REVIEW: A Quiet Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge
Whispering Canyon Cafe is a table service restaurant located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. This location is famous for its ‘Jungle Cruise’-like antics, yelling for ketchup, and general tomfoolery. Back in May we told you that the antics were being trimmed-down and most importantly the noise level was dropped significantly. An uproar was felt over social media, so we felt a visit was necessary to see exactly what’s been calmed down.
Mountain Trail Cocktail – Moonshine Whiskey, Chambord, Blackberry Brandy, and Wildberry topped with Lemonade – $11.50
This was light and refreshing, a great way to check out moonshine if you haven’t had the spirit before. The other ingredients mask everything else a little too well in this particularly boozy concoction.
All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, or Caramel Shakes – $9.00
Yup, they’re bottomless. Drink up! We opted for caramel and it was a delicious blend of vanilla and caramel with just the right amount of thickness.
As is tradition, dinner starts with cornbread. It’s very good with the butter, but don’t fill-up just yet.
All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Skillet – $33.00/person
Family-style Mixed Greens Dressed with Apple Vinaigrette, Fresh-baked Cornbread, Slow-smoked Pork Ribs, Barbecued Pulled Pork, Citrus Herb Chicken, Oak-smoked Beef Brisket, Western-style Sausage, Mashed Yukon Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Seasonal Farm-fresh Vegetables, and Cowboy-style Baked Beans
Salad comes out first with the cornbread.
This is the real star of the show. There’s always been a toss-up between Whispering Canyon Cafe and Trails End for the best barbecue in the area and we firmly believe Whispering Canyon Cafe can finally take home that trophy.
We felt the brisket was the best thing on the plate. Smoked well to the point that the meat was falling apart, very flavorful and juicy. Fill up on this goodness. The pulled pork needed a little help to ease the dryness a bit. Our wonderful server supplied us with a side of barbecue sauce which immediately rectified the issue. Don’t be afraid to ask for a side of the sauce, it’s quite tasty and not the typical Disney barbecue sauce.
Green beans, nothing too special but these were cooked to the point where they were shiny. We’re not Tomatoa here, but we can appreciate some shiny. The corn is pretty good too, nice and buttery.
These are real mashed potatoes, not something from an instant mix. There’s chunks of potatoes and potato skin in the buttery mixture making for a fantastic side dish.
Smoked sausage. There’s layers of fat inside of the sausage and it’s wrapped tight, cooked well, to give a nice crisp bite each time.
Cowboy beans with bacon mixed-in. At the end of the day they’re just another side, nothing amazing but there’s far worse that could be served.
Chicken was FANTASTIC. Extra juicy, cooked well, and had a perfect blend of seasoning. While it’s not fried chicken, it’s darn good.
The ribs were a bit rough and honestly the only part of the dish we didn’t really enjoy. Everything else was stellar.
Yeah but are the antics still happening?
Well, yes and no. The music is definitely toned-down, you can barely hear the background music or speaking when the pony stampede parade is going on with kids. Regular server antics are still happening. We had straws thrown at our table, the skillet was slammed down, and our own Tom Corless had a gigantic mason jar full of soda brought out to him after drinking a few glasses very quick.
Guests are still yelling for ketchup, but the servers are keeping their voices down and not screaming across the restaurant. The tables close to the ketchup shortage know what’s going on where 20 feet away people wouldn’t be able to hear. This is a good thing for the echoing lobby, and the DVC rooms right above Whispering Canyon. The restaurant isn’t ruined, the food is better than ever, and the atmosphere is lighthearted and fun enough to enjoy.