The last time we passed through Disneyland, we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, just because we could. I was pleasantly surprised, not having visited this hotel in quite some time, and certainly not since the big renovation. It’s still a hotel that has a lot of features that were cutting edge in 1960, but are a little dated now, but the renovation has moved the hotel solidly into the Seventies, maybe even as late as 1978, when Grease was a hit movie, the BeeGees were hot, and Charlie’s Angels still ruled the airwaves. Ah, what halcyon days those were!
Oh, I’m just kidding. The Disneyland Hotel is actually quite nice these days. And our most favoritest discovery was Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, located near the center of the resort, in the pool area. Enchantment, when it comes to Tiki bars, is only possible if you suspend all manner of taste and sophistication, and allow yourself to exceed the bounds of proper decorum. You have to be able to give in to the wacky, go with the flow and embrace your inner idiot.
Tiki bars are one of those things that go in and out of fashion on roughly a decade long cycle. When they’re out of fashion you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in one, but when they’re hot, enjoy them in all their tiki-tacky glory.
Trader Sam’s is well worth a visit if you like Tiki bars. What appears to have happened is that someone, god bless their little kitchsy hearts, wasn’t willing to let all the old assets from the Adventurers’ Club at Disney World go to collectors and Tokyo Disney, so they imported some of the props to Trader Sam’s, as well as making some completely new ones. The interior of the bar, which is somewhat small, is chock full of stuff hanging on the walls, from the ceiling, and probably stuffed under the floorboards. You can spend an hour or two just perusing all the props and décor.
The drinks are named appropriately, as one would expect, with the most groan inducing, punneriffic titles possible. Drinks have names like the HippopotoMai-Tai or the Ka-Blue-Ie! Many of the drinks come with a show, sound effect, or other interaction from the bartenders, which we will refrain from describing. It should be a surprise. If you like bad jungle movies, you’ll like it here.
I will not claim that Trader Sam’s is the most fun you can have at Disneyland without riding a ride, because other people’s ideas of fun can be quite diverse. For instance, some people can find amusement without the magical effects of alcohol, hard as that is to believe. Those of you with little desire for the grape can find non-alcoholic beverages to consume, along with snacks ranging from fish tacos to burgers.
Stop in, have a bite, drink a Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum, and let your Twenty-First century cares melt away. Though it might help if you turn off your cell phone first.