We continue on from Citrus Blossom.
Hawaii with an apostrophe arrives in the same location as last year. This picture is also from last year for a little location context. You’ll see Hawai’i on the walk up to World Showcase by the Imagination Pavilion or just off the promenade before arriving in Canada. It’s also across from Citrus Blossom this year and then there’s Temporary Starbucks and a new set of bathrooms over there too.
For an idea about how much things have changed between this year and last, here’s a picture with four (illegible) items on the food menu, several on the beverages list, at least five cast members working in the kitchen, two more expediting out front, and a lot of people in line. Hawaii is also a fun hut.
Then there’s this year. No hut since it’s still the Flower and Garden Honey Bee-stro booth, there’s nobody ordering anything in front of the plastic barriers, and about a third of the staff is on hand, most in face masks and shields.
The menu is also about half as long, though pricing hasn’t increased.
Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet-and-Sour DOLE Pineapple Chutney and spicy Mayonnaise – $5.25
This is a fan favorite year in and year out with a nice scoop of the tangy pork placed on the soft bun along with the creamy, zesty Sriracha-heavy mayo working in tandem with the sweet-and-sour mixture of pineapples, onions, and peppers with a little bit of ginger, brown sugar, and garlic. I’ll admit that I like the version from a couple of years ago a little more with the Hawaiian roll in place of the potato bun and pork that seemed to be marinated a little more heavily. If anything, I think Disney is taking advantage of the positive word of mouth and lowering the quality a little bit each year. Just about everyone orders one of these things, and you probably will too. The fresher everything is, the better it will taste, which is likely part of the reason for the wide-ranging reviews on the dish.
Teriyaki-glazed SPAM Hash with Potatoes, Peppers, Onions and spicy Mayonnaise – $4.25
I would leave your preconceived notions about canned meat at the door as this Hash is quite good. The Spam is roasted nicely and has a crispness to it along with a mild sweetness and a heavy dose of salt. The popular Spicy Mayonnaise makes another appearance here and adds a creamy, spicy element along with the peppers and green onions. The potatoes add a lot of heft, making this a satisfying portion for the money and a good value. This is the real winner at the booth.
Maui Brewing Pineapple Mana Wheat – $4.50 or $8.50
The Pineapple Mana is, as the name implies, pineapple-forward, with a prominent wheat flavor. Given how strongly the beer smells like pineapple, it’s surprising that the sweetness is much more mild with a dry finish. I didn’t love it because I’m not really a fruity beer guy, but it’s worth trying. You may want to start the 6-ounce pour.
Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine – $10
This picture is from the Flower and Garden Festival when the same sparkling wine was offered. Despite what is probably a low ABV, the wine is very alcohol forward with a strong, off-putting artificial sweetness continuing through each sip. At least the price has normalized at $10, after Disney introducing it at $6 three years ago. The bottle price hasn’t gone up in that time. If you’re looking for something sparkly in the area, get one of the $6 Mimosas from Shimmering Sips.
AULANI Sunrise: Vodka, DOLE Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine – $14
On the plus side, this isn’t the thimble of a glass that you typically receive for around $11 at the Festival. On the downside, about the same ounce of alcohol is overwhelmed by the thick pineapple juice and artificial cherry flavor from the Grenadine. For a dollar more, you can pick up the much more precious Orange Bird Sipper at Citrus Blossom. The Bee Sipper from Refreshment Outpost, which comes with a frozen beverage for about the same money, is also much more precious. I’d save your tiki money for Trader Sam’s or a souvenir glass from the Polynesian Village Resort. You can slam a shot of Burnett’s Vodka at home. At least in my experience.
Overall, I’d make a stop for the Teriyaki-glazed Spam, perhaps with the addition of the beer. And we both know you’re getting a Kalua Pork Slider, which is just fine.