People as #foodmotivated as we are know that the food options are the most important part of a vacation. Ok, ok. There’s also making memories with the people you love, but, I mean…food. (I’m just kidding. Food WITH the people you love — actual best part of vacations.) This brings me to my first dining review from Aulani – the Makahiki Character Breakfast!
Makahiki is one of the two dining locations at Aulani where guests can make dining reservations. While getting a reservation isn’t as cut-throat as it can be at WDW (I’m looking at you, Cinderella’s Royal Table). While you can book dining reservations up to 180 days out, we didn’t find that was necessary. If you have a particular schedule you’re looking to stick to, though, booking earlier gives you the best chance to get the day and time you want.
Since Aulani doesn’t have an app and isn’t linked with My Disney Experience, reservations are made directly through the Aulani website (click here) or by phone at 808-674-6200. Guests making reservations for parties of 10 or more must call 808-674-6330 and cannot make reservations online as of the time of publication of this post.
Makahiki offers buffet-style dining for both breakfast (7-11AM) and dinner (5-9PM). Note that Makahiki does not offer lunch. Guests who dine at Makahiki for breakfast are always joined by characters, but characters only visit during dinner on select nights, so keep that in mind when booking.
As of publication, the Makahiki character breakfast is $41 for adults and $21 for children ages 9 and under.
Makahiki Character Breakfast – the Characters!
During breakfast, guests can meet Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy.
Upon arrival, after checking in at the hostess stand, parties are led outside where Mickey is waiting with a PhotoPass photographer for a pre-meal hello. Like with other PhotoPass opportunities, Cast Members will gladly also take photos with guest cameras and/or phones. Even though a line will form, guests aren’t rushed. Ben and I took pictures together with Mickey but also individually. The process was really efficient!
It’s important to note that photos with Mickey are not lumped together with all of your other PhotoPass photos. They are not loaded onto your PhotoPass card and cannot be purchased later. During the meal, a Cast Member visits each table with an iPad to show you your Mickey photos and offer them for separate purchase on the spot. The price is STEEP at $35 for one printed photo. There were some package options with access to digital prints, but Ben and I weren’t interested, so I don’t have those details.
We got great photos with Mickey on our phones. Mickey was also regularly available to meet guests outside of Makahiki with pictures that would be included with a standard PhotoPass package. After we got home, I bought digital access to a full week of photos for $78 — over 120 photos!
During breakfast, each of Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto came around to our table to say hello and take some photos. Pluto and I even danced to some of the music playing during the meal! All four characters are decked out in vacation outfits, repping their island vibes adorably.
Makahiki is located on the first floor under the lobby of the building that connects the Ewa and Wai’anae towers. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Even indoor seating has a beautiful view of outside, since the entire wall completely opens up to connect the dining room and the patio.
The “Makahiki” season is a traditional celebration of the harvest, so the restaurant is bustling and splashed with bright colors, large floral and plant decorations, rich wood and stone features, and enormous paintings. Also, during breakfast, Aunty comes out to sing, lead musical parades, and teach diners different dances and songs! Overall, it’s a lively and exciting place without being over-stimulating.
The Makahiki character breakfast buffet includes traditional fruit juices, but we had booked a late breakfast and it was our honeymoon, so Ben and I each got something a little more exciting.
Ben stuck with the breakfast vibe and got a mimosa. Because we were in Hawaii, Makahiki didn’t just offer traditional mimosas of OJ and Prosecco. For their juice, guests could choose between OJ, pineapple, or POG (pineapple, orange, guava) juices!
Ben was having a hard time deciding and was worried about ordering POG and being disappointed, so our server brought him a glass of champagne with both orange and POG juices on the side! There was no reason to worry, though. POG was a hit.
Like I said, this was our honeymoon. I went into the week knowing it was my goal to spend at least 87% of the time lounging with a piña colada in my hand. Aulani came through again, introducing me to their Liliko’i-lada (which I found very difficult to say without having any Liliko’i-ladas, let me tell you).
A Liliko’i-lada (lee-lee-koh-ih-lada — said smoothly without pausing by people more talented than I) is like a typical piña colada with swirl of red passion fruit that puts it over the top. Plus, it’s served with a beautiful flower! After trying a Big Island Iced Tea (Aulani’s version of a Long Island) as soon as we got to Aulani, I switched to the Liliko’i-ladas and never looked back.
I was given the option to get my Liliko’i-lads in a pineapple for fun, but it would have increased the price by $9, for the same size drink. Yes, it would have been extremely instagramable, but $9 on top of a $14 drink was just too steep for me.
Makahiki Character Breakfast Buffet
The buffet table at Makahiki was extremely impressive. While it isn’t as long as the Turkey House buffet (which I found to be extremely overwhelming, honestly), it offers diners a TON of options. In addition to the buffet, there was also an omelet station.
I know $41 is a sizable price tag for breakfast, but I wasn’t hungry again for hours after dining at Makahiki.
The buffet started with assorted pastries and breads including sliced bread, bagels, and assorted sweet breads. There was also a healthy selection of fruits including pineapple, sliced tomatoes, and plum halves (which were delicious) among others. The cold portion of the buffet also had yogurt.
For the hot food, Makahiki offered typical breakfast foods like bacon, sausage, roasted potatoes, and eggs. It also had biscuits and gravy, eggs Benedict, smoked salmon, honey-glazed ham, grits, pancakes, French toast, steamed rice, soup, and more! Of course no Disney breakfast would be complete without Mickey waffles, but even those were more exciting. They came with both maple and coconut syrup options!
This may sound like a very unusual breakfast food, but my favorite thing that was offered at the Makahiki buffet was the fried rice. It was so delicious – tossed with pork, egg, peas – that I became a fried rice addict while in Hawaii. I miss you, fried rice…
Writing dining reviews always makes me so hungry, but it’s a consequence I’m willing to endure for you. (You’re welcome – sung like Maui would, obviously.) If you’ve got a trip planned to Aulani, make sure you’ve got the Makahiki character breakfast on the agenda. It’s definitely worth your time! If you have any additional questions, feel free to drop a comment or reach out to me on Instagram @castleboundkim! For more about Aulani, check out my other articles here!