The Disney Tiki Mug Craze Explained
The Disney tiki mug craze is real, and fans of both tiki culture and the Disney parks will line up for hours to get their hands on the latest mug to come out of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland or Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Walt Disney World! But to get a real understanding of how the craze got started we need to take a little road trip back to the 1930s.
Tiki culture really began to pick up steam during the 30s and 40s with famed world traveler Donn Beach bringing idyllic scenery and depictions of the South Seas. Soon after restaurants were themed to reflect the photos and retellings of Beach’s adventures, and they started selling those infamous tiki mugs. In 1963 Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room opened at Disneyland bringing the island culture inside the park, and five years later Disneyland’s Tiki Juice Bar opened right next door to the attraction to sell pineapple spears and juice.
Fast forward to today, and both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have created a sort of cult following around these mugs inspired by tiki culture and the Disney parks. Guests of both resorts will stand in line outside of the “drop points” just to get their hands on a mug or two. Each year around Halloween and Christmas new holiday-inspired mugs come out and fans go crazy.
During Disney’s past Halloween seasons we’ve seen Hatbox Ghost and the Hitch Hiking Ghosts from The Haunted Mansion get a tiki mug makeover. In 2019, Disneyland celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Haunted Mansion with tiki mugs representing some of the busts that are seen in the attraction, which were sold exclusively at Club 33. During the holidays there’s always a nutcracker tiki mug with minor changes making each new variation a collectible item.
While the original Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland still draws crowds of people each night with spectacular drinks, and wacky antics, for many people the idea of adding to their growing collection of Disney tiki mugs is part of the fun in going. The bar serves many of their drinks on collectible mugs, including a shrunken head, a sea monster bowl, and a volcano-inspired tiki god. Each of these mugs come in various editions and some people only collect one type of drink mug as to get the entire collection as they debut each year.
When Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto opened at Walt Disney World in 2015 lines were wrapped around Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to get a chance to grab a seat at the bar and see the new tiki mugs. One that is pretty special is the giant Nautilus mug, which is highly detailed and perfect for any collector. You’ll also find a few crossovers from Disneyland’s Trader Sam’s with a shrunken head and volcano-inspired tiki god.
Both of these Disney bars have allowed Disney-inspired tiki culture to spill out of the theme parks and into real life. Now anyone can find tiki mugs based on popular franchises like Star Wars or Marvel with a quick Google search, swipe them up, and add dozens of mugs to a collection with just a click of a mouse.
So next time you’re in line to get your hands on one of those brand new Trader Sam’s tiki mugs after waiting hours in line on drop day consider where it all started, with one man who in turn inspired Walt Disney to bring tiki culture into Disneyland.
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