We visited the new Skipper Canteen restaurant at Disney’s Magic Kingdom park recently to try out this new Jungle Cruise themed dining experience.
The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen (full name) offers visitors a Jungle Cruise themed dining experience in Magic Kingdom just across from the Swiss Family Robinson tree. The Skipper Canteen experience starts as you walk under the huge sign to the host/hostess stand.
Just inside the restaurant, you’ll find some cold water to quench that jungle thirst and a picture of Dr. Albert Falls. Dr. Falls founded the Jungle Navigation Company, a cargo shipping venture, in 1911. Dr. Falls’ granddaughter, Alberta took over the company as a shipping venture until it hit on hard times. A skipper suggested she turn the shipping venture into a guided tour company. As that tour company grew, she decided to open the Skipper Canteen for her visitors and guides.
All of the Cast Members at Skipper Canteen are Skippers (I know, it’s a stretch). A skipper escorts you to your table, regaling you with stories along the way and pointing out various memorabilia around the canteen. There are three separate dining rooms; the Mess Hall, S.E.A. Room, and the Jungle Room.
The Mess Hall used to be the dining room for the skippers on break. It is now a huge dining area for guests.
The Mess Hall is tall with a second floor balcony housing the Jungle Navigation Company offices. Be sure to check out the banner celebrating the inaugural Jungle Cruise on October 1, 1931.
There are two smaller rooms behind the Mess Hall. The S.E.A Room is on the left and used to be the secret room for the Society of Explorers and Adventure. Now it is a quaint dining area with a fireplace to warm guests while they dine. The walls are covered with decorative murals, maps, and trinkets from the skippers’ travels. One booth is tucked away with over 25 bright butterflies glass mounted on the wall.
The other room is the Jungle Room. This room used to be the family parlor of Dr. Albert Falls. This room also features a fireplace against one wall with decorations and pictures throughout. Since it was the family room for the Falls Family, it is very comfortable with warm colors and decorations. Behind a large china cabinet, you will find the family china and glass. Don’t forget to look up high to see the parrot chandeliers and monkey carvings throughout the columns.
Skipper Canteen Review
Now that you know the whole “theme” and story behind Skipper Canteen, we can get down to the nitty-gritty of the review!
Skipper Canteen is a sit-down Disney restaurant and is not currently taking ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations). As a sit-down restaurant, the prices are quite high. Appetizers range from $7.50-$11.00. Entrees range from $17.00-$34.00. With a family of four, this added up to over $100, even with one child ordering off the kid’s menu.
We ordered the S.E.A. Shu Mai appetizer for us all to share and try. It was $10 and it was excellent! We’re off to a good start!
For our entrees, we ordered the Chicken Noodle Bowl, the “Tastes like Chicken” – because it is!, the Char Siu Pork, and Hunter got the kids Mac ‘N Cheese without the beef (we’ll get to that).
The Chicken Noodle Bowl was basically Ramen noodle soup with some chicken thrown in. Almost flavorless, except for the occasional “fresh herb” that made it into the mix.
At $22, I expected a LOT more in terms of flavor. I’ve had better noodle bowls from Ramen for about $1-2. Looks pretty though, doesn’t it? 🙂
Kelly got the Char Siu Pork. It looked like some street meat you might pick up at an Asian food market and who knows, maybe that’s what Disney is going for on this one.
Kelly had a few bites of one of the pork tenderloin medallions and decided he was done. The red coloring from the spices was a bit off-putting to him, I believe. I tried it when he was done and it tasted very bland and overcooked. Of course, he didn’t eat his Chinese broccoli included with the meal. 🙂
Hunter had the kids Mac N Cheese, which is just a smaller version of the adult menu Skip’s Mac And Cheese offering. As per the menu, “A typical Egyptian dish consisting of Spiced Ground Beef, Pasta, and Bechamel Sauce.”
Hunter opted for no Spiced Ground Beef (one of the only modifications you can make to the kids menu). I had high hopes for this one, as it sounded and looked really good. My hopes were quickly dashed when I tasted it. Very bland. Almost no flavor, at all. Maybe Hunter should have kept that Spiced Ground Beef in it for some flavor! Flipper’s Pizza’s mac and cheese blows this one out of the water!
Let me just comment a bit on the kid’s menu, at this point. The options at Skipper Canteen for kids are HORRENDOUS! I’m not sure I’d be interested in most of them, as an adult, let alone a kid that’s used to having regular mac n cheese, pizza, and chicken nuggets as options at most Disney restaurants. The kids menu includes Tiki Tiki Fishy-grilled Sustainable Fish, Smiley’s Little “Croc,” Sizzling Savanna-grilled Flank Steak, Junior Skip’s Special Mac & Cheese, and Amazon Annie’s House-made Arepas, all served with broccoli. Smiley’s Little “Croc” is chicken noodle soup with fruit. About the only other options are to eliminate the beef from the mac and cheese or you can get buttered noodles. Not what I call “child pleasing” menu options, especially if your child is even mildly picky.
Finally, the best entree we tried was the “Tastes like Chicken” – because it is!. Allison got this one and we all tried it. Kelly really liked this one and should have ordered this, instead of the pork. However, it really is just pan grilled, seasoned chicken over fried rice and veggies. Pretty hard to mess that one up.
As you can see from the picture, you don’t get much for this $23 entree, either. I think that’s a half of a half of a chicken breast!
Overall, Skipper Canteen was just too expensive with very bland meals and odd flavors for kids to be a winner for us. We had to try out the new restaurant, but we don’t have plans to go back and wouldn’t recommend it. Disney has much better options, even at the Magic Kingdom for the same or less money.
Let’s run down some quick pros and cons of Skipper Canteen.
- Cast Members (Skippers)
- S.E.A. Shu Mai
- Price – Way too expensive
- Food – bland and small portions
- Flavors – strange flavor palate, especially for kids
- Lack of good kids options
You can see video from the day we tried Skipper Canteen at this link: https://youtu.be/prOUi7USdLk