One of the best "secrets" of Disney World is the amazing plethora of unique, fun spots to grab a drink, both in the parks, at the resorts, and in Disney Springs. Most people assume that Disney World, being an amusement park aimed for kids, is only for kids. Boy are they wrong! Disney puts a lot of thought and mixology into their bars and it shows. However, don't let the fact that these are "secret" spots fool you. They can and will have long lines to get in and find a spot to sit.
1. Trader Sam's Grog Grotto
Located inside the Polynesian Resort, Trader Sam's is perhaps my favorite spot in all of Walt Disney World. Why? SO MANY REASONS! First, the theming: It is a Tiki Bar set in the South Seas where depending on the drink ordered at the bar numerous special effects take place. For example, order a Krakatoa Punch and you can watch the skies darken and the volcanoes in the windows erupt. This place is a Tiki-lovers paradise! Second, the drinks are delicious and creative. My personal favorite is the HippopotoMai-Tai which blends run, orange curaçao and lime juice to make the perfect (STRONG) concoction! But my second order is always a Dark and Tropical Stormy. Third, the food is also on point. Their menu focuses on shareable bites such as Hawaiian poke, Chicken lettuce cups, and banh mi sliders. I tend to go for the pan-fried dumplings, but everything there sounds amazing! My one note about Trader Sam's is to get there early! They open at 4pm, but by 3 there will already be a line forming outside. The bar is not very large and seating is limited. My advice is to get there around 3pm, put your name on the list. You will get a pager and then can wander to the outside tiki bar area and enjoy the sunshine and drink until time to open. Also, if you get a choice, sit at the bar!
2. Nomad's Lounge
Found inside the Animal Kingdom near the entrance to Pandora is Nomad's Lounge. Inspired by the Asian and African travels of the Imagineers, Nomad's Lounge is designed to be an oasis in which to relax and enjoy a drink during your travels. The vibe of the lounge is laid back! The chairs are mostly low slung couches with indoor and outdoor seating. It invites you to order a drink and sit for a while.
The cocktail list also reflects the nomadic theme by featuring fusions of exotic liquors and mixers. I went with the Annapurna Zing which mixes Sapphire Gin with passion fruit, lime juice, syrup and ginger beer. This fruity drink is the perfect cocktail is sip away the time with.
The food menu is comprised of small tapas sized portions. While the food is not as exotic and exciting as the cocktail menu, they do appeal to a wider audience including kids if they happen to be with you. The charcuterie board and artisanal cheeses is always a good bet, but the wagyu beef sliders and the beef brisket poutine are the standout dishes!
Another personal favorite bar/lounge for me is the Abracadabar on the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a often missed area of Disney World because it is tucked behind the International Gateway of Epcot and just a walk away from Hollywood Studios. Abracadabar has also a unique, but distinctly cool theme. The alleged backstory is that it was the hangout spot for magicians and other entertainers back in the early decades of the Atlantic Boardwalk. The wallpaper and drapers are heavy and rich giving you a full respite from the hot and sunny Florida sky. The walls are also lined with glass cases holding vintage magician props.
The menu consists of both "curious cocktails" and small plates. While the cocktail menu does feature lots of imaginative and fun looking cocktails, the vintage vibe of the place had me wanting a French 75 (my favorite!). On the food menu, the Thrice Spiced Fries and the Kurobuta Pork Belly are amazing!
While Nomad Lounge definitely was kid friendly, this bar is not. They certainly won't bar kids from entering, but Im not sure they would enjoy the food or the vibe of the bar. So definitely take that into account.
4. Jock Lindsay's Hangar
Jock Lindsay's Hangar at Disney Springs is also an awesome spot to grab drink, bite to eat, and just sit and enjoy the scenery. This is also a huge favorite of locals and cast members, so while kids are very welcome here, it certainly has a most adult, local vibe than say, T-Rex Cafe.
The theming inside the Hangar is Disney's imagining of the back story of Jock Lindsay, Indiana Jones' laid back pilot. Most people don't remember the character at all, but Disney has give Jock a new life, or past...The details are set around a globe-trotting, adventure-seeking pilot's vintage aviation collection. The walls are filled with maps, photos, and memorabilia from Jock's imagined life. There are a number of seating options which I like as you can choose where to sit depending on if you're there for a drink, some food, or just in search of a water view. But did I mention the Diver Bell? You can cozy around a small table inside a large, rustic Diver Bell. Definitely one of the cooler seating areas I've ever seen!
To drink I went for the Bedtime Story, a mix of Mandarin Vodka, Ginger Liqueur, Hibiscus Syrup, Lemon Juice and Ice Tea. It was delicious! And the Hibiscus Flower on top is actually edible. While the flower was not that great tasting, that was a cool touch.
5. La Cava del Tequila
My final favorite (but definitely not my least favorite) is La Cava del Tequila. This is a cult hit among those who have ever ventured down into Epcot's Mexico Pavilion and waited in the 20+ minute line. But what is on the other end of that line? Delicious margaritas and a well of over 100 tequilas! I do like tequila, but an icy margarita to walk around the World Showcase is always a winner. My favorite is the Avocado. While initially I was skeptical, it is creamy and delicious. Really give this a try! Another major favorite is the Blood Orange margarita topped with berry foam. I really cannot recommend this place enough for an amazing drink! Now that Epcot has opened Choza de Margarita, a "margarita shack," outside the line may shrink a bit. Either way, its worth it!!
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!