Beyond Neverland : Relaxing in the Tiki Room?

Trader Sams

One of the things we rarely have time to do on “normal” trips to Disney is tour the resort hotels extensively. After our ride on the Highway in the Sky we decided to transfer monorails to the resort loop and ride on over to one of our favorite hotels on property – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. There’s something about departing the monorail at the Polynesian and smelling the scent when you walk into the hotel lobby that brings back so many memories. We don’t know what it is, but we hope it never goes away.

 

They recently refurbished the lobby, and while it’s not quite as good as it used to be, it still captures the essence of being whisked away to the Hawaiian Islands.

 

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Old Lobby

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New Lobby

It is also interesting to note that the time was around 3:15pm and people were already lined up for ‘dinner’ at ‘Ohana that begins at 3:30pm. After making our way downstairs and out towards the pool and beach, we looped around and came back in through a side door that just happened to be right by Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar – a somewhat new establishment at the Poly that opened in 2015, which is based on Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. We knew they only take guests on a first-come first-served basis and the opening time was just 15 minutes away, so we figured why not try it? We placed  our name on a wait list and shortly after opening we were buzzed and were told to select a seat.

At first glance Trader Sam’s really looks like the famous Enchanted Tiki Room located in the Magic Kingdom. It’s a dark room with lots of wood accents and a thatched ceiling, and “windows” provide a view of a tropical landscape.The cozy bar has a limited capacity of 51, and the name of the bar and many of its details are related to the Jungle Cruise. We wish they would give tours of the room outside of operating hours, because there are hundreds of details to examine. The menu offers some Polynesian themed appetizers and the cocktail menu has drinks such as Polynesian Pearl, Shrunken Zombie Head, and Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum, many of which are served in souvenir glasses. While we enjoyed drinks that did not come in souvenir glasses, some people that we met had the Nautilus, and the souvenir glass was pretty impressive!

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Another reason this bar is so unique is the cast members. The bartenders and servers are really friendly and wacky, and when certain drinks are ordered it sets off a chain reaction of events that happen. Here’s a video of some of the antics…

 

It was really cool to kick back in our comfy chairs and relax for as long as we wanted. Even though the bar was tiny, there was no pressure to leave. The AC was very nice considering the heat index was over 100 that day as well. What we enjoy most about our “Beyond Neverland” trips is that we don’t have to plan or stick to a schedule. We just happened to walk by Trader Sam’s right before it opened and decided, why not, let’s check it out! We also met some locals who were doing the same thing as us….riding the resort loop and checking out the different resorts and not going to the parks. We definitely recommend Trader Sam’s, and if you don’t want to have a long wait, then be sure to get there before it opens at 4pm.

The Top Ten Things We Love (And Will Miss) About Captain EO

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Emily and our friend Erin Electronaut getting pumped to see Captain EO.

 

Almost 30 years ago, the power of music, dance, and imagination came together to create an amazing out of this world adventure. Captain EO resided in Epcot’s Magic Eye Theater from 1986-1996, then returned in 2010 as a tribute after Michael Jackson’s death. Disney has announced that December 6th will be the final voyage of Captain EO. The show has received mixed reviews, but being as nostalgic as we are about the Disney of our childhood, Captain EO has always been a favorite. Here are our top ten things we have loved (and will miss) about Captain EO.

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Molly’s First Trip to Walt Disney World

In the ’80s, my mother and grandfather took me on a day trip to the Magic Kingdom when I was five years old. Emily was only a few months old, so she stayed home with my grandmother. I don’t remember a whole lot about the trip, but I have snippets in my mind, helped out by a few pictures that we still have of that trip. When we left it was dark out, and the 2 hour drive seemed to drag on forever! The one vivid memory I had is that it was very crowded. Back in those days, we didn’t have fast passes, so we waited in line for an hour to ride Dumbo.

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Me and my grandpa on Dumbo. We are in the pink one on the right.

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You can see his face and my little head peeking out behind him.

Here are some pictures taken from the Skyway:

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Emily’s Early Disney Memories…

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The iconic Cinderella Castle during one of our first visits in the ’80s.

Growing up in the ’80s, we were fortunate enough to have grandparents that lived close to Disney…roughly a 2 hour drive away. We would visit Florida multiple times a year, and always for at least 2 weeks in the summer. Sometimes our parents would take us to Disney World for 3 whole days….and those 3 days were easily the highlight of our summer. We would get up VERY early when it was still dark out (probably about 5 am) and drive what seemed like forever until we passed under those magical gates where we could leave reality behind. There was a Disney World channel that we could turn on the radio that would pump us up even more. The first site of a monorail made everything real. We were really there! Continue reading