We sometimes consider ourselves explorers. We rarely turn down a chance to travel or try something new. Travel without an itinerary? Of course. No cell phone coverage? o.k. Surfing classes? Yes please.
Our “explorer” reach doesn’t however extend to eating whole Lion Fish.
While we appreciate that they are ruining the Coral Reef thanks to overpopulation and understand why they are on the Skipper Canteen menu, we are definitely not the girls to tackle eating the black and white spiked fish to fix that problem.
From the moment we heard that Jungle Cruise was getting a restaurant themed for the explorer and adventurer we were hungry for pictures, the menu, and everything that we’d come to love from the Jungle Cruise riverboat.
We loved the décor!
A strong attention to details gets you catchy book titles, a butterfly collection and left behind explorer gear courtesy of patroness Dr. Alberta Falls.
The Falls Family Falafel was a pretty great appetizer.
If you’ve never had falafel they’re like hush puppies made with garbanzo beans instead of cornmeal. You only get 5 of these little falafel balls but they are a great way to supplement your meal if you’re thinking of trying a daring explorer dish you may or may not like.
We loved the desserts!
The desserts we tried rivaled only one other Disney Restaurant, Sanaa. These were equally decadent, with a beautiful presentation, an excellent portion size and tasty enough that we would come back just for dessert and tea. Yes, they were that yummy.
The Menu is limited.
While they do have pork, shrimp, lamb and steak the seasoning and add-ons give these dishes significant flair that your family may not like. This was definitely not a child-friendly menu, luckily they do have a kids menu if you’re faced with a picky eater. Our not-too-exotic choices for dinner were good but still left us thinking that Be Our Guest is still our top choice Magic Kingdom restaurant.
In fact according to Easy WDW the menu has gotten such backlash that the entire thing will undergo a “radical menu change” and has changed a little already since opening.
A perfect big-kid macaroni and cheese that ended up being rather filling for little G.
This curried vegetable stew with naan and rice was perfect for the rainy day we were escaping from at WDW. Warm and very spicy, the bread and rice helped break up the “hot” and I decided to learn how to make curry after eating this.
The yucca fries as an add on here were interesting and while the steak was spicier the avocado salsa cooled this dish down a bit.
The menu, it seems, while perfectly themed to the Explorer experience is causing some empty tables, so you can walk up and dine at the restaurant, which is not the case with most Magic Kingdom restaurants boasting a waiting list.
Jokes anyone? We learned after about 15 minutes of jokes from our server that this would not be the place to come prior to a show with a start time or if you had a fastpass to make in 45 minutes. The jokes, much like the boat ride are obvious, ironic and fun. As much as we love the ride, at some point, this is in fact a restaurant and we also kind of just wanted to order our food. Awkward laughter anyone? Yep right here… The servers do help break up the jokes by allowing guests to wander around and take pictures of all the cool explorer things while waiting for the meal to be delivered.
Bathrooms? Not really. This restaurant has two stalls. And although the restaurant was half empty, there seemed to be a never-ending line. While beautiful, the bathrooms are terribly impractical for a restaurant of this size. We were surprised and make the recommendation that you frequent the bathrooms outside of the restaurant in the tunnel across from the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House right before the Aladdin ride. They’re bigger, with more stalls and you don’t have to wait in line.
Originally, Skipper Canteen was only for the most adventurous of explorers, not accepting ADRs and requiring that guests make the decision to dine here on the fly, which I am pretty sure threw the entire WDW community into frenzy. Fortunately, they now do accept ADRs as well as walk ups, so whether you want to plan ahead or not, you can try for yourself the unique offerings available here.
It’s hard to tell if Skipper Canteen will master the exotic ( but still edible) food niche at Magic Kingdom. While a restaurant like this would be perfect for Epcot and the adult crowd, most families will still be frequenting the safer and familiar Thanksgiving Dinner option at Liberty Tree Tavern.
Mind you, we thought it was pretty cool as an experience, but it did not impress us enough to put it on the long list of ” must visit” restaurants.