Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort officially reopens to all guests today, but that’s not all there is to get excited about!
We’ve been brought you a look at all the excitement happening in the resort including a NEW Dole Whip treat (!!), brand new Moana-themed guest rooms, and more! And, while most of the restaurants (including ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe) had already reopened, there was still one fan-favorite spot that had yet to reopen with the hotel…at least, that’s what we thought… .
Disney surprised us all and announced that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace would be reopening to guests yesterday and you know that we HAD to stop by to check it out! So, put on your lei and get ready to head to a Polynesian island because we’re bringing you a look at all the drinks, eats, and everything else this popular bar has to offer!
Now, if you’re not familiar with Trader Sam’s, this bar is themed as an extension of the Jungle Cruise attraction in Magic Kingdom. Basically, the idea is that Trader Sam, the famous head-salesman-turned-gift-shop-owner, needed a place to store all of the artifacts that he collected from his travels all over the globe and he decided to stow them away in this “happy hideaway” in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. And, that’s why you’ll have to find the little hole in the wall down the hallway from Capt. Cook’s to get in!
Now you’ll find the bar open from 3PM to midnight daily, but you’ll want to be mindful of the time if you’re traveling with guests under the age of 21. Trader Sam’s is only open to all guests until 8PM and then transitions into only allowing those 21 and older.
And, holding only 51 seats total in the bar, you’ll likely have to do a little bit of waiting before you can get in. But, Disney is currently using a Virtual Queue here, where guests can check-in with a Cast Member (it opened yesterday around 1:30PM) and “get in line” for a spot when it becomes available.
You’ll get a text message when you first sign up saying that you’re in line, and when your table is ready you’ll get another text message asking you to come to the entrance! Just keep in mind that there may only be standing room when you’re name is called because seating is first-come, first-served.
And, whether you’re standing or sitting in the bar, there is SO MUCH to look at when you come inside! The tiki bar is literally filled to the brim with eclectic artifacts, pictures, souvenirs, and more! You can find unique light fixtures and even an octopus leg up above…
…plus behind the bar, you’ll find lots of little trinkets and a pearl that comes to life when someone orders up the Polynesian Pearl cocktail from the menu!
But, take some time to really look around here because you can spot some fun nods to Disney, like Orange Bird…
…books about how “Eating People is Wrong”…
…and even the first dollar bill which is hidden reallllly well in a display case.
As far as seating, guests are encouraged to share tables when inside because there isn’t a whole lot of space. So, you might find yourself sitting (or standing) with strangers when you visit. This really is something to keep in mind if you are still looking to distance yourself when dining.
And, one of the best parts of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is all the interactive elements! Your server is a Skipper and they come fit with just as many puns as you might expect on the ride, but they have some help from the bar itself!
It’s called FASHUN🦩(BYOF: bring your own flotation device) pic.twitter.com/dz0BL59gzl
— AJ Wolfe (@DisneyFoodBlog) July 19, 2021
…and the Tiki God Uh-Oa comes to life (whether you like it or not) when you order the signature drink.
So, most of the elements have returned with the reopening of the bar, though one big change is that the Skippers are not supposed to yell anymore. So, instead of screaming 2 shots of rum across the bar when someone orders the Hippopotomai-Tai, they’ll just say it when they deliver the drink to your table. Also, the family tree no longer has a family in it.
Well, that’s enough about what it’s like to be back in Trader Sam’s, now onto the drinks and eats!
Unlike many other reopened restaurants in Disney World, you’ll find a menu on your table so you won’t need your phone to scan a QR code.
And, most of the menu is exactly the same as it was before. You can find 14 different specialty cocktails with some to share, some that come in a souvenir mug, and more. Though there is one notable change here — the Shrunken Zombie Head cocktail has been renamed the Zombie (which is something that was also done at Disneyland’s location). But, besides a new name, the ingredients and serving cup are all the same.
On the back of the menu, you’ll find the beer and wine selections, plus a small appetizer menu. Again, most has remained the same, though the Headhunter Sushi Roll has been swapped out for the Kahuna Tuna Sushi Roll, and the Hawaiian Poke and Roasted Chicken and Pork Pâté Bánh Mì Sliders are no longer on the menu.
So, are the drinks as good as we remember? YES! We started off with the Hippopotomai-Tai which is made with Plantation Original Dark Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, Bols Orange Curaçao, Orgeat (Almond), Organic Agave Nectar, and fresh Lime Juice. This drink is one of our favorites to grab here because it’s got lots of tropical flavors but isn’t overly sweet. But, rum and lime are definitely the dominant flavors though, so if you’re not a fan, you might want to order up another drink instead.
And, of course, it’s served in a mug that you can bring home! This one will just cost ya $23 compared to the $15 it costs to just have the drink and leave empty-handed.
Next up was the Zombie! Now, this one is fun to order because your Cast Member basically transforms into a zombie to deliver it to you.
Cast Member Jenna with the impeccable drink delivery…💯 pic.twitter.com/aP1KnUYB9m
— AJ Wolfe (@DisneyFoodBlog) July 19, 2021
But, if you’re looking for something that has tropical juice and isn’t super sweet then this one is for you.
Trader Sam’s also has a few drinks that are made to be shared including the Uh-Oa which includes Plantation Original Dark Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, Orange, Passion Fruit, Guava, Pineapple, and Grapefruit Juices, Falernum, Cinnamon, and fresh Lime Juice. And, it’s really the first 20 seconds that are the most fun when you order this drink.
Why? Well, it wakes up the Tiki God and cues a bar-wide chant of “uh-oa.” PLUS, it is served on FIRE 🔥 and you can add to it by sprinkling cinnamon on top! Playing with fire on a drink? Yeah, sign us up!
We’re BACK! 🍹 pic.twitter.com/OA7DWjC9tm
— AJ Wolfe (@DisneyFoodBlog) July 19, 2021
And, the last shareable drink that we gave a try is the Nautilus which is made with Barbancourt Pango Rhum, Appleton Estate Reserve Rum, Combier Crème de Pêche de Vigne Liqueur, Tropical Juices, and Falernum. By now you may have noticed that “Tropical Juices” is used in a lot of the tiki bar’s drinks, but this was the drink that we thought had the strongest flavor from it (though there is some tartness to it).
The giant cocktail costs $32 if you’re opting to forego the souvenir mug or $58 with it.
And, one little detail that big-time Trader Sam’s fans may have realized by now is that the cocktails are no longer served with long bendy plastic straws. Instead, the bar has ditched the plastic and opted for long paper straws that have a red and white pattern. So, is it a little less fun? Maybe. But, paper straws are being implemented in a lot of Disney restaurants now so Trader Sam’s is just getting the memo.
Now for the appetizers! First, we ordered up the Thai Chicken Flatbread that comes with Bacon and Peanut Sauce for $12. If you’ve been following along with us for a little while now, you know that we love a good flatbread and this one certainly stacks up in the rankings! The peanut sauce was our favorite part of the dish and the chicken was served on top in nice big chunks. But, the crust on ours could have used a bit more cooking in the kitchen and was just a little too doughy.
And, we couldn’t settle for just one appetizer — we also ordered up the Kalua Pork Tacos with Cabbage and Pickled Vegetables for $10.50. All in all, we weren’t overly impressed with the dish. We thought that the meat was nice and moist and the veggies added a nice crunch to each bite.
But, if you’re a fan of sweet and spicy foods then you’re going to like this one because the fresh pepper adds a lot of heat to the dish.
Nosh or Not
Make the trek over to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto if:
- You enjoy uniquely flavored drinks. There’s a whole lot of rum and tropical juices here so if you’re into fruity drinks then this is the place to visit!
- You want to visit a high-energy bar during your trip. Like we mentioned, almost every drink that you can order comes with some grand delivery and the Skippers know how to bring the energy and involve you in it too!
- You love Jungle Cruise! Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is one piece of the Jungle Cruise story in Disney World (and Disneyland), so you’ll get another flavor of punny jokes and entertainment here.
Avoid the head salesman (and his bar) if:
- You’re not a big fan of tropical drinks. Trader Sam’s is a tropical-themed bar and all of the drinks will feature some sort of juices. This also isn’t the best place to go if you’re looking for a meal. There are only a few appetizer options and there’s not much to choose from if you have dietary restrictions.
- You’re looking for a faster dining experience. This is a popular spot to visit, so the virtual line can get REALLY long and you might find that the wait time is longer than you’re willing to stick around.
- You want a more relaxed environment for drinks. There is A LOT going on when you visit Trader Sam’s between swimming Skippers, chanting Tiki Gods, and more — so, it’s basically the opposite of relaxing.
- You want to have a separate table for your party. Trader Sam’s is currently operating at full capacity and guests are encouraged to share tables, so you might find yourself sitting with strangers while you’re here.
After over a year of being closed, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto certainly still lives up to all the hype. It offers a unique, fun, and interactive dining experience that you won’t find at any other Disney World bar and will likely remember (and laugh about) for years to come. So, if you can make room for a trek over to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and handle the long wait times to get in, then it’s definitely worth a visit! Plus, you might even walk away with one of Trader Sam’s artifacts (well, souvenir mugs) that you can take home with you and be reminded of all those cheesy jokes that the Skipper cracked.
And, keep in mind that if you can’t get into the bar (or you don’t want to wait), the full cocktail menu is also served outside at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace! The atmosphere is a bit more laid back here, but you’ll still get to try all those tropical concoctions! And, be sure to stay tuned to DFB for more Disney food news and updates!
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Have you ever been to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto? Let us know in the comments!