Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge Lunch Review

Deb Wills


A few days ago, Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge introduced new menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I stopped by on Thursday to get the new menus and also to have lunch!

Special thanks to our server, Cajun Chad, and Chef Junior for their great service during our lunch!

Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Several important notes about the menu changes before I get to the actual review…

Breakfast is basically the same as it has been.

The biggest lunch change is that the All You Care To Eat Skillet is gone! The breakfast and dinner “All You Care To Enjoy” skillets are now called “Platters”.

At dinner, there are no more entrees to select from, everything is a Build Your Own All You Care To Enjoy Family Platter at $32.99/per person. The platter includes choice of 3 items (ribs, chicken, beef strip loin, fish or sausage) along with sides of fresh vegetables, Yukon gold potatoes, baked beans and corn on the cob. A dessert sampler is also included in the price!

One of the new menus items is the Fried Fish and Country Chips. With my shellfish allergy, I had to ask about the fryer oil. Unfortunately, everything fried (spring rolls, french fries and fish) is now done in the same fryer oil. I was assured there was no shell-fish in that oil, but there was fish. If this presents an issue for you, upon request, the chef can heat up a separate pot of oil for your food. However, it was explained this would take extra time.

For the kids, not much changes. There is a new item “Multigrain Grill Cheese Dippers” which turns out to be what was described to me as a grilled cheese sandwich on multigrain bread and a small serving of tomato-like soup.

Vegetarians and those with special dietary requests should make notation when you make your reservation and speak to a chef upon being seated. A few options may be available including the off menu entree Sautéed Red Quinoa Cakes. Also, at the time of this writing, the restaurant was still working on its vegetarian options.

Sautéed Red Quinoa Cakes - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Saut̩ed Red Quinoa Cakes Рwith Edamame Salsa $16.99

Now, on to our review :

We wanted to try several different items in each category, so in addition to those, we also requested take home containers (which nicely provided us dinner).

New starters on the menu include the Yukon Potato Leek Soup and Flash Fried Navajo Bread. Now gone is the Cheddar Cheese Soup, Citrus Brine Oak-smoked Trout, and Venison Chili.

Yukon Potato Leek Soup - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Yukon Potato Leek Soup – topped with candied smoked-bacon $7.49

The Soup was yummy! It was creamy, almost thick, with a slight smokey flavor. Both of us really enjoyed it. Sometimes soups are over-salted for our tastes but this one wasn’t. It was “bowl-lickin” good.

Slow-Smoked Pork Spring Rolls - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Slow-Smoked Pork Spring Rolls Sweet Chili dipping sauce $11.49

We found the pork spring rolls to be a disappointment. While they certainly looked like there was pork inside, we never tasted any. Dipping it in the accompanying sweet chili sauce did nothing to enhance the pork flavor. This starter was more like crispy spring roll (minus the filling) dipped in the sauce. If there had been more pork, there hopefully would have been more flavor.

The new sandwich on the menu is the Chuck Wagon Angus “Bacon and Egg” Burger. New entrees include the Western Salad, Fried Fish and Country Chips, Tuna Melt, Smoked Salmon Quesadilla and the Kansas City-style Smoked Pork Ribs.

Gone are the Grilled Barbeque Chicken and Field Greens Salad , Griddled Meatloaf Sandwich and Whiskey Maple-Glazed Trout

Our Selections:

Slow-smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Slow-smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich – Cowboy Beans, Cucumber Salad $12.49

We both really enjoyed the pulled pork. It was slightly sweet, but not too much. Very lean (little fat) which is a huge plus for us. The one thing the menu didn’t say was that the pork came topped with cole slaw with a kick! So, if you don’t like spicy heat, ask for the slaw on the side or not at all. The pork sandwich also came with Cowboy beans – nothing of note to report here expect there were not overly sugared (yea). The cucumber salad was a pleasant surprise, sweet, tangy and flavorful. Almost like being bread and butter pickles.

House-smoked Turkey Sandwich - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

House-smoked Turkey Sandwich – toasted Multigrain bread with arugula, Tomato and cranberry mayo $12.49

When the sandwich arrived I wondered, where is all the turkey You’ll understand why when you see the next photo. It’s the Turkey and Swiss sandwich from the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery that I enjoyed last week!

Main Street Bakery Turkey sandwich” />
Turkey and Swiss Sandwich – Main Street Bakery – Magic Kingdom $6.99

Needless to say, before I even took a bite, I was quite disappointed. I found the smoked turkey was not at all tender and for me, the smokey flavor was overpowering. I eat smoked turkey sandwiches at lots of places, but this one just didn’t do it. That said, the sweet potato fries were great!!!

Smoked Salmon Quesadilla  - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Smoked Salmon Quesadilla – with arugula, frisee, tomato, goat cheese, mozzarella and a side of pepper jam $16.99

Smoked Salmon Quesadilla  - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

The salmon quesadilla was very rich with lots goat cheese — it was very filling and went a long way. The pepper jam jelly was not spicy and nicely complimented the quesadilla It would actually make an excellent breakfast or brunch dish.

Sautéed Red Quinoa Cakes - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Saut̩ed Red Quinoa Cakes Рwith Edamame Salsa $16.99

Saut̩ed Red Quinoa Cakes РThe winner on this dish is really the edamane salsa Рit is full of flavor! Just the right mixture of edamane, corn, red pepper, cucumber, and onion. The sauce was a little spicy with a bit of heat and that enhanced the flavor of the quinoa cakes. I had this item when it was first introduced some time ago. I give kudos to the chefs for creating an entree that is not the normal vegies and pasta or vegies and tofu. Even as a non-vegetarian, I really enjoy it! I was glad to learn while not on the menu, it is usually available upon request.

And now dessert………….

Jalapeno-Lime Cheesecake - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

Jalapeno-Lime Cheesecake – with candied jalapeno $6.99

When it appeared in a short mason glass and not the traditional wedge on a plate we were surprised. Creamy, thick with real pieces of jalapeno inside. Tangy but not hot. The brownie on the bottom was hard to get to but complimented the cheese cake nicely.

No Sugar Added Seasonal Mousse - Whispering Canyon Cafe - Wilderness Lodge

No Sugar Added Seasonal Mousse – $6.99

The no sugar added berry mouse is by far one of the best I have tasted. Actually, both of us really enjoyed it! Full of flavor, not overly sweet, and the berries were fresh and tasty!

All You Care To Drink Milkshakes are still available!

Overall we really had a fun time at the Whispering Canyon Cafe. There was lots of ketchup shuffling going on between tables and folks seemed to be having a good time.

Remember our taste buds are not yours and experiences vary. I would recommend giving lunch a try!

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47 Replies to “Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge Lunch Review”

  1. Say it isn’t so! The skillet was always a must-do for every Disney vacation! Without it, Whispering Canyon Cafe will definitely no longer be on our dining list. I can’t imagine why Disney would have changed what was obviously a guest favorite. I’m all for progress, but if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

  2. Thank you very much about the heads up on the cooking oil. My dad too has a shellfish allergy and have to watch very closely! Thank you for sharing this very important information!

  3. We were very disappointed to find the menu had changed when we arrived at Whispering Canyon. We have been going for the skillet lunch for years. We had made reservations specifically to go for the skillet lunch only to find that the skillet had been removed from the menu the week before. We had to settle on burgers which were not what we really wanted. They were good, but ordinary – like any other restaurant. There is nothing special about making the boat trip to Whispering Canyon for lunch any more.

  4. Very disappointed to hear these changes. We have always said Whispering Canyon Cafe was one of our favorite places for our family to go. We are DVC Members and go to Disney at least 3-4 times a year. With 11 of us dining – we will definitely think twice about coming back To Whispering Canyon Cafe because of these menu changes. Not good WDW! Change it back! (we have dined there over a dozen times or more)

  5. We are from the UK and have stayed at the lodge many times and have always eaten in the Whispering Canyon. We had a reservation for Nov 2012 and have since cancelled when we found out the menu had changed. Such a shame to have no other choices, we are not big meat eaters, my wife and I would only have the chicken and daughter the sausage, so does that mean we would have to choose 3 pieces of chicken each and 3 sausages, all for 32.99USD each? Not good value for money. Very disapointed

  6. My wife and I recently visited the park and had dinner there on September 17, 2012. We loved the all you can eat skillet, especially the pulled pork and very disappointed to find out the menu had changed just before our visit. It’s now a pick three items from 5 on the menu. We decided to go with the ribs, chicken, and beef tenderloin. The ribs were a dry rub of seasonings and very dry, not juicy at all, the chicken was also dry and got a drumstick and wing. When we had asked for more chicken, we got a couple of thighs which were also dry to eat. The best thing on the plate was the beef. The food looked as if it had been prepared hours earlier and had been sitting in a steam table to keep warm but had only dried it out. It came served on a trough plate that alone must have weighed 5 pounds. The desert included a Key Lime cheesecake in a mason jar with jalapeno pepper. I like key lime deserts and jalapeno peppers but this was not a good pairing together. This had been one of our favorite places to eat when visiting the park but with the changes have no plans to go back.

  7. We just returned from a family vacation in which my laws joined us. My husband and I have made a trip to this restaurant for both the excellent menu AND for the entertainment. We were VERY disappointed with the menu change. Food was not that good and we did not like the choices on the platter. The entertainment was also very lacking. Our waitress had no personality whatsoever…we will NOT be going back to Whispering Canyon again. Too bad disney…

  8. Just came back from DW very, very disappointed in the menu change. Would have got up and left if I thought we could have made another reservation. Decided to give it a try…terrible NEVER again uless the menu goes back to what it was. Not worth it!

  9. We loved this place. Been to Disney World on Vacation 18 times and we went here every time.
    Bad decision making these changes. I will not be going to this restaurant any longer. Wake Up Management!

  10. We always made a point to visit Whispering Canyon for lunch. The endless skillets were great. I don’t care for the platters, as it looks like everyone has to order the platter. Disney needs to learn that new & improved is not necessarily better. I’ve ate here for 5 years, but now I think I’ll pass.

  11. We had a reservation for lunch in Jan. 2013 but, I just cancelled it due to the menu changes. Very disappointing!!

  12. My family ate at Whispering Canyon for dinner during our visit July 2011. We enjoyed it so much it was the first reservation we made for our return trip September 2012. Very disappointed this time around.

  13. We just ret’d from WDW two days ago. We did not eat here due to the menu changes. Why change something that is working, but Disney is notorious for doing just that. Several years ago they closed the Riverside restaurant for breakfast and lunch. We always ate at the restaurant for breakfast and loved it. We were terribly disappointed. I wrote several times to Disney about just that. They just close down restaurants that are working and leave the guests to travel around WDW to find another place to eat. I do not think they are too concerned with what the guests like, it’s this is what you will have attitude.

  14. This is very disappointing. We always stay at the Wilderness Lodge and eat at Whispering Canyon on our last night. I’m assuming that since the platters are all you can eat, they will not allow us to share. My husband and I always split our meals at WDW since they give you so much. There is just no way any of us can eat that much food. Now I guess I will have to come up with a new place to eat for our last night meal. So sad.

  15. I am confused. Does the menu indicate that all members of the party must select the same three items or do each of us get our own choices. The kids menu is pathetic but I am assuming that they can eat off adults plates. Will we have to order kids meals if they prefer to eat off the platters?

  16. We have reservations for November and from what I’ve read, we’ll be canceling. No choice in entree’s? Sounds like Shoney’s to me. My wife is a picky eater and likes choices. Oh well.

  17. Since our first dinner there in 2004, Whispering Canyon Cafe has been on our “must do” list for every trip . . . no longer. All of the items that were favorites of our “non-skillet” family members (especially the Meatloaf) are gone. And, for us who loved the skillet, the absence of the pulled pork is a deal breaker.

    This is a tragic change and has saddened our whole family.

  18. Oh no! A tried but true favorite of my family since 2006. I have taken so many “newbies” here to fall in love with the Skillet. Very sad :(. I will cancel my feb 2013 reservation too…

  19. We ate dinner at Whispering Canyon last week and were very disappointed. Not thrilled with menu changes and felt dessert was terrible! If we had known it had changed we would have cancelled our reservation!

  20. I’m so dissapointed that the canyon skillet is gone! We will be canceling our reservations for December. We always look forward to the pulled pork — something the whole family enjoys. Why fix something that isn’t broken? C’mon Disney…

  21. Hi! We ate at WCC on 9/21. New menu items were fantastic! I too liked the old skillet and thought nothing could top those tried and true items, yet this new menu surprised us. The ribs had a nice smoke too them and were very tender. The beef loin was outstanding. Tender, with a good flavor. The chicken was my favorite. Juicy and cooked to perfection. When we asked for more, we were offered the other 2 menu choices of fish and smoked sausage. The fish was light and flaky, not over cooked with a light seasoning. The sausage was a bit too smokey for my liking, but my husband thought it had good flavor and chew. The sides were well prepared and great tasting.

    We were not to whipped on the desserts. Cake was kind of a weird texture, cobbler was pretty good, but more cobbler than fruit and the chessecake was more savory than a dessert should be. All and all we were impressed with the menu change and would eat there again, in a heartbeat!!

  22. We ate dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe this past week, and were extremely dissapointed with the new menu. This has always been one of our family’s favorite places to eat, and we loved the canyon skillet…especially the pulled pork. Now that the pulled pork is gone, and the desserts are terrible, we will not be returning!

  23. I am so disappointed. I can no longer get the espresso rubbed pork chops on cheesy grits? It was my favorite meal at all the restaurants at WDW.

  24. So disappointing! We loved this place and the menu. Most of all we love Chad. So I guess our upcoming visit will be for the “drinks only section”. We loved the skillets. Especially the pulled pork. They had great BBQ sauce too. What a shame Disney chose to “fix something that wasn’t broken”.

  25. Thanks, Deb, for your detailed review plus pictures. But I’m sooo sad! We ALWAYS eat at Whispering Canyon and I was getting ready to make my 2013 ADRs later this week. No meatloaf??? Boohoo! I don’t like the idea of the family-style platter and I’m not crazy about the choices. There always used to be something to please everyone in my family – now, not so much 🙁

  26. Ugh! WCC used to be a “must eat” at and while the dinner skillet was great for my hubby I loved the meatloaf and other options. Now that there is no other option and the cost is in the “Wow, where are the Fab Five?” category we’ll be adding this to our “Do Not Return To” list. Hopefully they won’t mess with breakfast too much more.

  27. My absolute favorite dinner in all of WDW, the Whispering Canyon Skillet, now gone after all these years. The new choices do not sound as appealing, and the dessert sounds terrible to me. Will probably be taking this one off the list. I’m really wondering how much more that WDW can mess up their dining options.

  28. Thanks for the info and the review. I remember having a caramel milkshake last year and I don’t see it listed on their new menu. The biggest disappointment is the now missing apple pie! I’m surprised because the recipe was in one of their cookbooks it was so good. I’m glad my wife has mastered the recipe! I hope they realize their mistake and put it back!…along with the caramel milkshake!

  29. Any chance they might change the menu back? Given the obesity crisis in the US I find it odd DW is pushing only an all you can eat option. I’d rather spend 30 bucks on a nice entree at Artist Point. We have reservations in a couple weeks and I think we’ll have to cancel. So bummed because we’ve never been but I had heard eating at Whispering Canyon was really fun…

  30. I guess I will be canceling my February reservation. We have always gone for the food and now apparently none of our favorites are being served. I hope I can find somewhere else for the 12 of us.

    But thanks for the review and the info. I always love reading your blogs.

  31. I have to admit, I’ve not been a fan of Whispering Canyon for quite a while now. The food has always been, in my opinion, second-rate. It’s a fun place, especially when dining with kids, but it’s just not been a place I put on my “must-do” list.

  32. How does this “family style” work if ONE person in the party has a food allergy? I can’t have gluten and am going with a party of 11 for my niece’s birthday party. Obviously, I can’t have anything that comes out of their fryer, for instance…

    ALLEARS: Make sure your reservations states food allergy. When your server comes the first time let them know and ask for the chef. They will do their best to take care of you.

  33. Can’t beleave the changes. We love the meatloaf sandwich and the salad we always get changed don’t like blue cheese, it looks like we will no longer be going here for lunch what a shame.

  34. We ate here for dinner last Wednesday just after the menu changed. The food was very good and yes, they give cornbread with the dinner. It was still a wonderful place to eat.

    The only complaint we had was with the desserts. They gave 3 desserts: jalapeno key lime cheesecake with brownie on the bottom, a layered chocolate/raspberry cake, and a berry cobbler. The cobbler was great, and the chocolate/raspberry cake was edible, but we only ate a little. The cheesecake was TERRIBLE! The jalapeno in it was disgusting! My husband remarked about it to the server and even she made a face. If they cut out the peppers, it would have been great. It is still totally worth eating here, even with the menu change.

  35. hi deb;

    my husband and i just returned from a great disney vacation and we had dinner at whispering canyon cafe on friday, september 14-i guess we just missed the menu change; we enjoyed the skillet but will probably not be returning now that the pulled pork (our favourite)is not an option; the fish and sausage options for the new platter just don’t seen as appealing; however, the milkshake refills just might lure my husband back

  36. Very Disappointing in the changes made to the dinner menu. My son enjoyed the cheese soup that was offered and my grandson loved the trout. The bread pudding was a “must” for all of us to enjoy. We also will miss the cornbread.

    Even though we always stay at the WL, The Whispering Canyon Cafe will most likely, not be a part of our Disney experience.

    ALLEARS: A reader has reported the corn bread is still served.

  37. Are there no other dinner options other than the skillet now? We have reservations for 10 that we cannot change and half of us go there for the pulled pork which is no longer an option on the skillet so I was hoping to order it instead of the skillet.

    DEB: NO other dinner choices unless you are vegetarian, vegan, special dietary needs.

  38. With the new “menu” will they actually do a grilled chicken breast instead of the fried?

    DEB: I don’t see what not, just ask for server.

  39. Is pulled pork no longer an option at dinner? I don’t see mention of corn bread – that’s my family’s favorite part. Does it still come with the dinner?

  40. We’ve had lunch here, but we ALWAYS have breakfast here. The breakfast sklillet is awesome, but most importantly we come to see Cajun Chad. He makes our visit to WDW complete!

  41. I have huge love for the Canyon but it was never about the food it was always the show and the show was the waitstaff cast. I hate to think it has become about food before not silliness.

    Been a log time Deb, Love Ya / Mean It – Bennet

    DEB: It HAS been too long Bennet – Hope you all are well!

  42. Hi Deb!
    We have reservations there for Christmas day. Do you know if they have a special menu for that day? Also, had seen where the price maybe up to $60 – is that true? If so we might rearrange our plans and head to Liberty Tree! Thoughts??11

    DEB: I have not seen any holiday pricing yet. Many restaurants do offer special meals on holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

    Here is what i found for 2011 Thanksgiving – perhaps this will help:
    Whispering Canyon Cafe – Adult: $40.46, Child: $20.23 (Price Includes Tax but not Gratuity). Enjoy a Family-Style Thanksgiving Feast at the Whispering Canyon Cafe Available 11:15 a.m. until 10 p.m. Regular Family-Style Menu will not be available. Non-alcoholic, Non-specialty beverages are included. Children will be offered the same menu as adults. Menu: Fresh Field Greens tossed with Apples, Candied Walnuts, Blue Cheese, Dried Cherries, and Creamy Maple Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing; Smoked House Breast of Turkey, Maple Glaze Ham, Oven-roasted Chicken, Traditional Stuffing, Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Candied Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes, Giblet Gravy, Seasonal Vegetable, Cranberry Relish and Corn Bread; Dessert: Pumpkin Pie.

  43. Wonderful review and layout of photos. I enjoy seeing the “Whispering Canyon Cafe” entrance photo and menu photo, too.

    I might like the newer “Build Your Own All You Care To Enjoy Family Platter” dinner, since I usually just eat three of the meat items offered: chicken, beef strip loin, ribs.

    Thanks for the tip of the “Slow-Smoked Pork Spring Rolls” and the “House-smoked Turkey Sandwich”. I would have chosen those because I like turkey and pork, too.

    The “Sautéed Red Quinoa Cakes – with Edamame Salsa looka so good, I may have to try this next time.

    Thank you again for the excellent review, photos and layout of your review. It was a joy to read.


  44. Deb, Do they still offer the bottomless milkshakes? I didn’t see them on the lunch or dinner menus. Thanks in advance, Jay

    DEB: Bottomless milkshakes are STILL available. I have added that info to the blog

  45. We only ever eat here for breakfast. Love the all you can eat skillet as one of the best “deals” on Property. Not to mention the characters of the people serving you. Truly great place! Only ate their for lunch once a long time ago, but those sweet potato fries may have me thinking twice about that..