The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, Magic Kingdom's newest table service restaurant, is now bustling with hungry explorers and humorous hosts. We’ve returned from our journey into the wilds of Africa, South America and Asia to report that the Skipper Canteen is everything we hoped it would be: home to delicious exotic cuisine, extremely well-themed, and of course, full of puns!
Upon arrival, a skipper host greets the party and guides you to the waiting area where you are immediately transported to turn of the century India with cushioned couches, a tasseled ceiling fan and a gilded portrait of Dr. Albert Falls, the namesake of Schweitzer Falls from the World Famous Jungle Cruise and founder of the Jungle Navigation Co. Next, guests embark into the dining areas where you might find yourself in the bright, crew mess hall with vaulted ceilings, notes and memos from the skippers, and trinkets from voyages around the world (that have traveled for Niles…and Niles…and Niles), or perhaps the family dining room with ornate carpet and glass inspired by exotic animals, or even the not-so-secret-anymore meeting room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.). We could have spent hours examining the details in each room, from the volumes on the bookcase that opened up to reveal the secret S.E.A. dining room to the artifacts from around the globe stored throughout the mess hall.
Perusing the menu is like floating along the international waterways the skippers frequent, from bold Asian and African flavors to South American-inspired dishes. And, yes, if you flip over the menu you will indeed find, you guessed it, the “back side of menu.” Appetizers range from the Middle-eastern favorite, Falls Family Falafel, to house made arepas and S.E.A. Shu Mai.
The entrees are equally exotic, offering a Curried Vegetable Crew Stew served in an acorn squash bowl, Dr. Falls Signature Grilled Steak marinated in sofrito, brothy Rice Noodle Bowl with meat and veggies (we recommend the duck breast!) along with sustainable fish and chicken dishes and Egyptian style macaroni and cheese.
Every table receives a warm loaf of Ambasha bread for sharing served with honey-infused mustard dip. In addition to the classic beverage choices, the Skipper Canteen serves a selection of exotic Coca-cola flavors, a wide range of hot teas, and two signature cocktails, Punch Line Punch and Schweitzer Slush.
The Punch Line Punch is a mix of tropical fruit juices and mango puree with a spicy sugared rim, a hot and sweet drink to please adventurous palates. The Schweitzer Slush combines frozen apple juice and passion fruit topped with green apple boba balls, a tart surprise to this sweet concoction. Both signature drinks are available in a glass or Jungle Skipper Canteen souvenir copper mug. They were both so good we couldn’t choose a favorite!
We wish we could’ve explored every item on the menu, but finally decided on the Falls Family Falafel and S.E.A. Shu Mai. The falafel were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumber, and onion over a creamy dipping sauce. Lifting the lid of the steam pot, the smell of sesame and other Asian spices rose from the six, succulent pork dumplings waiting inside. We sampled the Asian Noodle Bowl with duck breast, crisp vegetables, and flavorful broth as well as the sustainable fish of the day. The noodles were some of the best I’ve ever tasted and perfectly accompanied the luxurious strips of duck. The sustainable fish was a flaky tilapia with a perfectly crispy, salted crust skin and was moist and tender on the inside. The dish was light, but filling, served over a golden broth and sautéed vegetables.
Dessert was as difficult of a decision as the rest of the meal, with such tantalizing combinations as the Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Ice Cream and Bertha’s Bong Lan Cake with Mango-Lime Sorbet. Ultimately, we decided to try the Sugar-Crusted Congee Pudding and, of course, the Kungaloosh! The congee pudding is an intriguing experience of taste and texture consisting of caramelized custard with millet, almonds, apricot, and dates topped with a crunchy honey-almond tuile. The Kungaloosh is sure to be a fan favorite for the name alone, and certainly does not disappoint. The African-inspired chocolate cake with caramelized bananas served with cashew-caramel ice cream topped with coffee dust is destined to become a signature Disney dessert.
Whether you want to expand your tastebuds’ horizons or test out your best puns with skippers from the World Famous Jungle Cruise, the Jungle Skipper Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen will take you on a culinary journey around the world and is an experience unlike anything at the Magic Kingdom.
From now until Feb. 27, guests can make same-day lunch or dinner reservations online or by calling 407-993-1933. We hope you've found this Skipper Canteen review helpful as you plan your day at Magic Kingdom!