Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show - Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

For three years in a row, we spent New Year's Eve at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort.  This year, or should I say last year now that it is 2016, we decided to try the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.

We bought Category 1 seats, hoping to have the best possible view of the stage, which is outdoors.  Disney's website does note that the "show may be cancelled due to severe or inclement weather."

Our table was under cover, and there were fans, but I can't imagine seeing this show in the summer when our temperatures are over 90 degrees.

While we ate, we were not that impressed with the entertainment, but the show picks up after all the food has been served.  We liked the hula dancing, but the highlight of the show was the fire-knife performer, who was amazing.  The Spirit of Aloha show last two hours, and features an all-you-care-to-enjoy tropical feast.

I was told when we checked in not to eat anything on the table until I spoke to a chef, who arrived at our table shortly after we were seated.  The only menu item that was not gluten free that they did not have a substitute for was the soba noodle salad, which my gluten-eating family really enjoyed.

I ordered a glass of the Beso Del Sol Sangria, one of the complimentary beverages offered at the luau.  It was a little warm, so I asked for a glass of ice to pour it over, which made it much more enjoyable.

My mixed greens salad with mango-poppy seed dressing was on the table when we arrived.  The dressing was delicious, and I liked that my salad was kept separate from my family's food.

I thought the honey-lime slaw was a little bland, but it did not seem to have any mayonnaise in it, so I was happy.

When we were seated, I noticed that there were two Deanna's allergen free dinner rolls on the table, still in their packages.  These rolls, which were formerly known as GNI (gluten not included), are free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, corn, and nuts.  I wish all Disney restaurants served them, because they are so much better than the Udi's and Ener-G rolls served at some locations.

I was worried that they might not be very edible, because when I felt the packaging, the rolls were cold, so our server Mike gladly took them back to the kitchen to be warmed up.  They came back perfectly heated, and I ate them dipped in my salad dressing, because they did not have any butter to serve with them.  The chef offered me a butter mixture, which I passed on, because I don't like anything that tastes like margarine.  I was also served fresh pineapple, which was a nice side dish to snack on throughout my meal.

I did not have high hopes for the main course, because the chef told me that the sauces they serve on the Aloha pulled pork and Polynesian pork ribs have gluten in them, but I was given some sweet chili sauce on the side.  The roasted chicken and the vegetable medley were gluten free without modification.  

I really liked the ribs, which had a nice rub on them, and the sweet chili sauce I added to them gave them a nice spicy kick.  The pulled pork was good as well, but I would have liked some barbecue sauce to add to my meat.  My whole family thought the chicken was bland and unexciting, and the vegetable medley consisted of overcooked and underseasoned green beans, carrots, and peppers.

The ginger rice was pretty bland as well, so I added some of the sweet chili sauce to give it some flavor.

The chef told me I had three dessert options - fruit, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.  The luau serves a warm pineapple bread pudding with caramel sauce for dessert, which my husband loved, but it was definitely off limits for me.  I was told that the brownies were OMG...It's Gluten Free, a brand I really like.  I asked the chef if they had any ice cream, whipped cream, or strawberries that my brownie could be served with, but I was pretty much out of luck, besides in the fruit department, though it turns out that I was given a small bowl of fruit that was not the kind of fruit I would want to eat with my brownie.

Our server Mike brought me a brownie and a cookie, even though I had just asked for a brownie.  I have to admit that I was disappointed when they arrived still in their packaging, and I had to ask for a plate.  The easy open tabs didn't work on either one, so I had to send them back to the kitchen to be opened.

Both the brownie and the cookie tasted good, but I was disappointed in the presentation, and the lack of any accompaniments when I was paying so much for this dinner show.  'Ohana has the same pre-packaged gluten free dessert options, but the chefs there always go out of their way to present my dessert in a special way, and they have even been willing to get me a gluten free Kilauea chocolate torte from neighboring Kona Cafe, which is at the same resort as the luau.  The chef at Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show was one of the few I have encountered that was not willing to go the extra mile to make my dining experience a magical one.  I have high expectations, because I have been spoiled by so many amazing chefs at Disney.

Our server Mike did a great job, and I was provided a safe meal with plenty of options, but we will be going back to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue next year, because we enjoy the food and entertainment more.

You can read more about Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, and buy tickets on Disney's website here.

You can read my friend Sarah's review of the Polynesian luau on her blog Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show?


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