The Ultimate Review of Whispering Canyon Cafe
Do you like silence during your meals? Do you prefer an intimate meal with loved ones? Would you prefer to spend the time when you’re at a hotel resort eating calmly in a relaxed atmosphere? If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, I do NOT have the restaurant for you. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind a bit of noise and chaos, however, one of Disney’s nicest resorts is home to one of its quirkiest dining experiences. Here’s what you need to know about eating at Whispering Canyon Café.
Imagine a western campfire setting imposed on a Cracker Barrel dining room area. You now get the gist of Whispering Canyon Café’s setting. Located to the side of the lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, it’s as rustic a meal as a person will find at Walt Disney World. That’s by design. The theming here is old west as you can get while still getting a cellphone signal.
When you enter this dining room, you’ll see wood everywhere. That’s not even an exaggeration. The chairs are wooden, the tables are wooden, the roof is wooden, the…well, you get the point. The only things that are not made of wood are the glass windows that look out to the trees outside the building. You’ll get to see the majestic outdoor part of this resort. And while the view is limited (some would say blocked), try to appreciate it as much as you can.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has one of the most amazing lobbies ever built at a theme park resort. It used to stand out as the highlight of a visit here. In recent years, that’s changed. The company’s added not one but two Disney Vacation Club resorts to the same property. It’s effectively three spectacular resorts in one now, making this place a wonderful escape from the traffic at Magic Kingdom. You can take the boat from the park and then spend lunch or dinner at the Wilderness Lodge area. I heartily recommend this, especially for frequent guests looking for new and exciting activities at Walt Disney World.
Have you ever watched this classic Pace Picante Sauce commercial from the early 90s? It’s widely regarded as one of the greatest commercials of the era due to its tongue-in-cheek sense of humor about campfire cuisine. The concept of the commercial is that no citified Yankee could cook a decent batch of Picante Sauce.
Whispering Canyon Café is what happens when someone turns the premise from that commercial into a complete restaurant.
When you choose to eat here, you’re setting yourself up for physical and emotional abuse. The cast members who work at this restaurant are putting on a show. You may not realize it because they look and act like servers. The moment that you communicate with them, however, you’ll quickly appreciate that you’re in the middle of a comedy roast. And you’re the guest of honor!
The servers at Whispering Canyon Café take on identities. You might have a friend named Dennis who gets a job here. Should you visit the restaurant, you’ll discover that Dennis isn’t there. He’s been replaced by Rambling Ron or Rowdy Robby. This persona isn’t like the Dennis you know. No, this fellow believes that he is living in Old West times and must act out all the clichés of the era. He’s going to treat you like a Yankee hanging out at the campfire. And you’re (probably) going to love it.
Dinner and a Show
I won’t lie. If you don’t buy into the bit, you’re going to hate this place. The atmosphere is arguably the most raucous at Walt Disney World. The fans of the restaurant eat here regularly and get into the shtick so much that you won’t be able to hear yourself think. Conversations with other people at your table are oftentimes impossible. It’s that loud.
That’s okay, though. Book a reservation here and plan to have a blast. As long as you go ahead with the bit, you’ll discover that Whispering Canyon Café is the perfect combination of dinner and a show.
Your meal, like the restaurant and its ambience, is decidedly rustic. Campfire food is ubiquitous. The appetizers include western chips and Indian Fry Bread, the latter of which is so delicious I posted the recipe here at Thanksgiving. The entrees are the star of the meal, though. And one entrée in particular stands out.
At Whispering Canyon Café, you should order the All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Skillet. At the time of publication, its cost $32, which is a bit pricey for a Walt Disney World entrée. But you get what you pay for and then some. This skillet is basically three days’ worth of food served at once. It has five (!) different protein meats: beef, chicken, sausage, pork ribs, and pulled pork. It also has cowboy baked beans (natch), campfire corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and other farm fresh vegetables.
Anyone who has ever grilled by a campfire will feel like the mother ship is calling them home at Whispering Canyon Café. You can almost taste the fire when you chow down on the many delicious meats and vegetables. It’s one of the most flavorful meals possible at Walt Disney World.
The food’s NOT the best part, though. The dining experience would still be worth your time even if they didn’t serve a meal. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. At this restaurant, the joy is those little moments when your server and other cast members play tricks on you. The most famous one happens when you ask for ketchup. It looks something like this, although there are several hysterical iterations. This video is my favorite because the little girl’s face is priceless during the process.
You’ll have similar experiences if you ask for napkins or straws. Some people have food fights. Here, they angrily throw napkins. It’s that kind of vibe. One moment, you’re sitting there quietly. The next moment, you have straws all over your head.
Why do I endorse Whispering Canyon Café so strongly? The answer is simple. When you choose to vacation at Walt Disney World, you hope to have a wonderful time and memories that will last a lifetime. Asking for the ketchup at this restaurant is precisely that kind of unforgettable experience. Even at the Most Magical Place on Earth, Whispering Canyon Café stands out as a rare form of entertainment. And the food is amazing, too!
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