PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: Jungle Cruise “Skipper Canteen” Restaurant Opens at Magic Kingdom

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After many months of waiting, the Jungle Cruise-themed Skipper Canteen restaurant soft-opened today at the Magic Kingdom in Adventureland. Despite early rumbling that it may be a counter service location or a hybrid like Be Our Guest Restaurant, it is table service-only offering lunch and dinner currently.

The restaurant accepts the Disney Dining Plan and the Tables in Wonderland discount card already, usually not the case with new restaurants at WDW, but welcome indeed. There are no reservations being taken as of yet, so it is walk-ups only, but they do have a nifty texting system to tell you when your table is ready (as long as you have a U.S. cell phone number).

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The interior is brilliant. While not a whole lot of work needed to be done to the main dining room (this was the Adventureland Veranda restaurant many years ago and the room was never heavily modified for any meet and greets), two new rooms in the back of the restaurant are elegantly decorated with tons of amazing nods to the Jungle Cruise, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and even the now-shuttered Adventurer’s Club from Pleasure Island.

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It does seem like not all of the decorations have been installed yet, but what is there already is fabulous. It is clear that they needed to be open to handle the holiday crowds in the park, so don’t be surprised if new details pop up daily over the next few weeks.

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Take a video tour of the Skipper Canteen:

Not only is the decor brilliant, the cast members working here are too. I had so many fantastic interactions with servers, seaters, and greeters today, I find it hard to single out just one. They were all ready to unleash a repertoire of bad puns on us and I could not have been happier. While the service was a little slow (as to be expected on a first day), the crew kept everyone entertained and you could see they were trying their best which is all you can really ask. With atmosphere this good, I was in no rush to eat and get out anyway, so the wait for food never felt too long.

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As for the menu, it is a BIG departure for the Magic Kingdom. It is easily the most exotic menu in a park mostly known for hamburgers and hot dogs (although this has been slowly changing over the last few years). The menu is also quite large, offering plenty to choose from. There’s even a allergy version of the menu which is quite helpful for those who need it.

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The allergy menu

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Kid’s menu

I didn’t order a ton off the menu since I was alone, but I did get an appetizer, entree, dessert, and both of the signature beverages (which can come in a beautiful souvenir cup.

Let’s get the bad out of the way: I hated the signature drinks. One is basically apple juice and the other, well, I’m not really sure what I was drinking. Personally, I don’t drink lot of fruit juice, so it may just be me, but I didn’t care for either of these.

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The Punch Line Punch just tasted like apple juice…
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The Schweitzer Slush was awful, I can’t even define a flavor for you.

A nice offering, complimentary bread is brought out with a honey spread. This was fantastic. It was unique and unexpected and I loved it.

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The S.E.A. (Society of Explorers and Adventurers) Shu Mai was my favorite item I had today. It had a nice and spicy kick to it and was very flavorful. The dipping sauce was also fantastic.

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For my entree, I had the Skip’s Mac and Cheese which came highly recommended. The mix of spiced ground beef, pasta, and bechamel  sauce blended nicely and had an interesting flavor that I really enjoyed.

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Then there was dessert…

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OK, I just had to show you the back…

I ordered the Kungaloosh just to make all you Adventurer’s Club fans happy… OK, it was the most chocolate thing on the menu so I wanted it.

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It was really great. Nothing too crazy, but prepared very nicely and certainly a must if you love chocolate as much as I do.

Overall, I LOVED Skipper Canteen. I’m a sucker for story, so even if the food wasn’t good, I was prepared to return several times, but honestly, this is the BEST table service menu at the Magic Kingdom. It’s unique, it’s diverse, and everything I’ve had or any dishes I asked neighboring tables about (yeah, I was THAT guy) recieves high marks. It’s seriously really good. It’s good to the point that I’m afraid Magic Kingdom crowds will be afraid of the menu and they may change it, but we’ll see what happens. As of right now, this is THE BEST restaurant at Magic Kingdom. I know that doesn’t often mean much, but I would seriously rank the meal I had today in at least the top 20 restaurants at Walt Disney World. I would go higher, but I really need to try more of the menu, which I plan on doing very soon based on my experience today.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

9 Comments

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  • This restaurant looks great and the menu is such a refreshing update to what’s currently offered in the park. We aren’t a ‘hamburgers and chicken fingers’ family so we’ve really struggled with finding places to eat at Magic Kingdom. This place fits the bill perfectly and even my Disney reluctant husband is looking forward to trying it. Thank you so much for including the allergy menu in your review since that’s also one of our challenges. I’m thrilled to see there are so many options for allergy free dining at Skipper Canteen. I’m with you on the “I hope the menu doesn’t scare people off”. Magic Kingdom really needs these options for people who prefer more international flavors.

  • It looks like a wonderful place, with a terrific selection on the menu. Cannot wait to dine here… Surprised no booze on the menu!

  • Went there last night with a couple of friends, and I have a bit of a counter-statement to the specialty drinks..

    While you said you’re not much of a fruit drink kinda guy, I do enjoy a nice refreshing drink like so. I got the punch line punch and a my friend got the Schweitzer Slush. The punch had a great blend of different fruits like apple, pineapple, mango, etc in it and was a tasty drink to have. The rum-spiced rim was a great touch to it as well, with a good kick, but I don’t feel like it added nor took away from the drink.

    The Schweitzer Slush, from what I was told, tasted pretty much like an apple slushie. We didn’t get the boba balls with our order (probably out), but he preferred it when it had a bit of melted slush as well, making the actual slushie part a make-shift ice cube.

  • We ate lunch there on Monday and had a nice meal. I did have the signature slush with the mug and liked it a lot, especially the juice pearls. We had 3 of the appetizers; the salad, falafel sand the Shu Mai. The Shu Mai and the falafels were tasty. The waiter made our meal fun with her story adding to the atmosphere.

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