Skipper Canteen (which is actually called Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen) at the Magic Kingdom is my new favorite place to dine at Walt Disney World. Disney World is the best place for Gluten Free Dining! Skipper Canteen has amazing Gluten Free options but even if you don’t need Gluten Free Dining, you should check out this restaurant! Especially if you are looking for a non-typical American theme park meal. Keep reading for my Skipper Canteen Disney World Gluten Free Dining Review!
Our family just got back from Disney World in Orlando, Florida where we had the good fortune of eating dinner at Disney World’s newest Theme Park restaurant.
I read about the restaurant before our trip but we didn’t make definite plans to eat there until we were in the Park. This is mainly because they don’t take advanced reservations at this time like the other “table-service” restaurants at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. (This dining experience took pace in February, 2016.)
When you arrive you give your name and cell phone number at the host stand and they text you when your table is ready.
They told me it would be about 30 minutes and they were almost exactly right. We dined around 5 pm so I think we missed the dinner rush because it definitely seemed like a longer wait when we were leaving about an hour later. Not having to wait in the lobby area for the table allowed us to roam the area without fear of missing our “reservation”.
The kids finally saw the Swiss Family Treehouse for the first (and maybe last) time. 😉 The restaurant is right across the Swiss Family Treehouse next to the Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland. It is number 21 on the Magic Kingdom map below.
My 13 year old son has Celiac Disease which means he has to eat 100% gluten free including avoiding possible cross contamination from gluten items. This makes dining out a challenge. Unless we are at Disney World that is! Disney World Gluten Free Dining is the best!
Disney World does an impressive job of accommodating Special Diets such as food allergies. This includes Celiac Disease which is technically an Auto-Immune Disease as opposed to an allergy. I asked at the Host Stand about Allergy Friendly Dining (Disney’s term). Immediately the woman I spoke with took out a menu and explained how it worked. All allergies that were able to have a specific item were listed under the item description.
In other words, if we saw the word “Gluten” under an item’s description, we knew that it was safe for someone with a gluten allergy (or celiac disease). Most of the items on this Allergy Friendly Menu said “gluten” under the description. Score!
The next question though is how is the food prepared so as to avoid Cross Contamination. Immediately I was told that the food is prepared separately and the staff is trained to handle allergies – just like other Disney restaurants. And she said if I wanted to I could have the chef come to the table to discuss further if that made me or my son feel better. Sold!
My son eats really well at Disney because he can safely get chicken nuggets or a hamburger at most restaurants. Even fries! This is almost unheard of for a child with celiac disease any where else outside of Disney World. He can actually feel like a normal kid!
I am also gluten free but by choice (to support my son). This makes eating out easier for me because I don’t have to worry about the cross contamination. However, I am a lifetime vegetarian so the choices for me at Disney can be limiting at times. I saw gluten free Falafel on the menu – and a Lentil Salad – and I was very excited! A non-American vegetarian gluten-free meal? Awesome! 🙂
The servers (or Skippers, as they are known) are fabulous! They keep up the theme of the restaurant the entire time and make you feel like they are taking you on a jungle cruise adventure. It is a lot of fun and well-executed. The Skippers also took time to speak to us about the menu choices and made us feel comfortable with what we were ordering. We did not have the chef come to our table though because we had complete faith in the training of the wait staff and the kitchen staff without feeling the need to speak directly with the chef. Our “Skipper” was Skipper Carly and she was fabulously competent and super friendly.
My son ordered off the Kids Menu at Skipper Canteen (and we were delighted to see that it was not the typical kids menu since he already had chicken tenders for lunch).
He chose the Sizzling Savanna Grilled Flank Steak. It is Steak which is served with Steamed Broccoli and Fingerling Potatoes. Underneath the description it says “GLUTEN/WHEAT, EGG, FISH/SHELLFISH, MILK, PEANUT/TREE NUT, and SOY ALLERGIES” which means anyone with those specific allergies could order this item. 🙂 The broccoli was huge!
It is not cheap by any means at $12.50 (or the easier to digest 12.5 as it says on the menu) but considering it is Disney and it is steak and dinnertime, it was not a surprising amount. The portion was pretty substantial especially for a kid. It comes with a small lowfat milk (not if you have a milk allergy of course) or a small Dasani water.
One of the bonuses of this restaurant was the complimentary bread service. Typically my son and I are not a fan of bread service because that means we have to watch while everyone else consumes gluten in front of us and we starve…but Skipper Canteen has bread service for us gluten free people too! Hooray! We received 2 gluten free (“allergy-friendly”) rolls with a honey dipping sauce (Fenugreek-infused honey) and the server/skipper was very careful to keep it on our side of the table away from my husband’s and daughter’s “regular” bread and honey. 🙂 The rolls were really good (but I didn’t care for the honey). The rolls are safe for “Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut, Shellfish, and Soy Allergies”.
My son took a bite and said, “Wait – are you sure these are gluten free??” They were. 🙂
There were a few interesting things to order from the “grown-up” menu. I ordered the (gluten free) Falls Family Falafel and the (gluten free) House-made Arepas so that I could try them both and let my family members try them too. They were willing to make the Arepas without the beef and gave me black beans as a substitute. Both of these items were also on the non-allergy menu as well. And both of these items were ridiculously delicious! Even for a non-theme park restaurant! (I actually forgot we were in the Magic Kingdom while we were dining there.). 🙂
The Falafel is a secret recipe of Chick Peas, Garlic, Onions, Lemon Juice and Herbs served with White Bean Dip (like a Tahini) and a Tomato-Cucumber Salad. This was the first time having falafel since I started eating gluten free. It was one of the best falafels I have ever had. My son tried falafel for the first time and said next time we are at Disney he wants to eat at Skipper Canteen again and get the falafel as his meal. The falafel meal on the Allergy-Friendly Menu is safe for “Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut, Shellfish, and Soy Allergies.” The price is only $8 which is very reasonable.
The Arepas meal includes Black Beans, Tostones, Queso Fresco and of course the Arepas. The Queso Fresco is a creamy, soft and mild white cheese and is on top of the black beans. There are also chopped tomatoes and onions on the black beans. The arepas is made from ground maize dough. It is crispy/hard on the outside and soft on the inside. Tostones are twice fried plantain slices. Plantains are very firm bananas but tostones are not too sweet. The combination of the tostones, arepas and black beans is just perfect. The arepas meal typically includes slow-cooked beef but I got the vegetarian version. The House-made Arepas meal on the Allergy-Friendly Menu is safe for “Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut, Shellfish, and Soy Allergies.” The cost for that was $9.50 which is also very reasonable.