Dining Out and About:
The Sand Trap Bar & Grill
By Jack Spence, ALL EARS® Guest Columnist
This article appeared in the April 18, 2006, Issue #343 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)
I recently wrote a review about the All Star Cafe, a sports restaurant/bar. In that review (ALL EARS(R) Issue #337, March 7, 2006), I mentioned that I have no interest in sports whatsoever, but in spite of that, I still enjoy eating there. Today, I'm going to talk about another, more specialized sports restaurant, the Sand Trap Bar & Grill. As you might deduce from the name, this restaurant caters to golfers, specifically those golfers playing at the Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines courses.
Located at the north end of Disney property on Golf View Drive, you can reach the Sand Trap by traveling east on Vista Boulevard from the Magic Kingdom resort area or by turning left on Vista Boulevard from Bonnet Creek Parkway. There is a large sign for the Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines courses and a much smaller sign for the restaurant. If you look for the golf course names, you can't miss it.
Once you turn onto Golf View Drive, you pass by a small lake and between the first and second holes of the Eagle Pines course; then you proceed through a forested area until you come to a parking lot. Only once during all my visits has a stray golf ball bounced on the road in front of my car as I was driving along this road. Oops.
There is no bus service to this location. However, if you're golfing at one of these courses and staying at a Disney resort, the front desk or concierge can arrange free transportation via taxi. A Sand Trap Cast Member told me that Disney will also provide free transportation just to eat at the restaurant, but I have not verified this information.
Once you park, you'll see the clubhouse sitting a short walk away up a slight incline. The lobby of the clubhouse is a round room with several chairs and couches situated in the middle. The curved wall is decorated with giant stylized tees with round lights (golf balls) atop each one. Off of the lobby you'll find the men's and women's locker rooms, a shop selling Disney branded golf merchandise, and the Sand Trap Bar & Grill. There is no host or hostess so just walk in and take a seat anywhere.
The decor is contemporary and has a warm feel. A bar runs the entire length of the back wall, light-wood paneling makes up the two adjoining walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows complete the room. From these windows you look out over a patio to a beautiful lake and fountain and the 18th holes of the two golf courses. The view alone makes it worth eating here. There is no background music playing so the atmosphere is usually fairly quiet.
On nice days you can enjoy lunch or a drink on the patio and take pleasure in this peaceful setting. However, at the moment, the patio tables are missing and they only have chairs. When I inquired why they had discontinued their outside dining, I was told that the restaurant had ordered and received new tables. When the tables arrived, they wanted to have them painted in coordinating colors and had sent them to the Disney paint shop. But somewhere along the way, the tables got lost and no one seems to know where they are. However, I was assured that they would eventually be found or replaced, and outside dining would resume.
Adjacent to the restaurant is a banquet facility that can be reserved for a variety of events -- not just golf-related activities. On several occasions I have seen bridal showers take place here. The banquet room has the same beautiful view of the lake and golf courses as the restaurant.
Even though women are far more prominent in golf than they ever used to be, you'd never know it by eating here. From my experience, men outnumber women 10 to one at this restaurant. (I guess Mom is visiting the theme parks with the kids while Dad is out golfing.) But don't let this scare any of you women away. There is nothing so macho about this place that would make you feel uncomfortable. Everyone is welcome here.
The Sand Trap is also a favorite lunch spot on weekdays for Disney Cast Members. They know that a table is usually available with no wait and the service is efficient.
The one group of Disney guests that I have never seen here is children. In all my visits to the Sand Trap, I have never seen anyone under 18. So, if you're looking for a respite from screaming babies, this is your spot. However, I have seen highchairs in the back corner of the restaurant so I know even the little ones are welcome.
I've been coming here regularly for the past five years and during my visits, the service has always been excellent. However, since there is no host or hostess to seat you, it is possible that several parties will all converge on one server's station at the same time and can overwhelm him or her. Nevertheless, teamwork seems to be the norm and the other servers will go out of their way to help the one in trouble.
Since I eat here so often, I have a regular server, Bruce. When I arrive, the rest of the crew sees me coming and just points to whatever tables Bruce is working that day. Bruce is always in a good mood, friendly, and provides excellent service. On Bruce's days off, I request Veronica -- ditto for her performance.
On most days, Mike is behind the bar mixing drinks. Once again, a very pleasant fellow. And if you want to eat at the bar, Mike can also play the part of waiter and the full menu is available.
The restaurant is open seven days a week and the official hours are breakfast from 6:30 a.m. - 11 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., and light meals from 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. The bar often stays open until dusk to cater to the late golfers. However, these hours are flexible. If the first tee-time of the day is 6:30 a.m., and the group wants to stop in for a bite to eat beforehand, the restaurant will try to accommodate them. Also, if someone finishes up their game a little early and arrives at the restaurant at 10:30 a.m., the servers will offer them lunch before 11 if they can. Like all Disney restaurants, the Sand Trap tries hard to give the guests what they want.
The food here is not exotic. The restaurant caters to a bunch of golfers coming off the links. We're talking basic food, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wings -- that sort of stuff. A new area manager has just taken over the Sand Trap, and the Cast Members I've spoken with seem pleased. From what I've been told, he hopes to add several more healthy and upscale items to the menu in the near future.
One of my favorite choices is the Sand Trap's Cobb Salad. I think it's the best on property -- even better than the Brown Derby's, which, in my opinion, pulverizes the lettuce. And unlike the Brown Derby, here they give you a choice of dressing. They are also willing to modify the salad. Occasionally I will substitute cheddar cheese for bleu (blue).
The Sand Trap also makes a good Caesar Salad. If you like, you can add chicken, either grilled, blackened, or mesquite. The salad comes with a soft breadstick.
The burger here is really good. It's thick and juicy and has all the trimmin's. If you like mayonnaise and mustard, be sure to ask for it when you order or the burger will arrive dry. If you really want to be bad, order their shoestring potatoes or onion rings. Both are excellent.
Not on the printed menu, but available every day, is a Pulled-Pork Sandwich and Quarter-Pound Hot Dog. I've never tried the sandwich, but the hot dog is really tasty.
Recently, on Sundays, the soup of the day has been Cream of Onion. It's great -- and a nice change from French Onion, which is served in so many other eateries. If this item is being offered while you're here, try it.
One of the appetizers they offer is Chicken Wings (hot, mild, or teriyaki). There is enough food for two or three to share or one person could make a meal out of them. I've never tried the "hot," but the "mild" and "teriyaki" are a good bet.
The Tuna Sandwich is also a good choice. And if you're trying to eat healthy, try the Grilled Vegetables and Portobello Mushroom Salad.
If you'd like to escape to someplace that seems miles away from the high energy of the theme parks, I would strongly suggest lunch at the Sand Trap Bar & Grill. It will give you an opportunity to relax and recharge your batteries so you can go back out and face the throngs of people.
Read Jack's review of the All Star Cafe: http://allears.net/ae/issue337.htm
Photos of the Sand Trap Bar & Grill can be found in our Restaurant Photo Galleries: http://allears.net/din/gall_res3.htm
Post your own dining reviews, or read others' ratings, in our Rate and Review section: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/
Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.