Welcome to the Jungle … Again! Dining Recon: Skipper Canteen!

One of the things I usually recommend to fans looking to enjoy a visit to Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa is to keep an open mind.  Great food, for sure, but it’s not common, everyday fare.

Well, at the moment, I could say the very same thing about Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen!  Hey!  Be open to trying new things, my friends!

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Actually, recently reported news suggests that a lot of Guests find the canteen’s current menu to be quite intimidating.  The result?  An entirely new menu might be on its way.

I’ll be the first to admit that we found Skipper Canteen’s menu to be even more “off the beaten track” than that offered by Sanaa.  Should it be completely replaced, however?  Well, I guess that jury is still in deliberation.

Located in Adventureland, this particular skipper melds the bold and flavorful cuisines of Asia, South America, and Africa with the punny banter of Jungle Cruise’s talented riverboat pilots.  Wow!  How can that not be a good thing?

Is your palate ready for exotic flavors, though?  Yes?  Then, Skipper Canteen is the place to go!  No?  Then, please proceed to somewhere more tame – like Be Our Guest!

A month or so ago, Mrs. All in WDW and I dared to give this new slice of the Jungle Navigation Co. a chance!  Here’s what we had!

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Looks good, eh?  It’s Egyptian Celebration Bread with Honey.  It came with the meal, but, for us, it was just OK.  First of all, I’m not a big fan of honey.  Second of all, it left us craving butter!

For appetizers, Mrs. All in WDW ordered the skipper’s Sustainable Fish Collar.

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It was tender, but it was grouper.  In past posts, I’ve made my feelings about grouper very clear.  Much too strong of a tasting fish for me.

On the other hand, the warm slaw accompaniment – which was a green papaya salad that owned a little bit of a bite – was quite good.

For my starter, I chose the Falls Family Falafel.

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A recipe of chick peas, garlic, onions, lemon juice, and herbs served with white bean dip and tomato-cucumber salad, it was my first-ever sampling of falafel.  I enjoyed it.

For her entree, Mrs. All in WDW selected “A Lot At Steak” Salad.

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Simple, yes, but she loved it.  To be truthful, it could have had just a bit more marinated flank steak.  I guess that the word “lot” is a subjective term.

For my part, the Char Siu Pork caught my fancy.

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Marinated and served with rice and Chinese broccoli, its flavor was a good balance between ordinary and extra-ordinary.  In other words, it wasn’t too “out there” for my palate!

Did we enjoy our brief lunch in the jungle?  Absolutely.  As is, however, will we go out of our way to return?  Probably not.  Oh, Skipper Canteen’s theming and decor is phenomenal.

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In the end, however, we tend to agree with, what appears to be, overwhelming Guest opinion.  Their menu does need to become more “mainstream”.

Conclusion … if you’re a huge fan of the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise, as we are, this will be a great and successful restaurant to frequent … once the food becomes more appealing to the common palate!

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The Jungle Revealed! Trivia Answered!

Did you take a shot at answering yesterday’s trivia, my friends?  No?  Then, by all means, please stop back HERE to “test” your knowledge.  How well do you know the Jungle Cruise?

Did you know that one of the inspirations for this great attraction was the movie “The African Queen”?  Starring Humphrey Bogart – one of my personal favorite actors of all time – it is a great film!

Here’s one more nugget of trivia … Walt originally wanted live animals to line the banks of the Jungle Cruise’s rivers!  Can you imagine what the attraction would be like if that had been possible?

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So, how did you do on yesterday’s trivia “test”.  Do you feel that you’re a Jungle expert?  Could you “skipper” the rest of us up and down the world’s rivers?  Let’s see!

Question #1:  “The queue for the Jungle Cruise takes place in the office of the fictional Jungle Navigation Co.

According to a sign in the queue, the company takes guests on riverboats which depart from the Adventureland Dock.  [In] the backstory, the Adventureland Dock is itself located on the Amazon River.”

That turned out to be a tough one, folks.  Only 17% of respondents got it right.  Sorry.  I didn’t mean to kick off the “quiz” with such a brain-buster!

Question #2:  Every boat on the Jungle Cruise has an individual name, but only one of them has ever sunk in the Magic Kingdom.  It sank in 2004, but it did return to service.  It was the Sankuru Sadie.

OK.  I confess.  I knew that this one would be hard.  Only 15% of those who answered chose Sadie.  Hey!  I can’t make them all easy.  We are “testing” our knowledge, aren’t we?

Question #3:  Which of these statements is FALSE?

1. The Schweitzer Falls marks the transition between the Nile and Mekong Rivers.
2. The Jungle Cruise has the lowest elevation of any attraction in the Magic Kingdom.
3. The squid from the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is discreetly hidden in the Jungle Cruise.
4. The attraction was ready and opened on the Magic Kingdom’s Opening Day on October 1, 1971.

47% of you knew that #3 was the false statement, of course.  Think of it, though.  How cool would it be if the squid from the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was discreetly hidden in the attraction’s midst?  Pretty cool.

I’ll tell you this … Walt originally wanted to use that squid as part of the cruise.  Great thinking, Walt!

Question #4:  The Winter holiday layover, “Jingle Cruise”, first-appeared in 2013.  48% got this one correct.

Yes, the holiday overlay (sign pictured above) first-appeared in 2013.  It has been back every year since.  We’ve gotten a chance to enjoy it a couple of times and highly recommend that you do, too, if you visit Mickey’s World at Christmas-time!

Jungle Cruise Trivia! How Well Do YOU Know The Jungle?

Good morning, my friends!  How are things out in your personal slice of the “Disney-verse”?  I hope all is well.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of the All in WDW family’s overall favorite WDW attractions is the Jungle Cruise.  When I run a Favorite Attractions poll, it always gets our votes.

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Sadly, however, it never seems to get quite as much love as other Magic Kingdom icons – such as Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In fact, where that trio finished 2016 as the All in WDW Readers’ Favorite Top 3 Attractions in all of Walt Disney World, poor Jungle Cruise only mustered a 12th Place finish in our Magic Kingdom “competition”.  Very sad.

For results of all our 2016 Attraction polls, click these links:

Top 10 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions
Top 10 Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions
Top 15 Epcot Attractions
Top 15 Magic Kingdom Attractions
Top 25 WDW Attractions

It makes us very happy that Disney, themselves, has paid some additional homage to Jungle Cruise in recent years – with the opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto in the Polynesian Resort as well as Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom, itself.

Anyway, I thought we could spend a brief bit of time today sending a little bit of love the cruise’s way with a tiny dose of trivia!  How well do you know the Jungle Cruise?  Let’s see!

“The queue for the Jungle Cruise takes place in the office of the fictional Jungle Navigation Co.  According to a sign in the queue, the company takes guests on riverboats which depart from the Adventureland Dock.

[In] the backstory, the Adventureland Dock is itself located on the _______________ River.”

[]

Every boat on the Jungle Cruise has an individual name, but only one of them has ever sunk in the Magic Kingdom.  It sank in 2004, but it did return to service.  It was the _______________.

[]

Which of these statements is FALSE?

1. The Schweitzer Falls marks the transition between the Nile and Mekong Rivers.
2. The Jungle Cruise has the lowest elevation of any attraction in the Magic Kingdom.
3. The squid from the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is discreetly hidden in the Jungle Cruise.
4. The attraction was ready and opened on the Magic Kingdom’s Opening Day on October 1, 1971.

[]

The Winter holiday layover, “Jingle Cruise”, first-appeared in ______________ .

Dining Recon: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Sometimes a post comes around that just deserves a veritable ton of pictures.  This is one of them.  So, hang on.  I got a lot to show ya!

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a destination in and of itself!  Why?  Well, imagine the “pun-filled” grandeur of Jungle Cruise … on steroids … with special effects … in a bar … with refreshments!

The Grog Grotto is located on the lower floor of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort … next to Captain Cook’s quick service restaurant.  Sam opens the joint at 4:00 PM.

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We recommend you arrive at least 15 to 30 minutes early, however.  There’s likely to be a line, due to the bar’s popularity, and the fact that the venue only fits 51 guests.

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Of course, make very sure to follow the “house rules” while you enjoy the staff’s hospitality.  Remember, don’t harass the hippos!

You’ll discover that Sam has appropriately themed his pub’s decor.  Unfortunately, the lighting isn’t the best – it’s quite dark, actually – but these few shots will give you the right idea.

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The Grotto offers a full menu of unique beverages.  Things like the rum-laden, umbrella-dressed, Dark & Tropical Stormy.

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Or, the popular and tasty Shrunken Zombie Head!  Three types of rum in this one folks!  And, you can opt to keep the “glass”!

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You can try a Krakatoa Punch.  More rum, of course!

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In our opinion, all of the drinks were good but none of them were really all that strong.  They were very enjoyable.

Then, there’s the food.  Yes, Trader Sam does offer a limited menu.  Take a look!

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Hmm.  What did we sample?  Uh, yes.  How could I pass on a Headhunter Sushi Roll?  Wait a minute!  Pink rice?  Hey, Sam!  What’s making the rice “pink”?

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Finally, there’s the show.  Did I mention the puns?  Oh, yes, I did.  Well, imagine the beautiful view outside the bar’s “window” transforming right before your eyes.  From serene …

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… to violent.  Take cover, my friends!  It’s an eruption!

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Finally, you can find Sam everywhere it seems.  Can’t get a seat in the Grotto itself?  Then, don’t worry.  You can visit the trader outside the resort at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace!

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Hey!  He even has his own shirt!  You can buy it at the Polynesian’s merchandise shop – BouTiki.  That head-collecting scoundrel is everywhere!

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Folks, whether it’s the drinks, the food, or the “show”, you’re sure to have a great time if you visit Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto!  Or should I say you’ll have a volcano “blast”?

MERRY CHRISTMAS, My Friends! It’s a “Jingle” Cruise into the Jungle!

Merry Christmas from All in WDW, my friends!  We sincerely hope you have a fun, but very safe, day filled with family, friends, peace, and joy!

I mentioned this on a WDW Main Street Podcast a few weeks back …

I just can’t get over how well Disney’s Cast Members have “dolled up” – or, should I say “re-themed” – the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise for the holidays!  Even the “script” includes a holiday flair!

So, in the same spirit, I present you with the J[i]ngle Cruise!  Have a great Christmas, everyone!

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