*This gluten free dining experience took place in June 2019. It includes information about dairy free options.
Lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe
Whispering Canyon Cafe, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is a table service restaurant that is known for its wild West theme and server antics and hijinks. This is one of those restaurants, similar to 50s Prime Time Cafe that people either love or hate, depending on their enjoyment of the antics and hijinks. I admit, I can take or leave the antics, but my family is partial to Whispering Canyon Cafe. So, when my mom and stepdad were in town recently, they requested lunch at Whispering Canyon when it’s a little more low-key and for the 20% off lunch prices for Annual Passholders.
I have to admit that if the restaurant didn’t have such high energy hijinks, I’d probably eat at Whispering Canyon Cafe a bit more. I absolutely love the theme of the Wilderness Lodge and the wild West theme throughout the interior of Whispering Canyon Cafe, which is located off the main lobby of the Lodge.
From the moment you walk inside, you’ll find charming wild West touches — from the carpet to the chairs. I always feel like Whispering Canyon Cafe looks exactly as I would imagine a childhood Lincoln Log project to look like if it came to life.
Whispering Canyon Cafe is spacious and the seating is quite comfy too.
I also really enjoy any of the tables near the windows, because you get a nice chance to enjoy the wooded area near the Lodge.
Whispering Canyon Cafe offers guests with special dietary needs allergy-friendly menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also always speak to a chef at any time if you have questions or wish to discuss additional options too. ‘
On my last visit for dinner, I had a terrible experience with a server who did not want to break character when I mentioned having celiac disease. Thankfully, on this visit, the server was excellent and really gauged our level of interest in antics, so that made my dining experience much more pleasant.
Side note, I absolutely love that all the drinks at Whispering Canyon Cafe are served in Mason jars. Super cute!
Also, for those who are concerned about paper straws now being served at Disney World and gluten, check out the Disney Mom’s Panel response from Special Diets about this. The gist is that if it’s a Disney-owned restaurant, they are using Aardvark brand paper straws that are 100% paper and do not contain gluten. Always trust you own judgement and comfort level if you’re concerned about potential gluten in the straws.
For my entree, I ordered the Slow-smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich. This was made gluten free by serving it on a gluten free bun and with fries made in a dedicated fryer. The sandwich itself was served with Caramelized Onion and a Vinegar-Barbecue Sauce. It also had coleslaw on the side too. I did not ask about the dairy free modifications for this dish, but I would guess this could be made dairy free by omitting the caramelized onions.
Overall, the sandwich was good, but not amazing. Both my mom and I ordered this, and we both agreed that the sandwich was on the dry side. We got some additional BBQ sauce, but I am not a huge vinegar sauce fan. I actually ended up adding the coleslaw to the sandwich and that worked perfectly for a bit of moisture and texture. The fries were nothing special, but I always enjoy Disney French fries whenever I can get them.
Normally, I’m not a huge dessert person, but I had to order the Whispering Canyon Pioneer Chocolate Cake. It was marked as safe for Gluten/Wheat, Milk, and Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies.
I’m so glad I ordered this because wow, was it good! The cake was served in an adorable little campfire dish and was topped with a chocolate syrup. Our server told us that the version on the regular menu is the same as the gluten free version, which is pretty great. Essentially, it is a flourless chocolate cake that was super rich and delicious. My mom, stepdad, and I all got this, and we all agreed it was the star of the meal. Next time, I might just go there for an appetizer and this dessert! This is definitely a must-order if you’re visiting Whispering Canyon Cafe and love chocolate.
While I don’t always love the antics and hijinks at Whispering Canyon Cafe, I do really enjoy the atmosphere and food at this table service restaurant. If you’re like me and prefer a more low-key meal, lunch and breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe are always good options. You’ll still get lots of delicious food and the restaurant vibe is definitely more relaxed. Of course, no matter when you go, be warned if you ask ketchup, you’re going to get more than you bargained for!
Have you been to Whispering Canyon Cafe? What’s your experience dining there been like?