Since opening in May 2011, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel has become something of a sensation, with lines that sometimes rival the major attractions at nearby Disneyland. It’s a tiki bar with a decidedly Disney twist – when you order one of the bar’s signature tropical drinks, objects in the room animate or spring to life, references upon references are stacked on one another in every conceivable space, and the bartenders and servers are equipped with the sardonic wit of a Jungle Cruise skipper. Anything associated with Trader Sam’s has become a big deal, from the introduction of a new collectible mug to the opening of a sister location (Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, which debuted this year at the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World). So it should be no surprise that the Trader Sam’s Halloween party, called Mahaloween, was a definite event.
The second annual Mahaloween party, held on October 12 and 13 of this year, was quite an experience: a tropical-themed twist on the holiday, and a celebration of everything that makes Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar such a treasure.
When you get to Mahaloween, you walk through an amazingly detailed archway and onto the grassy lawn near the Frontier Tower at Disneyland. That’s where you grab your plate and fill up on the evening’s delectable dishes, which are miniaturized versions of menu items at Trader Sam’s. After that, you choose a table and settle in for the show, which runs for over an hour and features, amongst other things, traditional music, hula dancers, and performers from New Zealand and Tahiti.
Your host for the night is Dr. Skip Towne, a wiry guy in Bermuda shorts, who comes onstage playing “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” the theme song to the Haunted Mansion, on a tiny ukulele. He will introduce you to angry, ancient gods like Tonga Toast’a and Kungaloosha (watch as he cowers in fear as they angrily smite him). As a host, he keeps things moving along and drops a number of classic Disney references, to not only the Jungle Cruise (where the bar gets its name) but also the Adventurer’s Club, the beloved dinner club at former Pleasure Island (now Disney Springs). At the end of the night, you’ll probably have eaten a lot and enjoyed some drinks (there’s a signature Mahaloween cocktail, of course), but also had a whole lot of fun. This is a very different way to spend Halloween and a totally enjoyable one.
We were able to talk to Karlos Siqueiros, Food & Beverage Concept Development Manager, who said that numerous parts of the company came together to throw this spooky bash. “There’s so much talent that’s involved here. We’ve got entertainment. They’ve put on an amazing show. We have our chefs, who took our menu from Trader Sam’s and pared it down to appetizer style,” Karlos explained. “We’ve also called on our artists who designed the glasses. They also have produced a special print for tonight. So everybody who comes in tonight will get that print and after tonight, they’re gone.”
Yes, the special glasses and print were a big draw on Mahaloween, and for good measure. One of the glasses was only available for attendees during the event. Karlos broke it down for us: “It’s the same glass design – the only difference is the glaze. The special edition is brown like a coconut but on Wednesday you’re going to get an orange glaze, and that has more of a pumpkin glaze.” (The regular glass is available through the end of the month at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, while supplies last at least.)
And, truth be told, the glass is absolutely gorgeous. On the back there are a trio of spirits, while the front looks a lot like a certain Disney character who has been characterized as the “Pumpkin King.” Not that it was Karlos’ intention that the glass look like that beloved character. “It’s purely coincidental,” Karlos reiterated. “It’s a jack o’ lantern as far as we’re concerned.” (The special edition print features a black-and-white image of headhunter Trader Sam holding one of these special tiki glasses.)
With events like Mahaloween and this past summer’s Tahitian Terrace Diamond Luau (which celebrated both the Disneyland 60th anniversary and the well-remembered Tahitian Terrace restaurant, which was open for more than thirty years in Adventureland starting in 1962), we asked Karlos if there would be more special Trader Sam’s events to come. “I hope so,” Karlos said. “The guests seem to be receiving this really well. So that’s a good thing. We’re starting to work on plans for future events like this.” It’s true – we had so much fun, it was scary.