Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen - A Hidden Treasure at Magic Kingdom
A couple of weeks ago I was trying to decide what to do one evening when I was on a work trip at Disney World. I know, I know a "work trip at Disney World", it's a tough life! Anyways, I was walking through Epcot and with all of the construction in future world there isn't a lot of dining available. It was also the opening night of the Festival of the Arts over in World Showcase, which also meant wall to wall people and 60 minute waits for a plate with three bites on it. So, I just did a quick search on the My Disney Experience App and a reservation at Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen popped up for a couple of hours later. Now, I had been to Skipper Canteen before with my family and we really enjoy the food, so I jumped at this chance to go again.
After finalizing my reservations I said my goodbye's to Spaceship Earth and hopped on the monorail to head back over to the Magic Kingdom Area. By the time I made it into the park I had about an hour before my reservation, which gave me just enough time to see the updated Hall of Presidents show. It was down for updates on our last family trip. I loved the show, which is normal for me, but I'm a sucker for a good patriotic show such as this or The American Adventure at Epcot. Once I got out it was time to head over to Skipper Canteen for my reservation!
I had checked in on my phone and hadn't received the text that my table was ready yet, so I went to sit down at one of the chairs by the outdoor check in area. The hostess saw me and said, "Are you Mr. Arthur?" I said I was and she said they just about had my table ready. She also struck up a conversation with me about whether it was my first time to eat there and how my trip was going. She was great and before too long another cast member came to take me to my table. As if the first hostess wasn't enough of a great start, this lady who took me to my table was a Disney Cast Member Gem! She was super excited to be doing her job and we talked for two or three minutes after she sat me down about my trip, about the restaurant, and other things. This same lady also stopped by a couple of times during my meal just to see how everything was going! It is always so nice to see that Cast Member Magic is still happening around Disney World.
My server arrived after a few minutes and it was a chilly night in the Magic Kingdom in January and coffee just sounded good, so I got going on that. I will say though, as good as the two hostesses were, my server left a little to be desired. She wasn't super attentive or quick, even though the restaurant was barely half full at this time. Speaking of the time it was at about this point I could hear the 8:00 Enchantment Fireworks going off outside.
Now, to decided what I wanted to eat! It was a little late for dinner and I wasn't just super hungry so I decided to just try two appetizers as I find some of those super delicious at Skipper Canteen. I was going to try the Cachapas, which is one of my favorites, and then something new to me, the Shrimp Fried Rice. Unfortunately, my server informed me they hadn't been able to get any shrimp that day, supply chain issues, so the Fried Rice wasn't available. So, I ended up ordering another favorite of mine, the Falafel, to round out my meal.
The first item I had is definitely a favorite of mine, the Falls Family Falafel - A secret recipe of chickpeas, garlic, onions, lemon juice and herbs with white bean dip and tomato-cucumber salad.
This time around for the Falafel appetizer was just as good as in the past for me. The warm Falafel balls were fried perfectly and the white bean dip that goes with them on the plate is awesome as well. The light sauce that goes with the dish is also really good. The one part of the description that confuses me a little is the "tomato-cucumber salad". I assume this is part of the greens and sauce that is on the dish, which is tasty, but I'm not sure that description is the best. Despite that one strange part of the description this dish is excellent and was a great addition to my meal, but it's also a great appetizer if you are wanting to share with a larger party.
The second item I tried was another one that I have loved here in the past, Orinoco Ida's Cachapas - house made corn pancakes, beer-braised pork, roasted corn, Fresno pepper salsa, and avocada cream.
Now, let me tell you, this is one of my favorite appetizer dishes in all of Disney World. The corn pancakes that are the base are light, flaky, and delicious. The beer braised pork on top is good along with the corn, but to me the star of the show is the Fresno Pepper Salsa. It's what we call salsa verde in my neck of the woods. I'm not really a foodie per say and I've never heard of a Fresno Pepper, but whatever it is I know it makes a great salsa! The avocado cream also adds a nice texture to the dish, but the salsa is definitely the thing that takes it up a notch and puts it as one of my favorite Disney dishes.
As my meal drew to a close I was considering finishing things off with some Kungaloosh! for dessert, but ended up deciding on a Dole Whip Float instead. Yes, it was cold outside, but it's never too cold for a Dole Whip! Overall, I was super happy that I picked up this last minute reservation for Skipper Canteen. This restaurant is not one you hear about a lot in the Magic Kingdom, but I think it's a true hidden gem. Our family has had some of the entrees over the years and have enjoyed them as well, in fact my wife is a big fan of the steak. The final thing that makes this a great experience all around is the fun I experienced with the two hostesses. They were truly excited about making Disney Magic for guests and that is what it's all about!
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