Disneyland Hotel opened back on July 2nd, and with it came a few of its restaurants! One of them, in particular, was at the TOP of our “must revisit” list for good reason — it’s basically one of the coolest bars on earth. We’re heading over to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar to try out the food and get you a full review!
We’ve loved this spot in the past for its relaxed tropical vibes and super fun atmosphere, so we were excited to see if it’s as good as we remember!
You might be familiar with the Trader Sam’s of the East, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. But the OG, the one that started it all, the little bar-that-could, THIS Trader Sam’s is ultra special. This inventive part restaurant/part bar/part attraction is a WHOLE vibe. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is famous for its chill vibes and sometimes crazy antics! It’s become a classic in Disneyland, and it even has its own popular themed souvenirs! We’ve got all the details on the newly reopened Enchanted Tiki Bar, so let’s jump in.
Atmosphere is everything at Trader Sam’s! The bar is themed after the legendary Trader Sam, who searches the globe for fun flavors to mix into his cocktails and food! Trader Sam canon has shifted in the past year with the release of a new storyline on the Jungle Cruise attraction but, at his core, Trader Sam is an entrepreneur. He brought along souvenirs from his travels to decorate his eclectic bar, so you can find tons of hidden facts and Disney references on the decor on the walls!
You’ll find Trader Sam’s smack dab in the middle of the pool area of the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel is set up in towers surrounding an open central outdoor area with the pools and walkways. Right at the core, Trader Sam’s.
Trader Sam’s is open from 4PM to 12AM. Now there’s a new virtual queue system at Trader Sam’s!
For outdoor dining, you can join this queue any time after 11AM, and the indoor dining queue opens at 4PM! You can scan the QR code near the entrance to join the queue. After we joined the virtual queue, we waited for about 45 minutes and then were seated outside!
While we waited, we took the time to peek around at the outdoor seating options! There is a lot of outdoor seating for Trader Sam’s, and it’s pretty shady, too! The decor is really fun, with a Hawaiian-tiki theme.
There are both tables and chairs and bar seating outside, which is good because the inside seating area is pretty small!
The space is small and a little dark, and it’s full of interesting decor! Seriously, you could probably spend a week just reading up on all the fun mementos hidden in here! The bar is themed around a mix of Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room nods. You’ll find many references to these attractions scattered around the bar.
You can see mementos and pictures from Trader Sam’s travels, as well as tiki masks and other adventure-themed decorations! Peep the columns? Aren’t those cool — and they look notably like some similar singing columns in a certain Tiki Room nearby!
If you’ve got a big party, it might be better to request outdoor seating, as the inside is a smaller space with limited seating options. It’s worth noting Trader Sam’s is POPULAR. Not just for guests of Disneyland, but locals alike love this bar and will travel just to spend the night having a few drinks at the bar. Expect a crowd at any time of day, but evenings can be especially busy.
Can you see that window in the back? That’s the amazing “view” from the Enchanted Tiki Bar! If you’ve never been to this insanely cool bar, many of the drinks ordered can “trigger” effects in the bar. Order a Krakatoa, for instance, and this sunny tropical day will suddenly get a little — OK, a LOT — more…lava-y.
That’s part of the fun of the bar. You never know what your order could make happen. A sinking ship in a bottle, a spray of water overhead, a rousing chant of “Uh-Oa!”… there are so many wacky things that can occur in this bar! Now that we’ve seen the inside and revisited our favorite decorations, let’s get to the food!
Oh and a great bonus Sam’s tip — if you show up and don’t want to wait for a drink (or wait for a table at least!), swing by the side of the building. You’ll find a to-go window for Trader Sam’s serving up all the exact same drinks as inside.
We’re gonna rip the bandaid off quick here — this review is food only. WE KNOW, WE KNOW. We’ve sipped and slurped down SO MANY Trader Sam’s originals over the years we thought we’d give the OTHER half of the menu some love this trip. This may seem like sacrilege but…we didn’t order any of those famous drinks this trip. We can NOT gush enough about how truly fantastic the drinks — and the Skippers serving them here — are, so we highly recommend you give some a try. The drinks are made by hand and each Skipper can typically craft up some of their favorite off-menu concoctions too, if you ask! In a world where the vintage tiki bar is slowly fading away, Trader Sam’s is a bright spot keeping that tradition very much alive. If you enjoy imbibing, there’s no better place to do it than here.
Trader Sam’s has appetizers and bar-style food on the menu, but don’t let them fool you! The food comes in big portions and is really tasty! We found the menu by scanning a QR code.
We’ve tried the Poke Bowl and Rongo Salad before, so we were glad to see them back on the menu! We also peeked at the drinks menus! Trader Sam’s has lots of themed cocktails. Note that some of them are served in a souvenir cup, so be sure to ask your server if you’d like to purchase the cup or not…
…a red wine selection…
…white wine selection…
…some sparkling wine options…
There’s plenty of options if you’re looking for a drink! If you’re with kids or not planning to have any alcohol, there’s also a mocktail menu!
And speaking of kids, we took a peek at the kid’s menu here as well!
Whew! That’s a lot of choices!
We just went with a few appetizers for this trip. We chose the Angus 1/2 Pound Hawaiian Cheeseburger, the Hawaiian Platter, and the Panko-crusted Long Beans! We got the cheeseburger first.
The burger has Grilled Pineapple, Applewood-smoked Bacon, Havarti Cheese, Butter Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, and a Sweet-and-Spicy Spread. It’s served with Sweet Potato Fries for $18.
The burger was pretty big (does a 1/2 pound burger really count as an “appetizer”?) and had all kinds of fixins! Our burger came out a pretty decent medium temperature — no overcooked burger puck here.
We thought the burger was super filling, and we especially liked the pineapple and bacon on it! The sweetness from the pineapple went well with the savory patty and Sweet-and-Spicy sauce on it. In general, it was a pretty classic burger, and if you’re looking for something filling, this is a great option. You might be ordering an “app” but this is a full-on meal. We think most burger lovers will happily eat this one up.
The burger came with sweet potato fries, which we really liked! They were crispy and had a little salt on them. Crispy sweet potato fries are a thing of beauty, if done right. The burger and fries paired well together, since both had some sweetness to them.
But that wasn’t quite enough to fill us up, yet, so we tried the Panko-crusted Long Beans too!
These have long been a favorite way of ours to sneak in some veggies to our diet (and pretend they’re french fries!). We even made them at home last year (SUPER easy!). We really liked the texture of the Long Beans, and the panko crust on the outside was quite crispy. They were a little salty, but we think that went well with the Togarashi Aïoli sauce that came with them. The Aïoli was a creamy dip with a little bit of spice to it and a nice savory flavor.
If you like salty fried food, this is a really good snack option! These are great to share with a small group (or as a mini-meal for one!). Plus the presentation in a steamer basket is fun too! The Long Beans were our favorite thing we ate here today. We got it for $10. But we still weren’t quite done! To finish off our appetizer tour, we tried the Hawaiian Platter! This isn’t what you’d typically associate with a Hawaiian Platter…it puts off more Hawaiian potluck vibes!
The Hawaiian Platter is essentially Hawaiian comfort food, with Furikake-seasoned Thai Jasmine Rice and Macaroni Salad, served with your choice of Roasted Pork Belly or Poached Chicken Breast. We went with the Chicken for our meal!
The chicken was tender and flavorful, but we wish there had been a little more of it!
Honestly, the mac salad was just OK. It wasn’t super flavorful, and we thought it was very average in terms of taste and texture. If you’re looking for some amazing Macaroni Salad, this probably isn’t a stand-out food. This reminded us of the same bucket-o-macaroni salad you’d find at most grocery stores. It’s fine, if you’re in the mood for that, but nothing worth doing backflips over.
Our favorite part was actually the jasmine rice! It’s seasoned with Furikake seasoning, which is a salty seaweed-type seasoning! Mixed together, it added a fresh unique flavor to the otherwise plain rice. This was surprisingly enjoyable!
It also came with a sauce for the chicken and rice. The sauce was sweet, and we’re pretty sure it was Teriyaki. It was nice to dip our chicken in, but that was pretty much where we left it.
In general, the Hawaiian platter was not our favorite of the dishes we ate, but it was still pretty tasty and very filling! It was good food, but we thought the other things we ate were better! The Hawaiian Platter was $17. If you’re scratching your head like “but that’s not the Hawaiian Platter I’d expect to see here,” you’re right. Sam’s USED to serve a top-notch Pu Pu Platter that was more what we think most associate with a Hawaiian Platter.
Nosh or Not
We’re rolling out of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar after eating all that Hawaiian food! You’ll want to drop by to visit Trader Sam if:
- You love Hawaiian food or want to give it a try
- You want to see some interesting and unique decor
- You’re staying on Disneyland property and can drop by for a drink and to experience the fun vibes!
Consider giving Sam a pass if:
- You’re looking for a quiet sit-down meal. It can get pretty loud, especially in the evening!
- You’re not really into Hawaiian food or don’t drink. The food here is Hawaiian themed, and the main attraction of the bar is the themed cocktails!
- You don’t want to wait a long time for a table. There really isn’t much space inside the restaurant, so the wait times can get long. If you’re good with sitting at the bar or taking your food outside, the wait isn’t as long!
We really do love eating at Trader Sam’s — it’s one of our favorite spots! The service is usually really good, although it was busy when we went (and it usually is!) so it was a little slow. We thought our server was great and really nice! The real draws are the fun cocktails, unique atmosphere, and interesting decor! If you can stop by in the evening to try a drink and take in the loud, exciting atmosphere, we’d recommend at least popping by! The food is also good, but keep in mind that you can get a lot of the same dishes at nearby Tangaroa Terrace, which is also in the Disneyland Hotel! The location and atmosphere of Trader Sam’s — right by the pool, with fire pits and tiki torches — is what makes it unique and fun.
You can see a lot of cool stuff at Disneyland but very few things come close to the coolness of Trader Sam’s.
Keep following DFB, and we’ll let you know about more restaurants around the Disney parks!
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Would you pop in to Trader Sam’s? Let us know in the comments!