Tia Mia

Skipper Nate at Trader Sam’s suggested this, and after two fabulous Mai Tais how could I say no?

The Tia Mia is basically a Mai Tai where 1 oz of rum is replaced by Mezcal. This agave spirit hasn’t been my favorite (I’ve only recently warmed to Tequila), since its signature “smoky” taste isn’t really my thing. Certainly in this format, where the Mezcal is tempered by some Jamaican rum and the sweeteners, it is more palatable. But I probably wouldn’t choose this normally, since with ratio the Mezcal was still very much up front.

Spicy/smoky is not really my thing, but if you like Mezcal then give the Tia Mia a try.

Amazing Mai Tai at Trader Sam’s

The app-based reservation system I mentioned for Oga’s Cantina worked even better getting inside at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar last Wednesday afternoon. Once I got onto the Disneyland Hotel property I tapped on Sam’s and added myself to the waiting list. The app said the estimated wait was 30 minutes. But just seconds after receiving the first “you’re on the list” text message, I got another one that said my table was ready.

Inside, the bar was not busy so it was a perfect time to cool down inside with a cocktail. Skipper Nate was working behind the bar and I ordered a Mai Tai with Appleton Reserve rum. Nate checked the order, “classic style?” which I took to mean no Agave Syrup that they use in their standard house Mai Tai. “Yes, sir,” I said. That Appleton Reserve Mai Tai was faaantastic, and I was more than happy to compliment the Skipper when he asked how it was. Very rummy, but also a wonderful flavor profile – not too sweet, not too sour. Great mouthfeel.

Classic Mai Tai with Appleton 8 Reserve Rum

Second Round, Better than the First

For the second round, I asked Skipper Nate if they had something a little more funky, and he suggested Hamilton Pot Still Blonde rum. I said that would be great – a half Appleton Reserve and half Hamilton Blonde Mai Tai.

It was one of the best Mai Tais I’ve ever had.

The funkier rum really added a nice punch to the cocktail, and elevated what was already an amazing Mai Tai. On this day it was damn near perfect.

Nearly Perfect Mai Tai with Appleton Reserve and Hamilton Pot Still Blonde rums

Thank you Skipper Nate! I will follow you into battle anytime.

That day it really came together at Trader Sam’s: relaxing in the immersive space, exotica music playing, and the light hum of conversations and laughter.

Oga’s Cantina

Disney has an interesting and useful new way of getting into standby lines at dining locations at Disneyland. If you’re in the vicinity of the location you can tap on the location in the Disneyland app and request to be added to the walk-up waitlist. This worked great for us on an evening last week when we got into Oga’s Cantina after just a short wait.

Looks like they’ve refreshed the cocktail offering at Oga’s, though everything still leans super sweet (even for me!). I quite liked the Coruscant Cooler with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice (left in photo), and thought that Mrs Mai Tai’s Tarkenian Night Flower with Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, with flavors of Ginger and Huckleberry, garnished with Sweet Hibiscus Flower was also quite nice (right in photo). Our son had the non-alcoholic Jabba Juice, Simply Orange with Pineapple, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, and Blueberry Flavor-filled Boba.

Less good was the Takodana Quencher with Bacardi Dragonberry Rum, Bols Blue Curaçao, Simply Orange with Pineapple, Kiwi flavors. Sickly sweet and the fake OJ really made this taste like it came from a large jug at 7-11.

I’ve come around on Galaxy’s Edge. We did enjoy our visits this last trip, perhaps greatly influenced by me being a pilot on the Millennium Falcon ride. There were a lot of character interactions that we saw, including R2-D2, Rey, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren with Stormtroopers. Having the characters makes the whole land seem much more alive and organic, and gives you something to do while drinking Blue Milk or stumbling out of the cantina.

Honey Buzz at Pym’s Tasting Lab

Our family had a lot of great memories at Bug’s Land at Disney California Adventure, and a few even before that when it was the Bountiful Valley Farm, so I was bit sad when it was razed to make way for Avenger Campus that opened last year. And as a California native I regret that DCA’s initial “California” theme continues to be watered down. But, with adult children who love Marvel movies, it wasn’t like we were spending a lot of time in Bug’s Land anymore.

We gave Avenger’s Campus a try this trip. I enjoyed the Spider-Man attraction far more than I expected; it was lots of fun. And we gave the food eatery a chance this time too. Pym’s Test Kitchen is a counter-service restaurant with the gimmick that the food has been altered by Ant-Man shrinking/growing tech. Hence the gigantic pretzel or their chicken sandwich that has a tiny bun but an over-sized chicken patty. I even did a kids meal with make your own PB&J. Pretty good, and both walk-up and mobile order worked great for us on this trip.

Pym’s Tasting Lab is a bar that is adjacent to the Test Kitchen. This is where they offer beer, wine, beer cocktails, and cocktails. I decided to go with the Honey Buzz, which contains Gin, Lemon, and Honey, along with a “honey straw” that is basically a stick of honey. Otherwise known as a Bee’s Knees, this was a very sweet and easy to drink cocktail. I liked it a lot and ordered it again on our second visit.

We also tried The Regulator, which is a beer cocktail with Patrón Silver Tequila and Golden Road Mango Cart Wheat Ale, with Mango and Habanero Syrups, and Mango Flavor-filled Boba. The Habanero was tempered enough for me to drink it, but still was too spicy for me.

Blue Milk at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Disney has been chasing the rabid following of Universal’s Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for years. I didn’t really care for the Apple Freeze at Cars Land, though I thought the Berry Freeze at Fantasyland was better. But for sure none of them were universally hailed as Butterbeer.

Star Wars fans have dreamed of tasting Blue Milk ever since it appear in 1977’s Star Wars movie. And with a Star Wars themed land being added to the parks in 2019, Blue Milk is available for purchase. But the beverage actually doesn’t contain any dairy. The concoction is described as being a “plant-based blend of Coconut and Rice Milk with alluring fruity characteristics.” There’s also Green Milk that is described as “plant-based blend of Coconut and Rice Milk with zippy citrus and tropical characteristics”. Plus, I’m sure, some food dye.

While Blue Milk doesn’t quite match Butterbeer, I have grown to like it a lot and make it a key stop on my visits to the Star Wars land at Disneyland. It is cold and refreshing and easy to drink, with a mild flavor that I find pleasant. Even better is the Blue Milk with Rum option at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. 

I didn’t care for the Green Milk, but Mrs. Mai Tai likes the Toydaria Swirl, which is Green Milk swirled with savory Fruit Sauce, Mango Jellies, and topped with Chili Lime Seasoning. Sort of like a spicy Lava Flow, so it is right up her alley.

Trader Sam’s Straw Handbag

Our newest Disney treasure.

Mrs. Mai Tai really liked this bag, which features the HippopotoMai-Tai mug as one of it’s design elements. There’s a nice pattern on the inside too. It looked very nice at the bar next to a Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum.

Trader Sam’s: Easy Peasy

Trader Sam’s is under the Disneyland Dining reservation system, but @oldmanmerrell put out a note this week that the bar seats are NOT currently part of this. Which means that despite the app saying there were no reservations and that the “walk up list was at capacity” we can tell you that between checking in at the Tangaroa Terrace and being seated at the bar it was maybe 15 minutes at 1 pm Sunday.

Which is to say that if you go early it shouldn’t be a problem to get seated inside. We saw bar seats and a couple two top tables go unoccupied for 20 minutes or more!

We had some great cocktails starting with my Zambezi Sour with Bourbon, Grapefruit, Lme, and Falernum. Delish!

The rest were Sam’s classics to us, including the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum (not pictured), Piranha Pool, and (Shrunken) Zombie (Head).

We had a great time avoiding the heat, and even saw @downladdertiki (cheers!). Though the small child with healthy lungs kind of spoiled the mood. That can sometimes happen at a Disney resort.

Hot afternoon at Tangaroa Terrace

It is hot in Anaheim, 97•. So we bailed on the parks and took showers back at the hotel. While Mrs Mai Tai took a nap I walked over to Tangaroa Terrace for a couple cocktails.

There were a couple bar seats available and I took one mostly in the shade right next to the to-go line. Very interesting to hear what people were ordering: lots of Dole Whips, with or without rum. Kudos to Skipper Joey for answering “Dark Rum” when a customer asked what kind of rum to add (Myers’s). So much better than Coconut liqueur.

I started with the Safari Swizzle, which is the Trader Sam’s version of the 151 Swizzle, made with Hamilton 151 rum. I enjoyed the mint and Ango, it’s a very nice cocktail.

Next up was a Mai Tai (ne HippopotoMai-Tai, note the emphasis on “Mai-Tai” on the menu). Regular reader will know that I detest the use of Bacardi Superior in the Mai Tai at Trader Sam’s so I asked to sub Appleton Reserve instead. It is sooooo much better with an aged Jamaican rum to compliment the Coruba Dark Jamaican rum that is normally called for. This was a fantastic Mai Tai.

Hanging out at the Tangaroa Terrace for the afternoon was quite a delight. They have some pretty good spirits here. Thank you Skipper Joey for the great cocktails.

Tropical Hideaway

First stop at Disneyland. Perfect timing since we got here around lunchtime. We love the stuff here including the various flavors of Dole Whip and the Bao Buns. I also tried the Pork Lumpia that was also quite nice.

Disneyland is about as crowded as it’s been this year, apparently. Lots of people coming out to see the Halloween decorations or just to get away on a long weekend, like us.