Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Hotel is one of our team’s favorite places to find fun drinks, incredible theming, and witty bartenders.
But we’re not the only ones making sure to stop by on our Disneyland visits — this spot is known for having long lines to get in even before it opens. We made sure to get a spot on our most recent trip, so follow along to see how it went!
We’ve been to this location on multiple occasions and really loved it in the past. We’ve gone when they first opened, when they released new drinks, and after it reopened following the COVID closures. This time around, we sat at the bar and ordered a few drinks and bites to eat. Let’s see how it went.
The atmosphere is one of the best parts of this location, which was inspired by the world-famous Jungle Cruise. When you walk up, you’ll notice the entrance by the large rum barrel noting the name of the lounge.
According to Disney, the story is that years ago, explorer Trader Sam was “bitten by the bartending bug” and ever since, he has been searching the “Amazon, Congo, Mystic Point, Polynesia, and every exotic locale in-between for ingredients to mix into these magical libations.”
The atmosphere matches this storyline perfectly, and you could stay entertained the whole time just taking in all the decor. You’ll find photographs and souvenirs, and if you look closely, puns, historical facts, and plenty of Disney references. We had a seat at the bar, and its vibe did not disappoint.
We were given themed menus that introduced us to the backstory of the bar…
…and showed us some of their bites to eat.
Let’s take a look!
While you could stay entertained the whole time just taking in the sights, we love how unique the cocktails are here, so we decided to try two — the Hala Kahiki and the Zambezi Sour.
The Hala Kahiki is made with Plantation Pineapple Rum, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, Falernum, and Peychaud’s Bitters. It was fun, but pretty basic compared to some of the other drinks offered here. The main flavors were the fruit juice and the Falernum — a sweetened lime and spice mix found in tropical drinks.
Our favorite part about this drink was the foam on top — the texture was great and it made for a very pretty cocktail! Overall, it was good but not as exciting as some other choices.
The Zambezi Sour is made with Buffalo Trace Burboun, Falernum, simple syrup, and lime and grapefruit juices. This one is perfect for grapefruit lovers!
While it wasn’t overwhelming, the grapefruit was nice and refreshing — and our sweet-drink-loving reporter thought it was the perfect balance of sweet and sour. She couldn’t really taste the bourbon, however, which could be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for.
On to the food! We tried the Angus 1/2 lb Hawaiian Cheeseburger, the Hawaiian Platter with Teriyaki Chicken, and the Poke Bowl.
The Hawaiian Cheeseburger is made with grilled pineapple, applewood-smoked bacon, havarti cheese, butter lettuce, tomato, onions, and sweet-and-spicy spread and is served with sweet potato fries.
This was honestly a pretty basic cheeseburger. It did have a little bit of pineapple on it for a juicy kick, and it was a hefty portion.
We didn’t think it was very special, and we wouldn’t go out of our way for it — but we were hungry, and it did the trick. We got this for $18.
Next, we got the Teriyaki Chicken Hawaiian Platter, which is served with jasmine rice, macaroni salad, and tangy slaw. This was actually quite a bit of food, and it reminded us of a family cookout. Everything was well-cooked and while the teriyaki sauce wasn’t very complex, it did have a nice kick to spice things up.
Both sides were a little disappointing, however. The macaroni salad was a little bland and too mayo-forward, and the slaw could have used a lot more flavor. This was a nice big portion and the chicken was tender and tasty, though, so overall it wasn’t bad. We got this dish for $19.
Lastly, we had the Poke Bowl with Ahi Tuna, which had smashed avocado, sliced cucumber, edamame, and imitation crab salad with sushi rice, and was topped with crispy fried onions and togarashi aioli. We really liked this one. It was surprisingly spicy, so keep that in mind if you’re not a fan of heat. The tuna was soft and there was a nice selection of toppings to make this interesting. We especially loved the togarashi aioli.
Overall, this was a delicious dish and there was quite a bit of it — so you could probably share or have leftovers if you prefer. We got this for $18 as well.
Nosh or Not
Head to Trader Sam’s if…
- You LOVE Jungle Cruise or miss Adventurer’s Club and are looking for impeccable theming
- You’re looking for a fun drink and want a super unique souvenir cup
- You’re looking for a fantastic experience with a great atmosphere, fun bartenders, and interactive surroundings
Skip Trader Sam’s if…
- You’re looking for top-notch food
- Are looking for a spot that’s more under the radar
- Want a spot that is family-friendly after a late park night
Overall, this spot is great for the atmosphere and drinks, but we wouldn’t come here strictly for the food. If you’re looking for an entertaining, unique way to spend some downtime in Disneyland, this spot should probably be on your list. Even with the average food, we really enjoyed our time here! Keep in mind that if you don’t get a reservation, this spot now has a walk-up waitlist, and you can join starting at 11 AM for outdoor dining, and 4 PM for indoor dining.
We’re always trying Disney dining locations to keep you up to speed on the best places to eat on your vacation, so stay tuned to DFB for more!
Click here to see the NEW Trader Sam’s Tiki Bowl!
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Have you been to Trader Sam’s? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
The post REVIEW: Is Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar Worth the WAIT? first appeared on the disney food blog.