*This dining experience took place in January 2016.
Disney’s newest restaurant, the Skipper Canteen, recently opened in December 2015 in Adventureland. Themed after the world famous Jungle Cruise, the restaurant is somewhat of an extension to the Jungle Cruise attraction. That means lots of witty (or not so witty, depending on your sense of humor) banter and hijinks. The decor and food are all reminiscent of the attraction, and it’s fair to say, you’ll feel like you stepped in the 1930s when you dine here.
Currently, the Skipper Canteen is only taking walk up reservations. This means that you cannot book online or via the My Disney Experience App to make ADRs. However, that being said, so far the restaurant seems to have fairly reasonable wait times if you’re interested in dining there.
On this particular occasion, my boyfriend, Brandon, and I decided on a whim to dine here. We walked up around 8:30 p.m. and were told there would be up to a 30 minute wait (though the wait time was actually about 15 minutes). The restaurant currently closes fairly early at 9:30 p.m. and wasn’t too busy when we go there.
There are three dining areas in the Skipper Canteen. The main area is themed like a Mess Hall. You can imagine the Jungle Cruise skippers dining here in between their 2 week journeys into the Jungle.
The second area is the Falls Family Parlour and is where the Falls Family would often have meals and relax. You’ll recognize the name of the Falls Family because of the famous African explorer Dr. Albert Falls from the Jungle Cruise.
The decor in this room was amazing, with so many details. The chandeliers were made up of stained glass parrots. How cool is that?!
We dined in the third area which was known as the S.E.A. Room. As we learned from Skipper Bri (who assisted us with our meal, and was amazing — more on her later!), Dr. Falls was a member of the Society of Adventurers and Explorers, and this is is the secret room in which he host fellow members. If you were a fan of the Adventurer’s Club, this will all feel very familiar to you.
To find out more about the rooms, decor, and theming, check out the Disney Food Blog’s first look at the Skipper Canteen for more photos and detailed review.
Like most restaurants at Disney now, the Skipper Canteen carries an allergy friendly menu. And, it’s huge! You can see a side-by-side photo of me with both the regular and allergy friendly menus. Talk about lots of choices!
The food here is inspired by the jungles of the world. You’ll notice a wide variety of flavors that include Middle Eastern, Asian, and South American.
The restaurant offers complimentary bread service, and Skipper Bri let me know that the restaurant did carry Ener-G brand rolls with the Skipper Canteen’s signature fenugreek-infused honey. I was bummed they didn’t have the GNI Brand rolls, as the honey was delicious.
Even Skipper Bri knew the rolls weren’t amazing…”They aren’t Udi’s, that’s for sure.” You got that right, Skipper Bri!
Ginger’s “Croc” of Hot-and-Sour Soup is both gluten free and dairy free. If you like hot and sour soup, this is a great option for an appetizer. Though, be warned, it’s a bit spicy. Yes, watch out because Ginger’s “croc” of soup does snap!
Brandon ordered this and was not a fan.
I’ve been reintroducing a bit of dairy (in the form of cheese) into my diet this past year, and I decided to try the arepas. They are an amazing gluten free appetizer (it does contain dairy with the cheese), and is a big enough portion that it could serve well as a small entree. The shredded beef was well seasoned, as were the beans. The arepas had a nice flavor, as did the tostones – though the plantains were a bit soggy.
Arepas are normally prepared with the toppings on them; however, this was a deconstructed version. I suppose, if anything, it gives you the flexibility to customize your dish.
Hands down, this was the favorite dish of the night.
For another review of the arepas and the Skipper Canteen, check out Gluten Free in Orlando’s review.
While waiting for our entrees, we did take a bit to look at the S.E.A. Room theming. The Skipper Canteen is impressively themed, and you could literally be here for hours exploring all the little details.
From photos to hidden compartments, you are sure to find something new every time you visit.
Don’t forget to ask your Skipper about any questions you have.
Skipper Bri gave us loads of information about the history of the Skipper Canteen and the Falls Family.
For our entrees, we both ordered items that were marked gluten free and dairy free. I opted for the Trader Sam’s Head On Shrimp, which came with white rice, seasoned Chinese broccoli and four very large shrimp.
The shrimp were very good, well cooked and seasoned. I liked the sweet chili sauce that accompanied them. The white rice was nothing special, but I loved the Chinese broccoli. With a nice soy sauce glaze, the broccoli was easily something I could eat a ton of. I also absolutely love that the Skipper Canteen uses gluten free soy sauce for all dishes. That means there are so many choices normally not available.
Of course, ever the bargain hunter, Trader Sam tried to make us a deal for those four head on shrimp. Oh that Trader Sam, always trying to get a “head” of the trading market!
Brandon ordered the grilled lamp chops seasoned with a North African berber spice blend served with green lentil stew. He thought the lamb was well cooked and flavorful but wasn’t too keen on the lentil stew.
After seeing the table next to us order Skip’s Mac & Cheese, Brandon decided it was a must order on his next visit (sadly, not gluten free!).
After our meal, Skipper Bri gave us a bit of a tour throughout the S.E.A. Room. One amazing touch were the bookshelves that you walked through to get into the S.E.A. Room itself. As a librarian by day, this made me super excited. Skipper Bri even pointed out her favorite book.
If this feature wasn’t amazing enough, we learned after listening to WDW Radio’s Skipper Canteen Live Review that there’s a hidden compartment in the bookshelves. And now, we need to make a field trip back to the Skipper Canteen to find it…and for the food, of course, too!
Skipper Bri even took a selfie with us. Though since she’s from the 1930s, she wasn’t quite sure what a selfie was.
The Skipper Canteen has so many amazing hidden (and not so hidden) touches, with unique food offerings — making it a welcome addition to the Magic Kingdom. We very much enjoyed our meal here, and I’d like to try some of the other many options available.
And, of course, we can’t wait to go back just for the atmosphere and theming.
If you dine at Skipper Canteen, do ask for Skipper Bri. She was a real hoot and made our meal extra magical!
Would you like to go to the Skipper Canteen? What dishes are you interested in trying there? Let us know in the comments section below!