Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is located at the Disneyland Hotel, residing next to Tangaroa Terrace. The bar has a small capacity and is one of the more adult settings in Disneyland Resort. Trader Sam’s does accept an Annual Pass Discount on all food items. This review will take a look at some of the food and drinks offered at the bar as well as the atmosphere that makes this location so unique.
Trader Sam’s is the type of place that adult Disney fans long for. The bar draws inspiration from a number of historical Disney attractions and settings, notably the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room. There is no shortage of nods to Disney Parks throughout the bar, nearly all of the decor pays homage in some way. With the local crowd that Disneyland always gathers, this self-referential bar draws some crowds and can be hard to get into during peak times.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar doesn’t take reservations and is open seating. Knowing that it is pretty popular while having limited seating makes arriving at Trader Sam’s in mid-afternoon or not during peak meal times a wise move. Our typical advice of arriving later at night doesn’t apply as well here since this is a bar. Having said that, weeknights after Disneyland closes is worth a shot while weekends is likely a non-starter. If you do arrive at Trader Sam’s and there is a long backup to get in, the outside seating area is quite nice. Unfortunately, the outside seating doesn’t include any of the atmosphere that makes the bar so fun. Instead, it’s just a really nice place to sit and have a drink.
The inside of Trader Sam’s is pretty cramped. There are a few tables along a back wall but otherwise this is simply a rectangular bar. It’s dimly lit with a fun backstory. If you’re a Jungle Cruise aficionado then you know that good ol’ Trader Sam is waiting at the end of the attraction to trade you two of his heads for one of yours. I do not recommend the deal. Anyway, this bar is his and is decorated by all of the artifacts that he’s collected over the years.
Those decorations have a distinct Adventureland feel to them, as well as relics from the Adventurers Club and extinct attractions like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Even while paying tribute, the bar feels authentic – a true Tiki Bar with a Disney spin. There’s no nods to Mickey Mouse or random Disney IP’s, instead the bar sticks to its story and fits the decor into those parameters.
While some people might be immediately be turned off by Trader Sam’s being a bar, the atmosphere alone is the draw of the destination, not the alcohol. As I alluded to, Trader Sam’s is one of those places made for Disney Parks fans instead of those that are just really familiar with the movies. The clear backstory and interesting (at least for Disney fans) decor make it worth a visit regardless of the food and drinks.
Thankfully, the food and drinks are pretty good! Alcoholic beverages at Disney are generally not very strong. While I wouldn’t call the drinks here strong, they pack a little more punch than elsewhere. I’m not much of an expert in that field but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had here. Most of the specialty drinks are rum based and fruity. Many of them come with a special presentation, either served in specialty glasses or having the bar or bartenders erupt in surprises after ordering a drink. Maybe the volcano in the window will erupt, maybe you’ll be sprayed with some water from the bartender or maybe there will be a crack of thunder. It’s all a good amount of fun and makes the bar have even more character.
I haven’t tried every drink on the menu but my favorites so far are the HippopotoMai-Tai and the Krakatoa Punch. Again, I’m no expert in this field but both were delicious and sugary without being overly sweet.
If you aren’t much for alcohol, there are some specialty non-alcoholic beverages. Melissa is a big fan of the Schweitzer Falls which is essentially fruit juices mixed with Sprite. While all drinks at Disney are overpriced, these at least taste good and are unique. The alcoholic beverages have more nuance than the typical Disney drink.
Moving on to the food, Trader Sam’s shares a kitchen with Tangaroa Terrace while offering a unique menu (which you can see here). We’ve tried a few items on the menu here. The Angus 1/2 lb. Hawaiian Cheeseburger is a good option. It’s not quite as good as the burger served at GCH Craftsman Grill but it is much better than the typical Disney burger. Grilled Pineapple, Applewood-smoked Bacon, Havarti Cheese, Butter Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, and Sweet-and-Spicy Spread are all on the burger and it’s served with Sweet Potato Fries. A good but not great option albeit at a ($16) decent value.
We’ve also tried the Pu Pu Platter, which includes Pork Gyoza, Panko-crusted Long Beans, Macaroni Salad, and Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Wings served with Togarashi Aïoli. The Pork Gyoza, Long Beans and Wings can all be ordered as individual items.
The Pork Gyoza was the least memorable of the items, as I didn’t find the filling to be particularly flavorful. That’s not to say they are bad, just not as good as the other items. I love nearly all Macaroni Salad so I might not be the best judge of this but I really enjoyed it here. There was a little bit of spice to it that made it slightly different than the typical Macaroni Salad. All in all, it had good flavor and was a nice variation off the typical dish.
The Wing and Long Beans are the star of the platter. The former is pretty spicy but has a really nice flavor and the meat is surprisingly good for being wings. I would definitely order these on their own as long as you can handle a little spice. The Panko Crusted Long Beans are my favorite items on the menu. The Aïoli is a perfect dipping sauce for it as it pairs well the Panko crust. Every time I’ve had them, the Long Beans are fresh and delicious.
There are plenty of other original items on the menu that I’m looking forward to trying. While drinks are always overpriced, the food here is a decent value with all the offerings falling in the $10-20 range. Everything I’ve eaten here is a step above most counter-service options so it is worth the price.
Overall, Trader Sam’s Enchated Tiki Bar is one of the more unique spots in all of Disneyland Resort. It celebrates Disney history while sticking to a theme and story. On top of that, the drinks and food are delicious. I’d recommend the bar to anyone, especially Disney Parks fans.
Overall Rating – 9.5/10
Have you been to Trader Sam’s Enchated Tiki Bar? Let us know your thoughts on the bar, along with any other questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide here. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Restaurant Reviews