From August 2015
For the first food review of Aulani restaurants, we will be heading to the restaurant that was SO good, we ate there TWICE: Makahiki!
Makahiki is a buffet at Aulani Resort and Spa in beautiful Ko’Olina, Oahu, Hawai’i. They serve a character breakfast, a regular dinner, and a character dinner show on select nights. The dinner buffet costs $47 per adult on normal days, with the Character dinner show being only an additional $2. The thing about the food options at Aulani that you should definitely keep in mind is that many of the sit down, table service restaurants have the tendancy to be rather expensive, and don’t have as many children’s options. Quick service is always an option, but we all know there are only so many times in a row one can eat quick service before wishing for more. Makahiki is the perfect place for a family to escape from quick service meals without leaving the resort!
They do recommend having a reservation on the Aulani website, and I would also strongly suggest you make one if you are planning on dining there during your trip. However, I would like to say that when we went in August we were able to walk right up to the buffet after a long day of exploring and being able to get a table without much of a wait. The character breakfast did seem to be consistently busy, but that may have been due to the fact that there wasn’t a dinner character experience yet. Better safe than sorry with Disney restaurants though, amiright?
Makahiki is named after the traditional Hawaiian harvest celebration of the same name. The restaurant itself is filled with local artwork and decor that depicts the story of the harvest; there are even giant, brightly colored fruits and vegetables hanging from the ceiling. The dining area is open- aired, like most Hawaiian restaurants, with a large lanai overlooking a small waterfall that empties into a koi pond. As the sun sets, the lighting in the restaurant changes from rose to indigo. There is also live Hawaiian music daily that can usually be heard throughout the valley.
With a name meant to celebrate the harvest, one would hope that the selection of foods would be vast and plentiful, right? Well, lets head on over to the buffet and start eating!
There are SO MANY things to choose from at this buffet! It is set up behind the wall of murals in the above pictures. It starts with Prime Rib, sushi, chilled shellfish, and salad and soup. Then you get to my absolute favorite section- mountains of Red Snow Crab Legs and drawn butter!!
One thing this buffet truly has going for it is its diversity and wide array of options. Much like Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (my favorite restaurant), they have plenty of options for the picky and the not- so- picky eater in your party. Not a fan of seafood? No problem! There are plenty of pizzas, pastas, corn dogs, and chicken fingers to munch upon. If you are an adventurous eater, though, I would recommend skipping the typical salad, soup, and pizza and hitting up the stations you don’t normally see at typical buffets.
As you continue to make your way down the buffet line, you will notice that much of the food carries a heavy Asian influence, which is true to the style of many other restaurants at the resort and at other places on the islands. Much of the signage you will find on the islands is in both English and Japanese as well, and Aulani is definitely not an exception to this trend. There are classic options like mashed potatoes and pork loin in addition to things like Miso- glazed salmon and bok choy. This is a great way to give people who aren’t big on new food the opportunity to enjoy the buffet without feeling limited to the options at the kids station.
The children or “Keiki” station is “conveniently” located right next to the vast dessert section, and includes the classic chicken fingers and corn dogs while also serving up some whole wheat pasta and glazed “volcano carrots”. The carrots are delicious, and having chicken fingers that are baked and not fried is always a nice thing to see. It might be a little difficult to get your little ones to avoid the many sweets right next to them though, including chocolate covered marshmallows, cookies, rice krispy treats, and even the most adorable pails full of gummy worms and chocolate “dirt”.
And now, for the best moment of every Disney buffet- the dessert line up!!
There are TONS of things to choose from at the dessert station, and you are guaranteed to find something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you want decadent chocolate, refreshing tarts or even a medley of fruit to make up for all of that tempura and pasta. 😉
Overall, I believe Makahiki has definitely lived up to its name. All of the food is delicious, and you really can’t get any better than endless food that is also amazing! There also isn’t a HUGE amount of seating, which means that, even though it might be a bit of a wait for a table, you won’t need to worry about having to wait in giant lines for food. For the price, I would say that it is definitely worth enjoying at least once on your trip to Aulani!
Have you visited Aulani recently? Are you planning on going? Let me know in the comments! To see more Aulani reviews, take a look at my Aulani Masterpost.