Today, let’s explore the Skipper Canteen, serving World Famous Jungle Cuisine. If you’re a fan of the Jungle Cruise, this restaurant is right up your alley. The space itself has existed at Walt Disney World since it opened in 1971. It was originally a counter service restaurant until 1994. It served as Pixie Hollow for a bit, where you could meet Tinkerbell and Friends, but in 2014, it began it’s switch over to Skipper Canteen, and Tinkerbell relocated to Town Square Theater. The Veranda space above Skipper Canteen is part of the uber expensive Club 33 restaurant.
Originally the Adventureland Veranda, Skipper Canteen was announced in 2015 at the D23 Expo. It was originally the home of Dr. Albert Falls. You may have heard of him. He discovered the backside of water at Schweitzer Falls. He had a secret meeting space hidden behind his library for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. In 1911, he started the Jungle Navigation Company, to improve moving cargo down jungle waters. When he vanished, his granddaughter, Alberta, took over. Sadly, the company failed. In 1931, she launched the world famous Jungle Cruise, and the rest is history.
The headquarters originally served as the Skippers’ base, and they all relaxed there when they weren’t taking passengers out on cruises. Eventually Alberta opened the restaurant up to passengers, too, though the crew does still meet there. As you can tell, this is another immersive story, and we all know how much I love stories!!! There are 3 dining spaces, with the largest being the Crew Mess Hall.
The Crew Mess Hall is where you will find the Skipper’s offices. You will find an office, of course, for Albert and Alberta, but there are 3 other offices. They are up on the second floor. You will see Skipper Marc, a nod to Imagineer Marc Davis, who designed the bathing elephants, as well as The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Country Bear Jamboree. Then there is a door for Skipper Bill, or Morgan “Bill” Evans, who designed the horticulture of the Jungle Cruise, as well as how to clear the orange grove and build a little place called Disneyland. Finally, there is a door for Skipper Harper, a reference to Harper Goff, who designed special effects, as well as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Speaking of 20,000 Leagues and Harper Goff, have you ever noticed the sign by the Little Mermaid ride, where the submarine voyage used to reside? Disney is full of these magical little Easter Eggs!! A few more Easter Eggs in the Mess Hall include the voice of the Dreamfinder asking where he can park his flying machine, a letter on the Crew’s bulletin board addressed to Rosita in the Tiki Room (it was returned, though, because she is apparently gone), a message on the bulletin board from the Merry Time Traders advertising a Plaza Swan Boat for sale, second hand. There are so many more, go look around!!!
As you walk through the mess hall, you will come across the library, with the not-so-secret access to the S.E.A. Room. The books on the bookshelf ALL have references to Adventureland, S.E.A. Members, or jokes. You will find The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling tipped forward, indicating this was likely the book that gained entry to the secret passage. The S.E.A. room itself is a much more posh dining room, FULL of S.E.A. artifacts and definitely worth the time to walk around and explore.
Some books in the library: Native Orange Birds of the Southeastern United States (reference to the Orange Bird next door at Sunshine Tree Terrace), Songs of the Tiki Bird by Prof Boag (Wally Boag voiced Jose in the Tiki Room), Crooning Flowers By Sherman and Sherman (the Sherman Brothers wrote the Tiki Bird Song, where the birds sing words and the flowers croon), and many, many more. Seriously, this is SO COOL! You should definitely take the time to look around at the books! In the last room, that Falls Family Parlor, you will find Falls Family heirlooms and a chandelier that looks an awful lot like the tiki birds.
NOW FOR THE FOOD! The menu has been scaled down significantly since the reopening, so many things you may have had before COVID might not currently be available. This is the case with many restaurants right now, so I highly suggest going online and looking at the current menus. Skipper Canteen does accept advance dining reservations, and they are highly recommended.
Even the food pays homage to S.E.A.! This is seriously my favorite backstory in all of Disney, sorry not sorry!! So the food is kinda-sorta southeast Asian inspired, I guess you could say.
You could start out with the Falls Family Falafel and then have the Tastes Like Chicken Because It Is! Finish it all off with the KUNGALOOSH! (Kungaloosh, of course, being the secret greeting of the Adventurer’s Club. The Perkins Thai Noodles is named after Pamelia Perkins, the President of the Adventurer’s Club.
Don’t forget to look for this container being ready to be shipped out. It, naturally, contains the backside of water. Have you dined at the Skipper Canteen? If you’d like to read more about the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, visit Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here!
Want to start planning your Disney vacation? Contact me today to get your free, no obligation quote!