Guide to the Disney Monorail Bar Crawl
By Stephen Kubiak
From rooftops lofts to tiki bars, here’s your guide to getting around the resorts that make up the Disney monorail bar crawl.
When most people think about the monorail at the Walt Disney World Resort they think of transportation. To others, the monorail is a most efficient means of exploring the great dining and nightlife options the “Vacation Kingdom of the World” has to offer without ever having to touch the ground.
From rooftops lofts to tiki bars, here’s your guide to getting around the Disney resorts that make up the monorail bar crawl. Along the way, AJ Wolfe from the Disney Food Blog, shares some tips and great libations to enjoy along the way.
"Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas."
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
This ultra-modern resort is a Walt Disney World Resort original with its distinctive A-frame structure a fixture of the skyline since 1971. It’s also unique in that the monorail actually runs through the resort interior. Here are three lounges at the resort that you don’t want to miss.
California Grill Lounge
The California Grill Lounge offers some of the best aerial views of Bay Lake and the Magic Kingdom. The lounge also offers outdoor observation areas that are a perfect spot to watch the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom Park.
For sushi lovers, the Spicy Kazan Roll, made with crab, shrimp, scallops, tuna and finished with fireball sauce, is both a guest and staff favorite. The roll has a little heat, so be sure to have a cool cocktail handy.
The lounge offers a wide selection of signature cocktails and a variety of crafted low calorie cocktails as well, California wines and specialty beers. Not sure what to order? Let the bartenders know what liqueurs and flavors you like and they’ll craft you something special.
“The California Grill Lounge is special because this is a first-come, first-served spot to get a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. You can order from the full menu here and enjoy the view without a coveted "fireworks-time" California Grill reservation. It's a tough table to get at fireworks time, though, so we recommend going an hour to an hour and a half early and waiting for table.”
Located on the main concourse in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Outer Rim sits in the heart of it all, offering a beautiful view of Bay Lake on one side and a view of monorails passing through the building on the other. It’s a great stop on the Disney monorail bar crawl to relax and do a little people watching.
The Blue “Glow-tini” has long been a favorite around the resort. It’s made with SKYY Infusions Citrus Vodka, peach schnapps, blue curaçao, and pineapple juice. It’s finished with a sugared rim and a souvenir glow cube. The glowing blue drink is guaranteed to have folks turning their heads.
“The din from Chef Mickey's can spoil your vibe, so make this one a late-night stop after the character restaurant next door has closed.”
The Wave Lounge
Tucked away on the ground floor of the Contemporary is The Wave.. of American Flavors. Celebrating local and sustainable flavors, The Wave is a great place for a meal, but also has a great lounge that’s quiet and low-key enough to relax and unwind away from the park crowds.
To share, try The Wave Appetizer for Two which comes with Lump Crab and local Florida Rock Shrimp Cakes with Lemon Emulsions and Citrus-marinated Fish Tacos.
For libations, the Wave offers a selection of specialty cocktails, organic wines and beer. You can also order organic draft beer, including beer flights, brewed locally at Orlando Brewing Company.
Try the Magical Star Cocktail, another resort favorite, is made with X-Fusion Organic Mango and Passion Fruit Liqueur, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Pineapple Juice, and a souvenir Multicolored Glow Cube.
“The Wave is a hidden gem featuring a primarily screw-top wine selection.”
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
A resort that celebrates the spirit of the South Pacific, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a beautiful oasis of palm trees, rocky grottos, and all things tiki. Say ‘aloha’ to your cares as you enjoy the exotic flavors of the Polynesian resort lounges.
A Hawaiian-themed tiki bar with authentic tropical cocktails, the Tambu Lounge is located in the heart of the Polynesian Resort next to the popular ‘Ohana restaurant. It's one of the more festive stops along the Disney monorail bar crawl.
For those brave enough, the Lapu Lapu is a hollowed out pineapple filled with Myers’s Original Dark Rum and tropical fruit juices and topped with Bacardi 151 Rum. If you have an itch that needs scratching, try the Backscratcher made with Bacardi Superior Rum, Myers’s Original Dark Rum and passion fruit juice topped with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. The cocktail even comes with its own bamboo backscratcher.
For a little sweet pick me up, order the ‘Ohana Bread Pudding, which is served with vanilla ice cream and banana-caramel sauce.
“Pretty bad atmosphere here (not enough seating, lots of din from 'Ohana next door, no "cozy" feeling), but when you order a Lapu Lapu and a serving of 'Ohana's ah-mazing bread pudding, you won't give a fig about the noise.”
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
An interactive tiki bar experience like no other, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is filled with charismatic bartenders, strong tropical libations, and those special details Disney is known for. This is one stop on the loop that can’t be missed.
Trader Sam’s offers some fantastic, South Pacific inspired appetizers to sample from. For the sushi lover, the fresh Hawaiian Poke with sriracha aioli is a perfect accompaniment to a cool cocktail.
While the lounge offers a full bar, it’s the cocktails that make Trader Sam’s truly special. It’s difficult to suggest a cocktail to choose. From the Polynesian Pearl to the massive Nautilus, each specially cocktail comes with its own interactive surprise (which we won’t spoil by describing them here) and you get to keep the mug the drink is served in.
“A truly immersive experience means that this place is a hot ticket (you may wait an hour or more to get in on busy nights), but it's worth it. Once you get inside, it's a cozy, fun, truly Disney-imagineered atmosphere that you won't want to leave. While you're waiting, head out to the Tiki Terrace and get a Spikey Pineapple (a spiked Dole Whip drink that's only available on the Terrace).”
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The signature hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is Victorian-style throwback to the elegance and sophistication of Florida’s Golden Age.
Mizner’s Lounge is the pinnacle of a luxurious resort lounge on the Disney property. Enjoy a classic cocktail while listening to the sounds of a live jazz band.
Aside from the full bar, Mizner’s has some great cocktails to choose from. Try a refreshing Mizner Cooler made with St-Germain, Nolet’s Gin, lime juice, simple syrup, soda water, and fresh mint or get into the mood and go for a classic gin martini.
“This refined location offers a nice appetizer menu from the Citricos signature restaurant next door. The cigar patio makes this a nice gentleman's retreat. The bartenders are great here, and there's a nice set of regular patrons to give the spot a fun, though classy, vibe. The Grand Floridian jazz band outside is a great diversion!”