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June 2015 Archives

June 9, 2015

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto - Mini Review

Deb's Digest Blog
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Even before Trader Sam's Grog Grotto opened at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, there was lots of buzz on social media. March 28th was the beginning of the soft opening and hundreds of folks waited in the bright sunshine to be one of the first inside! I've been told some waited up to 5 hours to get in that first day.

Naturally, I had to go see what all the excitement was about but wasn't about to wait hours; so we went this past Sunday evening. Even more than 2 months after it has opened, lines still form.

Here's a photo of the line from 3:30pm the day I visited - it's all outside!

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When we arrived at the check-in podium at 5:30pm we were told there was an hour wait.

One of the nice things is that you can put your name on the wait list and receive a pager that will let you know when space has opened for you. You have the option to go outside to Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace and can hang out there until the pager goes off or wander around the hotel. (Caution, the pager did not work in the Kona Cafe on the 2nd floor).

No worries if your time has past, when you arrive you will be the next party of your size allowed inside. The lounge itself, where all the amazing themed fun takes place, only allows 50 people in at a time. It is important to note that doesn't mean you'll have a seat, just you will be allowed inside.

At Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace (located outdoors) there is seating for 82 people and it has its own music. The menu is the same as inside, except for one important item -- outside you can order a Dole Whip with rum!!! We did not visit the terrace on this trip.

As soon as you enter this mystic tiki bar, you are immediately transported to another place. The dimly lit lounge has over 1,200 artifacts as well as special effects -- trust me it is noisy!

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This is not the place to come for a quiet drink and intimate conversation. Volcanoes erupt, Skippers don goggles and swim around the lounge, bells ring and much frivolity ensues.

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The "Skippers" are quite lively and with an energetic crowd, the place is hopping with energy. The more people that order the specialty drinks, the more lively the Skippers (and the special effects) become! During our visit there was a large party that every 10 or 15 minutes would sing a Disney song and the entire place joined in!

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In addition to the exotic drink selections the tiki bar serves beer and wine. Sorry, no vermouth for martini drinkers.

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Our group experienced the Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum (pictured below), Castaway Crush, Dark & Tropical Stormy, and the Polynesian Pearl. A few drinks come in specialty mugs making the purchase price quite hefty (upwards of $50 for some). In fact, one of the only things I didn't like about Trader Sam's is that there are no prices on the menu for the specialty drinks or mugs! Drinks are pricey!

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Having just come from dinner, we did not partake in the small plates available for purchase. You'll find chicken lettuce cups, Hawaiian poke, kalua pork tacos, pan-fried dumplings, even corn-battered Portuguese sausages. The small plates range in price from $8.49 to $14.99.

A tiny bit reminiscent of the closed Adventurer's Club from Pleasure Island, but more so much more! While there is no Colonial, there is the Uh-Oa! warrior that makes quite a fuss when that drink is ordered!

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We stayed for about 2 hours and all of us had a great time. Definitely a place to come with friends! We decided on our next visit, we would try to stay at WDW somewhere so we don't have to worry about driving home!

An important note, when visiting Trader Sam's with your own vehicle, you may need to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and walk to the Polynesian from there.

Trader Sam's is open from 4:00pm to Midnight. Last call for food is around 11:30pm. Families are welcome until 8:00pm, when the inside lounge becomes adults only. Families can move out to the terrace if they wish. We thought this was handled very nicely when at 7:50pm, a bell rang and one of the Skippers announced that Junior Skippers would need to depart by 8:00pm.

If you are a fan of the Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland the main difference of the two is the time era. California is based in the late 30s and Trader Sam's Grog Grotto era is the 60s.

Oh and no flash photography please - it disturbs the Uh-Oa :)

For the full menu and more photographs visit our Trader Sam's Grog Grotto Page!

For a sneak peek inside (including some of the special effects) and to learn about the food and beverage program, here is a video I took during a media preview in March:


June 22, 2015

Disney Frozen Summer Fun - What You Need to Know!

Deb's Digest Blog

Disney's Frozen Summer Fun has returned to Disney's Hollywood Studios though September 7th. It debuted in 2014 to rave reviews (mine included) and has returned for another run. Here's a run down of what is new, changed, gone and my top 2 must see shows!

WHAT'S NEW IN 2015!

** The brand new show Olaf's Summer Cool Down!!!

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This is a fun show at the Event stage down Hollywood Blvd. A walking, talking, eye-blinking, dancing Olaf has a great time celebrating summer. The show, about 10 minutes and is performed several times during the day. Check the times guide for exact times. This is a great addition to Frozen Summer Fun. Have a great time and watch for the beach balls :)

** Also new this year is the animated short "Frozen Fever" and a behind the scenes look at the making of Frozen. This plays throughout the day in the ABC Sound Studio. If Frozen Fever sounds familiar, it's the short that played in theaters with Cinderella. Even if you have seen it before, if the heat is getting to you, here's a good opportunity to cool down!

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WHAT HAS CHANGED

** FastPassPlus-tn.png For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Singalong has moved to the Hyperion Theatre (where American Idol was). There are new special effects. FastPass+ is a must if you don't want to stand out waiting in the heat!!! Your favorite historians are back telling the story of Frozen.

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@WaltDisney World


** The Frozen Royal Welcome has changed for 2015. There are 2 parades each day (only one last year), and the parade goes from the park entrance down to the area by the Backlot Express. The parade does not end at the stage and there is no show as there was last year. Queen Elsa has a new floating ice palace

The parade does stop 2 or 3 times along the way and Elsa and Anna lead a sing a long. Unfortunately, if you are not where the parade stops, you will miss out on the action. If you are on Hollywood Blvd you can watch the action on the Large Screen at the Stage.

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DON'T FORGET

** The Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party - DJ Chill is back with new mixes of old and new songs and keeps you rockin while you wait for the fireworks show. Disney characters are out and about dancing it up with everyone!

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MY TWO MUST DOs:

** Number 1 is to see Olaf's Summer Cool Down (scroll back up for details)

** My second MUST DO are the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular.

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@WaltDisney World

Each night the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular follow the Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party to end the night! Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf appear on the Event Stage to kick off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the music of "Frozen" and, of course, a flurry of snow. This show is BEST seen if you are not right in front of the stage. The top of the stage structure blocks your sight-line for much of the fireworks. Head down Hollywood Blvd toward the park entrance for best viewing (as shown in the photo). The show is slightly changed from 2014.

WHAT'S GONE

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Frozen Snow Ground as missing in 2015. I understand the Trading Post isn't really needed as there is plenty of Frozen merchandise to be had. I DO miss the Frozen Snow Ground. It was a great place to have fun, play in the snow, watch skaters and most importantly, get out of the heat!

So there you have it! If you happen to go out to the Studios, have yourself some Frozen Fun!

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About June 2015

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in June 2015. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2015 is the previous archive.

August 2015 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.