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In the tiki bar business, it’s a jungle out there. Some establishments create themed interiors really well. And other places serve tasty food and drink with no atmosphere. But it’s unusual to find a bar or restaurant that has mastered both, and that is why Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel is a rare gem.
But let’s back up a bit. Every great bar has a fantastic backstory, and Trader Sam's tale is as long as the Nile River and goes on for Niles and Niles. If you don’t believe me, you’re in denial. We'll try to keep it short though.
You may remember Trader Sam, the head salesman from the end of the Disneyland ride, The Jungle Cruise? He’s always willing to trade two of his heads for one of yours. Evidently his skills of mixing head-shrinking solutions transferred over to a talent for mixing cocktails. His drinks got popular with the travelers, and according to history, he “got bitten by the bartending bug.” (And we know that coming from the jungle that’s not the first bug to bite, you know what I mean?)
With a head for business, Sam opened Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki bar and decorated it with all his mementos, artifacts, trinkets, photos, postcards and letters he acquired from his world travels. Just like those Jungle Cruise boats, he’s gotten around … and around … and around. He’s also brushed up with other adventurers along the way, so you’ll discover a few “Easter eggs” on the walls and shelves if you look around. You might see hints of contact with Indiana Jones, Carl and Ellie from “Up!” (their savings jug for Paradise Falls is in there) and even brushes with tikis outside of Disney. You'll find images of President Teddy Roosevelt and references to the the Adventurer's Club.
Perhaps I am dating myself, but miniature Greg Brady is in there. If you caught the time the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii, you’ll know Greg had his own mishaps with a tiki. There's no time to get into all of them here, but you'll enjoy doing some exploring on your own.
Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar is located around the corner from Tangaroa Terrace near the Disneyland Hotel pools. You can find many tropical drinks on (and off) the menu, as well as delicious food. (Your tadpoles are welcome up to sit at tables, but they can't belly up to the bar. Only fully grown frogs there.)
The bar is bursting with Disney magic and fun bartenders, but do watch the weather! Yes, inside! When you order certain drinks, the bartenders, or skippers, and servers may yell out, ring bells, run sirens or change the lighting and weather. You might 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. Get some friends to share the flaming UH-OA! with you and the lighting changes as everyone chants in the bar. It’s toadally exciting! Be careful where you sit. Each side of the bar has a magical seat. Have you had too much to drink, or is your seat slowly sinking? Only the bartender knows.
There are so many hidden drinks on the menu, as the bartenders love to get creative. Perhaps someone from another galaxy played a Jedi Mind Trick on us, but we HAD to try The Asset, aka The Bounty. It tasted as sweet and delicious as Baby Yoda looks! But use the Force to calm yourself and refrain from calling it “Baby Yoda” or “The Child,” because alcohol and children do not mix! Besides mixed drinks, Trader Sam’s serves beer, wine and sangria. You can order any drink that comes with a souvenir mug without the mug. If you do want the mug as a souvenir, your drink will be served in one and your server will send you home with a clean, brand-new version of it.
The secret menu Liquid Luau was a bit strong for my wife, Flora, aka Mommy Frog, but I enjoyed it. She preferred the sweet and tropical Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum off of the main menu . Try getting that song out of your head as you sip it! We’ve even found postcard references to Rosita. She’s the talking bird who has flown the coop of the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland and set up roost entertaining guests with her Jungle Cruise Skipper-quality humor at Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland. What discoveries have you uncovered when exploring this treasure chest?
You might head to Trader Sam’s to trade some of your hard-earned dollars for some tropical drinks, but definitely get some Island Grub too. It’s delicious! We loved the Poke Bowl, Pu Pu Platter and Tonkatsu Ramen. The Panko-Crusted Long Beans will definitely make your rethink your veggies. Yum! Other options that we can’t wait to try on a future visit include Pork Gyoza, Tempura Shrimp, the Hawaiian Burger (a plant-based option is available), Sweet-and Spicy Chicken Wings and salads. Our food was some of the tastiest we’ve had at the Disneyland Resort!
Small tadpoles can dig into a chicken rice bowl, salmon rice bowl, Power Pack or a kids’ cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. The tadpoles can partake in some of Sam’s No-Booze Brews without alcohol too.
For dessert, get a Dole Whip Float with rum! You can get dark rum or coconut rum. It's not on the menu, but it's a sweet treat worth the trip.
Take some time to explore the walls to look at photos and read postcards and letters. You’ll want to locate the Trader Sam’s House Rules!
I can abide by those rules! Can you?
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is a popular watering hole for weary and thirsty travelers. The bar is walk-in only. You might have the best luck getting ahead of the crowd by hopping in before lunch midweek versus going on a holiday weekend. For evening, arrive early. On select nights, you may enjoy live music on the torchlit terrace.
You do not have to be staying at the Disneyland Hotel to make the journey to Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. Any guests can take the trip over from the parks or Downtown Disney. However, having a cool watering hole nearby is certainly one of the nice benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel!
A visit to Trader Sam's Disneyland Hotel location keeps the magic going even after you have left the theme parks. Are you planning on staying on property at the Disneyland Resort? Undercover Tourist can help you save money with hoppin’ deals on discounted Disneyland Resort hotels and multiday Disneyland Resort tickets!
Related: Getting the Scoop on Disneyland Mobile Order Service
Los Angeles Family Vacation,
Hi, trying to get my hands on a reservation during our upcoming trip. Out of curiosity, approx how many tables are inside? I'm no stranger to sought after reservations, just want to know my odds in December. Thx!
Can you go into Trade Sams tiki bar and look around without a reservation?
It's best to get a reservation or join the walk-up list on the Disneyland app. You could try asking the host to take a peek, but it's at their discretion. It's small inside and there isn't a whole lot of room for extra people.
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