We know we can count on Disney World to really deliver with the details!
There is no detail too small In Disney World! We love learning about all the Easter eggs, self-referential nods, and fun surprises the Imagineers slip into the parks. And Disney dining certainly isn’t left out of the fun! Here are seven restaurants with hidden secrets you WON’T want to miss!
Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen
The name Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen is a mouthful, so from now on, we’ll affectionately refer to it simply as Skipper Canteen! This restaurant is located in Magic Kingdom (Adventureland, to be more exact) and it’s chock-full of hidden details and nods to other Disney attractions. Which makes sense, since it’s based on the Jungle Cruise!
As soon as you enter the restaurant, keep an eye out for the portrait of Dr. Albert Falls. His name might ring a bell, especially if you’ve recently taken a trip on the Jungle Cruise! He’s the man for whom Schweitzer Falls is named (it IS the 8th Wonder of the World, after all!).
The Jungle Cruise references are everywhere in this restaurant! Another one of our favorites is the crew bulletin board. Take a glance at the funny notes and newspaper clippings from the Skippers!
There are also some deep cuts for those who remember the Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island. One of the dining rooms is known as the S.E.A. Room — which, of course, stands for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers!
As it turns out, Dr. Falls was a member of this secret society and he used to hold meetings in the S.E.A. Room, which was previously hidden by the bookshelf you walk through to enter the room!
Speaking of those bookshelves you pass, be sure to take a look at the titles and authors! You’ll find references to Imagineers, attractions, and Disney history. There’s even a book titled “True Life Adventures” by W.E.D. — that’s right, Walter Elias Disney himself gets a shoutout!
Oh, and it wouldn’t be in theme with the Jungle Cruise without puns. Take the book titled “Boat Evacuation Procedures,” which was fittingly penned by the author Cap. Size! We also love PRIMATES of the Caribbean (wonder how those nearby Pirates feel about that title!).
There are TONS of hidden details, secrets, and references inside Skipper Canteen! Snag a reservation on your next trip and see how many more you can find!
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Moving on to another Magic Kingdom location, Be Our Guest Restaurant also has some really cool details to keep an eye out for! Let’s start with the West Wing dining room!
While the atmosphere in the rest of the restaurant is warm and nostalgic, the lighting in the West Wing is super dark, giving it a spooky vibe.
Aside from housing the Enchanted Rose from the film, this room holds a painting of Prince Adam (AKA, The Beast before he was transformed), which is torn just like in the movie. Every once in a while, you’ll hear thunder and lighting will flash. Keep an eye on the painting when this happens because Prince Adam will transform into The Beast for a few moments!
Guests will also recognize the largest dining room, the Ballroom, from the iconic movie scene where Belle and The Beast dance.
If you look out the “windows” of the Ballroom, you’ll see that snow is falling! But did you know that this is the exact same snow sequence you’ll see in the film?! Man, that’s an impressive level of detail, but what else do we expect from Disney??
Take a look up in the ballroom, too — the faces of those little cherubs around the ceiling are actual Imagineers’ children! If you manage to snag a reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant, be sure to leave yourself some extra time to check out all of the awesome details in the dining rooms!
Now let’s head over to Sanaa, located in Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. Sanaa translates to “work of art” in Swahili, and this restaurant definitely lives up to its name!
One of the coolest things about eating at Sanaa is the view. The windows look right out onto Sunset Savannah, so you can watch the animals of the African plains while you dine!
But the view isn’t the only awesome thing Sanaa has to offer! The restaurant is decorated with beautiful African artwork, which you can see before you even enter. Hand-woven trays hang from the wall behind the check-in podium — and you can spot several hidden Mickeys in the pattern!
And entering the restaurant is an experience in itself! You’ll feel like you’re stepping outside into the Savannah, with pillars shaped like acacia trees. Hanging from these trees are lamps made to look like African Weaver bird nests. It takes dining with the animals to a whole new level!
Since the restaurant is themed after an East African spice market, you’ll find details like this Zanzibar coffee pot display!
Given the incredible view of the animals, it would be easy for a restaurant with such an awesome location to put less emphasis on the indoor details, which makes the awesome level of theming in Sanaa all the more impressive!
While we’re on the subject of dining at Animal Kingdom Lodge, we can’t forget about Jiko! This restaurant is full of details that reflect the cultures and environments of Africa! For example, the lighting on the back wall of the restaurant changes colors throughout the evening to mimic the African sunset. The breathtaking detail is even more impressive knowing the meaning behind it!
And the detailing goes all the way down to the floor! The patterns on the floor include stylized images of grain, which symbolize good luck and a good harvest.
The pillars tell a story as well — the rings encircling them are designed to mimic the neck rings worn by women in some African tribes. These rings symbolize wealth and beauty.
We could spend hours combing through all of the gorgeous details at Jiko. Animal Kingdom Lodge is truly next-level when it comes to theming!
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Here’s another spot that’s themed to the brim! Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Disney Springs is named after Indiana Jones’ pilot (you can see him at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, if you’re curious!). So of course, you’ll find plenty of references to his aviation career in the decor!
And the location even creates its own backstory, with the newspaper article to back it up!
There are some Easter eggs hidden for all you Indiana Jones fans as well! Can you spot the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark on this shelf??
But, did you know Jock Lindsey’s is home to hidden details from other ultra-famous George Lucas movie franchises?? For you Star Wars fans, there’s a hidden R2-D2 in the writing on the wall and an obscure bounty hunter hiding in the rafters — IG-88! Which makes sense, since George Lucas did bring both the Indy and Star Wars films to life!
If you sit out on the patio, be sure to ask your bartender about the mysterious claw framed behind the bar. It’s a nod to another huge movie and director. We don’t want to spoil it, but it was a JURASSIC hit. 😉
Jock Lindsey’s is full of fun details and nods to our favorite movies! It’s definitely worth a trip to Disney Springs, especially if you’re a huge Indiana Jones fan!
Storybook Dining at Artist Point
If you’re on the lookout for rare characters, you’ll definitely want to have Storybook Dining at Artist Point on your radar! You can find this prix fixe character meal at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. And even though Snow White can be found at other places around Disney property, the rest of the characters here are MUCH harder to meet!
You’ll have the chance to interact with both Grumpy and Dopey — which makes this one of the only places you can meet any of the Seven Dwarfs outside of extra-ticketed events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Dopey is known to SOMETIMES pop up for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day.
Plus, you can meet the Evil Queen! She’s also a rare character to meet up close and personal (probably because she’s so busy working on her evil plots!), so that makes THREE hard-to-find characters in addition to the OG princess!
If you’re on a mission to fill your autograph book or selfie collection with new characters, you’ll definitely want to check out Storybook Dining at Artist Point!
Okay, so this one is technically a bar and lounge, and not a restaurant. But it has such a cool backstory that we couldn’t leave it off the list! AbracadaBar, located on Disney’s BoardWalk, is a former secret hangout for magicians and entertainers. That is, until they mysteriously vanished over 70 years ago!
Extra, extra, read all about it! This special edition of The Boardwalk Bugle that hangs on the wall references the mysterious disappearance of the enchanting illusionists.
But even though the magicians are gone, you’ll still find traces of them throughout the bar! There are cabinets full of props, and some of their tricks (we mean ILLUSIONS! 🙂 ) hang on the walls.
But if all of these details seem a bit too obvious to be hidden secrets, how about this…there are actually hidden magicians in the wallpaper!
Here’s a closer look at this sneaky illusionist! Can you spot him now?? (Hint: look for the ‘stache!)
Oh, and if you make your way to the restroom, be sure to listen closely! You might hear what sounds like a magician’s show — applause, and all — by the Stage Door!
AbracadaBar is themed to the brim, all the way down to the cocktail menu, that includes appropriate options like the Parlor Trick and Pepper’s Ghost! Stop by for a drink and see if you can solve the mystery of the magicians’ disappearing act!
When it comes to hidden secrets, details, and Easter eggs, Disney is second-to-none! And even though we could search for hidden Mickeys alllll day, we also love taking a deeper dive into the more obscure theming surprises. The next time you’re at Disney World, be sure to keep an eye out for these secrets — and more to add to the list!
What other secrets have you found hidden in Disney restaurants?? Let us know in the comments!