29 November 2017

Tranquil Hideaway

While staring out at the sea on our first cruise last month, I began to daydream about the new ships coming to the Disney Cruise Line fleet in the next couple of years and all that they could bring to the cruising experience. The Oceaneer Clubs will likely be some of the greatest things kids (and adults) have ever seen, the themes of the restaurants will probably introduce more entertainment a la the newest offerings on the Wonder and Magic, and the fine dining will likely be a step above what’s currently the mark to beat in Remy. The possibilities and dreams are truly endless, but there was one idea and dream I couldn’t shake, one that I even considered before ever stepping aboard one of the ships, and that is to float away with Disney’s marquee island experience, Trader Sam’s.

Now, let’s start by saying the adult district of the Disney Fantasy offered up some terrific venues with which to spend our time. They have something to offer for those guests that want a quiet corner to sip a cocktail or two, those who would rather dance the night away, or even the guests looking to watch the big game. There is truly something for everyone, no matter what mood they’re in on a given day. This variety is precisely what led me down the path to consider what could be added to the current line-ups that would plus the experience and bring in some of magic Disney is known for.

Since Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar opened in 2011 it has been a staple of the Disneyland experience. The watering hole was so popular that an East Coast edition, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, was unveiled in 2015 at the Polynesian Village in Walt Disney World. Both incorporate classic Adventureland, tiki, and nautical elements, in addition to be vaults for artifacts of every shape and size. Both have definite ties to the Enchanted Tiki Room, or Tropical Serenade if you please, the Enchanted Tiki Bar leans heavily on the Jungle Cruise while the Grog Grotto draws inspiration from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. As Castaway Cay serves as the final resting place of a Nautilus from the Magic Kingdom’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage, tilting a floating tiki shack aboard one of the new ships towards the submarine adventure would make the most sense. Of course, you’d want to keep as much of the Adventureland motif as you could as well.

The drink selection onboard any of the Disney Cruise Line ships leans heavily in the direction of rum and tequila, with a smattering of whisky and other fine liqueurs. This works perfectly with cocktail selections from both Trader Sam venues. Both lounges also have a selection of unique small plates that take bar food out of the dive and dress it up for a night on the town. Food, save for midnight snacks set out for guests as if they were Santa Claus, isn’t easy to find in the adult districts of the ships, but it also isn’t entirely unheard. With Trader Sam’s cocktail and food concoctions really working hand in hand with one another, any addition to a new ship would have to have some sort of small plate menu. A plus to the onboard lounge experience to be sure.

But what is it that everyone really wants from their time at Trader Sam’s? Wonderful cast member interactions, drinks that set off effects within the bar, and those delightful mugs to take home. I’m certain over-the-top bartenders and servers could be found for a cruise version of Trader Sam’s without much trouble, just as creating some unique in-room effects, paired with some of the lounge’s staple gags. As for mugs, this is where Trader Sam’s may rock the boat. Given that many of the mugs are limited editions and that there is only so much space where merchandise and collectibles can be stored onboard the ships, this could be a bit tricky. As it currently sits many of the specialty items, such as popcorn buckets or ornaments, run out within the first day or two of a sailing. I could foresee a similar rush on mugs from Trader Sam’s, particularly if a mug is exclusive to the cruise ships or to a particular sailing.

I’d love to see some of the high seas hijinks that both Trader Sam’s locations are renowned for rub off on the fleet of Disney Cruise Line ships. While it may not be feasible or a right fit to add a tiki lounge into any of the current ships, with three new vessels on the horizon, anything is possible. Especially when you’re dreaming big while staring out at the big blue from your veranda!

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