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Disney Dining Dinner Review of Whispering Canyon Café at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney Dining Dinner Review of Whispering Canyon Café at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

I remember the first time I walked into Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.  It was in 1997, when the lodge was only 3 years old.  When I first entered the lobby, I was overwhelmed with emotion because it might be one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen and it is certainly full of Disney magic.  Wilderness Lodge has an artificial geyser and a hot springs on property, with a stream that begins in the main lobby.

Modeled to resemble lodges in the Pacific Northwest, Native American elements are found within the lodge along with a feel that everything has been carved out of natural elements. The Wilderness Lodge Mercantile is a great shopping and quick eats spot and Wilderness Lodge also has a second building for Disney Vacation Club Villas. For dining, Wilderness Lode is a foodie paradise offering the quick service Roaring Fork Snacks, Pool bar eatery Trout Pass, bar Territory Lounge, Old Faithful Club for guests staying on the Concierge Level, Table Service Whispering Canyon Café and the Signature Artist Point. See?  A dream come true.

Some of you may remember that I brought my husband on one of our very first dates to Whispering Canyon Café and it was a giant disaster.  I had thought the Whispering meant quiet and intimate, but really the Whispering Canyon Café is loud, kid friendly and wild.  Fifteen years later, we were ready to return for some serious food and some serious fun.  After a long day at the Studios, we didn’t have a solid dinner plan, but one thing I knew was that hubby was starving!  We decided to leave the park and head over to the Wilderness Lodge with a plan for dinner and a walk on the beautiful grounds after.  After being told that we would have a 40-60 minute wait, we headed over to the mercantile to pick up some DVC t-shirts.  Lucky for us, our pager went off before we even had the opportunity to walk across the lobby!  We were sat at a corner table when our server came over and admonished us for not introducing ourselves to the table next to us and then threw cocktail napkins at us.  We knew we were in for some fun and some mild abuse.

We started with some water and refillable milkshakes.  Yes, I said refillable.  We had a very easy time picking out appetizers and chose Western Chips  (Venison Chili, Cheese Dip, and fresh Salsa. $11.99) and Slow-smoked Pulled Pork Spring Rolls  (with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce $12.49.) There are only 4 other apps on the menu which includes, Smoked Chicken Quesadilla  (Western Roasted Vegetables, Smoked Cheddar and Mozzarella, Arugula, and a side of Tomato Salsa and Moonshine Mayonnaise $9.99), Organic Mixed Greens Salad (Washington State apples, candied pecans, Rogue Blue Cheese, and apple cider vinaigrette $6.99) Flash Fried Navajo Bread (Citrus-Honey and Tomato Jam $5.49) and Loaded Yukon Potato Leek Soup (topped with apple wood-smoked bacon and chives $7.49.)

The venison chili was excellent and it was a little interesting that the chips did not have the topping on it, but rather every item was served in a separate bowl.  Hubby has a weird thing about an automatic order if there is an item on the menu other than chicken, pork or beef.  I usually do not partake in venison, just not my favorite, but in the chili it was really nice.  The spring rolls were tasty, with a nice crispy shell.  My only complaint is that the smokiness overwhelms any other taste.

For dinner, we chose the super awesome Build-Your-Own Family Platter (Choice of Three: Kansas City-style Smoked Pork Ribs, Barbecue Pulled Pork, Roasted Chicken, Hand-carved Oak-roasted Beef Strip Loin, Citrus-crusted Market Fish, or Western-style Sausage. Sides for Sharing: Seasonal Farm Fresh Vegetables, Herb-crushed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Cowboy-style Baked Beans, and Corn on the Cob. Served with Family Style Mixed Greens tossed in an Apple Vinaigrette dressing and fresh baked corn bread $29.99) Our server, who had not become any nicer (actually he was very nice and seemed to be not all in to being edgy)threw straws at us, told us if we wanted refills on our milkshakes to ask somebody else and made fun of another male guest for talking on a phone with a pink case, told us that we didn’t actually have to pick just three meats for the platter and would give us a sampling of all.  First, the salad was tangy and fresh and the cornbread was soft, warm and delicious.

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When our platter cam to our table, we shared a look with each other because after 2 appetizers, a milkshake each, salad and cornbread, we weren’t sure if we were going to do the damage my husband intended on doing when we first sat down.  After a slice of strip loan, a few bites of chicken, the best garlic mashed potatoes I have had in a long time and a bite or two of pulled pork, I was done.  Even though I was full, I was jealous of my food champion husband who then finished off the rest of the platter.  Please look at a picture below and worship the stomach of my husband like my friends and family do.  He loved the ribs and sausage most and talked about the meal for a few weeks after.

During our dinner, a young girl asked if she could have some ketchup which resulted in all of the servers screaming “KETCHUP!” and making anyone who had ketchup on their table bring it to this table.  This, of course, inspired about every kid to ask for ketchup and the routine was repeated about 6 more times.  We asked our server what other antic occur and he actually was very honest.  He told us to never wear the “wrong” theme park shirt in (meaning Universal and Sea World that are nearby), Not to mention gum or be seen chewing it, have a man ask for the restroom, (apparently, they do not embarrass the ladies), ask for a longer straw or order soda with breakfast.  So, if you have a fun loving group…enjoy.  Other options for dinner included the very appealing Grilled Western Buffalo Meatloaf  (served with Seasonal Potatoes, Pearl Onions, and Green Bean Medley tossed with Moonshine Glaze $20.99), Grilled New York Strip Steak (topped with blue cheese butter on roasted potatoes, pearl onions, grape tomatoes, green beans and port wine sauce $32.99), Oak-roasted Pork Loin Rib Chop  (cheese grits, buttered chard, apple-cranberry relish and natural juices $23.99), Citrus-glazed Rainbow Trout (Seasonal Greens Salad, Seasonal Potatoes, Roasted Mushrooms, and Cherry Tomatoes $23.99) and the healthy sounding  Skillet-Fired Red Quinoa Cakes  (Edamame Salsa and Greens $17.49.) And yes, hubby wanted the buffalo meatloaf because of his weird rule on ordering game.

We took our desserts to go because we simply could not fit any more food in either of us.  But, we loved the Apple-Caramel Pie  (fresh Granny Smith Apples, Sugar Cookie Crust, Streusel Topping, and Caramel Drizzle $7.99) The sugar cookie crust was a delicious twist and the caramel was sweet and thick.  Other desserts are Whispering Canyon S’mores  (Warm Dark Chocolate Sauce, Graham Crackers, and Marshmallow Gelato $7.99), Whispering Canyon Chocolate Cake ($7.99) and also offer a seasonal cheesecake and sugar free mousse, both at $6.99.

If you love a fun, delicious food filled, milk shaking good time, I highly suggest the Whispering Canyon Café.  You will love dinner and then love the beautiful Wilderness Lodge it is nestled in.  We will surely return for many more memories …and we won’t wait 15 years to return again!

5 out of 5 stars Great food, fast service and cook times, and fun for all make this a must try for families!

F.A.S.T. review

Food- The star of this show is the all you can eat family platter complete with all of your favorite BBQ items.  Interesting dishes like Venison Chili, Buffalo Meatloaf, Pork Spring Rolls and Citrus glazed Rainbow Trout.  Feed is scrumptious!  Breakfast and Lunch also served and we have heard rave reviews! The Apple Caramel pie is a fantastic dessert, perhaps the best apple dessert I have had at WDW.

Atmosphere– Loud, fun and busy.  Certainly not a place for a first date, but the fun filled atmosphere of the restaurant will have you happy that you do not need to keep the kids quiet in consideration of others because everyone is screaming and throwing something in here!

Service– Efficient, but with a snarky twist.  Servers are encourages to razz guests and will certainly give you a hard time if you ask for ketchup or talk about your day at a different theme park.  Don’t talk about or chew gum, either, unless you like a little friendly abuse!

Tips- One Credit on the Disney Dining Plan.  Reservations highly suggested, especially if you have a party larger than 2, but even parties of 2 are not a guarantee.  If you have the appetite, an all you can eat selection is available.  Make sure you don’t leave after dinner and enjoy the Wilderness Lodge in all it’s glory and make sure to check out the geyser back by the pool.  Ask the front desk for a hidden Mickey scavenger hunt card for even more fun after dinner!

About Lauren Wallis

Lauren Wallis was destined to love Disney. Her Mother found out that she was pregnant with Lauren after her honeymoon at WDW. After moving to Florida in 1990, every school trip, family vacation and weekend getaway was at Disney World! Lauren attended the University of Central Florida and spent her weekends looking for the most delicious restaurants on a college budget. She and her husband have relocated and now live in Central Florida, just minutes from Walt Disney World. She has stayed at every single resort and is currently working on eating at every single restaurant! She has been on WDW property over 400 times…lucky Floridian!