Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar Reviewby Megan Walker, contributing writer
As the parks get busier and busier over time, the need for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax for a bit is as important as ever. Everyone has their "place" they like to retreat to for a break from the parks, and mine is Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. Located at the Disneyland Hotel, Trader Sam's is one of the best Tiki bars I've ever visited and it's a fantastic place to hang out when the parks get too busy—or it gets too hot outside. Whether or not you drink, Trader Sam's is a great place to hang out, with its fantastic environment, great food, and really tasty drinks.
The key reason to visit Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar is for the atmosphere and environment. Trader Sam's is a pretty typical Tiki bar, complete with kitschy decorations, fantastic music, and bartenders wearing Hawaiian shirts. Inside, the bar is pretty dark, aside from some minimal lighting and some faux window displays. However, there are not a lot of tables inside the bar. There are a couple along each wall, some tall two-top tables, and seating all around the bar itself. You might have to wait a little while for a seat to open up if you're visiting during a busy period, but if you arrive early in the day, you usually won't have a problem grabbing a table.
Additionally, you can always order a drink from the bar and take it to the outdoor seating around the bar and adjoining Tangaroa Terrace restaurant. The seats outside include tables and couches, and are also great places to sit and relax for a while; one of the best things about sitting outside is you get to sit near the Disneyland Hotel pool, underneath the beautiful palm trees surrounding the hotel.
The best part about Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar however, is the theming inside the bar itself, which is modeled as if Trader Sam, of Jungle Cruise fame, had built the bar to collect the memories of his many adventures. There are numerous artifacts, pictures, postcards, and fun "Easter eggs" hiding on the walls and throughout the bar. You'll discover something new every time you visit. I stop by every time I'm at the resort, and I'm sure I still haven't seen everything the bar has to offer.
While you are most likely planning to visit Trader Sam's for a drink, consider sitting down for a light meal, as well. I love going to Trader Sam's for lunch when visiting the resort. I have quite a few favorites on their menu, but my pick is the Pu Pu Platter. This is the best thing to get when with a group of people, or you're just indecisive about what to order. The platter is an appetizer sampler with all of Trader Sam's best items on it.
Other great items include the Chinese long beans (so good!), the Hawaiian cheeseburger (with delicious melty pineapple), and a Kālua pork sandwich with sweet potato fries. While the menu isn't as large as the other restaurants in the resort, the food is still really good and works great for a lunch, or a light dinner. A tip here: if there's anything you want from Tangaroa Terrace (like coconut cake, for example) just ask your server and they can go grab it for you and add it to your Trader Sam's bill.
Of course the biggest reason you're coming to a Tiki bar is probably for the drinks, and fear not, Trader Sam's has some of the best in the Disneyland Resort. the drink menu offers a variety of rum and juice variety cocktails, along with a full bar, as well as wine, and a selection of beers on tap, including one from Tahiti. If you're visiting Trader Sam's with a large group of people, especially if it's your first time, you must try the Uh-Oa! This drink is served in a bowl and definitely meant for more than one person to enjoy. It's also a fun drink to order and watch the special effects that happen in the bar itself—and the bartenders play along.
Among the rum drinks, my personal favorite is the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum, a delicious blend of rum and coconut, that is super tasty on a hot day. The most fun thing about the drinks at Trader Sam's are that quite a few of them are served in unique, souvenir mugs that you can keep, for an additional charge. These mugs range from Shrunken Zombie Heads, to traditional Tiki mugs, to the signature Trader Sam's barrel mug; these are really fun, unique souvenirs, great collector's items, or a nice addition to your at-home Tiki bar!
If you're visiting the resort on a hot summer day, or the parks happen to be extremely busy, Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar is one of the best places to escape the hustle and bustle. Whether it is for a midday break, or a late night drink before calling it a day, Trader Sam's is definitely a great choice. The environment and theming can't be beat, the food is very good, and the drinks are top-notch. Next time you're visiting the Disneyland Resort, be sure to stop by for a visit, whether it's your first stop in…or your 100th. Cheers!