A Review of Dinner at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at the Magic Kingdom

I recently had a chance to dine at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom. The table service location has been open since late 2015, serving up exotic eats with Jungle Cruise humor. My first dinner there did not disappoint (for the most part).

Spoiler alert: Dinner at the Skipper Canteen was delicious!Spoiler alert: Dinner at the Skipper Canteen was delicious!

When the Skipper Canteen first opened it was a walk-up only restaurants, but you can make Advance Dining Reservations now - even though you might not need them. We had ADRs for our visit, but we arrived 15 minutes early and we were seated rather quickly and there were many empty tables inside the restaurant.

The restaurant features three distinct dining areas: the Crew Mess Hall, the S.E.A. room, and the Falls Family Parlor. The "mess hall" is the largest dining room and I'm very happy we weren't seated there. It was big and loud. I admittedly had a fan girl freak-out when I realized we were going to be seated in the once secret meeting room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (the S.E.A. room). The "crew member" seating us was rather amused. ;-)

Inside the S.E.A. Room Inside the S.E.A. Room

The S.E.A. room is much smaller than the Mess Hall and is full of tributes to the S.E.A. including maps, paintings, and much more. There is a super-cool booth in the room, but sadly we didn't get seated there. But we were seated by this painting. Recognize anything in it?

A fun painting in the S.E.A. RoomA fun painting in the S.E.A. Room

If you have time I recommend walking through all the dining rooms to check out the tributes to the Jungle Cruise and Dr. Albert Falls and his family. But let's talk about what's really important - the food.

I will be honest: I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to eat at the Skipper Canteen. The menu looks a bit exotic at first glance and even though I'm not picky, I didn't want to choose something I would regret ordering.

Table setting at Skipper CanteenTable setting at Skipper Canteen

First up let's talk drinks. My husband took full advantage of the beer menu at Skipper Canteen (since it is one of the restaurants in the Magic Kingdom that now serves alcohol), enjoying a Stella Artois (or two). I glanced at the wine menu but ended up ordering a non-alcoholic Schweitzer Slush. Yep, I know how to party!

The official description of the Schweitzer Slush is: "Frozen Apple Juice and Passion Fruit topped with Bursting Green Apple Boba Balls, first concocted by the noted explorer and humanitarian, Dr. Albert Slush." It's much easier to just say it's delicious.

Schweitzer Slush!Schweitzer Slush!

The slush was tart yet sweet and refreshing. And if you love boba like I do, the Green Apple Boba were the perfect topping. I could have enjoyed more than one, but I had to pace myself. There was food to eat. ;-) [Oh, and the Slush is $5.50 if you don't order the souvenir mug. A souvenir mug will cost you $14.50 which is, quite simply, crazy talk].

Before I get to what we ordered let's talk about the bread service for a minute. I LOVE bread and I am very happy to report that the bread at Skipper Canteen is really, really good. The Ambasha Bread has a slightly cinnamon-y flavor and is served with a warm honey dipping sauce, and oh my good gravy was it delicious.

Now, on to the rest of the meal.

There was one item that I just had to order: the S.E.A. Shu Mai. This appetizer is steamed dumplings filled with pork, shrimp, edamame, and spices. You guys. If there is ONE thing you MUST order at Skipper Canteen it is the Shu Mai. They are so GOOD. Also, if you'd like to make the Shu Mai at home, our friends at the Disney Food Blog have the recipe!

Shu Mai - so good I'd order two servings!Shu Mai - so good I'd order two servings!

Not only did the Shu Mai taste delicious but the presentation was perfect. The dumplings are served in a small basket with a soy sauce-like dipping sauce. While you're given chopsticks before the Shu Mai arrive, it is easier to cut them in half before attempting to eat with chopsticks. Trust me.

On to the entree ...

My husband had been planning his order for weeks. He was getting the Whole Fried Fish and wasn't going to budge on his order. (That's dedication). I wasn't quite as sure. I waffled between Trader Sam's Head-On Shrimp, Sustainable Fish ("Not Piranha"), and "Tastes Like Chicken" - Because It Is!. In the end I decided against the shrimp (too spicy) and against the fish and ended up with the chicken.

Tastes Like Chicken Because It Is ChickenTastes Like Chicken Because It Is Chicken

The chicken dish was good (not great, but good) and if you aren't a fan of spicy things I would suggest ordering the chili glaze on the side. It's hot. Flavorful but hot and had it been glazed over my chicken I'm quite certain I would not have enjoyed it. One of the best part of the "Tastes Like Chicken" dish was the Citrus and Ginger Scented Rice. The chicken was good, but the rice was amazing.

The Whole Fried Fish was slightly terrifying to look at and rather difficult to eat (lots of little bones that you CAN swallow but also lots of spiny things on top). Once you figure out how to eat the fish it was delicious - a very mild, flaky white fish. The Jasmine Rice served with the fish wasn't as good as the Citrus and Ginger Scented Rice.

Whole Fried Fish - scary looking but deliciousWhole Fried Fish - scary looking but delicious

I rarely pass up dessert but the options at Skipper Canteen didn't wow me (and I was saving room for Ample Hills Creamery ice cream), but I did get a small dessert. I decided to celebrate my birthday during this trip (even though it was a month prior) and our skipper brought out a Volcano dessert from the kid's menu. It was a perfectly-sized chocolate cake with caramel "lava" and exploding chocolate rocks. It was a nice, sweet finish.

My birthday dessert!My birthday dessert!

So now you've heard about the food, let's talk about the service. The cast members here are all Jungle Cruise skippers (so the story goes). They tell corny jokes, they tease each other, and it's all good fun. That part I loved. But, given that the restaurant was not even half full during our visit I was expecting better overall service than we had.

Our skipper was taking care of several tables as quickly as he could, but there seemed to be a delay coming from the kitchen. The tables that ordered appetizers seemed to have a much longer gap between ordering and being served than that tables that went straight for the entree. Given that we weren't in too much of a hurry I wasn't completely annoyed with the service but it was painfully slow.

Overall, I would go back to the Skipper Canteen. The food was good, the atmosphere was fun, and it's unlike anywhere else in the Magic Kingdom. I would definitely return JUST for the Shu Mai (heck, I might just order two servings and call it a day).

Have you dined at the Skipper Canteen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Many thanks to the Disney Food Blog for the use of their photos.

ScottFL wrote on Fri, 03/31/2017 - 01:28:

ScottFL's picture

Eaten here a few times. I like it - good, but not great. The desserts are better than average - oh, and we were lucky enough to get the butterfly booth in the SEA room. Cool enough that we've tried to recreate the butterfly collection at home.

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 04/04/2017 - 19:12:

Kristen K.'s picture

I still haven't been able to eat here, but I'm hoping to sneak in a MK day in February and maybe I can then!

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