We’re heading back to Whispering Canyon Cafe for dinner!
This fun spot, located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is the perfect place to dine with the whole family. What can you expect at Whispering Canyon? Generous portions, comfort foods, lots of all you care to enjoy options, and antics aplenty.
If I’m not enjoying breakfast here during a Walt Disney World visit, then you’ll probably find me at the dinner table at least once a year. And that was the case recently. Let’s check it out.
If you’re trying to locate Whispering Canyon Cafe, you can’t really miss it. It’s immediately to your left as soon as you walk through the doors of the Wilderness Lodge.
Because it’s not all that removed — or removed at all — from the lobby, that means that when the antics really get going, you’re probably going to hear them throughout the space.
Antics, she said? What antics? Well, things like this:
So don’t say you weren’t warned. But you may want to know just exactly what kind of goings-on you can expect. Well, in the morning, you might see kids’ hobby horse races:
And in the evening, naughty parents may be coerced into the same for their misdeeds.
Ask for straws, and you’re likely to get a handful thrown at you. And what happens if you request ketchup? Well, probably this:
Is there a way to stop this madness if it’s not something that you dig? Well, yes. Yes there is. Use these handy Flip Cards to communicate your wishes to your server. If you don’t want to play along, let them know, and they’ll pull back on the zany.
Seating at Whispering Canyon Cafe is fairly basic. Tables and chairs comprise most of the seating.
I do love the old fashioned motifs on the backs of the chairs. You can play Cowboys and Indians to your heart’s content.
And when it’s time for fun, they’ll call you with the triangle!
Ready to move on from the playing and get down to the serious business of eating? Me too. Let’s go.
At Whispering Canyon Cafe, the core of the menu just doesn’t change a whole lot. The thing to get here are all-you-care-to-eat skillets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have a la carte items as well, of course, but the most popular items are the skillets.
A few years ago, when they briefly fiddled with the menu and removed the skillets, there were nearly riots. Fortunately, they’ve returned all of the menus — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — to a mix of skillets and a la carte options. So order has been restored.
In the spirit of the “All You Care to Enjoy” phenomenon, I decided to start with a Whispering Canyon hallmark — a Bottomless Milkshake. This time out I chose Vanilla. I love the little extra decadence in the form of Whipped Cream on top…as if all-you-can-drink milkshakes aren’t quite enough. 🙂 And here’s a TIP — You can get them for breakfast, too!
Once we placed our food orders, a lovely loaf of sweet Cornbread arrived, accompanied by Whipped Butter. This is pretty much the same stuff you’ll get around the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness, including Hoop Dee Doo Revue. And that’s a good thing. This is pretty killer cornbread.
On to appetizers! We spied some new menu items, so we decided to give a few a try. First up were the Duck Pot Stickers. I found these to be less like Potstickers and more like full-on fried dumplings. They were served with a Soy Dipping Sauce.
I’m a duck fan, and a dumpling fan, and we found these to be deeeee-licious. No joke; we loved ’em. Wilderness Lodge restaurants have been incorporating Asian-themed menu items for several years now, and this is a highly recommended one.
Next, I couldn’t pass up one of the most popular Whispering Canyon starters, the Gold Rush Western Chips. The heaping plate of Tortilla Chips is served with a Chili-Queso for dipping. We weren’t too impressed with the chips here (our group was largely from Texas where chips and queso are a way of life), but the chili-queso with a sour cream floater was substantial and smokey. Plus, as you can see, the serving size was HUGE.
I’ll go ahead and give away the plot now — one of us ordered the All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Skillet. 🙂 As part of the entree, you get a salad to start. It’s a pretty serious deal, chock full of Veggies, and topped with Blue Cheese Crumbles, apples, and Apple Vinaigrette Dressing. This was nicely fresh and a good amount to share even though we only ordered one skillet.
Soon, our entrees began to arrive. Let’s start with the All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Skillet. This is a whole lotta food, even when the portion is just for one person. In addition to the Meats Team — Smoked Pork Ribs, Barbecued Pulled Pork, Roasted Glazed Chicken, Beef Brisket, and Western-style Sausage — you also get ample side dishes.
On this visit, we also received a Vegetable Medley, Mashed Yukon Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, and Cowboy-style Baked Beans.
The skillet overall, is still a major winner. This is all-you-care-to-eat, so you can order more of anything. The winner on the meat team was the Barbecue Pork. The loser? Chicken. And I’ll tell you right now to order extra of those mashed potatoes!
I had enjoyed the Skillet on a previous visit, so this time out, I decided to try the Steak-Your-Claim Char-Crusted New York Strip. The presentation was pretty upscale for Whispering Canyon, I thought.
The steak came nicely marked from the grill, and I loved the ample serving of Blue Cheese Compound Butter on top to add an extra element of flavor. The Housemade Steak Sauce (that’s the schmear on the plate — there was no added steak sauce on top of the steak) also adds another dimension. And the accompaniments of pencil-thin fresh sauteed Asparagus and roasted New Potatoes were simple, but well executed.
A cross-cut of the steak indicated that it was cooked nearly perfectly. And, honestly, this was much better than I’d expected it to be. The flavors were spot on.
We certainly could have called it a day right there! But Whispering Canyon has some wonderful comfort food-inspired desserts. And there was no way we were taking a pass.
My friend opted for the Campfire-Style Gooey Cake.
Basically, this is a Lava Cake, with a super liquidy, chocolate center. Chocolate fanatics — you’ve come to the right place.
It was amazing, but I’d highly recommend ordering it with a scoop of ice cream.
Sadly, one of my favorite desserts, the Apple Caramel Pie, was nowhere to be found on the menu. Why Disney? Why?
So we contented ourselves with our second favorite dessert here — Fruit Cobbler à la Mode.
I love that the warm-from-the-oven dessert comes topped with BOTH Whipped Cream AND Ice Cream.
Both of them sort of melt into the cakey cobbler in a wonderful way. And speaking of the cobbler, it’s seasonal; so on my visit, we had a peach-blueberry version. SO good! And that sweet cake crust on top was the next best thing to a streusel in my estimation. It was delicious.
So much great food! And another successful dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Whispering Canyon Cafe maintains its standing as one of our favorite family friendly restaurants in Walt Disney World. With a lively atmosphere, decent service (referring to the actual taking of and fulfilling orders, since the servers are supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek here when it comes to how they treat guests), and good (bordering on great) menu items, I am comfortable recommending this spot nearly every time I eat there.
Sure, you aren’t going to enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner here. (Well. Not unless you’re really unique in your tastes.) But that’s not what you’re here to experience. You’re here for stick-to-your-ribs food, and a rowdy good time. And don’t forget — YOU set the tone and control the rowdy. Don’t hesitate to tell your server if you’d rather have a quieter dining experience.
As for me, I’ll keep enjoying my Skillet with a side of fun. Because that’s how we roll here at DFB. 🙂
But now, I’d love to hear from you guys! What’s your favorite dish or experience at Whispering Canyon Cafe? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!