Magic Kingdom. When we hear these words, our minds go many magical places. The one place it rarely goes is to food, much less a great sit down restaurant. Tucked away in Adventure Land is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to Walt Disney World Dining, The Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. The restaurant is across the way from the Swiss Family Treehouse, right next to the orange Dole whip stand. Orange Dole Whip? Don’t do it. Hold out for the pineapple Dole Whip. Just trust me on this one (it’s over by Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride).
For the History Buffs
Let’s jump in our Delorean and go back in time. Back to a time before Disney Springs. A time when Disney had nightclubs. Can you guess the name? It was called Pleasure Island, and the name sure fit. One of the nightclubs at Pleasure Island was called the Adventures Club. The concept was simple, a club where “adventures” would hang out. Think Indiana Jones or the Skippers from the Jungle Cruise. In the nightclub, Disney had cast members (actors) walking around telling the stories of their great adventures, or about seeing “The Backside of Water!”
The stories were grand, filled with sarcasm and great dad puns, just the like the Jungle Cruise. I think it was one of the best concepts Disney had at Pleasure Island. Grab your drink of choice, sit down, and get ready to laugh. A lot of jokes and stories were funnier than the comedy club. Pleasure Island went the way of the dinosaurs to make room for Disney Springs.
With the success of the Adventures Club, it could be expected that Disney would look to reuse the concept. The restaurant is themed after a tour center where guests would meet up with their tour guide before setting off on an adventure. The details of the restaurant are outstanding, from the “owner” sitting above the restaurant in his office, to the pun-filled pages about the tours. I would highly recommend taking a few minutes to read the posters and checking out the pictures. There is no missed detail.
The wait staff is the real show here. They take the theme to the next level. The waiters and waitresses are meant to be your “tour guides”. If you love the Jungle Cruise like we do, then you’ll love the wait staff here. The purposefully bad jokes are top-notch.
At the end of it all, the most important aspect of any restaurant is the food. You can have a great theme, but if the food falls short you leave with a bad taste in your mouth – literally. Cough! Cough! Rainforest Cafe. Cough! Cough! The food at Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen definitely delivers.
Influenced by flavors from Southern Asia, the menu has something for everyone. We’ve been here multiple times and have yet to have a bad meal. Our favorite appetizer is the S.E.A. Shu Mai. They’re little steamed dumplings of joy. If you’re dumpling fan, definitely give these a go.
For entrees, you really can’t go wrong. It will all depend on how adventurous you feel that day. The Dr. Falls Signature Grilled Steak is a solid option for meat lovers. The pico de gallo butter definitely makes the dish. Our personal favorites are the “Hardy Har Car” Siu Pork and Whole Fried Fish. The flavor of the pork is very well balanced. Between sweetness and tang, it will make your taste buds dance. If you’re truly feeling adventurous, go with the Whole Fried Fish. It is delightful. The kimchi adds a spicy tang that cuts through the richness of the fish.
Rounding out the meal is dessert. There’s always room for dessert. Our go-to is the Berth’s Banh Bong Lan Cake with Mango-Lime Sorbet – the lemongrass-ginger syrup pulls it all together. Definitely a great balance of sweet and savory.
Next time you’re in the Magic Kingdom and looking for a great place to sit down for a meal, or trying to beat the heat, definitely check out the Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. We’ll see you there!