Disney Drinks Smackdown: Tambu Lounge vs. Trader Sam’s

Photo 20190109 145845
Photo 20190109 145845

Tambu Lounge vs Trader Sam's

Allegra: Okay, you thirsty readers, I’m here with my fellow Key to the World agents Jen Van Hill and Tiffany Harmon, and we’re going to talk about one of our favorite Walt Disney World topics: adult beverages. Say hi, guys.

Tiffany:  Helloooo!

Jen: Howdy!

Allegra: Today we’re heading over to one of Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts, the Polynesian Resort. Sitting on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon with quick monorail and boat access to the Magic Kingdom, this original resort of WDW opened in 1971 and is a favorite of both adults and kids.

Disney Drinks Smackdown: Tambu Lounge vs. Trader Sam's 1

The Polynesian has two exceptional watering holes: Tambu lounge and Trader Sam’s Tiki Lounge. And guys, I have a confession to make. I have never been to either.

Disney Drinks Smackdown: Tambu Lounge vs. Trader Sam's 2

Tiffany: Woah! That’s a shocker.

Jen: I’m shocked as well!

Allegra: And right well you should be. So which one should I visit first?

Jen: Trader Sam’s for sure. The ambiance is so fun at Trader Sam’s! You have to go in and take it all in at the bar.

Allegra: Hold up: are we talking Trader Sam, like from the Jungle Cruise?

Tiffany: Yes! Like the Jungle Cruise. The Cue the jokes.

Jen: The bartenders banter and say corny jokes.

Allegra: Do you remember any of them?

Jen: I wish. This was after a couple Dark & Tropical Stormys. 

Allegra: Reach back into that dark and stormy memory, Jen!

Jen: But I remember laughing a lot! The whole place is just interactive and fun. There are shrunken heads, tiki statues and a window with a volcano in it!

Allegra: WUT. A volcano?

Disney Drinks Smackdown: Tambu Lounge vs. Trader Sam's 3

Tiffany: They also have a drink they light on fire, right? Or was it the volcano that did when you ordered the drink?

Jen: The volcano window changes with each drink served. And I like how Trader Sam’s has a blacklight effect. When the lights go down, everything glows. Plus the food is great! I could go for some Kalua Pork Tacos or Poke right now.

Tiffany: I’m sure you’re not shocked that I’ve been to both. I think most people will say Trader Sam’s is their favorite. It’s very tiki themed and fits right in at the Polynesian. But I much prefer the original Tambu Lounge upstairs.

Jen: Why do you prefer Tambu?

Tiffany: It’s the home of the Lapu Lapu and the Backscratcher.


Jen: Love the backscratcher! And you even get to bring an actual scratcher home. Win win.

Allegra: Now, the Lapu Lapu I’m very familiar with. From ‘ohana (no folks, that’s not O’hana. We’re in the tropics, not Ireland!)

Jen: True, the Lapu Lapu is served in a pineapple….so it’s super healthy…right?

Allegra: True story: we took our (at the time) two year old to ‘ohana for dinner one night, and my wife got the Lapy Lapy. Our kid said she wanted her own pineapple, so we asked the server if she could get a side of pineapple. The server brought out this little bowl of cut up pineapple, which was AWESOME. And then my kid started crying because she didn’t want to eat pineapple, she just wanted to drink with a straw out of a pineapple.

Jen: Gotta love it. Who wouldn’t want to try a drink in a pineapple?!

Tiffany: You can order the actual drink without the pineapple, but what fun is that? And the Tambu Lounge just went through a refurbishment.

Jen: What changes did they make?

Tiffany: They opened it up a bit and there is slightly more seating. Fun fact: you can order a single service of ‘ohana bread pudding there.

Disney Drinks Smackdown: Tambu Lounge vs. Trader Sam's 4

Jen: That sounds amazing right now!

Allegra: I’m so down with that bread pudding. We actually tried to recreate it at home, but nothing beats the real deal.

Tiffany: That bread pudding would pair nicely with many of the tropical drinks or just a Crown on the rocks.

Jen: How is the food at Tambu?

Tiffany: The ceviche is good. And it comes in a coconut!

Allegra: I’m confused why you would need anything beyond bread pudding. So, what I’m hearing from you guys is head upstairs to Tambu for drinks in a pineapple, bread pudding, ceviche in a coconut, and souvenir backscratchers. And head downstairs to Trader Sam’s for super fun tiki drinks with a volcanic window. Anything else I need to make my decisions for my next Walt Disney World vacation?

Tiffany: As long as the drinks are strong and cold, you’re good to go.

Disney Drinks Smackdown: Tambu Lounge vs. Trader Sam's 5

Jen: You really can’t lose! You’ll enjoy either way.

Allegra: You heard it here, folks, strong cold drinks at the Polynesian, with high recommendations at both Trader Sam’s and Tambu. Bottom’s up, and we’ll be back with more in-depth coverage of drinks at Disney. Cheers!

Jen: Cheers!

Tiffany: Cheers!

Know before you go:

Tambu Lounge is located directly outside the entrance to ‘ohana on the second floor of the Grand Ceremonial House at the Polynesian Resort. Its hours are 4pm-10pm, although it does serve breakfast (7:30am-12:00pm) and lunch (12:30pm-3pm) as well.

Trader Sam’s is located on the first floor of the Grand Ceremonial House and is open from 4pm-12:30am.

We made the mistake so you don’t have to:

Trader Sam’s fills up very quickly, and often there is a cast member waiting to put your name on a waiting list. This is not a waiting list to get a table, but rather just to go inside the lounge to see it and order a drink. While you wait, or if you don’t care about the interactive elements and corny jokes, you can order from nearly the same menu outside on the Tiki Terrace.

Want to see more conversations like this? Let us know in the comments!

Disney Drinks Smackdown: Tambu Lounge vs. Trader Sam's 6

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