Submitted by Amanda Kondolojy on Monday, August 24, 2015 05:07
While we’ve already discussed several of the big developments to come out of this year’s D23 Expo (both expected and unexpected), one new announcement that kind of flew under the radar this year was the confirmation of the The Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen restaurant (called Skipper Canteen for short) for the Magic Kingdom.
Though guests might not initially be all that excited about a new restaurant, this new themed dining experience will be unlike anything else at the Magic Kingdom, and if it proves popular, could spur some big changes for Disney dining at Walt Disney World
1. A new kind of dining
Image © Disney
With the exception of a few disappointing quick service locations, nearly every dining establishment at Walt Disney World is expertly themed. Beast’s Castle comes alive at Be Our Guest, the “good ol’ days” return at ‘50s Prime Time Café and the glamorous world of old Hollywood surrounds guests dining at the Hollywood Brown Derby.
However, even though all these dining experiences are amazing on their own, the Skipper Canteen will represent a different kind of restaurant experience for guests. For the first time ever, Cast Members working inside this dining location will all be “in character” as Jungle Cruise Skippers working at this new restaurant, cracking jokes with guests, bemoaning their “day jobs” and making sly references to the Jungle Cruise attraction. While Cast Members at every Disney dining location strive to make experiences as pleasant and memorable as possible, this "in character" experience will be a first for Disney Parks, but we already know it won't be the last. It was revealed this past week that Cast Members who will staff dining locations in the forthcoming Star Wars Land will also be in character as well. Though it might seem a little strange, the Skipper Canteen may be acting as a bit of a "dry run" for Star Wars Land, as Disney gathers data about how diners react in this type of environment.
Image © Disney
But back to the Skipper Cantina (which is opening in just a few
months, as opposed to Star Wars Land, which we might not see for another
decade), this type of deep interaction at this new dining location
sounds like it will be a lot of fun for both guests and Cast Members,
and is definitely the most exciting component of this new dining
experience, as it has never really been done before at a theme park.
Though many look at Universal Orlando Resort's The Wizarding World of
Harry Potter as the gold standard when it comes to "in-wold" guest
interactions, the dining experiences in this area have always left quite
a lot to be desired. However, Disney has the opportunity with the
Skipper Cantina to really set the bar high for immersive, themed dining
experiences, not only for the larger world of theme parks, but for
themselves as well.