Top 6 Reasons To Love Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

If you have not had a chance to experience Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort, I highly recommend that you add it to your vacation plans. It is a very popular destination (for good reason) so you will need a strategy—we got there about 25 minutes before opening (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?) and got in the already formed line to get in. If you are unable to get into the Grog Grotto itself there is an outdoor Tiki Terrace that serves the same menu and is very nice too. But the Grog Grotto is definitely the draw and here are 6 reasons you will love it:


6. Location

The Grog Grotto is located inside the Great Ceremonial House at the Polynesian Resort so it is very easy to access. If you are at the Magic Kingdom for the day you can take a late afternoon/early evening break and take the monorail or the resort boat over to the resort. If you are just coming to the Grog Grotto from your resort, Walt Disney World’s transportation makes it relatively easy to get there—just bus over to the Magic Kingdom then monorail or take a boat to the Polynesian. Once you get there you will go to the entrance to the Great Ceremonial House that is closest to the marina, or downstairs and past Capt. Cook’s quick service food location if you took the monorail. Not to mention how lovely the Polynesian is to visit anyway.

5. The Food

Trader Sam serves up some tasty grub. Unlike his counterpart on the Jungle Cruise who’s “wife makes a tasty stew,” the food here is creative, well prepared and very good. Offerings include Chicken Lettuce Cups, Pan Fried Dumplings, “Headhunter Sushi Roll,” and Battered Portuguese Sausages. The real standouts seem to be the Kalua Pork Tacos and Roasted Chicken and Pork Pate Banh Mi Sliders. Yum!! Bring some friends, order a variety and make a meal of small plates while you enjoy Trader Sam’s hospitality—remember he is always offering two of his heads for one of yours.

4. The Drinks

Of course, the drinks. They are fun, they have themes and they are well made—when we were there I felt like it was a very generous pour. I had the Polynesian Pearl (mainly because they did not have all of their souvenir mugs yet & I wanted one to take home). For around $15 this was a good drink—sweet like a dessert beverage. And once in a while the pearl comes out as a black pearl! Other fun specialties include the Krakatoa Punch, Shrunken Zombie Head and Uh-Oa. The Uh-Oa is a flaming concoction that is meant to be shared by up to 4 people—if you try to conquer this one on your own you will probably be saying Uh-Oa by the end. Add in some typical tropical drinks with a Trader Sam’s twist like the HippopotoMai-Tai, Dark & Stormy, and Mojito and you have a well-rounded menu. Plus, there are non-alcoholic options, which is especially nice because before 8:00pm you can bring children in to the Grotto to experience the atmosphere. My 16 year old had the Polynesian Punch served in the same souvenir cup that you can get from the Pineapple Lanai and enjoyed it quite well.

3. The Servers

Much like 50’s Prime Time Café, the servers at Trader Sam’s are full of character (& energy). They are humorous and go only with the shtick of Trader Sam’s. And, as with 50’s, having a server who is into the theme and acting it out really adds to the overall experience. Our server was excellent!!

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2. Souvenir Glasses & Mugs

One of the big draws of Trader Sam’s is the take home souvenir mugs/glasses/cups from your beverage. These range in price as some are ceramic, some are glass and some are plastic. And they are all really nice and so well themed to their drink. The Nautilus is probably my favorite as a “vintage” WDW fan, but the HippopotoMai-Tai is another favorite and probably more practical to actually reuse at home. Not all of the drinks come with the take home glasses. And I would recommend asking about prices before orderings—some (like the Nautilus) are a bit pricey. But, a take home glass/cup/mug from Trader Sam’s makes a great & unique souvenir from your Walt Disney World Vacation.

1. The Special Effects & Atmosphere

Let’s face it, this is the real reason to get to Trader Sam’s early and get a good seat inside (I think the bar might be the best location to make sure you can see all of the effects). The interior is dark and filled with props. It is like a mix between the old Adventurer’s Club at Pleasure Island and the Tiki Room at Magic Kingdom (did you know that Walt Disney original wanted the Tiki Room to be a dining experience?). As I said earlier, you can get the same menu of food & drinks outside—but the real draw is what happens inside. The atmosphere itself is interesting to look at, but wait until someone orders a drink and the bartenders begin to prepare that drink. The room comes alive with volcanoes erupting, storms brewing, angry tiki gods, and moving octopus tentacles. You will want to stay a while to witness all of the special effects the Imagineers created to match up with each drink—and they are pretty fantastic.

Have you had a chance to enjoy Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto? What was your favorite part?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).