Walt Disney World has dozens of bars & lounges in the parks and hotels where you can go to relax and unwind the good ole fashioned way: with alcohol, the cause of…and solution to…all of life’s problems! In this post, we share our favorite bars at Walt Disney World.
This list focuses almost entirely on theme and ambiance, with drink quality largely ignored. Our days of competitive drinking are behind us, and although we visit Walt Disney World’s lounges to unwind, we’re not all that concerned with the booze situation. For us, it’s much more about a relaxed ambiance and decompressing after a day racing around the parks than it is about imbibing.
To that end, I suppose we’ve become “part of the problem” and the reason why WDW’s bars and lounges have a surgary mess of vibrant concoctions on the Generic DisneyParks® Drink Menu®. If you are looking for a stiff drink, we’ve always found the best option to be Mizner’s Lounge at the Grand Floridian. Otherwise, check out easyWDW.com’s various bar reviews; he does a great job covering drink strength and quality.
As far as other “rules” and caveats go, only stand-alone bars and lounges are eligible. Many table service restaurants offer bar or lounge seating, but that doesn’t make them bars. With that said, let’s take a look at the best Walt Disney World bars & lounges…
10. Geyser Point Bar & Grill – This is potentially a controversial pick, or at a minimum, a lazy one. Thematically speaking, all Geyser Point really offers is an open air picnic shelter. Unless you count the brick and wood of the construction, there are really no details to speak of. However, I think that we could similarly diminish other places at Walt Disney World by parsing their merits; such reductio ad absurdum arguments are fallacious and, ultimately, self-defeating.
The very reason Geyser Point is so brilliant is because it gets out of its own way. There aren’t a ton of Imagineered details or over-the-top gags because they aren’t necessary. Geyser Point shines because of its beautiful setting on Bay Lake, and Disney made the right decision here in letting that be the star of Geyser Point. We think this was a wise move, and absolutely love the experience of sitting here and soaking up the serene natural beauty of the lake front setting.
9. AbracadaBar – Located on Walt Disney World’s Boardwalk next door to Flying Fish, this is one of the newest bars at Walt Disney World. Usually that would mean off-the-chart hype right now, before guests eventually moved on to the next new thing. Yet, AbracadaBar is already under-the-radar.
Abracadabar’s lack of hype probably has to do with expectations. After the openings of Trader Sam’s and Jock Lindsay’s, the bar was raised for this concept, and between that and an interesting premise, the end result here might be a bit underwhelming, thematically. Personally, I like it quite a bit, and although it’s more restrained, there are a lot of subtle details and hints about the illusionists who vanished from this sophisticated social club for magicians decades ago. (Of course there’s a backstory for this bar.) In the grand scheme of things, it’s still one of the cooler bars at Walt Disney World, and hopefully it’ll find an audience in due time.
8. Raglan Road Pub – Raglan Road makes the cut here because it’s a bona-fide pub, and not just a regular restaurant. The bar here is literally made of wood imported from Ireland, but the real selling point here is the entertainment and pub ambiance, making it one of the best options for adult nightlife at Walt Disney World.
The ambience at Raglan Road is exactly what you’d expect from an Irish pub, albeit it a family-friendly flair, since this is Walt Disney World. Actually, it’s not just family-friendly…there’s a bit of a familial sense to the bar, as if you’re part of an intimate community, even if 90% of the other guests here are also tourists.
7. Jellyrolls – Located on Walt Disney World’s BoardWalk, Jellyrolls is somewhat divisive. I know a lot of people don’t like it, and I don’t have the slightest idea why…besides maybe that they hate fun. Yeah, it does feel a bit 90’s, and it can get really loud, but you really cannot go wrong with dueling pianos.
The drink menu here leaves a lot to be desired, but those dueling pianos performing mostly classic rock is just too fun to pass up. It’s one of my personal favorites at Walt Disney World, so perhaps I’m a bit biased to this one.
6. Territory Lounge – This lounge in Wilderness Lodge is probably one of the unheralded gems of Walt Disney World. In functions as a de facto waiting area for Artist Point (and at dinner, you can order from that menu), and you’ll even find the same Pacific Northwest-inspired theming. This lounge is a bit more rustic and relaxed than its Signature Dining counterpart, making it the perfect place for a more laid back evening.
What elevates Territory Lounge is that it has more detail, including shadowboxes with sportsman memorabilia and other items of Americana. Carved bears gracing the bar and a beautiful ceiling mural are among the highlights, and the decadent pub grub is the icing on the cake.
5. Rose & Crown – I’m guessing Rose & Crown in Epcot’s World Showcase is the liveliest and maybe most popular bar at Walt Disney World. (I’d also say that the restroom across from it is the busiest at Walt Disney World.) Go to Rose & Crown pretty much any evening, and raucous crowds are spilling out into Epcot’s walkways.
Rose & Crown’s popularity is for good reason…beyond the fact that it’s located in a busy thoroughfare at Walt Disney World’s second most popular park. The kitchen serves up authentic, pub foods and the bartenders can mix up some delicious blended draughts, among other drinks. It is at once familiar and transportive, taking guests from Walt Disney World to an intimate pub located in the United Kingdom. On top of that, its outdoor seating offers great views of IllumiNations.
4. La Cava del Tequila – La Cava has taken the Walt Disney World fan community by storm with its unique margaritas, but I like it for a different reason: what better place to drink than in a cave? After a humid day working up a sweat racing around Epcot, a cold “tequila cave” with low lighting sounds like the greatest thing ever.
I’d say the margaritas at La Cava are interesting and generally satisfying, but no longer live up to the colossal amounts of hype heaped upon them. However, the environment and service more than compensate for that, making La Cava del Tequila a winner. One thing to note is that La Cava does get busy, and if you’re looking for similar ambiance without nearly the crowds, check out Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (they serve much more than just wine) at the Italy pavilion. Tutto Gusto is arguably just as deserving of a spot on this list as La Cava.
3. Nomad Lounge – Attached to Tiffins restaurant (which we praise as the best in-park dining at Walt Disney World), Nomad Lounge is an extension of the theme of that restaurant, paying tribute to the explorations of Imagineers. This is reflected in the decor, which pays tribute the real-world places that inspired Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Rather than being transportive or replicating any place, Nomad Lounge’s ambiance is so successful because of the way that it celebrates travel. It has a worldly atmosphere to it, and a palpable energy that makes you excited to see the world. Now that Pandora – World of Avatar is open, Nomad Lounge also feels like a prelude to adventure. As strange as it might sound, it has the same energy of an airport lounge, welcoming guests before they depart for an exotic (or, in this case, off-planet) locale. That might not sound like the highest of praise, but it’s meant to be.
2. Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar – Don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize the name “Jock Lindsay” as being a pilot from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’ve visited and written about this bar several times, and still have to Google which Indiana Jones film he’s from. No one has ever accused Imagineering of failing to dig deep with in-jokes and obscure references, so I guess Jock Lindsay fits the bill.
In general, Jock Lindsey’s is incredibly praiseworthy for its Indiana Jones references, atmosphere, and deep thematic detail. In more than a few ways, it’s like Trader Sam’s: Disney Springs Outpost. There are layers of detail, gags, and references. Like Trader Sam’s, there are also a Easter eggs that extend beyond the Indiana Jones ‘universe,’ which makes for an interesting place to explore. I don’t think it ever devolves into needless fan service, and the ambiance at Jock Lindsay’s is really pleasant, all of which makes it a winner. We’ve found the service and drinks to be hit or miss, but it’s still a Walt Disney World bar you should check out.
1. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – The second outpost of Trader Sam’s following the success of the original Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Hotel, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Hotel is the unequivocal fan favorite for bars at Walt Disney World.
What makes Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto so special is their intimate environments, embrace of tiki culture, self-referential and strong details, and interactive fun. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is packed with detail and always has a convivial, laid-back atmosphere. It’s really just unabashed, kitschy fun. Beyond the cool environment, the Imagineered effects and Disney backstories are nice touches, and although they can repeat slightly too often if you linger here, the effects are still cool to experience. You don’t need to be a drinker to have fun here, it’s a Disney experience through and through.
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Do you agree or disagree with our rankings of the bars & lounges at Walt Disney World? What are your favorites and least favorites? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!