Here’s the thing: Trader Sam’s doesn’t accept reservations (unlike Disney World’s other super-popular bar Oga’s Cantina). The ONLY way to get into Trader Sam’s right now is to wait in line. And with the virtual line filling up quickly, how can you manage to get in? Well, we’ve put together some tips that will hopefully help you step through those coveted doors.
When to Go
Knowing WHEN to go to Trader Sam’s is half the battle. Currently, the location is open from 3PM to midnight. But the bar is only open to guests 21 and older after 8PM. So if you have young ‘uns in your party, keep that in mind. Also, keep in mind that operating hours can change, so you’ll want to check the current hours as you get closer to your trip.
During our most recent visit to Trader Sam’s, the virtual line opened around 2:30PM. So, if getting into this spot is a top priority for you, you’ll probably want to arrive at the Polynesian a little bit before that to make sure you can get on the list. More on that in a second.
Even if you don’t want drinks until later in the day, you’ll probably want to get there pretty early. Also, keep in mind that the weekends will likely be when this spot will be at its busiest. If you can, try to visit Trader Sam’s on a weekday to avoid some of the crowds.
Keep Your Party Small
Yes, it’s fun to get a big group of people together for drinks, but when it comes to Trader Sam’s, you’ll probably want to do that. Keeping your party relatively small could potentially get you seated easier simply because of the size of this spot.
There isn’t a lot of space inside Trader Sam’s — it can only seat so many guests. So if you have fewer guests in your party, you may be able to get a table a little bit easier.
Prepare to Stand in Line to get in Line
Okay, that might sound confusing, but here’s what we mean. In order to get into Trader Sam’s you’ll have to stand in physical line to sign up for the virtual queue. When you arrive, look for the physical line at the check-in desk for this spot. You’ll need to stand in that to ultimately speak with the Cast Member who will get your name on the virtual waiting list.
When we visited the Polynesian during Trader Sam’s opening week, the Cast Member told us that guests had started to line up just to join the virtual queue starting at 12:30-1PM. But, the Cast Member was not actually coming outside to place guests into the virtual queue until 2:30PM. Of course, some of this high demand for Trader Sam’s could be due to the fact that the spot just recently reopened.
But, this is usually a pretty popular spot, and it doesn’t have a lot of seating, so arriving early is likely your best strategy. Again, if getting in is your #1 priority, consider arriving early and keeping an eye on the area near Trader Sam’s around 12:30-1PM to see if/when guests start to line up to eventually join the virtual queue. If you see other people starting to hop in line, you might want to join the physical line too.
Getting on the Virtual Waitlist & Plan to Spend Some Time Waiting
When you reach the check-in desk, you will give the Cast Member there your name, email, and phone number. They will put you in the virtual queue and you’ll receive a confirmation text. You’ll later receive a text when your table is ready. But it could be a while before your table is ready. When we visited one day around 4:45PM, the virtual waitlist was at about a 2 hour wait.
So, you’ll want to plan what to do to keep yourself entertained while you wait for your table to be ready. You could do some shopping at the Polynesian’s gift shops, explore some of the hotel and the beach area, grab a snack (maybe some chocolate-covered bacon?), or just take a seat somewhere, put up your feet, and relax! Just prepare yourself and your group for a bit of wait.
Show Up When It’s Your Turn
When you get the text stating that your table is ready, proceed directly back to the check-in desk at Trader Sam’s and check in with the Cast Member there. They’ll then get you inside Trader Sam’s and lead you to a table.
You don’t want to wait too long after receiving that text to make your way to Trader Sam’s. Since there will likely be a long list of other guests waiting in line for their spot, you’ll want to make sure you get a seat when it’s your turn.
Give Up and Go Somewhere Else 😂
If you don’t want to wait a (potentially) long time to get into Trader Sam’s or the virtual queue reaches capacity before you’re able to join it, don’t panic! You’re at the Poly and thankfully there are lots of other places to check out. If you want to go somewhere with the exact same food and drinks as Trader Sam’s, look no further than Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace!
Sure, Tiki Terrace is missing in the fun Cast Member antics and the intense theming of Trader Sam’s. But, there’s generally some live entertainment to enjoy (see if it’s available during your trip), the wait time here is usually minimal, and you can generally still grab the same tasty drinks and treats as the menu inside! And if all else fails you can potentially take a walk over to the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa or head to one of the many other fantastic bars/lounges around Disney World!
So there you have it — those are some tips to hopefully help you get into one of the most popular bars at Disney World. So good luck, and CHEERS! 🥂
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Have you ever been inside Trader Sam’s? Let us know in the comments!