Best Bar in Disney
Best Bar In Disney World: Trader Sam’s
For us, the best bar in Disney World is Trader Sam’s. While some may argue that other bars are better, in this post we discuss why we think Trader Sam’s is the best bar in Disney World. Trader Sam’s is small and very popular. At the end of the post, we provide our tips for visiting Trader Sam’s at Disney World.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is located on the ground floor of Disney’s Polynesian resort. The Polynesian resort is pretty easy to get to. You can take the Magic Kingdom monorail, a bus, a boat from the Magic Kingdom or walk from the Transportation and Ticket Center. Being located at a resort is a nice bonus for this bar because you do no need a theme park ticket to visit. If you plan on having a non-theme park day, a visit to Trader Sam’s is a great option. Even if you plan on being at the theme parks, Trader Sam’s is a great option haha.
The main reason that Trader Sam’s is our favorite bar in Disney World is the atmosphere. Trader Sam’s is a tiki bar. The decorations inside definitely fit with the tropical, tiki theme. But this is Disney, so the theming is taken to a whole different level when compared to your average tiki bar. Also, the cast members are awesome and add to the atmosphere at Trader Sam’s. More on the cast members in the next section.
First, let’s start with the backstory. Trader Sam’s is said to have been founded by none other than Trader Sam, the head salesman from the Jungle Cruise ride. If you have been on the Jungle Cruise, Trader Sam ends the ride by offering guests a deal: two of his heads for just one of yours. Because of the connection to Trader Sam, the bar also has a bit of a Jungle Cruise vibe.
The bar is pretty dark, but there is still enough light to check out all of the details throughout the bar. There are item’s from Sam’s adventures along the walls. You can see a volcano (which may erupt) outside of the window. The bar itself has a ton of theming, including a shell that delivers pearl mugs for one of the drinks.
Spoiler: there are even some seats that slowly raise and lower over time. (If you get one, just know it’s not the rum haha.) If you visit, be sure to take in all of the details. We have been to Trader Sam’s a lot and we still find new details.
The cast members that work at Trader Sam’s make the experience one that you will remember. If you sit at the bar, you get a lot of interactions with the cast members. Even if you have a larger group and grab a table, the cast members do a lot more than take your order. The cast members walk around and get the crowd involved. Yes, there are sometimes props involved. We encourage you to take part in the fun and interact with the cast members!
There are a variety of drinks at Trader Sam’s. We have a hard time recommending drinks, because everyone’s taste preferences are different. Jeff’s go-to drink is the Zombie, which is a strong drink. I like the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum the most based on taste. The Tiki Rum is for people that like sweet drinks and coconut.
Be warned, the Tiki Rum doesn’t have reaction (more on this in a second). While the drinks at Trader Sam’s are good, they aren’t the best drinks in Disney. But, there are a two very fun and unique things about the drinks at Trader Sam’s: drink reactions and tiki mugs.
The first unique thing about the drinks at Trader Sam’s is that some of the drinks cause a reaction in the bar. But be warned, the extra magic does not happen with all of the drinks. Our favorite drink reactions are in response to the Uh-Oa! and the HippopotoMai-Tai. The below video does not do it justice, but it does shows part of what happens when you order an Uh-Oa! drink. The Uh-Oa! drink is meant for two people. Other drinks with a reaction are: Zombie, Nautilus, Polynesian Pearl, and the Krakatoa Punch.
The second unique thing about the drinks at Trader Sam’s are the mugs. Most drinks have souvenir tiki mugs that can be purchased. You have the option to decline the mug and pay just for the drink. The mugs are collectible and very popular. Most times that we go to Trader Sam’s they serve the drinks in the mugs and most of the mugs are available to purchase. If you purchase a mug, you will receive a new/clean mug when you leave.
Our last trip to Trader Sam’s, they were almost completely out of mugs. We were really sad! They only had the Uh-Oa! mug and maybe one or two others. In this case, all drinks were served in normal bar glasses. It was still fun, but we felt like there was a little something missing.
Drinks Beyond Mixed Drinks
In addition to mixed drinks, Trader Sam’s also has beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drink options. While Jeff has ordered a Kona beer in the past, we recommend the mixed drinks for first-time visitors. If you want beer but still want something a bit more fun than a pint, there is a Kona beer flight that Jeff enjoys.
Trader Sam’s has a variety of non-alcoholic drinks. Recently we went to Trader Sam’s with someone that doesn’t drink alcohol. They were very happy to find several no-booze options. The drink they settled on was the Skipper Sipper which is made with: Tropical Juices, Organic Agave Nectar, Falernum, Mint, and fresh Lime Juice topped with Soda Water.
Trader Sam’s does have a Lounge menu. From the current menu, we have tried the Kalua Pork Tacos, Chicken Lettuce Cups, Pan-fried Dumplings, Seasonal Veggie Rainbow Roll, and Thai Chicken and Vegetable Flatbread. Our favorite from these items is the flatbread. Overall, we would say that the food at Trader Sam’s is above average, but not the best food you will find on Disney property. Since we recommend taking your time and enjoying Trader Sam’s, it is always a good option to give one of the appetizers a try.
Kids In The Bar
Trader Sam’s allows children in the bar until 8pm. After 8pm, you have to be at least 21 to enter. While Trader Sam’s does allow children, Jeff and I rarely see kids in the bar… and we almost always go at open. If there are kids, they are usually older and have been quiet. (We barley realized that they were there – credit to their parents for keeping them entertained in a bar!) If you want to be 100% that there will not be kids, be sure to go after 8pm.
Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace is NOT Trader Sam’s
The Polynesian hotel also has Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace. While the same drinks are offered at this outdoor bar, for us, this is not Trader Sam’s. For guests, the outdoor Tiki Terrace is not connected to the inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. While the Tiki Terrace is nice, it does not come close to the atmosphere inside Trader Sam’s. In our opinion, if you want to visit, be sure to do it right and go inside to Trader Sam’s.
Our Suggestions For Visiting
1- Get there early. We prefer getting to Trader Sam’s before open, so that we can guarantee we get seats. We recommend lining up 30-40 minutes before open. Yes, the bar is that popular. This timing is especially important if you have a larger group (6 people or more) because there are only a couple seating places in the bar that fit larger groups. Most day’s Trader Sam’s opens at 3pm. Be sure to check the online calendar to confirm the time on the day you are planning to visit. There is no cover to get inside the bar.
2- Don’t let the line/wait scare you. Even though Trader Sam’s is small, it still fits a fair number of people. If you go before open and there is already a big line, still check with the cast member to see about the wait. If you show up later in the day, you can put your name down, explore the resort and then go in. Plus, there is always the chance that you show up after open and a bunch of people just left and getting a seat is no problem.
3- Don’t view this as a bar, but as an experience. Waiting in line for a bar? This may seem crazy, even for Disney. But Trader Sam’s is more than just a bar, it is an experience. Relatedly, go to Trader Sam’s with an open mind. Have fun and interact with everything that takes place!
4- Sit at the bar. We especially recommend sitting at the bar if you only have two people in your party. The bar is much more interactive. We love watching the cast members and there are a few details that you will only be able to catch at the bar.
Our Overall Recommendation
We highly recommend visiting Trader Sam’s. We recently took a few of our family members to Trader Sam’s for the first time. When we asked them their thoughts one replied “interactive fun and midday cocktails, what could be better!?” while the other said “triggers a vibe that allows everyone to have fun – one of my favorite things from our trip.” If you have not been to Trader Sam’s, our best advice is get there early and have fun. If you have been to Trader Sam’s, please share your thoughts on Trader Sam’s below in a comment. Also, if you have any questions, please leave us a comment below!
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