Dining Reviews

Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Weaves Storytelling, Good Food & Disney Tributes to Create Unique Dining Experience (Review)

Hi everyone!

We visited the Jungle Cruise themed restaurant Skipper Canteen on the third day of it being in soft opening – just one day prior to the official opening date. It was also the last day of the Tables in Wonderland discount, so don’t expect any discounts when visiting the restaurant. I hadn’t looked at many photos prior to visiting, and I was glad I didn’t. Skipper Canteen is a gorgeous and unique location, especially the back two rooms, which are mostly out of eyesight of guests as they enter the larger Mess Hall dining room. Here is a look at the restaurant and food in this 222 seat location.

Guests were waiting in a short line before the restaurant opened. Reservations should be taken in a few weeks, but currently are not.

Before the Skipper Canteen opened for the day, Cast Members came out and sung The Adventurers Club theme song. There have been mixed reactions to this on my social media, but I liked it and thought it was a fun way to open the restaurant.

A Cast Member sings.

Here is video of the song!

I do like the paging system, using the phone instead of a standard pager.

There is seating outside for guests waiting, but also inside the lobby.

If you’ve been on the Jungle Cruise, you’ve heard the joke about Dr. Albert Falls. This is his portrait.

Alberta Falls is his granddaughter, I thought she looked a little like Mulan here. A few photos down, we will see a note from her.

The first dining room is the Mess Hall. It is a large room that allows for plenty of sunlight.

Jungle Cruise inaugural commemorative banner.

The first thing I noticed when walking into the restaurant were the three doors above. And I quickly realized that they were like windows on Main Street, honoring Disney Legends. All three were instrumental in designing the Jungle Cruise. The three offices have the lights on, paying tribute to the Imagineers. This is one of my favorite aspects of the restaurant.

Skipper Marc (Davis). Davis created the elephant pool and many of the sight gags for the attraction, which wasn’t a “punny” experience when it began at Disneyland.

Skipper Bill (Evans). Evans was a longtime horticulturist for Disneyland (and handled other parks as well). He’s been featured in Epcot Flower & Garden Festival history. He also landscaped the Jungle Cruise.

Skipper Harper (Goff) was also instrumental in the Disneyland version of the Jungle Cruise.

Before the meal review and more photos, here is our very detailed video tour of the restaurant.

The first menu we looked at was an allergy-friendly menu (and it is the one I photographed). And really, it wasn’t that different than the standard menu, mostly showcasing what is in each item.

I’m actually a pretty picky eater, so there isn’t as much in the menu for me as some other guests. But there is a chicken dish, a steak dish, and a rice noodle bowl. I do appreciate the uniqueness of the menu, and hope it doesn’t change too much. There are some nice appetizer options as well.

The food is inspired by the Jungle Cruise route, with Asian, African and South American dishes.

Here is a look at the entrees, including Dr. Falls Signature Grilled Steak and Trader Sam’s Head-On Shrimp.

Trader Sam is on the menu.

These folks are getting the “point in the end”.

This is the letter from Alberta Falls. Storytelling is woven throughout the Skipper Canteen. It says that Alberta has opened up the home offices to hungry travelers: the mess hall, family room and old secret meeting area are open.

Beverages include a couple of exotic Coca Cola selections (Guarana Kuat from Brazil, Fanta Melon Frosty from Thailand) and two signature (non-alcoholic) drinks. The souvenir mugs were not available when we visited, but should be soon (if not already).

I’d seen the menu online before we left, and I figured – because it is on the more pricey side – that this would be a one-time visit. As we sat down, I said that I was definitely wanting to come back. That was before eating anything, I just really enjoy the atmosphere of the restaurant. It is so well thought out. This was the view from our table. Jeff had asked for the S.E.A. room, the former secret meeting room of Dr. Albert Falls. And I would definitely request this room – or the family parlor – in a future visit.

S.E.A. symbol.

This is a special table, which is surrounded by butterflies. We were told the butterflies are real. It is a very nice table, but anyone in it will be stared at – so I was happy not to be seated here. 🙂

Our meal began with Ethiopian Ambasha bread, with a side of honey. It was a nice beginning to lunch.

I had never had falafel until the last year or so, and I’m kind of sad about that. It is something I now enjoy, and the version here – Fall’s Family Falafel – is a dish I’d order again.

We also split the House-Made Arepas. It was recommended to us and didn’t disapoint, I liked the flavor of the meat. It isn’t really a dish I’d normally order, but I’m glad we did once.

Jeff ordered the Punch Line Punch, even though we couldn’t get a souvenir mug yet. It has tropical fruit juices and a mango puree, and is a refreshing drink.

This is what the mug looks like, they did have one that they found for us to photograph. We were also told it isn’t dishwasher safe, so wash it by hand if you purchase one.

This is the back of the mug.

Jeff ordered Trader Sam’s Head-On Shrimp, which is a “sustainable local farm raised shrimp in a chili-garlic sauce” and served with Chinese broccoli. I have seen this style shrimp at Disneyland Paris, not many other places. Jeff enjoyed the entree, and said he would order it again. The “Head-On” aspect of it is a twist on Trader Sam in the Jungle Cruise.

My dish was “Tastes Like Chicken – Because it is!”. The dish comes with stir-fried vegetables, shiitake fried rice, and hoison sauce. The chicken was cooked well, but I found the sauce in the rice to be very heavy. I would go with a white rice next time. I would have liked a basmati option, I didn’t see that on the menu.

We ended up choosing two desserts, including the Kungaloosh! This is an African-inspired chocolate cake with carmelized bananas and cashew-caramel ice cream with coffee dust. This was a nice dessert, but neither was quite as unique as I’d hoped.

Bertha’s Banh Bong Lan Cake with Mango-Lime Sorbet is a vanilla chiffon cake. I prefered this to the Kungaloosh!, and enjoyed both, but thought the presentation was stronger than the desserts.

Dishes at the restaurant are served with a lot of flair.

Our fantastic server Simo took a photo of us at our booth.

I’m sharing assorted photos from around the restaurant, not in any particular order. The light fixtures, the decor, it is a phenomenal dining experience. For me, the food is secondary – solid, but not perfect, at least the dishes I tried. I prefer the also unique Jock Lindsey’s at Disney Spring for food (all appetizers, but generously portioned) to Skipper Canteen. But the overall experience here at Skipper Canteen is one I want to have again.

Seating is unique and different throughout the restaurant. I especially liked this seat back.

Masks line walls and cases. I don’t know what is authentic and what isn’t, or what has been used by Disney in the past and what had not. We did ask, and hopefully the Disney Parks Blog will eventually have an article on the items here.

Two more masks.

Elephants in artwork.

Elephants can also be found in the rugs.

And in the bathrooms.

The Skipper Canteen is still being added to, including these fez hats (which had been added the morning we visited).

A secret library is what leads guests from the Mess Hall to the S.E.A. room.

In the Mess Hall, a cork board holds notes.

Skippers Only sign at the kitchen.

Here is a look at a table. I asked if there was a significance of the way the napkins are folded, but was told no.

Ladies room with the S.E.A. symbol.

The Family Parlor/Jungle Room is also an area I’d want to dine in.

I love this chandelier!

There are details everywhere, so much to photograph. I’m just showing part of my photo collection from the restaurant.

Always look up, you never know what you might see.

The holidays are featured here in a small way.

This is one corner of the Mess Hall.

Figures in the Mess Hall.

The restaurant reminds me of Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in the level of detail. I will likely add some more photos as I have time, because there is more to see – and a little more history to share.

This should be a popular location for guests as we enter the New Year. It was nice to have a chance to visit before it goes on the reservation system, and we both recommend dining here!