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Old 12-15-2010, 10:50 AM   #1
DisneyFamily123
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Ohana Check-In Problems -- How would you improve it?

Very frustrating check-in problems at Ohana last week. I have an opportunity to talk with Disney management about it. Any suggestions for improvement?

We had a terrible experience that caused us to be over an hour late for the Magic Kingcom Christmas party, and the restaurant manager was not helpful at all. Have you had similar experiences?

Our experience
Had 5:10pm ADR, thought we would get seated quickly since the restaurant doesn't open until 5:00pm. Arrived right at 5:10 and there were 2 lines to checkin; I was about the 10th person in one of those lines. But, I waited and waited... after about 20 minutes I finally reached the check-in person and she said her computer just stopped working. Now another 10 minutes passed. Finally, at 5:40 or so, I got a pager.

Then we waited in the lobby. At about 6pm, I started to worry about making it to the Christmas party on time (7pm) and asked at the check-in... was told they were trying to get us seated soon. I talked to the manager and we were promised the next available table. Still, we were not seated until about 6:30pm.

Now, here's the frustration..... while in the lobby, people told us they were a walk-up (no reservation) and were quoted a 2 hour wait. Why was Ohana taking walk-ups when they were backed up an hour for people like me who made ADRs 6 months in advance?

When we were seated, there were many empty tables in the restaurant. So, what's going on? Do they seat in waves or something?

I talked to the manager again while we were eating and he acted like they did us a favor by seating us at all. He told us we were late and that Disney's policy is anyone 20 minutes or more late is treated as a walk-up... so he supposedly did us a favor by seating us in only an hour and 20 minutes!!! But, it was THEIR FAULT they couldn't check us in when we arrived on time.

When I tried to explain again that it was a problem with check-in, the manager didn't seem to get it. The manager offered to comp the gratuity but I declined. What was the point of that? The server was doing a great job trying to get us out of their as soon as possible. Why punish her? Then we asked our server to put our dessert in a container to go so we could hurry to the Christmas party. She said they don't usually do that but she would ask the chef and manager. Our server came back and said they would not do it. All we wanted to do was get out of there and get to the party.

We ended up being over an hour late to the Christmas Party. I really regret that I didn't just leave and grab a hot dog at Magic Kingdom.

When we finally left Ohana, I met the manager at the check-in because he offered his business card and to create a seamless dining experience at Ohana the next time we visit. At that time, the line just to check-in had about 50 people in it stretching all the way past Kona Cafe to the doors that exit to the monorail! At Ohana's rate, it would take 1 to 2 hours just to check them in and give them pager. I pointed that out to the manager but he didn't say anything.

All I really wanted was for the manager to acknowledge the problem and NOT blame me and act like he was doing us a favor. I really didn't like being a hour late to the Christmas party, but I could have chosen to leave Ohana and get counter service somewhere else.

Been to over 50 other restaurants (23 reservations just this trip) on Disney property and never had such problems. Even at the popular Le Cellier, we were checked in immediately and waited no more than 20 minutes. Everywhere else we went, we were checked in immediately and waited 0 to 10 minutes to be seated.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:23 AM   #2
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I will make some suggestions, but I want to clear up some points of your post first if I may.

Quote:
Had 5:10pm ADR, thought we would get seated quickly since the restaurant doesn't open until 5:00pm. Arrived right at 5:10...
You are requested to check in 15 minutes prior to your ADR, at least this is what I was always told by the CMs and had written on my confirmations. So, you should have been at the restaurant before 5:00.

Quote:
I finally reached the check-in person and she said her computer just stopped working.
Sounds like there may have been outside issues that were slowing down check in. If the computers were giving them trouble, they can only do the best they can do. This may also be one of the issues that caused an extended wait to be seated.

Quote:
When we were seated, there were many empty tables in the restaurant. So, what's going on? Do they seat in waves or something?
There are many reasons this could happen. They could be seating in waves. They may have had a server (or two) or a cook not show up for their shift. They may be slow in seating if the computer systems were acting up. Not really anyway for an outsider to know, but no restaurant wants to have empty tables. So I would bet there is a reason.

Quote:
Then we asked our server to put our dessert in a container to go so we could hurry to the Christmas party. She said they don't usually do that but she would ask the chef and manager. Our server came back and said they would not do it.
They are an all you can eat establishment. Many times these sorts of places do not allow food to be taken to go, the same as many buffets. They may not have what would be needed to pack up the food. As the server said, they don't normally do that... so that would be my guess.

Also of note... an ADR is not a real reservation. It is for the next available table for a party of your size. I have heard of plenty of times where people have had to wait a good amount of time to be seated, including at Crystal Palace and Le Cellier. It does happen and could happen at just about any of the popular restaurants.

Now, what can they do to relieve some of the issues that could be seen.

1) Start check in at an earlier time, perhaps as early as 4:30 for a 5:00 opening for dinner. This should relieve some of the sudden influx of people trying to check in.

2) Have personal handheld devices and a CM walking the line checking people in. They have used these at Crystal Palace even as far back as 2007. This would allow the CM to get those with ADRs checked in and either tell others no walk ups OR keep walk ups in the main line.

3) Refuse walk ups and only accept those with ADRs... though not sure how well that would go over (considering the amount of complaining we get about no walk ups here on the boards).

However, the best laid plans can be thrown off when outside forces mess things up... and it does sound like there was at least 1 issue like this on that night (the computers).
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:31 AM   #3
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Thanks. We had planned on arriving well before 5pm hoping to be seated a little early right when the restaurant opened, but we just barely made it there at our ADR time. I've heard of very long waits even with ADRs, we may have just been lucky our past 3 trips.

The portable checkin device sounds like a great idea. I got the impression that there were people in the checkin line checking in very early before their ADR hoping to get seated early (overhearing some conversations).
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:38 AM   #4
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I would be honked off too! I would be especially honked off if, after waiting for nearly 90 minutes for my table, they told me I couldn't take my dessert with me.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyFamily123 View Post
Thanks. We had planned on arriving well before 5pm hoping to be seated a little early right when the restaurant opened, but we just barely made it there at our ADR time. I've heard of very long waits even with ADRs, we may have just been lucky our past 3 trips.

The portable checkin device sounds like a great idea. I got the impression that there were people in the checkin line checking in very early before their ADR hoping to get seated early (overhearing some conversations).
Yea, I just wanted to clear some things up before getting to your question. Even if you knew it, I wanted to do it so other readers would understand some things. I am happy you took it the way I meant it.

And yea, things can happen that can hold you up, causing you to check in later then you had planned. If I plan for a lot of extra time, then I never have issues. The one time I plan for having just enough time is when anything that could go wrong DOES go wrong!

And the checkin device and CM would have helped with the issue of people checking in so early as well. The CM could have then told them that they would have to return 15 minutes before their ADR because they would not be able to seat them early. I just feel like this would be one of the better suggestions you can give (from my post that is) as I think it would help many of the issues. I know for a fact they used them at Crystal Palace in May of 2007... because one checked me in!
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:05 PM   #6
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I know that ADRs are important but for many people, dining out may be a spur of the moment thing. I think that Disney needs to hold at least 30% of the tables for "walk ups". Many people make reservations at many restaurants and do not show up, especially if no deposit is required. It sounds like the poster's situation was not usual and due to a non functioning computer. We have eaten at Ohana's, with and without ADRs and "with" has usually resulted in being seated within 20 minutes or so.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumpus View Post
I know that ADRs are important but for many people, dining out may be a spur of the moment thing. I think that Disney needs to hold at least 30% of the tables for "walk ups". Many people make reservations at many restaurants and do not show up, especially if no deposit is required. It sounds like the poster's situation was not usual and due to a non functioning computer. We have eaten at Ohana's, with and without ADRs and "with" has usually resulted in being seated within 20 minutes or so.
I agree some tables could be held, but I think 30% is extreme. People can choose not to make ADR's, but Disney can choose not to accept their business before people with ADR's. During our last meal at 'Ohana, we arrived at 4:30 for a 5:00 ADR and we were 6th or 7th in line. This is an extremely popular restaurant and a line is likely. Disney always uses the disclaimer on the phone and the internet "arrive 15-20 minutes prior to your scheduled ADR".
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:59 PM   #8
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We have done a 5-5:15 dinner at 'Ohana before 2 MK parties, one Christmas and one Halloween. A long dinner has never been our problem at 'Ohan, if anything they rush us the heck out of there! In fact, after how quickly we got to our first MK party, we booked 'Ohana for the next party, knowing how quickly we'd get out of there.

The one thing we do differently than you when we eat at 'Ohana or Kona for that matter, is come WAY BEFORE our ADR time. I'm talking 30-45 mins before. Now part of this is because we like to look in the stores at the POLY, the other factor is that we like to get tropical drinks from that little bar and wait for a table. If you get there early enough, you snag one of the little tables and a bar server will wait on you while you are waiting for your table. Another issue that check-in 'Ohana is always a zoo. I'm not sure why, it just is. If you check-in at your actual ADR time, people that have ADR's 30-60 mins AFTER your time will have already checked in, trust me.

We did 'Ohana last year, but have decided to drop it from our list of restaurants we do. Our last 3 times there, we were just so rushed I felt like we were choking down our food as another course was coming out. They never ask you if you are ready for dessert, they just plop it on the table, even if you are still eating dinner.

Anyway, I agree with you that check-in is slow there, that's why we arrive so early and have drinks while we wait.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumpus View Post
I know that ADRs are important but for many people, dining out may be a spur of the moment thing. I think that Disney needs to hold at least 30% of the tables for "walk ups". Many people make reservations at many restaurants and do not show up, especially if no deposit is required. It sounds like the poster's situation was not usual and due to a non functioning computer. We have eaten at Ohana's, with and without ADRs and "with" has usually resulted in being seated within 20 minutes or so.
But that makes no business sense for Disney. They are already selling out their restaurants ahead of time, even overbooking them. So, it would be really silly of them to start telling people "sorry, all of our ADRs are taken" when there are still openings for walk ups. For a company, it is better to have that guaranteed money already booked.

Also, if they still made ADRs, those with reservations would still have to be seated first. It wouldn't be very good customer service to require those who have ADRs to wait while you seat walk ups.

Even if they did start holding some tables for walk ups, 30% is a ridiculously high number of tables. I would suggest closer to 10% or even lower.

Personally, I love ADRs because I know where and (approximately) when I will be eating. However, even if I didn't love them, I wouldn't expect to have a table if I didn't make them.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:15 PM   #10
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When I ate there in early Sept., we also had a 5:10pm ADR. This time makes no sense to me since they start dinner at 5pm...but that's another discussion for another thread. We arrived pretty much right at our time and were seated within 10 minutes of checking in.

The fact that there were so many empty tables when they finally seated you would have infuriated me as well. As someone suggested, perhaps a couple of servers didn't show up or something. But then I think it is imperative that they notify you of this at the podium when checking in - that they are short staffed or whatever and as a result there will be an unusually long wait, etc.

I think their ADR systems and policies need major changes overall.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:40 PM   #11
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We have never eaten at Ohana - but have ADR's for our trip in May. (one each am/pm)

Reading thru the boards shows that their computers are a chronic problem - one suggestion could be to have a printed copy of ADR's at the podium for check-in, just in case something happens to the system (again).

If they already have a two-line system (which it sounds like they do) - they should be clearly marked as to what each is for (ADR's in the next 15 minutes and ADR's more than 15 minutes from now/walk-ups). That would allow the people who are on time/reasonably early for their meal time to be seated while those who wanted to eat at 5 but didn't get an ADR until 6 (or later) to be seated closer to their time. It would also allow the CM's to focus their attention on getting people checked in on time vs 2 hours early. I don't think that anyone should be allowed to check-in more than an hour before their ADR. All else being equal - if someone whose ADR was after mine was seated before me, I would be upset.

re: the to-go box - it is a family restaurant and there will be times someone has to leave before the meal is done - having some sort of container should be the norm - and if they don't have one at Ohana, go next door to Kona or Capt Hook.

That's my $.02 worth.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:18 PM   #12
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Funny, the same thing happened to us on our last trip. We got to Ohana 10 minutes before our ADR (sorry it wasn't 15min). The line was down past Kona. By the time DH got to the podium, the CM told him that we were now 20 minutes past our ADR time (by 2min!!!) so she couldn't guarantee being seated soon. DH told her that the only reason we were 20min past our ADR was because of the zoo/line we had to wait in, in essence not our fault. She said it didn't matter and all that mattered was the check in time on our receipt. Thank goodness we didn't have reservations or anywhere special to be that night like you.

Disney needs to fix this; I haven't experienced a really bad check in system like this at any other restaurant.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:42 PM   #13
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Sorry to hear about your bad experience. For hard ticket events, you can get in at 4pm, though, so it's better to make an ADR in the Magic Kingdom, anyway. Otherwise, you're wasting your ticket. As it is, you were 4 hours late for the party, not one.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:58 PM   #14
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OP, agree they have major issues with the check-in process at 'Ohana. We waited in line for 15 minutes just to check-in...and we got there before they opened --we were in line 15 minutes before our ADR, but by the time the line moved, we were actually checking in right at our ADR time. We were seated about 15 minutes after that, so at least the wait for our seat wasn't bad. But the lines -- yeah, that stretched all the way back to Kona Cafe. In fact, I've been in the Kona line before and had the 'Ohana line stretch way past Kona, and nearly around to the exit for the monorail. And on the night we were there, they didn't actually start seating people until 5:15 (although they were supposed to open at 5:00...for some reason they didn't) so of course that meant they started the night 15 minutes behind schedule. Near as we could tell, all the employees were just standing around chatting inside the restaurant during that wait time, so don't know what the hold-up was...maybe they had a kitchen or grill issue that wasn't evident.

I don't know what they could do to improve the process...other than fill those tables. And if the computer breaks down, start seating people anyway (you'd think the world had come to an end when a computer goes down...geez, it's just a few years ago they did all that table-assignment business by hand anyway.) We had the same problem in May at Hollywood & Vine...the computer system wasn't working first thing in the morning, so they didn't even start checking in people until about 8:10 (we'd been standing around waiting to check-in for 20 minutes at that point...they finally started writing down names at 8:05 when the crowd was getting big enough to become confusing as to who had been waiting already.)
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:15 PM   #15
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This is common with this restaurant - have eaten 2x, and never again.

It is one of the worst restaurants on property (we've eaten pretty much everywhere, including Signatures) for subpar or horrible service, worst check-in process, inefficient and subpar food.

There is always a massive check-in line at this restaurant, and I think that's because both meals, breakfast and dinner, encourage guests to linger and take their time with their meal. Their character breakfast takes longer than any other on property - both times we have eaten there, the server and host, told us that a typical breakfast experience takes close to 2 hours. Are you kidding me? Therein lies the problem...guests take way too long, and because the restaurant floor and kitchen are inefficient, it makes for very long waits for food, service and check-in.

We will never eat here again, as our experiences have been the same both times, and incidentally, the manager we spoke to both times, couldn't care less about our concerns at all. Honestly, I have never met a more incompetent staff before - guests can be at the restaurant 30 mins before an ADR, which is way before Disney tells you to be there, yet because they are inefficient and always running behind, you are late for your check-in time, yet they tell you it is your fault? Totally ridiculous and unacceptable.

Sorry you experienced this, but this restaurant is very problematic, and this is one of the main reasons, IMHO.

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