Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

We’re continuing our coverage of the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival with a brand new special event at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!

That’s right… we paid a visit to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to check out a new Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Event that’s NOT happening at Epcot. While Signature Dining Events have long been held in and around various restaurants on property, this year is the first time that Special Events have expanded to Disney World Resorts. These debut offerings include Brunch with a Twist at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, The Secrets of Flavor at Disney’s Yacht Club, Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and the Special Event we’re reviewing today: Behind the Scenes of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Of all the new Resort Special Events, this sold-out option (at a cost of $99.00 per guest) was likely the most in demand, held on four select Wednesdays from 12:00 Noon – 2:00 PM. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto has been a HUGE hit with Disney World guests since it opened in March of 2015 due to its interactive Tiki-themed atmosphere, crafty cocktails and popular souvenir mugs. An added bonus for Disney fans is that this place is chock-full of nostalgia and Disney history… so much so that it can really help to have a cast of high-energy Skippers at hand to point some of them out (all while mixing drinks and serving up some delicious eats, of course).

So join us once again as we step inside the Grog Grotto…

Behind the Scenes of Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Behind the Scenes of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

…to show you a little bit about what happens behind the scenes at Trader Sam’s! [Read more…]

#OnTheList: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

DisneyFoodBucketList 8-018
This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!


“Welcome to the mystery, romance, and adventure of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. Here on the shores of paradise, our seafaring friend established this happy hideaway for all to enjoy!” 

#OnTheList: Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

#OnTheList: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Aside from proudly boasting his offer of TWO of his heads for one of yours, everyone’s favorite Head Salesman from the beloved Jungle Cruise attraction — Trader Sam — has one more bragging right to add to his list: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is #OnTheList this week! [Read more…]

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


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…



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.



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…]

News and Sneak Peek: Check Out the Drinks Coming to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto!

There’s lots of cool stuff happening at Walt Disney World this year. But one thing that we are crazy excited about is the opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto -- Coming to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Soon!

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto — Coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Soon!

While there’s still no official word on exactly when this Spring we’ll be able to belly up to that bar, we do have a few more details about some of the drinks they’ll be featuring!

We’re hearing that beverages will be “hand crafted”, so we’re expecting delicious fresh flavors with a tropical twist! We can’t wait to get our hands on the Castaway Crush. And it won’t be long before we can indulge in a Polynesian Pearl, a Tahitian Torch, or a Nautilus. But personally, the first drink I’ll be enjoying here is the Dark & Tropical Stormy!

I'll Have Whatever She's Making, Please!

Could That Be a Polynesian Pearl??

In addition to a whole bevy of new drinks, Trader Sam will also bring a couple of tried and true favorites from his Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland to the Grog Grotto. The menu will include the Shrunken Zombie Head, Uh-Oa!, and Krakatoa Punch, in addition to others. We’re still awaiting word on whether we’ll be able to get a Kungaloosh! Surely, we will, right! :-D (Check out our review of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar here!)

Uh Oa!

Uh Oa!!!

And if you don’t indulge in alcoholic beverages, no worries — there are some great non-alcoholic options as well! We’ll look forward to telling you all about Skipper Sipper and Schweitzer Falls, and [Read more…]

Review: Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

“Aloha, ahoy, aha! And welcome to the mystery, romance, and adventure of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.”

These are the words that lure you into Trader Sam’s story when you first look at a menu in this brand new Tiki bar in the Disneyland Hotel! In fact, a good friend of mine has referred to it as “the best of the Jungle Cruise, Adventurers Club, and Tiki Room rolled into a liquor license.” I heartily agree.

Let’s take a trip to the “happy outpost,” shall we?

Trader Sam's Welcome Message - click image for larger version


I had been watching the creation of Trader Sam’s with great interest during the Spring and early Summer of 2011.

All I’d heard is that this destined-to-be-great spot might incorporate some of the decor of the old Pleasure Island Adventurers Club in Disney World, one of my very favorite places. And with the brilliant artistry of Kevin Kidney and Jody Daly behind it, it had [Read more…]