The Magic Kingdom is the world’s busiest theme park but up until recently the variety of dining options have been limited to mostly quick service locations and character meals. Recently, Disney is making efforts to not only add more restaurants but more variety to the types of cuisine offered. One of the more unique additions is the Jungle Cruise themed Skipper Canteen. After a lengthy journey through exotic rivers, we stepped off the boat and into the canteen for lunch.
Skipper Canteen Lunch Review
The first thing a Disney parks fan notices about the Skipper Canteen is the theming. Like the ride it is based on, the restaurant is under the banner of the Jungle Navigation Company and the wait staff is dressed much like their seafaring counterparts on the other side of Adventureland. Also, like their friends from the ride, they are armed with some over the top jokes.
As we were being seated, our host offered to show us the highlights of the heavily decorated dining room. We accepted and were directed to the lights hanging from the ceiling. This set an early tone to what we expected from our dining experience. However, this did not seem to travel to our waiter. I heard some bad jokes from other servers during our time there but our specific waiter did not seem to fit that mold. As a fan of the Jungle Cruise, this was disappointing but illustrated another similarity to the ride: your experience may vary depending on the cast member. Of course, part of this may be because early on I decided to introduce the Back Side of Water to our own table by accidentally knocking over my water. That event may have put a damper on the humor.
The room was filled with a multitude of decorations along the walls and above head. Because the dining room began to fill up while we ate, I decided not to encroach on any diners just to see some decorations Some of the items I could catch were office doors up on a seeming second level, banners commemorating the inaugural Jungle Cruise and a loft filled with a ton of exotic items. I look forward to getting to spend more time visiting the dining room and the secret library room. There was also some recorded voice being played near the entrance every so often but I could not make out what was being said from our table and could not locate the source on our way out.
The dining options offered by the Jungle Cruise themed restaurant are a clear departure from the mainland fare of the Magic Kingdom. This is obvious from the ambasha bread brought out and served with a cinnamon honey dipping sauce. Appetizers and desserts feature a variety of cultural inspirations from Asia, Africa and South America. Beverages were also unique, offering a variety of juices and foreign sodas.
For our lunch, we ordered the Curried Vegetable Crew Stew and Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak (minus the avocado). I, personally, accompanied it with the Punch Line Punch which proves to be a blend of citrus juice and mango puree. It was a smooth and not overly sweet but I think I would ask for the spiced rim next time as it felt like it was missing something.
The Curried Vegetable Crew Stew had to be sent back because it came out cold. After receiving a new dish, I was happy to be able to taste the proper version of it. The dish gives nearly no spice heat but instead uses all of that curry flavor to bring the cauliflower, red peppers, and acorn squash to life. The sauteed collared greens also breathed a bit more life into the dish than their lentil counterpart.
Doctor Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak brought a different flavor to the table. A steak one. To be fair, this was basically a standard steak for about twice the price of the Curried Vegetable Crew Stew. It had a tasty chimichurri and was pared with tasty Yuca Flanks (think large air-baked french fries) that made the meal enjoyable but nothing standout compared to other steaks on property.
The dining experience was an overall enjoyable one. While we were seated near the stain glassed windows in a pretty empty dining room, it did not take long to see the place fill up. Despite the influx of people, we never felt like it was loud or we were having to overhear conversations from other tables. The temperature inside was a bit cool, proving a stark contrast to the Florida heat, so if you’re prone to getting cold be sure you have a coat.
Between theming, menu variety, and pricing, I would pick Skipper Canteen as my current go-to restaurant inside the Magic Kingdom. It all tallies up to an enjoyable, laid back dining experience with a little bit of humor dashed in.
What’s your favorite dish in the Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to grab it the next time we take that river bend!