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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » Trader Sam's - Orlando
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Trader Sam's - Orlando
AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-05-30 07:06 am   Permalink

Here are some Memorial Day 2014 pre-demolition/pre-remodel photos of what is believed to become the new Trader Sam's Grog Grotto. This is excerpted from my post over in "Locating Tiki" about the general remodel at the Polynesian Resort. The link is:
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=5863&forum=2&vpost=718625

Cheers!

==========================


This is the rumored location of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – a large space has been made available directly underneath Ohana. The next few pictures will attempt to show how much space is being devoted to this new attraction.


The space appears like it would be quite large. Enough room for a bar *and* dining?


Corner view, by the restrooms and the staircase leading up to Ohana.


View towards the rear door of the lobby.


Some of the wall detail which is very likely going to be removed. This would look good in any home tiki bar!


Just outside the rear doors of the Grand Ceremonial House, you can see the back side of the downstairs area which is rumored to become Trader Sam’s downstairs. Note that Ohana occupies the upper level here.


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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-05-30 07:12 am   Permalink

I speculate that "Trader Sam's Grog Grotto" could be a working title; it just doesn't seem to roll off the tongue very well. Disney is known for clever naming, and both "grog" and "grotto" do not strike me as very practical things to tag onto the legacy "Trader Sam's" moniker. How few people in the general population are familiar with what "grog" is? We'll have to see how this plays out. If I'm wrong, then everyone should buy me a drink to console me. If I'm right, then everyone should buy me a drink to celebrate. Yeah, I like that idea...
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kkocka
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Joined: Jul 23, 2013
Posts: 261
Posted: 2014-05-30 10:09 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-05-30 07:12, AceExplorer wrote:
I speculate that "Trader Sam's Grog Grotto" could be a working title; it just doesn't seem to roll off the tongue very well.



Its not, though I agree. With "Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar," you know its a tiki bar. There's a bit more mystery with "Grog Grotto," because I don't hear anybody ever saying "I'm at a grotto" though it also supports the apparent nautical feel the new joint will take.
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wizzard419
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Joined: Jul 10, 2013
Posts: 260
Posted: 2014-05-30 10:12 am   Permalink

It most likely will be a "Bar and Grill" style place rather than just a straight up bar. Aside from getting a liquor license for one that serves food is apparently easier than one that doesn't, they also would be less able to make money since people will stay longer, order more rounds, food, etc.

 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-05-30 11:46 am   Permalink

That's good info. The whole increase in resort traffic from DVC, and having to ratchet up the whole resort as a direct result, should bring many good things. Disney will be required to provide great visual impact as well as ensuring that everyone will have a rockin' good time.

I'm curious to see to what degree Sam's will also be an eatery. They may need to use that space from morning until night for dining. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

If any Imagineers are reading this (many are known to be fans of tiki) please consider cleverly integrating a small "TC" somewhere in Sam's as a small tip of the hat to all of us TC'ers here. Heh...
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EPCOTExplorer
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Joined: May 13, 2014
Posts: 199
From: Miami, FL
Posted: 2014-05-30 6:04 pm   Permalink

Everyone's gonna call it Trader Sam's. Grog Grotto will differentiate it from the California original.

(Which, yes, does have the better subtitle.)


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-06-01 01:11 am   Permalink

Trader Sam's will share space (and the kitchen) with Captain Cook's, so we'll have a much better understanding of the size and scope of the Grog Grotto (sorry, I like that name for some reason) when the quick-service restaurant moves back (tentatively scheduled for August).

That gives them another six months (according to the dates I'm hearing) to get the bar up and running, but it will be hard to hide what's going on right next door. There's also a Dole Whip stand being added somewhere, most likely a counter that will face into the lobby and/or pool deck. No ETA on when that will be done. But I would think it would be done in conjunction with Captain Cook's.

This all sounds like a logistical nightmare, considering that at the same time the lobby will be totally revamped, and it's possible some of the second-floor restaurants will be refurbished as well. My understanding is that there's a push to get the DVC additions completed by the end of 2014 so they can have guests in rooms by next summer.

Also, for what it's worth, the new water features planned for the exterior are intended to make everyone forget about the old waterfall. I've heard they may be pretty amazing.

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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-06-01 04:42 am   Permalink

Hayward, thanks, those are interesting insights into Sam's. I have often thought they would likely consider taking features of Sam's in Anaheim and customize it to fit the specific needs of the Orlando property. Both would share many features and concepts, but also both would be unique in their own ways. The addition of food is nice. We may even see some of Sam's libations available to order at the pool and to walk up customers at whatever pool bar they may build. No matter what they end up doing, I'm sure it will be grand, splashy, and fun. And, while I'm at it this morning, many Imagineers and guests are fans of the old Adventurer's Club and will be looking forward to more re-purposed material from that former venue to appear in Sam's.

It's also interesting to note that the Orlando venue will be "Sams v2" and as such could be better or worse than the experience in Anaheim. In Orlando we expect a more spacious venue, but because of all the DVC demands, also expect some compromises - or innovations. Disney's track record of planning, and then often mercilessly cutting budgets, could result in a comparatively subdued version of the Anaheim experience. I hope that's not the case, but it is within the realm of what could be expected. I remain optimistic because there is so much interest and appreciation for tiki within Imagineering.

With regard to the water feature(s) I think that they MUST build either a whiz-bang pool area, or a new whiz-bang water feature, or both. The trend to build extravagantly-detailed pool areas began at least 15 years ago with Marriott and other big hotel chains. Disney is WAY behind the times in this regard at the Polynesian. Even the pool areas at the newer Disney resorts don't compare, in scope and visual impact, to what other chains have been doing. For example, when at the Hukilau, check out the stunning pool area at the waterfront Marriott in Fort Lauderdale next to the Best Western. That's a pool area, with waterfront bar and dining, done VERY well. We may end up seeing a much larger pool area which may extend very close to Sam's and allow for some nice integration between Sam's, Capt. Cook's, and the pool along with more unique Orlando-only plastic mugs and drinkware for safety reasons due to proximity to the pool.

Also, have you observed a trend on property to stop referring to "Dole Whip" and start calling it "pineapple soft serve?" I was surprised at the Flower and Garden Festival to see them serving "pineapple soft serve" instead of "Dole Whip." I suspected there was something behind that. But it could have been that because one of the options was to pair it with Capt. Morgan's Parrot Bay that may have prevented them from using the Dole name in conjunction with Parrot Bay. So it may be nothing, just some marketing and licensing issue they had to address at that event. I'm curious to see if Dole Whip appears on the menu at Sam's since it appears that they will be catering, to some degree, to a mixed-age audience earlier in the day. I can see a "volcano" of sorts being served to kids with Dole Whip and grenadine or cherry syrup. Maybe with nuts or mini-marshmallows as "lava rocks" or something. (Disney, please PM me and I'll tell you where to send the royalty checks, heh...)


 
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EPCOTExplorer
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Joined: May 13, 2014
Posts: 199
From: Miami, FL
Posted: 2014-06-01 08:52 am   Permalink

Much in the same way that Walt Disney World differs from Disneyland, I expect that Grog Grotto will differ from Trader Sam's.

Disneyland is all about intimate, scaled, organic, experiences. The place is tiny and has grown and matured in on itself. Sam's pretty much encapsulates that. Walt Disney World is massive, sprawling, and grand. The Florida property has matured, too, but it does so in a way that extends the place out- it feels limitless as points. I suspect that Grog Grotto will do this, too. The building might be enlarged, and I expect that the outdoor portion will be much larger than the interior room(s). And yes, I'd expect multiple rooms at this point.

Excited to hear about those new waterfalls, Hayward. Are we talking about the waterfalls right outside the entry to the lobby or the new ones what will accompany the new marquee?


 
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wizzard419
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Posts: 260
Posted: 2014-06-01 10:17 am   Permalink

You mean "simulated organic", which they also use at all parks. Every experience, action, etc. you encounter in the park was planned, then they try to hide the structure as much as possible. People don't just happen to wander into an area, they are herded like cattle.

 
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EPCOTExplorer
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Joined: May 13, 2014
Posts: 199
From: Miami, FL
Posted: 2014-06-01 5:02 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-06-01 10:17, wizzard419 wrote:
You mean "simulated organic", which they also use at all parks. Every experience, action, etc. you encounter in the park was planned, then they try to hide the structure as much as possible. People don't just happen to wander into an area, they are herded like cattle.

Of course. What I'm referring to is more of the difference in how Disneyland and WDW presents areas. DL meanders and has alcoves and areas where things just have to transition rapidly from theme to theme. Like how Adventureland, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square all come together at one point on the River Belle Terrace.

WDW, by comparison has the room to space things out. Things bleed into one another here and there, but, for the most part, the lands have stratified borders.

I could see Sam's and Grog Grotto operating under the same pretenses.


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-06-03 12:39 am   Permalink

@AceExplorer: I have a reliable source who tell me that the same Imagineer who was in charge of designing Trader Sam's at Disneyland is in charge of the Grog Grotto. So I would imagine that the quality of design will be the same, if not better, than Anaheim. I would also imagine that with the size and scope of the entire Poly refurb, simply doing a "Sams v2" would not be acceptable. Based on all that, I have my hopes pretty high, at least for the design and decor. The food and drinks will be a separate issue. But again, I think WDW is setting the bar high considering the importance of the DVC project.

@EPCOTExplorer: As it's been described to me, the new water feature will greet guests outside the front entrance, so I'd expect it to be incorporated into the new marquee. An outdoor water feature will undoubtedly be much easier to manage than one that runs through the lobby. Another issue with the current lobby is the old skylights will need to be replaced with modern panels that limit UV coming into the building. Apparently, the plants that are there now would die without some special lighting system to support their growth. Not that this couldn't be accomplished, but this is probably one more reason, along with maintenance issues with the waterfall, that led to the decision to just remove the whole thing.

Tikiman just posted a new news update that adds more details to what we've heard about the plans, including lots of tentative dates:
http://www.tikimanpages.com/poly/news/item/209-june-report

Regarding the pool, I would expect it to be "whiz-bang" and brought up to the standards of the other luxury resorts, but that will also mean that it will be off limits to non-guests. Tikiman also says that this restricted area will include the adjacent beach area as well. This entire area will be gated off to anyone who doesn't have a magic band that shows them as a Polynesian guest.

However, there will be public areas as well. Exiting the GCH, there will be a new common area that will be used for the torch lighting, hula lessons, movies and a camp fire. According to Tikiman, the pool bar will have access to people outside the gate on one side, but the rest of the bar will be inside the gate that you will need a room key to access. I would expect all of Trader Sam's to be in a public area, including the patio that overlooks the pool.

There's also a plan to add a pool bar to the smaller pool over by the DVC units. I'm unsure if this will be gated like the main pool. The grounds are so extensive and meandering, I'm not quite sure they'll be able to put gates everywhere. I would expect the traditional pathway to the TTC to remain public for folks walking to the restaurants, and Trader Sam's.

Of course, this is all subject to change, so we'll have to wait and see how it all works out.

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[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2014-06-03 00:39 ]


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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-06-03 06:39 am   Permalink

Thanks, Hayward, that's very good additional commentary. I haven't read Tikiman's page in a long time, and it was very refreshing this morning to see that he is also very upbeat and optimistic. I think we all have high expectations and are looking forward to the expansion, the upgrades, and the changes. My only regret is that the nightly room rates are so high at the Polynesian - I have never been willing to shell out the big bucks to stay there. This will, unfortunately, continue to be a problem for me because I foresee my Trader Sam's bar tabs competing for my dollars, heh!

 
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EPCOTExplorer
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Joined: May 13, 2014
Posts: 199
From: Miami, FL
Posted: 2014-06-03 5:58 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-06-03 00:39, Hurricane Hayward wrote:

@EPCOTExplorer: As it's been described to me, the new water feature will greet guests outside the front entrance, so I'd expect it to be incorporated into the new marquee. An outdoor water feature will undoubtedly be much easier to manage than one that runs through the lobby. Another issue with the current lobby is the old skylights will need to be replaced with modern panels that limit UV coming into the building. Apparently, the plants that are there now would die without some special lighting system to support their growth. Not that this couldn't be accomplished, but this is probably one more reason, along with maintenance issues with the waterfall, that led to the decision to just remove the whole thing.



Now THIS is exciting. I'm happy that the waterfalls won't be totally gone in some form. That sort of vibe is vital. Thanks for this!


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-06-03 6:15 pm   Permalink

Both times I visited in the last month they had a construction wall up at the front portico entrance underneath the monorail station. Could be the beginning of a new water feature. The entrance has always been pretty ho-hum, so I'm looking forward to what they are going to do.
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