Hello, and welcome to the world-famous Jungle Cruise…restaurant. That’s right, we’re back at the Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen (and no, we didn’t have to visit the backside of water to get here).
Now, if you’ve ever visited Skipper Canteen, you’ll know it’s one of the punniest dining spots in all of Disney World, and you’ll know that it’s also something we often refer to as a hidden gem. So when Disney decided to add some new items to the Skipper Canteen menu, we had to put on our adventurer’s hats to check it all out.
When it comes to theming, Disney just gets it, and that’s most certainly the case at Skipper Canteen. If Jungle Cruise is one of your favorite rides and you love puns, this is THE place to eat in Magic Kingdom. Your cruise…err…dining adventure begins in the check-in area, which is themed to evoke Disney World’s classic ride.
This restaurant also has a backstory that links it to the Jungle Cruise. It’s owned by Alberta Falls, who took over the Jungle Navigation Co. from her grandfather, Albert Falls. Although Jungle Navigation Co. started out as a cargo shipping business, it eventually became a tourist company offering Jungle Cruises. Skipper Canteen was set up to give those passengers a place to eat before or after their cruise (that is, if they make it out alive!).
Inside Skipper Canteen, you’ll find three separate dining rooms, each with its own theme. The Falls Family Parlor was meant to be a relaxing area for the Falls family — you’ll find animal details and many Easter eggs connecting the restaurant to the Jungle Cruise.
There’s also a dining room that used to be the super-secret meeting space for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.) — Dr. Falls was a member of this exclusive group.
The largest dining room is the Crew Mess Hall, which is full of light, as well as fun Jungle Cruise-themed artifacts. If you do dine here, be sure to take time before or after your meal to look around all three rooms. This restaurant is full of hidden Jungle Cruise details!
You’ll find standard tables and chairs here, along with booths, for seating.
The fun doesn’t stop with the restaurant’s theming. Your host, server, and food runners are also equipped with loads of wonderful puns that will make you laugh and groan at the same time.
Like most table service restaurants at Disney World, you can either get a paper menu or scan a QR code to view a digital menu on your phone. You’re also given a cloth napkin and utensils.
Not only is the theming at Skipper Canteen unique, but the menu also features some adventurous foods, with names of dishes inspired by the Jungle Cruise. You’ve got a selection of unique appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages.
But we’re here to try three NEW menu items.
We started with the new Sustainable Fish for $32, which recently changed. This is “Not Piranha” served over Bok Choy, Lotus Root, Bell Peppers, and Shiitake Mushrooms in a light Ginger-Lemon Grass Broth. The fish that we were served was Striped Sea Bass. This is a nice light option for those who don’t want a heavy meal.
This fish was cooked very well, and as you can see, it was nice and flaky. The broth was almost like a miso broth — it added a nice flavor but wasn’t too salty. The flavor of the fish was peppery, but not overwhelmingly so. But if you don’t like pepper, keep that in mind if you consider ordering this. We also kind of wish this had come with rice rather than vegetables.
Then it was time to dig into Irrawaddy Irma’s Hanger Steak for $38. This is Ginger and Soy-marinated Sliced Hanger Steak served with Garlic Rice, Frisée, and Pickled Onions. So the steak is good, but it doesn’t stand out from other steaks you can get at Disney World, so we’re not sure we’d order this again. Maybe if it had a sauce or some kind of other flavor added to it, we would’ve rated this higher.
We were pleased that we ordered it medium rare and that’s how it came out, though. But again, there are much better places in Disney World to get steak. It was also strange that we didn’t receive a steak knife with it.
Finally, we got the Senegali Sal’s Short Rib for $36. It’s a Berbere-spiced Short Rib, Sweet Potato Silk with Sautéed Greens and Cucumber, and Root Vegetable Slaw. We’re just going to say this was probably our favorite of the three new menu items. We found the flavor really unique — it almost had like a cinnamon or nutmeg fall kind of thing going on.
We think this is exactly the kind of thing to order in the fall or winter. It is a heavier dish, so you might not want to order this when it’s hot and humid out. However, it was delicious and we would order it again!
Overall, though, we thought all three new dishes are a solid choice, depending on what you’re in the mood to eat.
Nosh or Not
You SHOULD eat at Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen if…
- You want a hearty meal, where you can sit and relax. Skipper Canteen has a very chill vibe where you can escape the park’s crowds, as well as the Florida heat and humidity.
- You have adventurous eaters in your party — the options here are a lot more unique than anything else you’ll find in Magic Kingdom.
- You want to immerse yourself in Disney storytelling and theming, which is SPOT on here, especially if you love the Jungle Cruise. This is one of the most immersive restaurants you’ll find in Disney World. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun.
You should SKIP Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen if…
- You want a quick meal — this is a sit-down restaurant with a more laid back atmosphere. Dining here will take some time out of your Magic Kingdom day.
- You have picky eaters in your group. There isn’t a lot here for picky eaters — almost everything here is for those who have more adventurous taste buds.
- You want an inexpensive meal. Although this isn’t the MOST expensive place to dine in Magic Kingdom, it’s not cheap either.
If you can’t tell, we’re big fans of Skipper Canteen! We love the theming AND the food and drinks. Everything serves to fit the Jungle Cruise theme, and we notice new details every time we come in here. We could walk around inside the restaurant FOR DAYS.
What’s even better is that the food here serves the theme well and offers an adventure for your taste buds, much like the adventure Jungle Cruise offers for your other senses. If you want to try something different in Magic Kingdom, this should be your go-to spot for a nice, sit-down, table service meal.
However, as we mentioned, picky eaters will not find much to please them here, so that’s always a consideration. If you’re looking for another sit down restaurant that will please those picky eaters, head somewhere like The Plaza Restaurant! But if it’s super punny fun and unique food you’re looking for, don’t sleep on this restaurant. It’s one of our favorites for a reason!
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Have you been to Skipper Canteen recently? Let us know in the comments!