Monday, February 8, 2016

Same-day reservations experiment at Magic Kingdom's Skipper Canteen

Disney Parks Blog
The new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen — the Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant at the Magic Kingdom — has been something of an experiment from the start.

Unlike other table-service restaurants at Disney World, the Skipper Canteen doesn't take reservations. Imagine: a table-service restaurant at the Magic Kingdom where you can walk right up and get a table. 

Next week, the grand experiment will change slightly: For two weeks, from Feb. 12-27, visitors will be able to make same-day reservations for either lunch or dinner. (To book a table, visit jungleskippercanteen.com or call 407-993-1933.)

This seems to an effort to find a middle ground between out-of-town visitors who are trained to make dining plans up to six months in advance and local residents who want to visit on the spur of the moment.

Walt Disney World
A $22 bowl of chicken soup. 
Visitors to the restaurant, which opened at the end of 2015, have reported that it is often half-empty. (We haven't been.) In addition to the walk-up-only seating policy, the restaurant also is saddled with a menu that is only has dinner dishes — and prices. A "rice noodle bowl with chicken" — fancy chicken soup? — is priced at $22. In addition, it's a bit more esoteric than Magic Kingdom visitors are likely used to. You won't find hamburgers or sandwiches on the menu, but you will find lamb chops and char siu pork. 

It won't be surprising to see more experiments with this restaurant going forward. Perhaps they'll find a good compromise on reservations and add a lunch menu. A Jungle Cruise-themed restaurants is such a great idea, they'll have to find a way to make it work. 
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