Kona Cafe: New Look and Updated Menu
Just a few weeks ago, Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows reopened after a refurbishment. While the space itself remains the same, the décor and food have undergone some changes. Let’s see what’s new at Kona Cafe!
First, I want to mention that the Coffee Bar/To Go area is still open outside of the restaurant. For guests who love the Kona coffee, pastries, and other offerings, not to worry! The remainder of this blog will focus on the changes to the restaurant itself.
Nearly everything inside the restaurant looks different. There is beautiful artwork on the ceiling, new décor on the walls and floors, a brand new, very pretty entrance, and new chairs and tables. There are a variety of tables, both booths and “regular” tables. It isn’t obvious, but there are subtle references to Moana/Water throughout the restaurant. Since Moana is a Polynesian princess, this is very fitting. For example, the light fixtures are made from materials used to weave boats in the Polynesian area, and the fixtures are blue on the bottom and brown on the top to represent the connection between the land and the water.
In my humble opinion, the changes within the restaurant and at the entrance to Kona Cafe are very positive. It seems the Imagineers made a point of matching the new look to the recent refurbishments at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows. The new appearance is brighter and has a “richer” feel than the old look. There is more of a Polynesian vibe now than before, with beautifully colored designs on the walls and ceiling.
My friend and I had reservations for lunch on November 18th, 2022, which is my birthday. The new entrance to the restaurant is gorgeous. It’s made of carved wood, goes high up to the ceiling, and has a distinctive “tiki” feel. We were greeted warmly, and the Cast Members at the check-in podium wished me a Happy Birthday. After a very short wait, we were seated. The service was excellent, and our server was very friendly. She brought rolls and butter to the table immediately.
We started by ordering drinks and an appetizer. My friend got a glass of wine, and I got a virgin Pina Colada. We were both happy with our beverages. We ordered pot stickers, and they were very tasty. They were served differently than most. Instead of individual pot stickers, they resembled a pot sticker pancake all stuck together! But they came apart very easily to allow us to each take what we wanted.
The menu is very varied. To see all that is available currently, see the pictures included below. I will note one of the popular changes, the Big Kahuna Burger. This burger comes with pastrami, corned beef, pepper jack cheese, aioli mustard, and cucumber on a brioche roll. What a sandwich!
We were in a Sushi mood, so for our main course, we got Shrimp tempura rolls and a Rainbow Roll. Both were beautifully presented and delicious. The Rainbow Roll was particularly pretty, served in a round bowl with a “well” in the center to hold the wasabi and the ginger, both on a bed of lettuce. Neither of us left anything on our plates; it was all so delicious.
Since we were celebrating my birthday, my friend surprised me with a Dark Chocolate mousse Mickey dome cake for dessert. You CAN order those at the restaurant when you check-in. But there is no guarantee they will have one, so to be sure, it’s best to order ahead. Disney needs four days’ notice to order a cake in advance to deliver to the restaurant (As an FYI pre-ordering a cake applies to all table service restaurants, not just Kona Cafe). The cake was so yummy and very cute. Of course, we could not eat an entire cake, so they gave me a cake holder to take it home. The cost of this cake is $39, plus taxes and gratuities where applicable.
I have always enjoyed Kona Cafe and consider it to be a hidden gem. It’s easy to reach from any of the monorail resorts (take the monorail or walk), from the Magic Kingdom (via resort monorail or launch boat) or the Transportation and Ticket Center (walk or use the resort monorail). If you have a car and a reservation to dine at Kona Cafe, the guard at the booth will allow you to park at the resort. Although reservations are recommended, it’s not unusual to obtain a table as a walk-up, especially during the less busy times of the year. FYI: There is a special menu for those with allergies, and a 10% discount for Annual Pass Holders.
I think the new look of Kona Cafe is terrific. It’s brighter, more colorful than before, and the décor is beautiful and feels Polynesian. I plan to return to try breakfast and dinner soon. If you have never eaten at Kona Cafe, I highly recommend giving it a try. If you have dined there before, you will find most (but not all) of your favorites on the menu, as well as a few new items to try. Everyone will enjoy the wonderful new atmosphere; it’s delightful!