If you love a delicious cocktail, especially one filled with rum, and an interactive drinking experience, then you’re going to want to check out the tiki-inspired bar.
Here’s what you need to know about Trader Sam’s at Disney World, including how to get in, what kind of cocktails are served, and anything else you can expect during your visit.
What is Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto?
On the ground level of the Polynesian, you’ll find Trader Sam’s near Capt. Cook’s, the Quick Service dining location.
You may recognize the name Trader Sam, as he’s been a big part of the Jungle Cruise attraction at Magic Kingdom. Well, he also has his very own bar that he appropriately named after himself.
The tiki-themed lounge is filled with ancient artifacts, exotic treasure, and some of the most fun you will have at Disney World. Plus, there’s a big list of cocktails.
Many of the drinks are rum-based and on the sweeter side, but there are other offerings like beer, cider, wine, a zero-proof cocktail, a margarita, and a vodka-based cocktail that may satisfy your taste buds.
You can also order food from a small menu, including items like a tuna sushi roll, pork tacos, tofu lettuce cups, pan-fried dumplings, and more.
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming entrance. It may not look like much on the outside (just a simple door with a sign on it), but we promise the inside is well worth a visit.
How to get into Trader Sam’s
This is the most important tip you need to know before you visit Trader Sam’s:
This is the only way for you to get inside. There also isn’t a virtual queue to join. You have to go in person to get on the list.
How do you do that? Well, once you arrive, you’ll speak with the Cast Member at the door (they are usually waiting outside, but, if not, open the door, and they should be at the check-in desk).
They will gather all of your information and then let you know that whenever your table is ready, you will receive a text.
You usually only have 15 minutes to return once you receive that text. We’ve had mixed results when asking for an estimated wait time. You can either hang around and see if you get a text sooner rather than later, or wait somewhere else at the Poly. Just don’t go too far away, since you’ll need to be able to return within those 15 minutes! If you are late, you may lose your spot.
Sometimes they are accommodating and will try to make it work, depending on if it’s busy or not. Other times, you’ll have to be put back on the list and wait all over again. It’s a first-come, first-served kind of experience.
Now, while arriving early is important, we’ve had experiences where we didn’t show up until dinner (around 6 p.m. or so) and only waited an hour to get in. If you have reservations at ‘Ohana or Kona Café, try putting your name on the Trader Sam’s list before your meal. This is a great way to kill time, and you also won’t be too far from the bar if your name gets called.
Basically, it’s the luck of the draw.
Until 8 p.m., guests of all ages are welcome inside Trader Sam’s. But, after 8 p.m., only those 21 years of age or older are allowed to visit.
How much does Trader Sam’s cost?
To be clear, you don’t have to pay a cover to get inside or anything like that.
You pay for what you order. The cocktails range from $16 all the way up to $37. The more expensive usually means you’re ordering a drink that serves multiple guests.
You can also purchase special tiki souvenir mugs that are an additional price. These are very popular, and many guests even collect them!
If you’re lucky enough to receive a text that it’s your turn to visit Trader Sam’s, here’s what’s next!
You’ll go inside and tell the Cast Member you’ve received a text that your table is ready. They will then seat you in the bar that is perfectly decorated, themed, and everything in between. There is so much to look at, so make sure you don’t just browse the menu.
The following is important: you will either be seated at the bar, there might only be standing-room only, you might get your own table, or you may be seated with other guests. It’s similar to Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios.
The size of your party will also impact where you stand or sit. Your wait time will also be impacted by the size of your party. Wherever you end up, you should have fun no matter what. The servers and bartenders are next level and are truly committed to their craft.
Depending on what you order, there will be a “show” that comes with your cocktail. For example, the Uh-Oa, which is one of the more popular drinks on the menu (and one of our favorites), has an entire over-the-top presentation.
The cocktail is recommended for 2 or more guests (or you may choose to drink it on your own — responsibly, of course).
When it’s ready to be brought to your table, the show begins!
Everyone starts chanting “Uh-oa! Uh-oa! Uh-oa, oa, oa!” You’ll even have to make a sacrifice to the tiki gods by throwing cinnamon on the open flame. You might also get sprayed with some water along the way (from a spray bottle). Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
We’re also fans of The Nautilus, which is another shareable drink that comes with a show, bubbles, and two straws, since this is yet another drink that can be shared.
Ordering the Zombie is another good time, because your server may sport some fun glasses or imitate a zombie by dragging their leg across the bar floor as they deliver your drink.
And if you sit at the bar, let’s just say there may be a surprise waiting for you when you sit down. But, we’re not going to spoil it.
If you’re not into interactive experiences, Trader Sam’s probably isn’t for you. But, it’s truly one of the most fun ways to drink a cocktail on Disney property. We recommend everyone check it out at least once.
If you can’t get in
You can always try another day, but that might not work. You only have so much time at Disney World and your schedule may not allow for more than one day to try to get into Trader Sam’s.
So, the next best thing is to grab a cocktail on the outdoor patio at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace. This is located outside and around the corner from Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, the indoor experience.
While you won’t get to experience the same shenanigans as you do inside, you can order beverages and food from the same exact menu. Reservations aren’t required, and you can simply take a drink to go or seat yourself at a table and wait for a server.
Plus, the views are pretty nice. Sometimes there’s even live Polynesian music that really sets the mood.
Have you been to Trader Sam’s at Disney World? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!