lost weekenders

JAN2018

Trader Sam's: The Comprehensive Guide

Food & Drink, Drinks, SnacksKatComment
trader sams enchanted tiki bar

We’re risking a lot by telling you this. Trader Sam’s is our go-to spot for every Disneyland trip - a place we always have to visit at least once, and in an ideal world, we visit multiple times a trip. By giving out this info, it’s likely we’re making it EVEN HARDER for ourselves to find seats inside, but you know what? That’s how much we like you.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is an oasis located at the Disneyland Hotel pool. If you’ve been on the Jungle Cruise ride in Disneyland, you’ve met Trader Sam: he’s at the end, offering you a special deal - two of his heads for just one of yours.

The tiki bar is like a combo of Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones and the Enchanted Tiki Room: the walls are littered with postcards addressed to ‘Sam’ - some from Dr. Jones himself, others from travelers who seem to have bartered with the trader for random objects and photos. The columns supporting the bar seem to come straight from the Enchanted Tiki Room - you might expect them to start singing at any moment.

There’s also a reason it’s called the ‘Enchanted’ Tiki Bar. Watch the lazy eyes of the tiki columns closely, pay attention whenever anyone orders a draught beer, wait to see if anyone happens to find their barstool coming closer and closer to the floor. Expect a special show any time someone orders a Shipwreck on the Rocks, an Uh-Oa, or a Krakatoa Punch (don’t worry, you’ll know when it happens).

Pro tip: Trader Sam's is all-ages until 8:00 PM - after that, it's ages 21+ only.

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Seating

Trader Sam’s has one major drawback, and that is the fact that it is TINY. Given that there are only a very few tables in the bar, there’s a good chance that you will show up to find either a long awkward hovering wait ahead of you, or no chance of getting a table at all.

Luckily, there is a good amount of seating outside. Unluckily, the seating outside is not nearly as magical as the seating inside.

To maximize the chance of getting a seat inside, show up early (around when it opens). Also advisable: show up on a weekday. The worst times to go are the late afternoon through the rest of the night, and definitely once the park has closed.

While we’re on the subject, don’t be one of those people who brings a huge group to Trader Sam’s - it’s a total bummer to walk into the bar and see every seat in the room taken up by one giant group who plans on staying for a few hours. If you’re in a huge group, maybe consider picking up your drinks inside and then finding a seat outside, which is a much more functional place for group seating.

Recommendations

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Drinks


Lost Safari: this is my go-to drink and it never lets me down. (It's now off the official menu, but they can still make it).
Krakatoa Punch: comes with a glow-cube, and tastes like heaven.
Shrunken Zombie Head: Delicious and gets you boozed up in no time.
Shipwreck on the Rocks: This drink is basically just sweetened bourbon over ice. It’s amazing.
The Tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki rum: Often you’ll be asked to say the entire drink title, so don’t try to get away with just asking for a ‘tiki rum’. Creamy and cinnamon-y, this drink is Kelsey’s go-to.
The Uh-Oa: Boozy and a little too easy to drink, this delicious drink comes with four straws and a show but goes really fast!

Trader Sam's recently revamped their menu with quite a few new drinks, including the Angolada, Zambezi Sour, Pago Pago Cocktail, La Florida, and Safari Swizzle. We've sampled them all (naturally), and found that some of them, surprisingly and unfortunately, just aren't that great (though the Pago Pago is an exception and is delicious). You'll notice that some of our recommendations aren't on the menu anymore (Lost Safari, whyyyyyy) but we've been assured that the bartenders still know how to make the Old Menu drinks. 

Food

Fried green beans: ALWAYS GET THESE. Even if you’re not hungry. They are so so good.
Lettuce Wraps: The portions look small, but it takes a while to get through this delicious appetizer.

To be honest, we don’t recommend having an actual meal at Trader Sam’s (unpopular opinion?). The times we’ve ordered burgers or sandwiches, we’ve found ourselves disappointed with the portion size and price - it seems like you can get a much better bang for your buck in other locations in Disneyland. For this reason, we usually stick to appetizers (sometimes mutliple rounds of green beans because seriously, they are so. good.) and drinks.

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Other Must-Dos

BUY A SOUVENIR MUG. Trader Sam’s has the coolest mugs in the resort, and if you have room in your luggage, we highly recommend buying at least one. Plus, the price is usually only a few bucks more if you're adding it onto a drink.

Live Music: After dark on select evenings (usually on weekends), Trader Sam's hosts live Hawaiian-style music in the outdoor seating area. It's super relaxing and very easy to imagine you've found yourself on some island paradise, delicious tiki drink in hand. 

Disneyland Hotel & Trader Sam's 

If you're staying at the Disneyland Hotel you're already living the high life, but be sure to take this into account: not only can you get Trader Sam's to-go (so you can take your dranks to the pool), but most of the time, you can get poolside service while you lounge. That's right, Trader Sam's delivered. To you. At the pool. Talk about living the dream.

Ultimately, it would be pretty tough to find yourself disappointed at Trader Sam's. So if you find yourself in the Disneyland Resort looking for both a break from the crowds and a delicious alcoholic (or non-alcoholic I GUESS) beverage, give it a whirl. 

Best Parts of Being an Adult in Disneyland

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

I hear it all the time, you probably do, too. “Las Vegas is like Disneyland for adults,” or “Napa is Disneyland for adults.”

Stop. Stop it. Disneyland is Disneyland for adults. Let Vegas be Vegas and Napa be Napa and that other place be that other place. They’re great on their own. Let me tell you why being an adult in Disneyland is actually the best.

You can do whatever you want

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You don’t have to wait in line to meet the characters if you don’t want to. You don’t have to wait in that horrendously long line if you don’t want you. You don’t have to worry about stroller parking, or finding a place for picky eaters.

There’s definitely magic to bringing kids to Disneyland and seeing things unfold from their perspective, but most people don’t realize the magic is adaptable and different for everyone, not just kids.

One of the best parts about Disney is once you’re in, you’re in. You can ride, go to shows, browse the shops. You can do whatever you want.
 

You can drink

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I know we talk about this a lot, but if you’re a drinker, you can definitely imbibe at the Disneyland resort guilt free. In Disneyland park specifically, you can only drink at Club 33, which is pretty tough to get into, but there are tons of options in California Adventure and Downtown Disney.

We forever recommend Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel (tiki tiki tiki tiki rum or a lost safari are our favorites), Carthay Circle (pear martini, pimm’s punch, and the classic gin and tonic are must tries), Hearthstone in the Grand Californian for their Cove Bar drinks (which is going away), and Tortilla Joes (peach tree mojito for life).

You can go on all the rides

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Fun fact, Disneyland offers a ride switch perk for parents with young kids for more high thrill rides. Ask the cast member working the front of your desired ride’s queue for a parent rider switch pass. Your party will be split up, one group will ride while the second watches the kid. Once the first group returns, they hand off the pass, and the second party gets to hop in the fast pass queue.

It’s a great perk, and definitely something to keep in mind. But if you’re going with a group of full grown adults, y’all can genuinely ride whatever you want without worrying or organizing.

Which leads me to my next point.
 

You can split up

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Kat, Stephen, and I are huge proponents of splitting up. This falls under the “you can do whatever you want” category. We believe you’re on vacation in Disneyland and you shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Which is a huge perk of going to Disneyland as an adult.

We’ll frequently split up if someone wants to ride a ride others don’t, see a show others don’t, eat somewhere other people don’t want to eat- the list goes on. We all fully support each person getting the most out of their trip, so if you want a churro and everyone else wants popcorn? Go grab that churro. Your group wants to watch World of Color but you’d rather not? Go ride Ariel 5 times, why not?

One time, Kat and Stephen wanted to watch some night time show and I wasn’t super into it, so I bounced and hopped on single rider for Matterhorn. They sat me in the front, and I was wearing a white tank top, not suspecting anything. And then I totally got soaked and walked around Disneyland by myself with a completely see-through shirt. I thought it was hilarious.

You can get there as early as you want and stay until close

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If you want to get there at rope drop and stay until midnight you do your thing. Especially if your group has agreed on the aforementioned Split Up rule, some of your party can go back to the hotel and nap or pool lounge, and you can ride and snack to your heart’s content.

 

Best Breakfasts You Won’t Need a Reservation For

Basics, Beginners, Food & Drink, FoodKatComment

Happy New Year! 2017 had its fair share of challenges, but it was also the year we launched our blog, and we couldn't be happier. And what's the best way to bring in the new year? With breakfast of course.

There’s a lot of information thrown around about dining in Disneyland, and most of it revolves around restaurants you’re going to need a reservation for. And sure, making reservations for dinner or even lunch doesn’t seem like much of a surprise, but what do you do when you find yourself in Disneyland at 9am, starving, realizing that Plaza Inn and Carnation Cafe aren’t places you can just mosey into for a mickey waffle or two?

Don’t worry, we got you.

Fortunately, there are plenty of breakfast options that don’t involve weeks of planning ahead.

 

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Rancho del Zocalo

EDIT: as of spring 2018, rancho del zocalo no longer serves breakfast in Disneyland. Check out the red rose taverne in Fantasyland instead!

Located between the Princess Fantasy Faire and the Shooting Gallery in Frontierland, Rancho del Zocalo recently started serving breakfast, and it’s great.

Your standard Disneyland breakfast is available (hello waffles, pancakes, sausage and bacon), and also Mexican-inspired breakfast, including breakfast burritos, chilaquiles, and fajitas.

The Traditional breakfast line goes much slower than Mexican-inspired - in fact, there’s usually hardly any line for my fajita platter breakfast at all. Though there are several checkout stands, there’s usually only one person checking people out, so the lines can get long (or just slow), but there’s plenty of seating and sometimes you can even get a spot right next to Big Thunder Railroad and watch the trains go by.

 

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Jolly Holiday

 

At the entrance to Adventureland, the Jolly Holiday Bakery and Cafe offers breakfast treats and sandwiches. The lines can move slowly, but the seating outside is ample and provides a great view of the crowds going by.

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Mint Julep Bar

Listen, sometimes you just want some kind of delicious pastry shaped like Mickey Mouse's head, and you want to eat it in a super picturesque area while people-watching in the Happiest Place on Earth, is that so much to ask? Located in the garden patio area of the French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square, the Mint Julep Bar sells Mickey Beignets, usually with seasonal flavor varieties, and they are DELICIOUS. 

 

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Flo’s V8 Cafe

 

In Cars Land, Flo’s is pretty famous for having great food, and breakfast is no exception. The line moves quickly and the service is efficient - plus the food offerings are on-point.

We HIGHLY recommend the brioche french toast and the tamale breakfast. We’ve been known to order sides of breakfast potatoes and bacon, plus the kids’ breakfasts are great if you just want a light snack.


Other Options 

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being stuck in a Land that has no great breakfast restaurant offerings (I'm looking at you, almost-all-of-DCA), there's always the Starbucks in each park, or the espresso kiosks that sometimes offer fancy doughnuts and other snacks.