This past week, we visited Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto in Disney’s Polynesian Village. Those who’ve visited Disneyland are very familiar with Trader Sam, there’s a Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in Disneyland Hotel.
We’ve been to the Trader Sam’s in Disneyland on a few occasions, but this was our first trip to the newly opened lounge in Disney World. Joining us was former Cast Member and Turtle Power Podcast host, Ryan and a current Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cast Member, Jess. Both of them recently visited the location in Anaheim, so we thought they’d be perfect for helping us review this new lounge.
We arrived a little after 7 pm to Disney’s Polynesian Village and followed the signs to Trader Sam’s. It could easily have been missed. The dark wood door only has the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto on the door. There is nothing that makes it stand out. As you enter the lounge, there is a hostess/sales stand to the left. Unlike its predecessor, you can add your name to a waiting list and receive a pager to be notified when you can enter.
While we waited for our pager to light up, we had a seat outside at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace. We started off with our drinks – Polynesian Pearl, Rum Flight and Polynesian Punch (more about those to come!). The terrace is first-come, first-serve. There are many tables with bright orange umbrellas to sit and enjoy a drink or one of the small plates offered. Guests can enjoy live music of Hawaiian tunes.
Once inside the lounge, you have to find a place to sit or stand. In the center of the room is high-top table where several people can stand, there are a few seats at the bar… maybe 8 or so and various tables throughout the bar. There was no seating available for four, so we hovered, waiting for someone to hop up. It didn’t take too long, about five minutes.
You can’t have a bar like this without some Tiki Gods!
The bar is dark with tons of decorations. You’ll find everything from flags, lanterns, pictures, heads (you know Sam’s deal, two of his for one of yours), octopus legs, Tiki Gods… well, you get the point. To go along with select libations are fun antics. Order the Polynesian Pearl and the bartender will grab one out of a giant clam shell. Order the Krakatoa Punch and the volcano goes from calm to erupting. Order the Uh-Oa! and… well, we don’t want to spoil all of it for you.
How long is the volcano going to stay calm? No one knows!
Inside at the hostess stand is the shop. You can purchase the specialty drink glasses, as well as t-shirts.
Headhunter Sushi Roll 14.99
Salmon Oshizushi 13.99
Chicken Lettuce Cups with Hoisin Ginger Sauce 10.99
Roasted Chicken and Pork Banh Mi Sliders 9.99
Kahlua Pork Tacos with Cabbage and Pickled Vegetables 9.99
Corn-Battered Portuguese Sausages with Curry Ketchup 8.99
Pan-Fried Dumplings with Soy-Sesame Dipping Sauce 8.49
Hawaiian Poke with Sriracha Aioli 12.99
Sam’s No-Booze Brews
Skipper Sipper – Tropical Juices, Organic Agava Nectar, Falernum, Mint and fresh Lime Juice topped with Soda Water.
Schweitzer Falls – Tropical Juices and Sam’s Gorilla Grog Topped with Sprite.
Polynesian Punch – Sam’s Gorilla Grog and Hibiscus Grenadine. Served in a Souvenir Sipper.
Polynesian Pearl – RumChata Cream Liqueur, Grand Marnier and Cinnamon with Tropical Juices. The Pearl souvenir mug is yours to keep.
Nautilus – Barbancourt Pango Rhum, Appletone Estate Reserve Rum, Combier Creme de Peche de Vigne Liqueur, Tropical Juices and Falernum. Served in a souvenir Nautilus.
Uh-Oa! – Myer’s Original Dark Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, Orange, Passion Fruit, Guava and Pin. Served in a souvenir Tiki Bowl.
Castaway Crush – Leblon Cachaca, Cream of Coconut, Pineapple, Cinnamon and fresh Lime Juice.
Krakatoa Punch – Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Pyrat XO Reserve Rum, Orgeat (Almond), Sam’s Groilla Grog and Hibiscus Grenadine. Served in a souvenir Tiki Mug.
Hippopoto Mai-Tai – Coruba Dark Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, Bols Orange Curacao, Orgeat (Almond), Organic Agave Nectar and fresh Lime Juice. Served in a souvenir Tiki Glass.
Rosita’s Margarita – Casamigos Reposado Tequila, Bols Orange Curacao, fresh Lime Juice, Falernum and Organic Agave Nectar.
Shrunken Zombie Head – Gosling’s 151 Black Seal Rum, Appleton Estate Reserve Rum, Tropical Juices, Falernum and Cinnamon. Served in a souvenir Shrunken Head.
Tahitian Torch – ByeJoe Dragon Fire Spirit, Tropical Juices, Passion Fruit and fresh Lime Juice.
Mosquito Mojito – Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum, Organic Agave Nectar, Falernum, Mint and fresh Lime Juice topped with Soda Water.
Dark & Tropical Stormy – Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer and Falernum.
Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum – Pyrat XO Reserve Rum, Cream of Coconut, and Pineapple and Orange Juices dusted with Cinnamon and Nutmeg.
Rum Flight – 3/4-oz pour of Bacardi 8 yr, Pyrat XO Reserve and Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 yr.
In addition to the specialty drinks, a full bar is available.
Kona Longboard Island Lager
Full Sail Session Lager
Yuengling Traditional Lager
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale
Magic Hat #9
Kona Castaway IPA
Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
New Belgium Fat Tire
Ace Pineapple Hard Cider
Kona Beer Flight: (5-oz pour of each) Longboard Island Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Castaway IPA.
There is also a selection of white, red and sparkling wines available by the glass or bottle.
Food and Drink
The Polynesian Pearl comes in a plastic iridescent pearl shaped cup. It sits at a strange angle so you have to be careful that you set it down on the flat side. The cup says “Trader Sam’s” on the front side. The cup is yours to keep and you can’t order it without the cup, so if you order five of these… you’ll have five pearls.
We really enjoyed this drink. It’s slightly sweet, but not too sweet. RumChata if you’ve never had it is a cream liqueur made with rum, fresh cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Even with the addition of the cinnamon to the drink, it’s not over powering.
The Rum Flight is a 3/4-oz pour of Bacardi 8 yr, Pyrat XO Reserve and Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 yr. It’s served in three small shot glasses – orange, blue and green. One side of them has an image of a Tiki God and the other says Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. They are presented on a really nice wood tray that looks like a surf board and says “Trader Sam’s”. Our disappointment with this one is that you don’t get to keep the tray. You are made to believe that you’ll receive it; the image in the menu and the display were you pick up your mugs and glasses shows them with the board.
If you’re a rum drinker, you’ll probably enjoy this one. The Bacardi 8 yr was a little strong and burned on the way down. Our favorite was the Pyrat XO Reserve. It was the smoothest and had the best flavor.
In addition to our alcoholic drinks we tried the Polynesian Punch, a non-alcoholic drink made with Sam’s Gorilla Grog and Hibiscus Grenadine. It’s served in a souvenir sipper cup for you to take with you. If you’re not a drinker, this is a really nice drink to enjoy.
We did ask if they had the ability to make some of the drinks from Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar and they said they don’t even have the recipes… and most likely, don’t have the ingredients. However, for those of you that are huge fans of drinks only available at the Disneyland location, such as Shipwreck, you might want to try to locate the recipe.
We ordered Chicken Lettuce Cups with Hoisin Ginger Sauce, Kahlua Pork Tacos with Cabbage and Pickled Vegetables, Corn-Battered Portuguese Sausages with Curry Ketchup and Pan-Fried Dumplings with Soy-Sesame Dipping Sauce to share among the four of us.
The Pan-Fried Dumplings with Soy-Sesame Dipping Sauce was also enough for each person to have a dumpling. They were cooked perfectly and were tasty.
The Chicken Lettuce Cups with Hoisin Ginger Sauce was pretty good. The portion was small. There was enough lettuce for each of us to have one cup with a little bit of chicken.
It was about half the size of the ones served at the Disneyland location and they cost 1.00 more. As you can see, there is less chicken and noodles, and the sauce comes already on the chicken.
Our biggest surprise was the Corn-Battered Portuguese Sausages with Curry Ketchup. It was surprisingly really good. The curry ketchup isn’t spicy and has a nice flavor that pairs well with the sausage. If you’re going to share this one, there is only enough for three people.
Our favorite dish was the Kahlua Pork Tacos with Cabbage and Pickled Vegetables. Again, this isn’t enough for four people to share, there are just three tacos. The pork was tender and juicy with taco shells are like the chalupas that you get at Taco Bell, not a thin crispy shell. It made them even better! We highly recommend giving this one a try.
All of the bartenders and servers are “Skipper”. Our server was Skipper Amanda. She was fantastic! As soon as we grabbed the table, she cam over, grab the cups from the people who had been sitting there and quickly wiped the table down. It took us a little while to decide what we wanted on the menu, but she kept checking back until we made up our minds.
The bartender had a lot of fun. Whenever he made one of the specialty drinks that had antics, he’d enthusiastically kick off the show. Most of the servers seemed to get into it, but not all. There were a few who seemed less than trilled to be taking part in the fun. This was something that really surprised all of us. We had never seen the Cast Members not be excited about the tomfoolery that comes with the various drinks.
The fun, over-the-top atmosphere is what makes this place a must-try. It’s so lively and unique, you can’t help but enjoy yourself. It is a little pricey, especially if you want to keep the souvenir mug. The Polynesian Pearl was 16.00 and the Rum Flight (with the shot glasses) was 34.00.The most expensive drink with a souvenir mug is the Nautilus at 52.00. Don’t go in expecting to spend just a little bit of money. For the four of us, our check was a little over 120.00 before gratuity… and we were still hungry so we had dinner at Capt. Cooks.
Even though we were disappointed in not getting the “surf board” with the rum flight, the portion sizes being smaller than at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar and some of the servers being less than enthusiastic, we’d still go back. We had a great time and the drinks are tasty.
It might not live up to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Hotel, but that’s okay. Everyone will still have a blast with the crazy antics that take place.