One of the best bars at Disneyland is Trader Sam’s due to the atmosphere and unique drink menu. Our Disneyland Trader Sam’s review includes an overview of atmosphere, drinks, food plus tips on how to get a reservation.
There are plenty of incredible food choices at the Disneyland Resort, but for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the parks, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel is a popular dining location.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is an out-of-park oasis inspired by the world-famous Jungle Cruise that transports you to a tropical paradise. It is a unique treasure where you can find many delicious tropical drinks on (and off) the menu.
Disneyland Trader Sam’s Review Overview
Centrally located on the Disneyland Hotel property, Trader Sam Enchanted Tiki Bar is nestled within dozens of palm trees and tiki torches, around the corner from Tangaroa Terrace, and overlooking the iconic Disneyland Hotel pools.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar offers indoor and outdoor seating, both with their own unique feel. The smaller, indoor space, that is quite dark, has more of the tiki bar vibe, featuring very funny and knowledge bartenders and surprises around every turn.
In this Disneyland Trader Sam’s review you will find out what I mean! It’s an experience like no other.
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Disneyland Trader Sam’s Hours
The indoor bar welcomes adventurers of all ages until 8pm. After 8pm, the indoor bar area is restricted to guests 21 years of age and over. Both areas open at 11:30am and is bursting with Disney magic until 11:55pm.
When Should You Go to Trader Sam’s – Besides Right Now!
I would suggest dining at Trader Sam’s on a day when you are not in the park, since a park ticket is not required. Sleep in after a late night in the parks, lounge by the pool all afternoon, and find your way to Trader Sam’s in the early evening for a little happy hour. A perfect day.
How to Get to Trader Sam’s at Disneyland
PRO TIP: Parking is validated for three hours at the Disneyland Hotel north parking lot, a convenient perk! So, you could dine at Trader Sam’s, and then explore Downtown Disney while you’re there and get parking for free!
If you choose to dine at Trader Sam’s on a day you are at Disneyland Park, consider hopping on the monorail in Tomorrowland for a quick and fun ride over to the Disneyland Hotel. Be aware that the Disneyland Monorail runs from 8am to 7pm. You will disembark the monorail on the west end of Downtown Disney, locate the easy-to-spot Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat, and walk a short four minutes to Trader Sam’s, winding through beautiful paths lined with Bird of Paradise tropical flowers and ambient Disney music on historic Disneyland Hotel property. It’s magical.
Or if you have small children, or you are a child at heart, The LEGO Store is directly across from the monorail stop, as well. We love purchasing a little LEGO set before heading over to Trader Sam’s. It gives the kids an entertaining activity to work on while the adults enjoy the ambiance in peace! Parenting hack. You’re welcome.
What Makes Trader Sam’s So Special – The Backstory
Like with just about everything at Disneyland, there is a story involved, and Trader Sam’s is no different. Our beloved namesake, Trader Sam, is the quirky adventurer and entrepreneur who has worked the shores of Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise selling and trading goods.
Trader Sam then decided to open an Enchanted Tiki Bar where he brought along souvenirs from his travels to decorate his eclectic bar, so you will discover artifacts (hidden Easter eggs and Disney references) adorning the walls of Trader Sam’s.
One sweet Disney reference you will find in Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is a banjo with “H. Goff” written on the front, which stands for Harper Goff, who is an original Imagineer dubbed “Walt’s Second Imagineer”. He was incredibly influential in the original design of Adventureland, as well as being quite the prolific banjo player. Keep your eye out for other artifacts from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Typhoon Lagoon, Indiana Jones Adventure, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and even the Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea. These nods are part of what makes Trader Sam’s so special.
What makes Trader Sam’s so special (and wild and fun!) is that because Trader Sam traveled all over the world to collect the ingredients for “Sam’s Gorilla Grog” (his “secret” base formula for his drinks – which is basically just POG), he faced many dangers along the way. This caused some of his drinks to have mystical powers. Ordering these drinks “disturbs the tiki gods” which triggers special effects in the bar. You never know (unless you read this review, of course!) what your order could make happen, including, but not limited to, a spray of water over you, a sinking ship in a bottle, bells and sirens ringing, or you might even encounter lightning and thunder.
Order a Krakatoa Punch and a volcano erupts outside the window as it “rains lava” on everyone in the bar. The Shipwreck on the Rocks sends a ship in a bottle to sink in stormy waters. Or perhaps best of all, if you like being the center of attention, order the flaming Uh-Oa! for your table and the lighting changes as everyone chants in the bar.
We love visiting Trader Sam’s and we recently had the opportunity to go again. Read on for my Disneyland Trader Sam’s review of the food and restaurant, including tips on how to get a dining reservation and some Disneyland Hotel extras!
Tips on How to Snag a Dining Reservation to Trader Sam’s! Best Bar at Disneyland?
Trader Sam’s is popular, with not a lot of tables inside, so I had made a dining reservation online in advance for my family of four, which is highly recommended if you want to sit inside – but snagging a dining reservation can be tricky. To book an advanced dining reservation at the Disneyland Resort, head to the official Disneyland website or call the reservation hotline at (714) 781-3463. And don’t forget to read our Top Five Tips for Getting Disneyland Dining Reservations, which will help you secure those hard to get dining reservations like a pro!
I prefer to make my dining reservation through the Disneyland app and I am on the app to grab a spot as soon as I can. Online dining reservations open up 60 days in advance. So, if you are planning ahead, which I suggest you do, get onto the reservation page, either in the app or on the Disneyland website right at 6am PST, exactly 60 days before your desired date. Be aware, however, the time of day that dining reservations open up varies. I have seen reservation times released at midnight, 3am PST, as well as the 6am PST, with 6am PST being the most common lately.
If you are wanting to be extra like me, do a couple practice runs a few days before and see if times are available at 6am PST, if not, try the next day for 3am PST, and so on. You will soon crack the code and be ready!
Once you are on the Disneyland app or website ready to make your reservation, search for “Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar” and click on “Reserve Dining”, enter your party size and desired date (if you are smart enough to be there exactly 60 days out, you’ll need to swipe left a couple of times through the calendar). I recommend, instead of choosing the “Lunch” or “Dinner” option, scroll through the specific times and pick the closest time to what you are looking for. Some options show up when you click on the specific times, but do not when you click on “Lunch” or “Dinner”. Not sure why! And, fingers crossed, a time option will pop up for you. Click on it and confirm quickly! They go fast!
If you cannot find a reservation, for whatever reason, keep checking! Random times open up constantly, especially 24 hours beforehand, since that is the deadline to cancel a reservation without getting hit with a cancellation fee. If you decide not to visit after making a reservation for whatever reason, do not forget to cancel your dining reservation 24 hours before the day and time of the reservation, so you don’t get stuck with a $10 per person cancellation fee. Cancellations and modifications to reservations can be made by visiting My Dining and Activity Reservations or via the Disneyland mobile app by tapping “Future Plans”.
Trader Sam’s Walk Up List
If you don’t have a dining reservation, no worries! Reservations are not required. You can join a walk-up list! It is always an option. After downloading the Disneyland app, search for “Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar” and then click on “Join Walk-Up List” and add your party. Very easy! I just checked the walk-up list wait time on an early Thursday evening in July and it was only a 10-minute wait. Not bad. But can get up to 45-60 minutes later in the evening. You are able to check the wait time from anywhere, but must be close by to add your party.
If you have your heart set on sitting inside, I would recommend joining the walk-up list at the check in podium.
Disneyland Trader Sam’s Review
When we arrived, we requested to sit outside on the spacious outdoor patio. Remember: You can always request a specific spot or area to sit at any Disneyland restaurant. Cast Members may not be able to accommodate every time but they will try! Never hurts to ask, if you have a specific wish!
We began with a couple of tasty drinks. We ordered a secret menu cocktail called the Liquid Luau. You will not find it on the menu, hence “secret”, but you can ask for it, nonetheless. Secret menu items at Disneyland’s various restaurants are available just by asking your server for them or making a request when you order.
The Liquid Luau consists of Overproof Rum, and Canton Ginger Liqueur. It is topped with a Coruba Dark Rum floater and a tiny umbrella, which was a nice touch. The Liquid Luau tasted mighty rummy, maybe even a little much for me, so make sure you like rum!
Next, we went with the Hawaiian Platter ($17.00) and an order of Panko-crusted Long Beans ($10.00). The Hawaiian Platter consists of marinated short ribs served with jasmine rice, macaroni salad and tangy slaw. It was perfectly sharable for two adults and two young children. The Panko-crusted Long Beans are an absolute must, served in an authentic steamer with a delicious side of togarashi aioli.
However, the drinks are the main attraction at Trader Sam’s. There are two other drinks that are lovely and highly recommended. One is the Krakatoa Punch which includes various rums, Sam’s gorilla grog, and hibiscus grenadine, and don’t forget the volcano eruption. And the other is the Hippopoto Mai-Tai, which also has its share of rum but adds some orgeat syrup and agave nectar. Check out the menu while you are there (or beforehand!) and pick out what looks good to you! Does anyone else look at the menu before going somewhere or is that just me?
The menu is fit with all sorts of Polynesian fare that will transport you to island living, if just for 90 minutes. And don’t sleep on the Tonkotsu Ramen ($17.00) with pork belly, noodles and a soft-boiled egg. Yum! Or the classic Poke Bowl ($17.00) of chicken thigh, broccoli and teriyaki sauce. These will not disappoint!
Disneyland Hotel Charm
While you are at the Disneyland Hotel (read our review here), or waiting to be contacted from the Walk-Up List, roam around the property and explore! There is a charming gazebo in a park-like setting of Rose Court Garden, just a few steps south of Trader Sam’s, and my Indiana-Jones-loving son enjoyed that area for quite a long time.
Also, just next door on the first floor lobby of the Frontier Tower (you do not have to be staying at the Disneyland Hotel to enter) check out the miniature Big Thunder Mountain Railroad diorama built to a 1/4″ to 1′ scale of Frontierland’s famous coaster. This model is a re-creation of the original used by Imagineers in the 1970s to create Big Thunder. It is incredible and enthralled our whole family – and not just because it is one of our all-time favorite rides!
Currently Disneyland Hotel is hosting pool parties and luaus in the afternoon, so if you time it right, you might even catch a bit of extra magic.
I hope you found my Disneyland Trader Sam’s review helpful! Trader Sam’s is one of our favorite spots at the Disneyland Resort for its nostalgia, atmosphere, and unique dining experience. Adventure and mystery awaits you at this enchanting tiki bar! Cheers!
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