As a restaurant based heavily on the famous Jungle Cruise, my boyfriend Brennan and I had some very high expectations for Skipper Canteen. The ride itself is known for its corny jokes and its immersion into a fun and adventurous world. Brennan was particularly excited as this happens to be one of his favorite attractions. I am happy to report that Skipper Canteen lived up to our expectations!
The restaurant is tucked away in Adventureland near the Swiss Family Treehouse. It fits perfectly with the jungle-inspired theming of the land in which so many of us are familiar.
If you are a fan of the Jungle Cruise, I would say that you do not want to miss this restaurant! First, you are led to your table by a Skipper who wisecracks as they walk you through the restaurant, just like they do on the attraction.
I won’t ruin all of the jokes for you, but the one I liked best was the Skipper noting the “highlights” of the dining room, pointing to the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling above.
Disney didn’t miss any details when designing this space. The walls are adorned with all kinds of decor and theming straight out of the ride.
Make sure not to miss the banner from the inaugural Jungle Cruise (setting sail in 1931) or the toolbox warning guests that it may contain a live snake! There are even bookshelves as a part of a study, complete with a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book!
Toward the top of the restaurant, there is a balcony where you can see an office door bearing the name “Alberta Falls.” The story goes that she succeeded her grandparents in becoming the owner and manager of the Jungle Navigation Company, the fictional corporation that runs the Cruise. Everything in the restaurant was not only very aesthetically pleasing but also quite well thought out.
Now, on to the part of the review you have all been waiting for, the food!
The fare here is a mixture of African, Asian, and Latin-inspired cuisine. It’s quite a bit more elevated than what is typically served at the Magic Kingdom (don’t get me wrong – the Mickey Pretzel with yellow cheese dip is one of my favorites!).
The head chef at Skipper Canteen previously was a chef at Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion of Epcot. His cultivated expertise in creating sauces during his time at the French-Canadian restaurant proved successful. The delicious creations we tasted throughout our meal showed off his talent.
To start that meal, Brennan and I selected Orinoco Ida’s Cachapas as the appetizer. To be completely honest, I had never had cachapas, and I was not sure what to expect. Much to my delight, they turned out to be superb, and we could not get enough!
The dish consisted of three house-made corn pancakes topped with beer-braised pork, roasted corn, Fresno pepper salsa, and avocado cream. The avocado cream brought the whole dish together while at the same time keeping things light.
It was so good that we cleaned the plate! When our server returned to see our empty plates, she joked that we must have hated it. This became a recurring joke with her as we continued to thoroughly enjoy each of our courses.
For my main course, I ordered the Perkins Thai Noodles. I had heard great things about the noodles at Skipper Canteen and naturally had to see if they lived up to the hype (spoiler: it definitely did).
Along with the chicken, the dish featured rice noodles mixed with a variety of Asian veggies. The sauce, a spicy soy chile-garlic, was what made the dish. If anything has garlic, I am pretty much already sold. The chef used an artful combination of spices such that it was very flavorful without beating the taster over the head with the heat factor.
For his main course, Brennan ordered the Hardy-Har Char Siu Pork. If you are like me and didn’t know, char siu is essentially a type of Chinese barbecue. The pork was accompanied by sticky white rice and bok choy. The dish was cooked well done.
As with the Thai Noodles, the sauce was the star of his dish. This was a thicker sauce than what came in the noodles, and it was more sweet than spicy. The pork was good, but we both agree that the Thai Noodles scored higher with us overall.
Our meal had been so good that it did not take much convincing from our excellent server to sample a few desserts.
Brennan followed her recommendation and ordered the “Kungaloosh!”. My boyfriend is a HUGE coffee lover, and it is no wonder that this one was a winner. The dessert consisted of a dark, rich chocolate cake topped with caramelized bananas, cashew ice cream, and coffee dust. Drizzled over the cake was sweet chocolate syrup. His favorite part was the big chunk of brittle that sat upon the ice cream.
For my dessert, I ordered the Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Ice Cream. This one was good, but I didn’t find it to be highly memorable (or was that because I ate it up so fast?). It was a pretty light, tasty dessert. One of my favorite parts was the tiny drops of marzipan, and edible flowers sprinkled on the plate.
Overall, Skipper Canteen won us over. You get the fun and playful atmosphere that’s expected in the Magic Kingdom while enjoying expertly prepared dishes with an exotic flair. If those are things you value in where you eat on vacation, it’s worth a visit on your next trip!
This article was contributed by Erica Seman of Firefly Travels. Make sure to contact Erica when planning your next Disney vacation!
Leave us a comment below and share your favorite dining selections at Skipper Canteen!