Photo Tour: Reopened Barefoot Pool Bar and Volcano Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Okay, so we all know the news surrounding bars and lounges at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has revolved almost solely around two places recently: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace.

But one place we haven’t discussed much at all recently is the Barefoot Pool Bar… primarily because it hasn’t been open. You see, with the major refurbishment of the Polynesian’s Volcano Pool came the closure of its accompanying pool bar.

But early this month the pool opened up again — much to the happiness of many a Poly guest! And the Barefoot Pool Bar has reopened right along with it.

Not much has changed at the Barefoot Pool Bar itself, still finding its home at the side of the volcano, though the sign is new.

Barefoot Pool Bar at the main Polynesian pool

Barefoot Pool Bar at the main Polynesian pool

Barefoot Pool Bar sign

Barefoot Pool Bar sign

But the general feel is somewhat different, and I think that’s due more to the bar’s changed surroundings more than the lounge itself. For instance, the fence around the pool, which ends at the Barefoot, does change the vibe (though all are still welcome to have a drink at the bar — only Resort guests are permitted swim in the pool, as per usual).

Barefoot Pool Bar

Barefoot Pool Bar

Barefoot Pool Bar

Barefoot Pool Bar

The familiar Disney pool bar drinks still grace the menu (and the full bar is also available).

Barefoot Pool Bar menu

Barefoot Pool Bar menu

Specialty drinks closeup

Specialty drinks closeup

Menu closeup

Menu closeup

Info on menu board

Info on menu board

A little reminder is posted regarding operating hours.

Operating Hours for Barefoot Pool Bar

Operating Hours for Barefoot Pool Bar

Alas, I didn’t have time to sip, since I was preparing to get in line for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. But I did take a few moments to do a little exploring in the surrounding areas. Now that the pool is open again and the majority of construction walls are down in the main area surrounding the Great Ceremonial House, we can all at last get a feel for what the renovated Polynesian Village Resort is like.

Map of the Polynesian Village Resort

Map of the Polynesian Village Resort

So while we’re here, let’s take a walk, shall we? Here’s another look at the pool.

Lava Pool

Lava Pool

One very welcome addition is that of the new [Read more…]

Review: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace at Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort

CHEERS! COWABUNGA! TULLEEHO! KUNGALOOSH!

It’s already time to go back inside (and outside!) Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

While both the Grotto and Terrace continue in soft openings with an official opening anticipated for late April (when all the sought-after souvenir glasses will be available for guests to take home), these new hot spots remain the talk of the town.

On March 28th, when both the Grog Grotto and the Tiki Terrace soft opened for the first day, tales of lines up to 6 hours long were nearly as much of a story as the bars opening themselves. So a common question now is, “What are the wait times like?”

How long until you can get past Trader Sam's door?

How long until you can get past Trader Sam’s door?

Grog Grotto Hours of Operation

Grog Grotto Hours of Operation

Unsure of what to expect, my husband and I arrived at the Polynesian at 2 pm on a weekday for the 4 pm opening, and no line had started yet (though the bar is open until midnight, after 8 pm only guests 21 and older are permitted).

At 3 pm, we decided we’d better stake out our spot, so we went to the inside door of the Grog Grotto, where two Cast Members were waiting. We were told we were the first for the day, and could start the line outside at the metal bench pictured below.

The line starts here

The line starts here

The next guest arrived at 3:15, and a line in earnest began to form at 3:30 pm. Around 3:50, a Cast Member came outside and gave us all a stamp to show at the door as our proof that we’d been counted in the line. At this time, I counted around 40 people waiting, and when we were let in at 4:00 pm, everyone made it inside to fill up the 51 person capacity. Huzzah!

Outdoor entrance into the Trader Sam's hallway

Outdoor entrance into the Trader Sam’s hallway

Now, I’m not claiming this will be the case everyday. We clearly arrived early anticipating a wait and were shocked that there wasn’t one, especially during what’s considered a peak time (still in the Spring Break window). Now, I had a friend in town Saturday of the same week. She arrived at Trader Sam’s at 7:30 pm and was given a pager for a 90 minute wait, and folks arriving a while after were looking at a couple hours at least.

Pager for Trader Sam's

Pager for Trader Sam’s

That’s not altogether surprising, though, since I think we can all anticipate longer lines on weekends for what is sure to be a popular destination for locals as well as vacationers for a long time to come.

Okay, logistics, schmogistics! WE’RE IN! It’s time to see a little more of what Trader Sam has in store for his guests…

TRADER SAM’S GROG GROTTO

Atmosphere

You’ve now entered Trader Sam’s “happy hideaway.” The story of the Grotto is told to us by Skip, Manager of the Jungle Cruise Navigational Company (just click the image below to enlarge). As head salesman of the jungle that we all know and love from the Jungle Cruise, Trader Sam discovered a passion for mixology as an extension of his professional interest in head-shrinking potions. As he traveled the globe for ingredients, he picked up many a souvenir and brought them back to the Grotto.

The story of Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

The story of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Entering the Grotto for the first time was — for me, at least — overwhelming in the best way possible. While you want to grab a table or a seat at the bar (and lemme tell ya, it’s best to move quickly to get one), it’s difficult to not want to try to take in every bit of the INSANE amount of details and decoration right away. This room is simply the stuff of dreams for fans of Disney detail and history.

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Before we take in a few of those gems, the basic setup is small and…well, I don’t know if “cozy” is the word. It’s snug, for sure, but somehow not in a bad way. The way everyone is close together, it seems to encourage a party atmosphere and festive mood.

Oh, my… where to start? Well, I’ll take a cue from a Jungle Cruise Skipper and point out a few of my favorite details! There’s this one.

Postcard

Postcard

And this one.

Family Tree East Coast Branch

Family Tree East Coast Branch

I like this one.

Picture of Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Ooookay, so CLEARLY that joke doesn’t play out in writing the same way it does on the Jungle Cruise when your Skipper deadpans pointing out his or her favorite plants ;) . Still, you get the point. There is just a TON of [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Vintage Food Fun at Disney’s Pop Century Resort

When you see the words “Photo Tour” in the title of any DFB post, it often means we’ve got something NEW around Disney World or Disneyland to share. But not this time… As a matter of fact, some of the things we’re going to show you today are over well over 50 years old. We’re taking a tour of some of the vintage food-related items in the Pop Century Resort Shadow Boxes!

"Remember When..."

“Remember When…”

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Disney’s Pop Century Resort, the check-in area is lined with shadow boxes filled with blasts from the past, in keeping with this fun and colorful Value resort’s theme dedicated to pop culture from the 50s through the 90s.

The shadow boxes include items reflecting music, television, fads, trends, gizmos and gadgets from the various decades represented, but we’re focusing on those related to food, and hope you have fun traveling through the decades with us!

Starting in the 50s, you’ve gotta love one of the first shadowboxes, dedicated to Walt Disney, Disneyland, and the first Mouseketeers.

Vintage Disney 50s display

Vintage Disney 50s display

The vintage food find here is the tin school bus lunch box, complete with Goofy driving around some of our oldest Disney pals.

Disney School Bus Lunch Box

Disney School Bus Lunch Box

It was also the era of soda fountains and diners when “teenage” life as we know it hit the scene.

Diner Shadow Box

Diner Shadow Box

Diner Shadow Box

Diner Shadow Box

Take a very close look at the menu, and you’ll spot one of Walt Disney’s favorite dishes, Chili and Beans, going for the high price of 15 cents (though I think I’d spring for “Bob’s Special Steak” for a quarter).

50s Diner display

50s Diner display

Even the songs in the tabletop jukebox reveal a few food gems, with the [Read more…]

Spotted: Macadamia Pastries at Polynesian Village Resort’s Kona Island

It’s gettin’ to be big times again at the ol’ Poly, my friends…

With the recent addition of the Poly Tiki statue greeting guests above the water structure in the still-relatively-new lobby, and the soft opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (not to mention the recently open Bora Bora Bungalows), what has been a previously unprecedented level of renovation for a Disney Resort is — at long last — shaping up rather nicely, indeed.

Amidst all these huge changes, it can be hard to remember there are plenty of other small things to find and appreciate! Take, for instance, these macadamia pastries I spotted at Kona Island. I loved that even this small dining location was themed appropriately — to the islands!

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island Bakery Case

Kona Island Bakery Case

Just look at the generous amount of Macadamia Nuts covering these Sticky Buns!

Sticky Bun with Macadamia Nuts

Sticky Bun with Macadamia Nuts

You can also spot them in the center of [Read more…]

Easter Treats and Spring Break Eats Around Walt Disney World

The 2015 Chocolate Easter Egg Display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort isn’t the only sure sign of spring around here these days! Easter treats have been “hopping” up everywhere around Disney World Resort to celebrate this weekend’s holiday — not to mention the remainder of the Spring Break season through the end of next week.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday at Disney World without all sorts of specialty cupcakes, and Easter is no egg-ception. (I. Can’t. Stop. Doing. That!). At Epcot, a Chocolate Cupcake with marshmallow filling and marshmallow buttercream frosting can be found at Fountain View from now through April 11th, and at Sunshine Seasons for a very limited run on April 4th and 5th.

©Disney

©Disney

This beauty of a Carrot Cake Cupcake topped with a mini Bunny Macaron will be at the Contemporary Resort only through April 5th! The inside has a pineapple-coconut filling and it’s all topped with white chocolate buttercream frosting along with toasted coconut and — hooray! — jelly beans!

CEC8898471LARGE-613x409

©Disney

While there, be sure to check out the Contemporary Resort’s display of Chocolate Bunnies and decorated Easter Eggs presented by the Resort’s pastry chefs on the fourth floor!

BoardWalk Bakery boasts its own Easter Cupcake: vanilla cake filled with raspberry panna cotta, topped off with a coconut nest filled with jelly beans.

makmak868775-613x409

©Disney

And, of course, you can check out spots at [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Off-The-Radar Disney World Bars and Lounges

Walt Disney World is supa fun, but it’s also go-go-go-go. Sometimes ya just gotta relax.

dfb2015_guide_3d

Of course, there’re all kinds of ways to accomplish that. But after a long, hard day of Disney touring, I love to head to one of my favorite Disney Bars and Lounges.

“Bar” might not be the first word you think of when you picture Mickey Ears and Pixie Dust. But actually, these are some of my favorite spots on property for a number of reasons.

And I know you agree, because when I first published the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, a comprehensive Index of Disney World’s Bars and Lounges was one of our readers’ top requests.

Well — we heard you! And I’m happy to let you know that the DFB Guide includes reviews of every Bar and Lounge in Walt Disney World!

Let’s dive into the Index and take a closer look at a few. You know my favorites, like Territory Lounge and the Dawa Bar. But today, I want to take you on a tour of a few places you may not have discovered yet.

And if you find this information helpful, then be sure to pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Ready to grab a drink?

A Niche Menu and Free Beer: The Wave Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary resort is a great place to take in a relaxing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Seldom crowded, the restaurant, located in the quiet back corner of the hotel’s lobby offers a market-inspired menu at a much lower price point than you’ll find at Disney’s suite of signature restaurants. You’ll also find some delicious breakfast options.

But in addition to interesting eats, you’ll also find a pretty cool bar and lounge area.

The Bar at Disney's The Wave Restaurant

The Bar at Disney’s The Wave Restaurant

While the food menu is market-driven, the drink menu features some specialties, too. The Wave’s wine list features New World Wines, primarily from the Southern Hemisphere. And nearly all of the wines featured have one thing in common — screwcaps! Sealing wines with screwcaps is a way to battle cork taint, an unfortunate chemical reaction that can ruin a good bottle of wine. So don’t be put off by screwcaps the next time you see one; many quality New World wines, especially those from New Zealand and Australia, are sealed this way.

Wines at the Wave

Wines at the Wave

Do your tastes run to beer rather than wine? The Wave also features a nice selection of Organic Beers. In fact, if you’re a guest staying at the Contemporary or Bay Lake Towers, you can enjoy a Complimentary Organic Beer Tasting on Saturdays from 3-4PM. (Remember, this is JUST if you’re staying at the resort.)

Beer Flight at The Wave

Beer Flight at The Wave

Just stopping in for a drink? Try the Beer Flight. The presentation is pretty impressive.

A Bar That Switches Things Up: Kona Island Coffee/Sushi Bar

Another favorite stop of mine certainly lives up to the name “bar” — but for completely different reasons. In this case, we’re (mostly) trading cocktails for java and some interesting eats.

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

The Polynesian Village Resort has just undergone a major facelift. We’ve welcomed new spots, like the Pineapple Lanai (the resort’s purveyor of Dole Whips these days) as well as the crazy popular Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (waiting times have been up to 6 hours during its soft opening!)

Trader Sam's door sign

Trader Sam’s Door Sign

But with all of the changes, the resort has maintained most of its beloved eateries, including [Read more…]

News! Tickets Now on Sale for Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin’s Food and Wine Classic

Back by popular demand, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will once again be hosting its popular Food and Wine Classic!

fw-Logo

Mark your calendars for Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31, as the Classic celebrates its sixth year! Once again in 2015, the Food and Wine Classic will take place during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival — offering you two wonderful ways to enjoy the food of Disney!

There’s so much to enjoy at this event. Let’s take a closer look at all it has to offer.

The Causeway

Stroll the beautiful Causeway connecting the Swan and Dolphin as you enjoy tapas-sized plates from the resort’s restaurants.

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to sample wine and beer from all around the world. The menu is diverse, celebrating the wide array of food that the Swan and Dolphin has to offer.

Shula's Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

Shula’s Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

We can’t wait to see what spots like Todd English’s bluezoo and Shula’s Steak House offer in 2015!

And there are always a few fun surprises, like Chef Cib’s Smokehouse. Live music plays as evening falls, so bring your dancing shoes. :-)

Food and Beverage Seminars

The 6th Annual Food and Wine Classic will also play host to several Seminars. Choose from [Read more…]

News: “Frozen Fever” Sweet Treats at Disneyland and Disney World

So… Frozen Fun ends in Disneyland on May 15th, and Frozen Summer Fun LIVE won’t return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios until June 17th. That’s one full Frozen-free month… What’s an Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf fan to do?!?

What will we do when there's no Frozen Fun?!

What will we do when there’s no Frozen Fun?!

Fret not, Frozen fans! In the downtime between the two events, Disney is releasing a few treats in honor of “Frozen Fever,” the film short that can currently be seen on the big screen prior to showings of the live-action “Cinderella” film.

As in the film short, these treats go about the task of celebrating Anna’s birthday… and what’s a birthday celebration without a little cake? Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake is a vanilla cupcake with blue buttercream frosting, topped with marshmallows, snowflake candies, and a white chocolate Olaf.

Anna's Happy Birthday Cupcake

Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake ©Disney

At Disneyland, you’ll want to check spots like the Jolly Holiday Bakery, Market House, Pacific Wharf Cafe, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, and The Coffee House.

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

While the cupcakes are already available at Disneyland, starting April 8th, Disney World guests can check various eateries scattered across property, in parks and resorts alike. Altogether, twelve restaurants will carry the cupcakes in WDW, including Main Street Bakery and Gaston’s Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, Starring Rolls Cafe and ABC Commissary in Hollywood Studios, and Sunshine Seasons and Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Epcot.

Resort restaurants  that will carry the cupcake include BoardWalk Bakery, Beach Club Marketplace, Contempo Cafe, Gasparilla Island Grill, Landscape of Flavors and The Mara.

BoardWalk Bakery

BoardWalk Bakery

Looking for something a little more frozen to celebrate the cast of Frozen? Olaf’s Perfect Sundae Day features birthday-cake flavored ice cream topped with hot fudge, mint marshmallows, brownie pieces (!), whipped cream, and sprinkles.

Olaf's Perfect Sundae Day ©Disney

Olaf’s Perfect Sundae Day ©Disney

Those mint marshmallows look a lot like the ones currently available to enjoy with your Warm Hugs Hot White Hot Cocoa over at Olaf’s Snow Fest in Disneyland!

At Disneyland, the Sundae is available at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Clarabelle’s.

Clarabelle's in Disney California Adventure

Clarabelle’s in Disney California Adventure

 

And again, starting April 8th, Disney World guests will find it at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, Hollywood Scoops, and Beaches & Cream.

Beaches and Cream at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

In a new twist, even a few Table Service restaurants are [Read more…]

Photo Tour: The 2015 Grand Floridian Resort Easter Egg Display in Walt Disney World

It’s one of my favorite times of the year at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort!

Every spring in the weeks preceding Easter, the Grand Floridian Bakery Team is given the opportunity to create some absolutely spectacular Easter Eggs for guests to enjoy. And the best part? The Eggs are made of CHOCOLATE. There are other ingredients involved, too, such as fondant, icing, and cocoa butter. But no matter what they are made of, they are all edible!

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg display

The Easter Eggs have been a Grand Floridian tradition for 19 years, but this is just the fourth year that the eggs have been on display for every guest who passes through the Grand Floridian lobby.

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

Something new this year… previously the Eggs were all displayed in one row directly at the lobby entrance. This year, the eggs are grouped in smaller displays in different areas around the lobby. Since some of the eggs are preserved from year to year (you may recognize some familiar ones from the 2014 Easter Egg display), the collection just keeps on growing!

Eggs are on display in various areas throughout the lobby

Eggs are on display in various areas throughout the lobby

The Easter Eggs are on display through April 10th. But in case Walt Disney World isn’t part of your 2015 spring break plans, we wanted to bring the Eggs to you once again this year!

One of the centerpiece eggs for 2015 is an edible replica of Cinderella’s Golden Coach.

Cinderella's Coach Egg

Cinderella’s Coach Egg

The classic Disney animated version of Cinderella received a tribute as well.

Cinderella Egg

Cinderella Egg

Cinderella Egg

Cinderella Egg

In an echo of the fountain in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Disney Vacation Club Villas, the penguins from Mary Poppins have come out to play!

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

There are no shortage of Disney characters on display, including the entire Toy Story gang.

Toy Story Egg

Toy Story Egg

Toy Story Egg

Toy Story Egg

Peter Pan tops off this egg complete with a map of Neverland.

Peter Pan Egg

Peter Pan Egg

Never one to be outdone, Tinkerbell tops her own egg, too!

Tinkerbell Egg

Tinkerbell Egg

And what’s a day at Disney World anymore without spotting this face ;) ?

Queen Elsa egg

Queen Elsa egg

Nothing against Queen Elsa, but it is totally awesome to see some less-heralded characters get a little love this year, too. I think I audibly gasped when I saw [Read more…]

FIRST LOOK! Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort

AHOY!!!! Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is now in soft openings at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!!!

Trader Sam's door sign

Trader Sam’s door sign

And we are SO excited to share pictures from some of our awesome DFB Readers who were there to ring in the occasion!

Many thanks to Lori Hope Fries, DFB Reader and co-founder of TheMainStreetMoms.com, for sending in some awesome pics for us to share with you, along with her review! We’re also suuuuuper grateful to our friend David Shearer for sharing his incredible photos as well! We’ll be using the collection of both of their pictures along with a few of ours to tell the story of the very first days of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.

But before we go in… what is a “soft opening,” exactly? Basically, a soft open means that guests may find Trader Sam’s in operation during a visit to the Polynesian from now until it’s official opening (expected for late April), BUT it can be closed at any given time to continue any necessary work. So, fair warning.

Okay, enough with the logistics! The anticipation is killing me!! Let’s step behind the door…

Trader Sam's door

Trader Sam’s door

Umm, actually, let’s head inside the Grotto after we wait in line. Just getting in on the first day was no easy task!

Take, for instance, this anecdote from our good friend, Mealtrip: “The system is, you get a pager, then they call you in. So there was a 3 hour wait to get a pager and then another 3 hour wait once you had the pager. There is no “pager waiting line”, and you can’t just wait in the hallway for a pager.”

Pager for Trader Sam's

Pager for Trader Sam’s

And so, a head’s up: for at least the first months of operation, we can all expect longs lines to be rule, not the exception. Anyone who’s had experience with Trader Sam’s in Disneyland will be fully aware of this gigantic problem. Okay, with that out of the way, NOW let’s step inside and see what treasures await!

Take it away, Lori!

“We have been on watch for months, waiting for Trader Sam to land at the Polynesian Village Resort. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Room, at the Disneyland Resort, is a favorite stop when we go, and have been there many times. My middle son, Dennis, is an avid tiki mug collector, so we watched as the lobby walls came down around the fountain and a cast member showed us the door leading to Trader Sam’s new location. We watched and waited.

Trader Sam's door

Trader Sam’s door

When you go on the Jungle Cruise in each Adventureland, Trader Sam, the head salesman of the jungle, will greet you. From coast to coast, these two men share a name and a job (and some jokes), but each coast has their own Sam. We were excited to see how the tiki bars of the same name differed.

Trader Sam from Disney World's Jungle Cruise

Trader Sam from Disney World’s Jungle Cruise

We were in the Magic Kingdom when we learned that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto was holding a soft opening. We hopped on a monorail and headed for the Polynesian Village Resort. The wait time was up to four hours to get in! Luckily, we got a pager from a friend who couldn’t stay, and combined the wait.

Pager for Trader Sam's

Pager for Trader Sam’s

We headed to the new patio [Editor’s note: Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace], which has the same menu as inside, and ordered [Read more…]