Skipper Canteen, A Fun and Delicious New Dining Option at Magic Kingdomby Donna Fesel, contributing writer
Are you a super fan of Walt Disney World's Jungle Cruise? Can't get enough of that corny humor and free-wheeling setting? As an avowed lover of all things Jungle Cruise, I was pleased to learn that Alberta Falls, the granddaughter of the founder of the Jungle Navigation Company (the hosts of the Jungle Cruise) founder, Albert Falls, decided to open their company headquarters to serve weary travelers. That venture, Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen (Skipper Canteen for short), opened to WDW Adventureland visitors in December of 2016, and is my new must visit WDW meal destination. Of course, this is only the fictitious backstory to these Adventureland locations, but the fun is very real.
Skipper Canteen is located right across the way from Jungle Cruise, and similarly features a world traveling, adventure theme. After you enter you will be greeted and your name taken as you await a table, and this is where the magic begins. There is fresh cool water for your enjoyment, in a spacious entry way and several welcoming outside areas to pass the time until you are seated. They are all graciously appointed with lots of interesting bits and bobs. Perhaps it was the day we visited (a weekday in last October) but it was the most serene and relaxing WDW dining establishment waiting area I have ever visited. I felt positively relaxed and refreshed when our table was ready a short time after our arrival.
Inside Skipper Canteen, there are three main dining areas. The primary dining room is called "Crew's Mess Hall," which features plank floors, lots of Adventureland appropriate theming, and wooden tables and chairs. The more formal room appointed with china cabinets, bookcases, and "heirlooms" is the "Falls Family Parlor." The nautical themed room, featuring the octopus and sea map mural, as well as the butterfly collection is the "S.E.A. Room." Our bubbly and hilarious cast member (again very reminiscent of the cast members who staff Jungle Cruise) escorted us to the Crew's Mess Hall.
I had checked the eclectic menu before arrival, and already knew exactly what I wanted us to order. We had the Shiriki Noodle Salad (noodles, edamame, green mango, and chili sauce), S.E.A. Shu Mai (pork, shrimp, and edamame gyoza), Falls Family Falafel (chickpea fritters served with white bean dip), and Arepas (small corn cakes that you make mini sandwiches with), which are no longer on the menu; these have been replaced with Cachapas (corn pancakes served with mojo pork, black beans, and avocado cream).
The food was all terrific. It was interesting, and fairly light, and came in entirely reasonable portion sizes. The options are a bit different than typical WDW fare, but still entirely approachable. Although not a "quick service" restaurant, service was prompt, and so was the food delivery, making for a stress-free Magic Kingdom park break. Like several other Magic Kingdom spots, Skipper Canteen also has begun offering a few beer and wine choices, in addition to its alcohol-free specialty drink line-up.
Skipper Canteen accepts Tables in Wonderland (WDW's discount dining program which provides 20% off for eligible park goers) and 20% off for Annual Passholders through September 30, 2017. Skipper Canteen is one Table Service meal on the Disney Dining Plan. Lunch and dinner are both served. I definitely have room to fit Skipper Canteen into my Magic Kingdom dining rotation (I'm going again in 2 weeks); it is a refreshing new option. Have you visited? What did you think?