(Updated for 2013)
Best known for its skillets and shenanigans, the Whispering Canyon Cafe is located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort (WL) off the main lobby. For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to see the Wilderness Lodge in person, get yourself there pronto. I attribute my newfound interest in all things Disney to be a direct result of seeing this wonderful resort in person. The resort and grounds are amazing. All the years of going to Disney theme parks is completely different to me that experiencing the Disney resorts. Last year we visited the Wilderness Lodge for the first time, and the next morning I booked a surprise Disney vacation for my husband’s birthday there. I completely fell in love with the lodge, and it’s even better during the holidays.
The Whispering Canyon Cafe is decorated in cowboys and indian motifs, you can see this all around the restaurant, and some of it carries over into the hotel itself as you can see around the lobby and the lighting fixtures. There is a main seating area that can be loud and uproarious, this is where the action is at. There is also a quiet area in the back near a fireplace and some wood panel doors that lead back a little further onto a very nice dining area with mission style decor which overlooks the back windows of the hotel lobby, but depending on the time of day, this may be closed.
The servers are dressed in clothes that are of the period, and they are usually in character. I remember the first time we went and asked for straws, our waiter tossed about 20 onto the table, to my surprise. If you need ketchup, be forewarned…all the ketchup in the whole restaurant will be stampeded to your table by the last group of folks who asked for ketchup. Next guests who need ketchup will yell for ketchup, and you will have to stampede over to deliver it. The kids seem to love it. Also they have hobby horses and races for the kids. If you are special you may get a giant mason jar with your drink refill. And if it’s your birthday prepare to be serenaded.
The Whispering Canyon Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner and opens at 7:30 am daily. They offer an all-you-care-to-eat Canyon skillets, these are served family style. The breakfast skillet comes with scrambled eggs, red bliss potatoes with sautéed onions, bacon and sausage, buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy and waffles ($16.49 per person). There are also other tasty breakfast offerings like Raisin Bread French Toast with cinnamon icing, Egg White Omelet with spinach and goat cheese, Western Omelet with potatoes and onions, BBQ Eggs Benedict with potatoes and onions, Pancakes with bacon or sausage, Belgian Waffles with powdered sugar topped with fruit, and Oatmeal with fresh fruit and whole wheat bagel with Nutella. Most breakfasts range between $10 and $13, the most expensive being the skillet. Come hungry and leave stuffed. Got a hangover? No problem, they also offer Bloody Marys and Mimosas! Too early? You can always get a variety of teas, coffees, juices, milkshakes, and also smoothies.
For lunch, you will find a variety of sandwiches on the menu. Sandwiches with Meatloaf, chicken, smoked turkey, pulled pork, or Angus chuck and bacon. More about the dinner skillet below.
The dinner menu has changed, in September of 2013, they changed the dinner menu and condensed it down to offer about 6 appetizers, and their all-you-care-to-eat Canyon Skillet ($32.99 per person).
This meal includes fresh-baked corn bread plus:
Seasonal Farm Fresh Vegetables, Herb-crusted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Cowboy-style Baked Beans, Corn on the Cob
Kansas City style Smoked Pork Ribs
Hand-carved Oak-roasted Beef Strip Loin
Citrus-crusted Market Fish
Whispering Canyon Chocolate Cake
You can reorder as many times as you like, and pick a choose which items you want more helpings of. The mashed potatoes are delicious, they are full of butter and herbs. The cornbread is also really good. For cowboy food, it’s all pretty good. There is something for everyone, there is such a variety of meat on the skillet that everyone should be pleased. We were very happy that they added a fish selection to the dinner skillet.
The Whispering Canyon Cafe is a great place for families just brace yourself for the loud and rowdy atmosphere. For couples, if you want a quieter dining experience, try getting seated in “the library”, it’s further in the back of the restaurant – usually much quieter. For those dining at night, you can also view the lighted water parade from the beach, and there is some visibility of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Make sure to grab one of the weekly guides which tells you what is going on and the times. There is free self parking at the Wilderness Lodge if you are traveling by car. Bus and boat transportation is also available from the Magic Kingdom to the Lodge. Also, if it’s your first time, make sure you don’t accidentally go to Fort Wilderness, that is a totally different resort.