walt Disney World exactly the way you want to.  For us that means we still invite the kids (both adults now) along occasionally, but vacation alone at least once a year.  (If your children still live at home and you can overcome the guilt involved with leaving them behind while going to Disney World, you’re a stronger person than I am!)

Kid Free Disney

So you’ve finally made it.  You’ve booked an offspring-free trip to Disney World.  In order to fully flex your kid-less status, there are plenty of opportunities available to minimize exposure to other people’s children while maximizing your footloose and fancy free vacation happiness.  Here are a few ideas for your consideration…RM-Grand-Floridian-Senses-Sign

Splurge at the Senses Spa – No kids allowed!  With the Spa’s extensive menu, you’ll find something appropriate for pampering yourself at this serene spot at the Grand Floridian.  We’ve enjoyed the Massage for Two on more than one occasion and highly recommend it!RM-California-Grill-Interior

Book a Great Meal – Disney’s Signature Dining options offer an opportunity to dress up a little (or a lot) and dine in Disney splendor.  Citricos-MichaelWe love the California Grill, Jiko, Shula’s Steakhouse and Citricos (just to name a few).  Great service, fewer non-grownups, and excellent food are the draws and while these restaurants are more expensive, it’s worth it for a special evening out.RM-Sunset-Animal-Kingdom-Lodge

Take a Leisurely Stroll – Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, the early and late hours of the day are both great times to take a walk and explore resort grounds.  Bay-Lake-Tower-SunriseI can attest to the beauty of all the monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian Village, and Grand Floridian), Port Orleans Riverside, and the Boardwalk areas for this highly relaxing activity.  Dawn and sunset are my personal favorite times of the day at Disney World.RM-Mizner's-Lounge

Relax in a Lounge (or a few) – There are so many to choose from!  Whatever your preference – loud and boisterous or quiet and reserved, there’s a pub, bar, or lounge for you.  Mizner’s at the Grand Floridian, the Belle Vue Lounge on the Boardwalk, The Outer Rim Lounge at the Contemporary, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian, Victoria Falls Lounge at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Jock Lindsey’s at Disney Springs are all places we highly recommend.RM-Victoria-Falls-Lounge

Fellow kid-free people! What are your favorite aspects of an adults-only trip to Walt Disney World?

 

 

Polynesian Village Resort – Kona Cafe

RM-Kona-MenuI’d heard great things about the Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  I was excited to book our first visit there for the night of our arrival for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend.  Next door to the wildly popular ‘Ohana, I’d been told that Kona’s Pan-Asian menu and service were both excellent and we would have a new favorite restaurant to add to our list.

The food was good.  The service, once we were seated, was also good.  What happened to us upon arrival at the Kona Café might keep us from going back.  “Fair and Balanced” is my motto when writing reviews (unless otherwise noted) and I’m going to strive to keep this one to that standard.

We were excited to visit the Polynesian since we’d only seen the updated lobby in pictures.  After reading wildly varying reactions to the Great Ceremonial House’s new look, we were pleasantly surprised by how colorful, open, and welcoming the atmosphere was in the newly renovated space.  Yes, I’ll admit the new water feature is rather compact, but our overall first impression was overwhelmingly positive.RM-Polynesian-Lobby2

We got there early on purpose so we could look around before enjoying a glass of wine at the Tambu Lounge.  Mission accomplished, we checked in at Kona Cafe’s front desk 10-15 minutes before our official ADR (Advance Dining Reservation) time.  Buzzer in hand, we stood a few feet away – careful not to stray too far since the hostess had indicated we would be seated immediately.  This is where things went awry.

At first I didn’t notice what was happening because I was taking pictures of the beautiful lobby from above.  Raymond had been paying attention, though, and after quite a while had passed made mention of the dozens (no exaggeration) of people who had walked up to Kona Café and been seated while we were waiting for our buzzer to go off.  They were probably late for their reservations while we’d been early, but I’d go to the desk and check on our status – honestly, we were starving and had been waiting a long time.  Plus, we had been told we’d be seated right away.

RM-Kona-EntranceA first for us at Walt Disney World – we had a buzzer/pager thing, had checked in for our reservation, and were now nowhere in the computer system at Kona Café.  Clearly we’d been checked in, I pointed out, as I had a buzzer.  “You remember checking us in, right?”, I asked the young lady.  She did remember us, we did have a buzzer…she needed to consult with someone for assistance.  Still, at this point, we were not angry (just hungry).  That’s when the situation deteriorated to “un-magical” status.  The check-in girl confessed that somehow we had not been “arrived” in the system, so we’d “disappeared”, but she was working on getting us seated right away.  Still we waited.  Three or four minutes later, a hostess came and showed us to our seats.  I indicated we’d like to speak to a manager (another first for us at Walt Disney World).  Unless you speak up when something goes wrong, nothing can be done to correct the problem.

While any and all of what had happened up until this point was certainly annoying, we still weren’t angry, but what the manager did next, soured our first dining experience at Kona Café. RM-Kona-Wings She didn’t seem to care one bit.  Dismissive, insincere, and clearly believing we were somehow out to get something for nothing, she quickly informed us of two things:  Computer problems happen and she’d do some research to make sure our situation didn’t happen to anyone else.  Then she dropped a plate of “free” wings on our table and we never saw her again.  In theory she did everything right, but she did it with a bad attitude.  What was needed:  A sincere apology, explanation about what happened and genuine concern over keeping it from happening again in the future.  Better than a plate of wings, she could have been nice and perhaps convey some realization or concern about how the unnecessarily long wait we experienced would negatively impact our impression of the restaurant she manages.

RM-Kona-Sushi-MenuOur server, Brenda, was very friendly and efficient.  She was happy to help us with menu choices and kept our orders arriving at a good pace.  The bread and butter was delicious!  We love sushi and, upon Brenda’s recommendation, chose the Lava Roll (“Togarashi-spiced Tempura Shrimp, Bay Scallops, spicy Mayo, and Chives”) as an appetizer and were very happy with our choice.

For entrees, Raymond ordered the Grilled Kona Coffee-Rubbed Pork Chop (“Curry-roasted Butternut Squash and Fennel with creamy Mashed Potato”) and I opted for the Pan-Asian Noodles with Shrimp (“Yakisoba Noodles, Wok-seared with Vegetables in a Ginger-Garlic Sauce”).  A bottle of Newton Claret was our wine choice for this meal.  We ended up being too full for dessert.

Once at our table, dining at Kona Café was everything we’d hoped it would be.  Entrees RM-Kona-Porkchoprange in price from $20 to $33 and include seafood, pork, beef, chicken, and vegetarian options.  The flavors and preparation of the dishes we ordered were great!  Will we eat there again?  At this point I’m not sure.  There are many other restaurants to be explored.  We also have a half-dozen favorites where we know we’ll get consistently delicious food and great service.  Also, I’ll be honest, with regard to bad service, Raymond tents to have a particularly long memory.  The next time we RM-Kona-Noodleseat at the Polynesian, we’ll probably be back at ‘Ohana.

Have you tried Kona Café?  What meal did you have there?  What was your experience like?