Welcome to the Walt Disney World Monorail Resort Bar and Lounge Crawl.
A Tour, Challenge, or Crawl as they are often referred to elsewhere is a fun, adult way to experience some of the different bars and lounges that Disney’s Resorts, Entertainment Areas, or Theme Parks have to offer.
This Disney Drink Blog Tour revolves around Walt Disney World’s Monorail Loop and the three Disney Deluxe Resorts on the monorail line.
Disney Crawls originated at Epcot’s World Showcase with the bars and lounges located around the World Showcase Lagoon. People often enjoy an adult beverage or few on their way around the lagoon.
The title “Crawl” comes from having at least one drink at every country on your way around.
Some might be crawling by the end, hence the name.
We’d prefer that you were still upright at the end though!
There are no official ones!
But here are the Disney Drink Blog Guidelines:
- Have Fun – This is just a fun way to explore Disney’s bars and lounges.
- There’s no pressure
- Everyone is different and has different tolerances and limits for alcohol.
- Some might have a drink at every stop, others might not.
- Don’t push yourself past your abilities. And be considerate of others.
- Make sure to hydrate – with plenty of water!
- Central Florida is very hot most of the time, you’ll need to keep hydrated.
- Enjoy some of Disney’s great food along the way.
- It can be a great part of the experience.
- Plus it will soak up some of that alcohol.
The Disney Monorail Resort Lounge Tour
Below we’ll cover all of your options on this tour and then we’ll go over a lot of things to think about for your planning, like starting point, starting time, modifications, and other considerations.
There are three resorts on the Walt Disney World Monorail Line: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. They are arranged in a circle around the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Be sure to click on the lounge or bar name for a more detailed review!
The Resort Bars and Lounges
Each of the resorts has a variety of locations to choose from ranging from Pool Bars to ones located with fine dining restaurants.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The Contemporary Resort brings back memories of my childhood, zipping through the Contemporary 4th floor on the monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom was so cool.
The Contemporary is one of the three original WDW resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, and Golf Resort). Designed as a look to the future (from the 70’s) of design and architecture, it still holds up today.
You’ll find some solid lounges here and one standout!
The fourth floor is the primary hub of activate for this resort. It is the floor level for the huge open atrium created by the two sides of the A-frame sides of the building. There are vaulting views of the interior, a monorail station for the Resort Line, and you can watch the Express Monorail whiz through on its way tot he Magic Kingdom. There are two restaurants, two merchandise locations, and the Outer Rim Lounge on the fourth floor.
All location save the Outer Rim serve food.
California Grill Lounge – This is truly a special location. The California Grill sits atop the Contemporary Resort and has a commanding view of the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon through its floor to ceiling windows.
The restaurant is always at capacity and the lounge can be as well, especially as the evening progresses towards the time for the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. Get there early in order to get in!
The California Grill Lounge is a great spot to enjoy the view while sipping on fine Californian wines and enjoying some sushi, or a a flatbread.
Access to the restaurant and lounge is from the third floor at a reservations desk near the elevators. Reservations are almost mandatory for the dining room. For the lounge access is based on available space, access is cut off when it is at capacity, which always happens pre-fireworks.
Open: 5 – 10 p.m.
The Wave Lounge – This lobby level lounge is collocated with the like named restaurant. It’s dark, quiet, and less frequented than other options. Enjoy a full bar, large wine list, and appetizers.
There is no view here, just a quiet spot to get away from the noise of the higher trafficked areas of the Contemporary.
Open: noon – 1 a.m.
The Outer Rim – Located on the busy fourth floor with restaurants and shopping. There are views of the grand A-frame interior of the Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake out the rear windows. The Outer Rim offers the Disney World Generic Bar Menu.
The outer rim is located right in the Contemporary’s central open A Frame concourse area along with several dining and shopping locations. It can be noisier here and there are no unique drinks on the menu, only the WDW Generic Bar Menu. No food offered here.
It is nice to sit and watch the monorail periodically pass through the concourse.
Open: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Sand Bar – Is the Pool Bar located next to the Contemporary Resort’s pool behind the resort. The bar offers a selection of sandwiches and snack food, tropical cocktails, draft beer, sangria and wine at a walk up window or small indoor bar.
Open: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Cove Bar – Is the Pool Bar located next to Bay Lake Tower’s pool behind the resort. Featuring specialty cocktails, beer, wine, wraps and salads at this private poolside bar for Guests of Bay Lake Tower and Disney Vacation Club members.
Open: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
I love the look and feel of the Polynesian! The Poly has some great, fun locations to experience on your way around the Seven Seas Lagoon!
Fruity, tropical drinks are understandably the staple in these bars and lounges. All locations but the Barefoot Bar offer appetizers or bar type food.
During dinner time the second floor of the lobby can become very busy with two dining locations and those waiting to be seated. You’ll find anywhere from two to three small temporary bard with limited options set up in the corners to handle basic drinks.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This very popular indoor tiki bar themed lounge is the hardest location to get into at WDW!
Inside the bar simulates a hut on the beach of some tropical island complete with window views of the nearby volcano. While the weather “outside” might be severe and the volcano might rumble, it’s always enjoyable inside. There are great fruity drinks and Polynesian appetizers on the menu.
The Grotto is limited in size and quite popular. You can’t just walk in. People start lining up in the hall 30 to 60 minutes prior to opening. Once they open they let in the number the lounge can handle and then begin giving estimated entrance times and taking your cell number for your return now text.
You can wait for your entry text in either of the next two locations.
Open: 3 p.m. – midnight
Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace – This outdoor lounge is serves a menu identical to the Grog Grotto, has more seating, and is way easier to get into.
Lots of umbrella tables on the patio, where you can listen to a Buffet style guitar player.
This is the next best thing if you don’t want to wait for the Grog Grotto.
Open: 3 – 11 p.m.
The Tambu Lounge – This bar is located on the second floor of the Polynesian lobby. There are quite a few bar stools or you can sit in the comfy chairs set up around the bar or nearby in the lobby area.
The Tambu Lounge is home to the famous Lapu Lapu, a strong fruity rum drink served in a real hollowed out pineapple. There are great fruity drinks and Polynesian appetizers on the menu here.
This Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto alternate is air-conditioned! .
Open: 3:30 – 10 p.m.
Barefoot Pool Bar – This small outdoor bar is located at the main pool, which is located behind the main building. Burgers, fish tacos and wings are among the food offered.
Exit the rear of the lobby and go 2/3s of the way counter clockwise around the pool area, or exit by Trader Sam’s and walk towards the Water Taxi dock.
There are 6 chairs at the bar or some lounge chairs on the beach. Pool access and seating at the umbrella chairs there require a Polynesian room key (or tailgating someone with a key).
Open: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Oasis Bar & Grill (Pool Bar) – Entry to the Oasis Bar and Grill and Oasis pool requires a Polynesian room key.
This pool bar is quite a bit more extensive than the Barefoot Bar, offering a good sized menu of burgers, tacos, and wraps.
But we’ll remove this bar from consideration in our Tours below as only those staying at the Poly may enter.
Open: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the “newest” of the three monorail resorts.
The Grand Floridian currently offers the weakest options for your Monorail Tour, with only two non-Pool Bar offerings, one of which is closed for remodeling and the other having a dress code.
The Grand Floridian is larger and dining options more spread out than the other two resorts, making for less crowding at dinner time.
All bars except the Mizner’s temporary replacement serve food.
Mizner’s Lounge – Mizner’s is currently closed (through fall 2019) for renovation into a Beauty and the Beast themed bar. The once small quite lounge is being expanded and turned into a Beauty and the Beast themed bar.
There is currently a temporary bar set up in the resort lobby in front of the Garden View Lounge offering a limited drink menu with no food.
Open: 5 to 9:30 p.m.
When the yet to be named Beauty and the Beast Bar opens this fall it should be in high demand and not to be missed.
Citrico’s Lounge – Citrico’s is located at the fine dining restaurant of the same name. There is a dress code which typically knocks this lounge out of consideration for most tours, except an Upscale Monorail Lounge Tour.
Enjoy the full restaurant menu at the bar with your drink.
The dress code: Men: Khakis, slacks, jeans, dress shorts, collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Ladies: Capris, skirts, dresses, jeans, dress shorts.
Open: 5 – 9:30 p.m.
Courtyard Pool Bar – The Courtyard pool is located directly behind the Grand Floridian main building. The bar sits on the rear side of the pool. No food at this bar.
There are seats at the bar or at umbrella tables.
Open: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Beaches Pool Bar & Grill – Located next to the other Grand Floridian pool this pool bar has easy access to the beach. They have a smaller but nice menu with sandwiches and sides. Get the Lobster Sliders.
Seating includes chairs at the bar, umbrella tables, and a low wall surrounding a fire pit.
Open: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monorail Resort Area Transportation
The Transportation and Ticket Center – The TTC is where the Magic Kingdom parking lot is located.
Non-Disney buses, taxis, and ride-hailing services (Uber & Lyft) also stop here, as does the Epcot Monorail Line.
The Magic Kingdom – Disney’s buses from other locations all over property have a terminal at the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Minnie Vans stop here as well.
The Resorts – Ride-hailing services and taxis will stop at all three resort hotels.
There are two different monorail lines that circle the Seven Seas Lagoon: the Express Monorail Line and the Resort Monorail Line.
The Express runs counter clockwise around the Lagoon and only has stops at the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom.
The Resort Line runs clockwise with stops at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom, and Contemporary in that order, then back to the TTC.
You’ll use the Resort Line to get between the three Resorts for this tour.
The monorails can be very busy late afternoon through dinnertime. crowding is worst between the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary and the TTC.
Many people who have been at it since the Magic Kingdom opened will quit by late afternoon increasing monorail use. In the summer when it rains every afternoon the rain drives a lot of people out of the park. Many people board the Express Monorail, but others will avoid the line there and get on the Resort Monorail, adding lots of hot (wet) bodies into the cars for the trip to the TTC.
Walt Disney World also operates a water taxi service for the Magic Kingdom Resorts.
There are two routes that include stops at the monorail resorts.
- Magic Kingdom – Grand Floridian – Polynesian Route
- Magic Kingdom – Contemporary – Wilderness Lodge – Fort Wilderness Route
The only direct, single stop way to use these are from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary and Grand Floridian, or From the Grand Floridian to the Poly.
Boarding at the Contemporary is pretty much useless with the long transit times to the Wilderness locations, unless you wanted to hit the lounges there too, but that’s another post.
Walking is also an option between a couple of these locations
Polynesian Barefoot Pool Bar to Grand Floridian Beached Pool Bar and Grill – 1/2 mile. These two are the closest together, other locations at the resorts are a bit farther apart
The Magic Kingdom is also 1/2 mile from the Contemporary Resort lobby.
The Polynesian Lobby is 1/4 mile from the Transportation and Ticket Center.
There are no other walkable routes available plus some physical barriers between the other destinations.
The WDW Monorail Resort Crawl
Here we are, we’ve finally got to the point where we’ll talk about all of the different ways that it is possible to enjoy a fun tour of the Monorail Resort Lounges and Bars.
Not being satisfied giving you one Monorail Crawl, we’re going to give you several. We’ll offer several Monorail Resort (indoor, mostly) Lounge Tours and the Monorail Resort Pool Bar Tour.
We’ll offer our numbered overall rating for each bar or lounge and suggested ways to tour do your tour. We’ll also mention ways to modify the tours if needed.
And you can always combine the indoor lounge and pool bar tours in any way that you desire.
Where to Start Your Tour?
Your tour will start at the resort of your choice and then you will ride the monorail to each of the other resorts in turn clockwise using the Resort Monorail Line.
Where you decide to start will depend on several factors.
- If you are staying at one of these resorts
- If not where you’ll be arriving
- The time of day you’d like to start
- Whether you want to get into Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto without a 2+ hour wait
- If you want to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks from: The California Grill, or the beach at the Poly or Grand Floridian
- Any other Entertainment Options you might want to see
- Whether you want to skip around
- A personal preference
The WDW Monorail Resort Lounge Tours
There are a total of eight lounges (non-pool bars) at the three Monorail resorts. Three each at the Contemporary and Polynesian and two at the Grand Floridian.
For your tour you could pick one at each location, tackle all of them, or just your favorites.
If doing more than one Lounge at all or some resorts, it’s probably best to do all the ones you want at one resort before moving on to the next resort, but if you want to stretch out the day and time between lounges you could switch resorts between each lounge, making several circuits of the monorail line.
There are also plenty of merchandise locations to dally in at these Deluxe resorts!
Keep in mind the Grog Grotto has a long wait if you are not there well prior to opening, the California Grill will fill up well prior to fireworks time, and Citrico’s Lounge has a dress code.
Note: This fall when the Grand Floridian’s Beauty and the Beast Lounge opens things will change. Our ratings will shuffle and I imagine this lounge will be hard to get into as well. We’ll post changes after we check it out in person in September or November
Pick your must dos and base your tour on the best timing for these.
Lounge opening times vary from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Around Noon – The Contemporary’s Outer Rim (11:30 a.m.) and Wave Lounge (noon).
- Around 3 p.m. – The Polynesian’s Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace (3 p.m.) and Tambu Lounge (3:30 p.m.).
- At 5 p.m. – The Grand Floridian’s Citrico’s Lounge and temporary Mizner’s Replacement and the Contemporary’s California Grill Lounge.
All eight bars offer an assortment of beer (draft, bottle, and can) and wine. Some have a far better selection than others.
You can of course ask for your favorite standard mixed drink at all of them.
As far as specialty drinks, most serve from a few to many different ones.
- The lower floor Contemporary Lounges are the least original, offering the lower level property wide drink menu, or no specialty drinks. Beer and wine selections are moderate in size. The temporary Mizner’s also falls in here.
- The other Lounges all offer many unique drinks. Here you’ll find much better varieties and numbers of beer and wines to select from.
Our Ratings #1 Being the Best
- California Grill Lounge – Huge Wine List – Great appetizers – Magic Kingdom view plus fireworks
- Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – Great Fruity Drinks – Fun atmosphere – Good appetizers – Potential long waits to get in
- Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace – Same menu as the Grotto – No Wait – Good appetizers – Fireworks
- Tambu Lounge – Great Fruity Drinks – Good appetizers
- The Wave Lounge – Small yet strong appetizer menu – Off the beaten Path
- Citrico’s Lounge – Great full restaurant food menu – Dress Code
- The Outer Rim – No food – Serves the WDW Generic Drink Menu
- Mizner’s Temporary Replacement – No food – Limited Menu
Here are our recommendations for your Monorail Lounge Tour:
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Crawl – This tour is for you if you want to experience the Grog Grotto with little or no wait.
To experience a short wait at the Grog Grotto you need to be at the Polynesian Village Resort well before the Grotto’s 3 p.m. opening time (2 or perhaps earlier).
You can start your tour here, or if you want to get an earlier start the Contemporary’s two earlier opening options are for you.
People will begin lining up for the Grotto in the hallway outside the door about an hour or so prior to opening. Pro Tip – grab a Dole Whip with rum to enjoy while waiting in line at the Pineapple Lanai.
Capacity for the Grotto is 51, so if you are the 52nd you’ll be told that you’ll have about a 45 minute to hour wait and the cast member will take your cell number for a text when you are to return.
If you don’t make the cut, never fear, you can step out back to the Tiki Terrace or go upstairs to the Tambu Lounge to have a drink while you wait.
You can hit one, two, or all three indoor lounges here. Don’t forget the two Pool Bars!
Then it’s on to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This resort currently offers the weakest presentations on our tour,. With only two indoor lounges, one of which is a temporary affair lodged into the lobby and the other has a dress code.
You’ll probably have a drink at the Mizner’s Lobby Replacement and move on. But you could also hit one or two of the Pool Bars, or if dressed up try Citrico’s Lounge.
Next stop the Contemporary Resort. Here your first choice should be the California Grill, if your timing is right you might even see the fireworks while there. Then it’s a toss up whether you want to sit in the middle of all the action at the Outer Rim or in the quiet dark Wave Lounge.
California Grill Lounge Fireworks Crawl – This tour is all about getting to the Contemporary at a time that they are still letting people up to the Lounge.
The Magic KIngdom’s fireworks start time vary from 8 to 10 p.m. usually. Note there are low attendance days when no fireworks are offered.
What very many people do is to book a dining room reservation for about an o hour or so before the scheduled show for the evening in question. Those who can’t get around this time book earlier, hoping they can stretch their meal longer or they’ll stay in the Lounge after finishing their meal.
The staff also often brings people up before their table is ready and they will grab drinks in the Lounge.
Your goal is to get there before this starts happening. So for 8 o’clock fireworks get there in the first hour they are open, or by about 6. Then you’ll be the one stretching your time in the lounge.
When the fireworks start they pipe the soundtrack inside and if you have a great seat by the window you can watch from there. If not head outside to the observation deck to watch (the soundtrack is on speakers there too).
As far as the rest of this tour or crawl, you can start at the location and time that will get you to the Contemporary at the right time based on where you’d like to stop first.
What if you can’t get in to the California Grill Lounge? there are alternate spots to get almost as good a view. So have the drinks that you’d planed for the Cali Grill in the Wave or outer Rim, then just before fireworks time, make your way to the 4th floor concourse. Head out the doors on the Magic Kingdom side of the floor which opens on an observation deck. You can watch from there or go up a few flights of the back side external stairs for a better view.
After the fireworks the California Grill will start to clear out, so head on up for a nightcap.
Outdoor/Beach Fireworks Crawl – The Magic Kingdom fireworks are clearly visible from the the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts.
Timing this is so much easier. As long as you are at one of these resorts by just before fireworks time you’ll be all set.
At the Polynesian just head out back to the beach. you can grab a lounge chair, sit in the sand or stand. The soundtrack will be on speakers for your enjoyment.
At the Grand Floridian the place to view the fireworks from is the two boat dock areas. The Water Taxi dock is at the end of a pier a ways out in the water and is ideal viewing. There is also a spot across the water from the boat rental area which has a good view.
Again, enjoy lots of the great lounges we’ve mentioned here leading up to the fireworks!
Other Ideas for Monorail Lounge Crawls:
- Specialty Drink Crawl
- Beer Crawl
- Bourbon, Scotch, or Whiskey Crawl
- Wine Crawl
The WDW Monorail Resort Pool Bar Tour
All the Pool Bars open at 11 a.m. So if you want to get an early start or it’s one of those rare perfect days outside in Central Florida and you want to spend the day chilling outside, this tour is for you.
There are a total of six Pool Bars at the resorts, but if you are not staying at the Polynesian you’ll only have access to five of them.
Your starting resort is totally optional and would depend on if you’re staying at one of these resorts or where you plan to arrive.
Since it’s going to be a laid back day, consider taking the water taxi from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian at some point during your tour.
All six bars offer an assortment of beer (draft, bottle, and can) and wine.
You can of course ask for your favorite standard mixed drink as well.
As far as specialty drinks, all serve all or a portion of the Disney World Pool Bar Drink Menu with zero, one , or a lot of additions.
- The Polynesian Pool Bars are the stand outs, offering many unique Polynesian drinks plus a couple of standard pool drinks.
- Beaches Pool Bar and Grill at the Grand Floridian comes in second offering most of the standard drink menu and four unique items: The Saint Augustine (St. Augustine Florida Cane Vodka, blue curacoa, pina colada mix, and OJ), Pineapple Dream (Captain Morgan Private Stock and pineapple juice), Pina Colada, and Frose (frozen rose).
- The Contemporary Bars come in third, offering the full standard pool drink menu plus the Banana Cabana (Cruzan Mango Rum, Creme de Banana, orange and pineapple juice, and a float of grenadine).
Our Ratings #1 Being the Best
- Polynesian Oasis Pool Bar & Grill – Great food menu – Unique Drink Menu including specialty coffees – Poly Guests Only.
- Polynesian Barefoot Pool Bar – Great food menu – Unique Drink Menu – But limited seating.
- Grand Floridian Beaches Pool Bar & Grill – Good food menu – Extended Specialty Drink Menu.
- Contemporary Sand Bar – Limited food menu – Standard Pool Drink Menu +.
- Contemporary (Bay Lake Tower) Cove Bar – Very limited food menu – Standard Pool Drink Menu +1, further walk from the Contemporary main building.
- Grand Floridian Courtyard Pool Bar – Very limited food menu – Standard Pool Drink Menu.
Here is our recommendation for your Monorail Pool Bar Tour:
- Start at the Contemporary and grab a drink at the Sand Bar. Add on a walk over to Bay Lake Tower for a second at the Cove Bar if desired.
- Hop on the monorail for the trip to the Grand Floridian. There stop by Beaches Pool Bar & Grill to have one of their unique drinks and perhaps something to eat. Then walk to the Water Taxi dock. You could have another drink at the Courtyard Pool Bar as you’ll have to walk right past it.
- Ride the Water Taxi to the Polynesian. There have a fruity drink and something to eat at the Barefoot Pool Bar which is right by the dock. Alternate or addition if you can get in is the Oasis Pool Bar and Grill to try different fruity drinks!
We always make time for a stop (or more than one) at the Pineapple Lani for our favorite Disney Adult Treat, a Dole Whip Swirl with Rum!
Open noon to 10 pm
Be sure to check each Bar or Lounge’s individual page for any available discounts plus full menus!
Over to You!
Have you tried a Monorail Crawl? Share your experience and tips in the comments section below!
Thanks for stopping by the Disney Drink Blog,
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