Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trader Sam's, Disney's new tiki bar now open

Back in June 2010, I posted a six part series about the new tiki project at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. A few weeks ago the restaurant (Tangaroa Terrace) and bar (Trader Sam's) opened to the public. The new bar is getting great reviews (read them here , here, and here) and I look forward to visiting next time I'm in Southern California.

The building that houses the Tangaroa Terrace was built in 1970 as part of the new Marina expansion at the hotel and has seen a lot of changes over the last 40+ years, let's take a look.

A 1968 rendering for the new Marina and Marina Tower, including the Shipyard Inn Restaurant (pictured in the middle, later to become Hook's Pointe and then Tangaroa Terrace)

The new Marina and Shipyard Inn

Shipyard Inn on the Marina

In 1979, major changes happend around the Marina and Seaports of the Pacific was opened. The new area included more restaurants and an International Shopping Bazaar filled with imports from Hong Kong, Australia, Mexico and Tahiti.

Seaports of the Pacific, 1982

As part of the opening of the new Seaports of the Pacific, the Disneyland Hotel also opened Water Wonderland which included Horseshoe Falls, the Dancing Waters fountain show, Papeete Beach and a Polynesian themed musical revue called Pacific Terrific!

The free nightly Polynesian revue began with lighting the torches around the Marina

Then the show would begin and an outrigger canoe was paddled out into the middle of the Marina with guests along the rails to watch the show.

You can see the canoe moving into position in the center of the port

On board the outrigger, several Hawaiian dancers would perform a show for the guests.

I vividly remember standing along the rail as a kid watching this show and the fire dancer doing his thing out in the canoe

Another shot of the outrigger canoe in the Marina

For those who didn't know, the Disneyland Hotel had Polynesian themeing 30+ years before Tangaroa Terrace opened!

Fast forward to 2010 and Walt Disney Imagineering prepares to transform the old Shipyard Inn/Hook's Pointe into the Tangaroa Terrace.

The roofline is inspired by the Great Ceremonial House at the Polynesian Village at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Great Ceremonial House at WDW

In the late 1990's the Marina was drained and filled in and the area was rethemed to Peter Pan, including changing the Shipyard Inn into Hook's Ponite.

Tangaroa Terrace Before & After

Click to enlarge

Trader Sam's Before & After

Click to enlarge

WDI concept art for the interior of Trader Sam's

Completed interior of Trader Sam's. I love the details including the tiki poles from the Enchanted Tiki Room and the crate hanging from the ceiling with the arrow shot into it.

For your listening pleasure, A fan inspired soundtrack for Trader Sam's (created by graphic designer Richard Terpstra).

SIDE NOTE OF INTEREST: Richard has also just created this great T-shirt inspired by the Dole Whip treat found at the Enchanted Tiki Room.

You can purchase the Tiki Pineapple Whip Tee here.

Various image credits for today's post: The Magical Hotel and Meet the World


  1. Great post! I didn't realize the history behind that area.

  2. Aaah, I remember it all. Thank you.

    Trader Sam's is a must do for my next trip.


  3. Thanks for giving this information dear. You know I am very curious to share with you that; your displayed image of this “Disney’s Tiki Bar” remembered me that fun, which I had have last year in the same place. I hope this year also, we can enjoy a lot of fun there in this new best roof top bar nyc.