A Hidden Gem: Review of The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen
The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen is a pretty underrated Walt Disney World table service restaurant, you guys. So few people talk about it! I’ve heard mixed reviews, but we had a great experience this December.
Located in Adventureland, Skipper Canteen is where your beloved punny Jungle Cruise Skippers head for meals and relaxation. The restaurant is intricately detailed to correspond with the theme, but if you don’t look closely, you might not notice.
Your servers are, of course, Jungle Cruise Skippers who are every bit as silly as the ones on the boats. They’re definitely in-character, which is not usually my favorite (just be a normal human and be nice to me, please… fake accents make me uncomfortable and puh-lease don’t scold me about how much/how little I’ve eaten), but this experience was fun and no-pressure. Our server, Ray, was attentive and hilarious. He kept our drinks filled, made lots of wonderful puns, and warned us that the ice was made with piranha water.
We dined in the jungle room, which featured parrot stained glass light fixtures, a “great wall of china”, and my favorite “rhino and hyena chasing a man up a tree” art.
And I am here for the food…
If you only enjoy standard burgers-and-fries-type fare, Skipper Canteen probably won’t be your favorite. The menu contains a lot of Asian-fusion-type foods, though most have been adapted to appeal to the western palate. According to Disney, dishes are African, Asian, and South American in origin: inspired by the regions you visit on the cruise itself, of course! Take a look at the current menu here.
I ordered the It Tastes Like Chicken (Because it is!), which was really interesting for what could’ve just been a basic chicken dish. The chicken was juicy while the breading was unique – crisp yet light. Imagine a breading made from savory, blitzed Rice Krispies and you get the idea. The rice was sticky and fluffy, the ribboned vegetables fresh and tasty, and the sweet chili sauce was sweet (obvs ), spicy, and vinegary all at once. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it all very much.
Mr. EC had the Baa Baa Berber Lamb Chops, which were plated beautifully. The seasoning was gorgeous, the lamb juicy, and the accompanying Arugula Cauliflower salad was absolutely delicious.
We rarely order dessert at table service restaurants because there are just so many sweet options in the park, but we made an exception this time (and Ray tempted us).
The Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream was calling my name, and I was even more intrigued after Ray warned that it looks just like a stick of butter.
And indeed it did – a very fancy stick of butter – but it was delicious. Light, soft, and creamy with little pops of sweet, zesty citrus. If you enjoy coconut cake or pineapple cake, you’ll love this. While dainty and light, it’s still the perfect size to share.
The Kungaloosh!, their most popular dessert, also sounded divine:
An African-inspired Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Bananas and Cashew-Caramel Ice Cream topped with Coffee Dust. Mmm. I’ve had some weird sensitivities (?!?) to cashews in the past, though, so we skipped it. Verrrrrry tempted to have Mr. EC order it next time so I can steal a few bites.
Our Verdict on the Skipper Canteen
Every aspect of our experience surpassed our expectations: service, theming, and food (variety, presentation, and taste).
If you’re looking for a quieter restaurant with a fairly unique menu, a casual environment, and detailed theming, give Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen a chance!
Where: Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen
Find it: Adventureland, Magic Kingdom
Open for: Lunch and dinner
Disney Dining Plan: Yes, Table Service
Pricing: entrees: $18-$35
As with any table service restaurant on Disney property, creating an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) is advisable. Can table service restaurants sometimes accommodate walk-ups? Yes. Should you count on that? No.
Have you dined here? I’d love to hear your thoughts!