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  • On May 11, 2022
    Samantha from CT Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I'm headed to Disney World for a weekend trip and would LOVE to finally try out Trader Sam's Grog Grotto! Is there anything I need to know about seating and availability, or waiting to enter, on a busy Saturday evening?

    Hi there, Samantha!

    Welcome back to planDisney - we're so glad that you stopped by to ask our team of panelists another question!

    Disney's Polynesian Village Resort is one of my crew's favorite spots to relax with a tropical libation! While there are many great spots to do so across the Resort, Trader Sam's Grog Grotto is definitely the most unique, and thus also the most popular. The incredible specialty cocktails and mocktails and delicious snacks are great, but the overall experience is what's truly unforgettable. Uh-Oa, I don't want to give away any spoilers!

    Trader Sam's is currently open daily starting at 3 p.m. for all Guests, and from 8 p.m. to Midnight welcomes only Guests who are 21 years of age or older. Depending on how busy things are, Trader Sam's typically offers a walk-up waitlist or virtual queue. A Cast Member will take your phone number, and you will receive a text message with your estimated wait, and a second text message when it is time for you to return and enter. There is a mix of open seating and standing room inside, so you won't necessarily have a specific table reserved for you. In my recent experiences, the Cast Member who welcomes us to Trader Sam's has directed us to areas that are a good fit for our crew, and they do a great job of ensuring that everyone who enters has space to enjoy their newfound island lifestyle!

    Now, let's talk about the HippopotoMai-Tai in the room ... visiting during a busy weekend! If this is a must-do experience for you, know that Guests tend to start lining up early to get on the waitlist, often well in advance of the 3 p.m. opening time. In my experience, when I've arrived after 6 p.m. on busier nights the waitlist has sometimes already closed for the night, so I recommend getting there as early as you are able to, either before opening or soon thereafter. Also, know that you'll have a shorter wait with a smaller party, so if your estimated wait indicates that you'll enter after 8 p.m., be sure to remove anyone under 21 years of age from your party.

    The great thing about waiting for Trader Sam's Skippers and their exceptional service is that there are other fantastic spots throughout the Polynesian to enjoy while you wait! On my last trip, we enjoyed drinks and snacks upstairs at the Tambu Lounge - try a Lapu Lapu, and if you're hungry, there are some small plates from 'Ohana that are amazing. I love the Pot Stickers, and sometimes you can even get a side of the famous 'Ohana Noodles! You could also grab a DOLE Whip® at Pineapple Lanai (yes, you can add rum!) and enjoy some shopping or exploring the Resort's lush tropical grounds.

    If it's a busy night and you're not up for waiting, the great news is that the amazing food and beverages from Trader Sam's Grog Grotto are also available outside at Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace! While you won't have quite the same experience, this is a great way to enjoy the amazing cocktails and bites from Trader Sam's with less waiting. There is both walk-up and table service on the Tiki Terrace, and tables are first-come-first-served. The last time I stopped by there was even live island music!

    I hope this helps your planning a bit - you'll have a great time regardless! Please let me know if you have any other questions for us. HippopotoMai-Bye!

    Ryan J.
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Meet the Panelist: Ryan, Ohio

Hi, everyone! I’m Ryan from Ohio and am so happy that you’re here! By day (and most nights and weekends), I'm a business professor mentoring the next generation of leaders. In my free time I love outdoor activities and traveling with my family and friends, scarfing down ice cream, and, of course, all things Disney! I can’t wait to help your crew plan a magical Walt Disney World Resort vacation! Learn More About Ryan

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