Really cute review I found of the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge:
Whispering Canyon Cafe, which overlooks the lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, is a fun restaurant for casual dining — and it’s especially great for kids. Servers work hard to create a boisterous atmosphere, and they keep diners on their toes with their high jinks and loud calls to order.
Children will feel welcome right from the start when they find a table full of Lincoln Logs to play with while waiting to be seated. Once inside, it doesn’t take long to figure out that to make the most of this western-themed dining experience, you’ll need to check any shyness at the door and play along.
At Whispering Canyon Cafe, if you want ketchup, you have to yell to find out which other diners have it — and then go get all 10 (or more) bottles from their table. The condiment makes its way around the restaurant in this loud fashion throughout the day and night. Servers are sassy and have no problem telling diners to do other chores, such as setting the table, themselves. (The attitude reminded me of that at ’50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.)
Every so often, the wait staff will call for the room’s attention for a group activity, such as stick pony races. My 5-year-old daughter had a great time galloping around the restaurant with the other children. Older kids, such as my 7-year-old son, might prefer to cheer on the younger jockeys. Cast members also encourage diners of all ages to do a shortened version of the Hokey Pokey. Some of us were more reluctant than others, but there was no hiding from the booming voices.
When it comes time to chow down, the house speciality is the Canyon Skillet, an endless amount of barbeque and its traditional side items. The Skillet includes mixed greens salad with apple vinaigrette dressing, cornbread, smoked pork ribs, pulled pork, oven-roasted chicken, beef brisket, mashed potatoes, baked beans, cole slaw and corn on the cob. We found the Skillet tasty and satisfying, though my husband and I are not picky about barbeque styles and flavors as some people are. The Skillet also is available on the kids’ menu. However, our kids chose the cheeseburgers — and the fun of calling for ketchup.
I have to say that one of my favorite things about the meal was when the server discovered just how much Diet Coke I can drink. Instead of continuing to refill my small glass, she brought me the biggest soda I have ever been served in a restaurant. And then she announced to the dining room that my drink came with a fast pass to the bathroom.
Our meal ended on a fun note when three servers brought out a cupcake for my husband’s birthday. After they sang an off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday To You,” they proceeded to eat his dessert, not giving him even a bite. The kids were incredulous — until my husband was presented with a new cupcake that they got to share.
Whispering Canyon Cafe is loud — no doubt about it — but fun if your family likes interactive, themed dining. To get the full experience, bring your sense of humor and leave any wallflower tendencies at home.