VIDEO: Celebrate 5 Years (and 2 Shots of Rum!) of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort with a Virtual Visit

When Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar opened at the Disneyland Hotel in 2011, Walt Disney World regulars immediately were clamoring for the amazing concept to make its way to Florida. Tiki bars are certainly not the most unusual thing in the world anymore, but throw in some Disney magic and nods to some of the greatest theme park attractions of all-time, and you have something really special.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto opened on this day five years ago at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort after an expansive redesign of the resort’s lobby (and the renaming of the resort itself to its 1971 opening day name.)

Since its grand opening, we’ve enjoyed a number of tropical libations here, all accompanied by an amazing animatronics display. Today, we’re paying homage to one of our favorite, not-so-hidden bars at Walt Disney World. Like its Enchanted Tiki Bar counterpart in Disneyland, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is themed after the classic Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room attractions, with the addition of a nautical twist, incorporating themes from the classic film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea film.

The Menu

Some of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on the menu were transplanted from the California location and have changed over the years, but many are unique, and (for the most part) the appetizer menu offered is completely exclusive to the Florida hot spot. Here’s a look at the opening day menu:

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The patio menu (which was much easier to photo in sunlight than the indoor menu under black-light.)

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The Collectible Tiki Mugs

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The HippopotoMai-Tai

Besides the interior ambiance, the main draw of Trader Sam’s is a series of limited-run collector mugs that started with the opening of the Disneyland location in 2011. Many of the original mug designs from Disneyland have already been retired or updated, making the originals quite desirable. Souvenir mugs include the Polynesian Pearl (and the rare Black Pearl), the HippopotoMai-Tai, and the Nautilus.

Recent additions to the Limited Edition mug lineup include the Third Edition HippopottoMai-Tai tiki mug, which was released in May 2019 and featured an earthenware tone compared to the original clear glass HippopottoMai-Tai mug and the Second Edition green ceramic mug.

The Jingle Cruise Nutcracker Tiki Mug

Just this past Christmas, the first-ever Jingle Cruise Tiki Mug debuted along with the annual Christmas overlay of the bar:

The Special Effects

Sure, getting a Disney-themed souvenir mug is cool and all, but what really makes ordering a drink here an experience is the special effects that take place when certain beverages are offered. While Disneyland has just 4 triggered effects in the bar and lounge, Grog Grotto at the Polynesian currently has 6:

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Krakatoa Punch

Nautilus

Shrunken Zombie Head

Polynesian Pearl

Uh-Oa!

The servers here always do a fantastic job hyping up these effects. The drinks are consistently spectacular, and the ambiance is unmatched. Yes, it is a bar, but it is a great gem for the Polynesian Village.

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While many lament the loss of the original lobby, the resort undoubtedly bolstered their already fantastic line-up with Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. This resort is a special place and they built a really special place inside of it with not much real estate to work with. Trader Sam’s has remained ever-popular over the last 5 years at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort because it doesn’t age. It is so well done, so perfectly executed, that people keep coming back, just like Pirates of the Caribbean or The Haunted Mansion.

If you’ve never been, definitely try to swing by. Even if the wait is a little long, it will be worth it. I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t have a wonderful time in here, even if you don’t enjoy bars or drinking. It’s just a very pleasant place to hang out, enjoy a beverage and a bite, and soak in some memories from attractions long-gone or much loved. Happy 5th Anniversary, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto!