Anyone who says Walt Disney World is for kids only has got it all wrong . . . and they haven’t been to Trader Sam’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This interactive and super fun Tiki lounge is the place to be in the evenings and offers up lots of entertainment not to mention great food and drinks. Here are 8 Reasons you will love Trader Sam’s:
8. The Atmosphere
There are two areas of Trader Sam’s where you can enjoy your drinks at Trader Sam’s and both have a fun Tiki vibe. Normally I prefer the atmosphere inside (see #1), but the outside terrace area is really nice and relaxing with some live Hawaiian themed music (as long as it isn’t a balmy 100 degrees with 100% humidity). Inside will always provide some a/c but also a really cool retro Tiki feel.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is located in the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village resort which makes it an ideal location for many occasions. Maybe you have a later ‘Ohana reservation to try to catch the fireworks from the restaurant—make a stop at Trader Sam’s ahead of your reservation for some cocktails. Or maybe it is just a night at the Magic Kingdom and you want a little bite to eat or fun cocktails first—Trader Sam’s is an easy monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom. It is a great way to take a break in the evening and then go back for more fun. Or, if you time it right your evening at Trader Sam’s could end with a great view of the fireworks from the Polynesian Beach.
6. Family Friendly
Yes, this is Walt Disney World, so family friendly is the name of the game. If you have your littles in tow you don’t have to pass on the fun at Trader Sam’s, they can join in. From opening until 8pm anyone is allowed to come in and enjoy the atmosphere, after 8:00pm it is 21 and over only. The kids can take part in the small plates of food and even have some fun with their own non-alcoholic Tiki themed drinks.
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5. Small Plates
Speaking of those small plates of food . . . Trader Sam’s offers up some tasty dishes (and I don’t see any humans on the menu—you know since he is the headhunter on the Jungle Cruise). You could make a meal out of sampling these tapas style dishes with your drinks. Kalua Pork Tacos, Sushi, Dumplings, Hawaiian Poke and more make for a really nice menu that fits with the adventurous theme of the lounge.
Half of the fun of Traders Sam’s is the serving team. They are interactive on the level of the Jungle Cruise itself, and somewhat like the Skipper’s Canteen or a 50s Prime Time. The servers engage diners and play along with the gags of the inside lounge. But they are also attentive, knowledgeable on the menu of food and drinks, and very hospitable. Let your guard down just a little and play along with the antics!
Trader Sam’s has some very sought after souvenirs. Many of the drinks are served in souvenir glass or bowls that are yours to take home (& the price does reflect that). My favorite is the Nautilus, but you can also get a pearl (lucky guests might get a black pearl), a Tiki Mug, Bowl or Glass, and, of course, a Shrunken Head. Because it wouldn’t be Trader Sam’s without a Shrunken Head. You will also find that Trader Sam’s offers some limited edition souvenir mugs like a Haunted Mansion Tiki mug around Halloween that has people lining up for hours to get their hands on one.
2. The Drinks
Of course, the star of any Tiki Bar (or lounge in this case) are the specialty drinks that are themed to their surroundings. Trader Sam’s is no exception. Not only do you have the Tiki themed drinks, but also some fun Disney themed drinks on the menu. As I said, the Nautilus is not only my favorite for the cool vessel it served in, but the nod to the classis 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (movie AND attraction). The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum is also a lot of fun. Then there are the classic Tiki drinks with a Jungle Cruise spin like the HippopotoMai-Tai.
1. The Details & The Effects
This is the number 1 reason you will love Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (the indoor seating). The place is filled with things to look at. And some of them might look back at you. If you were a fan of the now extinct Adventurer’s Club in the old Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island you will see some familiar props in Trader Sam’s, and the overall feel of the place might be similar to you as well. Throughout your time keep your eyes and ears open because all kinds of fun effects take place all around you—it is like being in an attraction while you enjoy your food and drinks. Different drinks spark different reactions from your surroundings, so you may find patrons ordering certain options just to see the ensuing special effects. You will not be disappointed by the interactive and immersive fun of Trader Sam’s.
Do you love Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto? What are your favorite parts?