Trader Sam's Grog GrottoIt’s no secret that food is a big part of what makes your Walt Disney World vacation really special. We, like Lou, love to eat our way around each park, and we have really come to rely on and trust Lou’s opinions in his live restaurant reviews. Each trip, we try to go someplace new, reserved as our date night (or date day, depending on what time our reservation is), and our last vacation was no different. We decided to go to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (our favorite resort, even though we’ve never stayed there) and sample two places Lou suggested: Captain Cook’s and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.

What makes the Polynesian so special for us is that, coming from New York, we’re enthralled with anything tropical, and Hawaii has always been a place we’ve wanted to go. It’s a long way from the East Coast, so it’s a trip for which we’ve been saving for a while. Someday we’ll get there … maybe for a big anniversary.

What we love about this particular date night is that no reservations are required! The best way to experience this is to first, find out when the fireworks will be set off at the Magic Kingdom, then, plan to be at Captain Cook’s about 2.5 hours prior to that. If you go back to Podcast Show No. 374, Lou and his family describe, in great detail, the menu packed full of tropical Polynesian delights. What we like most is that it has a price-point that allows you to order multiple different items and share them. While there, sit, relax, recap the day, have a nice quiet meal away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd of the parks. Our biggest tip, eat a lot because of what’s next.

Once you are done at Captain Cook’s, head over to Trader Sam’s. Definitely take a look inside, but be prepared that it’s somewhat on the small side, so it gets pretty packed fairly quickly. Don’t let that discourage you. If you like the atmosphere, stay inside. If you prefer a more quiet retreat like us, step outside to the outdoor patio lounge, where you get the same drinks, but now, you get to enjoy the beautiful outdoor breeze.

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto Menu

We’re big on souvenir cups, so our tip – if you can swing it – is to get drinks in cups you can purchase (not all their drinks come in souvenir glasses). Here’s a secret: You can order drinks in souvenir cups two ways. One is the drink in the souvenir cup, but you leave the cup there. In this case, you are only paying for the alcohol. You can also purchase the drink and the cup together. You will be paying quite a bit more if you want the cup, but it’s so totally worth it. Why? Because the Nautilus has now become our holiday gravy boat, and the rum flight surfboard shot glasses have made really cute bud vases.

Trader Sam's Nautilus Trader Sam's Rum Flight

Another note, you can purchase the souvenir cups sans alcohol, but will be paying the same price as if it came with the drink … so at that point, you might as well get the drink. The Nautilus has to be shared. It’s way too much for one person to drink. Again, a sharable drink is always romantic.

Being outside, if you time it right, lets you experience three romantic events: prime viewing of the Electrical Water Pageant, prime viewing of the Wishes! fireworks spectacular at the Magic Kingdom, and there is Hawaiian entertainment – a ukulele player sings beautiful music to the crowd. We recognized our singer as the ukulele player from Ohana the year before. If you are celebrating anything special, like we were (birthday and anniversary), you can request a song to be sung just for you.

(Photos from the authors’ personal collection.)

Do you have a favorite date night location at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments section below!

Felicia and Sean“New Yorkas” Felicia and Sean are avid Disney fans.  Their first vacation as a couple was in Walt Disney World.  They were engaged there, and also honeymooned there.  After a combined 30 trips to the World, they are self-professed Disney travel agents and enjoy helping family and friends plan magical Disney vacations.

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