Wilderness Lodge’s Whispering Canyon Cafe is the kind of place that earns strong opinions from guests. Sometimes positive; sometimes negative.
Me? I love it. Bottomless milkshakes, bottomless skillets of grub, bottomless horses… . Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
Tucked into the left-hand side of the lobby at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Whispering Canyon Cafe is a massive, wood-ensconced restaurant where cowboys still fight Indians (look at the back of your chair and see which side you’re on), napkins are re-purposed bandanas, your server is your fellow pioneer, and nobody stands on ceremony.
If this place has anything, it’s atmosphere (read more here). If it’s the kind of atmosphere that appeals to you, hilarity ensues. There’s even a warning on the menu:
But what they don’t mention is that Whispering Canyon Cafe has bad service. No…wait. Not “bad” service. More like “irreverent” service.
WCC servers are “on the range” with you, and they don’t really have the patience for pomp and circumstance. For instance, your cell phone call might be interrupted by a server insisting that it’s rude to take a call at dinner; you might end up a little embarrassed when the server announces that your credit card didn’t quite cover the meal and could anyone help out?; you might be made to take your own Lone Ranger hobby horse tour around the restaurant; you might end up with a pitcher of soda pop the size of Rhode Island on your table; or your tween son might be sung to by every tween daughter in the restaurant. Anything can happen.
My favorite experience was getting a “fastpass to the bathroom” after I drank a few pitchers of Diet Coke at my meal
And the kids will have a blast. “Horse” races on (bottomless, of course) hobby horses are a well-loved activity:
But my favorite kids’ activity at the restaurant is the “pledge.” Kids are asked to stand up, raise their right hand, and repeat a few promises. Of course, these include “staying up as late as I can,” and “never, EVER, going to Universal Studios.”
By the way, most likely, your straws will be thrown at you:
And for those of you who have heard some mumblings about ketchup at this restaurant you can see a picture on this post! I won’t tell you what happens (spoilers-be-gone!), but feel free to contact me for the info.
(This post is about dinner, but if you’re interested in breakfast food, check out this Whispering Canyon Cafe Breakfast review.)
The main offering on the dinner menu is the all-you-can-eat skillet. For dinner ($26.99 per adult), this includes:
Smoked Pork Ribs
Corn on the Cob
Mixed Greens Salad with Apple Vinaigrette
I find the skillet grub to be quite satisfying! The cornbread and pork ribs are usually my favorite, but, like at ‘Ohana, there’s a different “winner” in the meat department every time.
The kids’ portions are quite generous:
The menu has al la carte items as well, including Pork Loin, Pot Roast, Meatloaf, Trout, Rib-Eye, and Chicken Penne Pasta. There’s a full menu of appetizers, too, including Barbecue Pork Spring Rolls, Western Chips and Dip, and Spinach and Pear Salad, among others.
Desserts showcase S’mores Cheesecake, Pecan Pie, and Apple-Caramel Pie, along with dessert drinks.
Of course, one thing that everyone raves about — and they’re only available at this restaurant as far as I know — are the bottomless milkshakes! They come in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
To see links to the full WCC menus, discount information, and more, see our Whispering Canyon Cafe page.
I’ve had great meals and I’ve had “dud” meals at WCC. Some servers are really fantastic at their job, are great actors, and know how to observe your family and play their role perfectly. Others aren’t so great at the acting, but are trying hard! (The servers here have a very difficult job. They basically need to intuit the mood of everyone at the table and deliver their “show” accordingly. It can be very tough when half the folks are ready for fun and half the folks are feeling less rowdy. Be clear, up front, with how you’d like your meal experience. It’ll be better for everyone involved! ) This is not a restaurant that you can prepare for; you could have any of a variety of experiences here.
The food, however, is uniformly decent if you’re a barbecue fan. You’re not getting 4-star here, but you’ll have edible grub and plenty of it. While I’ve always ordered the skillet in this restaurant, I’ve heard great reviews of the a la carte entrees as well.
I can’t stress enough: if you’d like to take part in the restaurant’s “antics,” go for prime meal time during breakfast or dinner. If you’d like to try the food, but avoid the crazy, go for lunch. FYI: according to my impromptu Facebook poll, breakfast “goings-on” aren’t as rowdy as those at dinner. (The fewer people in the restaurant, the less rowdy it gets — in my experience).
Now, I’d LOVE to hear what you guys think of Whispering Canyon Cafe! Did you love it? Did you hate it? Great food? Horrible food? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks again to Brett Young for letting me raid his recent photo stash!
As always, thanks to the Wilderness Lodge Site for the use of their photos!