Our usual plan for park touring at Disneyland is to avoid the heavy crowds during the afternoon and explore other parts of the resort. Such was our journey last Friday to check out Trader Sam’s in mid-afternoon. We checked in to see if something was available inside and they said they could seat us immediately if we took two seats on a corner of the bar. This wasn’t perfect but seating at the bar is pretty great and with no wait was even better.
We love Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. Such a great vibe inside where everyone was in a great mood, friendly but not out of control. Our bartender Maddie did a great job with our drinks and then eventually let us move over a couple sets to let the next walk-up couple take the corner seats.
Mrs. Mai Tai ordered a Krakatoa Punch but was informed the special effects weren’t working, definitely a bummer but this longtime menu favorite delivers. She then went for her favorite, the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum which is Sam’s version of a Painkiller. She also ordered some Panko-crusted Long Beans that were savory and tasty.
I ordered a Mai Tai with Smith & Cross rum which was truly outstanding. Maddie knew I wanted it in an original 1944 Mai Tai format and it came out exceptionally balanced and so flavorful. In this case, as the customer I’m calling for a better rum than the standard light/dark used in Trader Sam’s standard-issue Mai Tai, and its nice that a hotel bar has so many great rums to choose from and that bartenders are willing to make a cocktail with a called spirit.
The exceptional part of Trader Sam’s is the talent of the bartenders to go off menu. Most skippers have their own secret menu of original cocktails and most seem familiar with the classics as well. I asked Maddie for a Navy Grog and was served an excellent version that was rich with flavors and spices and included three different rums. Really a couple a fantastic cocktails from Maddie.
There were a few empty spots during our stay, even by later in the afternoon on a Friday, so it can be possible to get seated inside even if you don’t have a reservation. Trader Sam’s remains one of my favorite tiki bars anywhere.