One morning during our recent stay in the newly reimagined rooms at Wilderness Lodge, we dragged ourselves out of bed for a bonkers breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe. This Walt Disney World dining review features food photos of the All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Signature Skillets, info on current hijinks, and more.
Let’s start with “normal times” background info: Whispering Canyon Cafe accepts the Disney Dining Plan, but for breakfast it’s an objectively poor use of credits. (As a reminder, that’s temporarily suspended.) The restaurant also accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount, if you still have it. Finally, Whispering Canyon Cafe offers discounts to both Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
We’ve dined at Whispering Canyon Cafe a lot. Usually at least a couple of times per year, as it’s a fun restaurant with an interactive element, crowd-pleasing and bottomless skillets, and relatively fair prices. It’s also located in Wilderness Lodge, which is our favorite resort at Walt Disney World. However, we do almost all of our meals here at dinner, so we can enjoy late nights at the lodge after. To my recollection, we’ve only done breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe one other time, and that was ages ago…
Whispering Canyon Cafe is the ‘main’ table service restaurant at Wilderness Lodge, and it has had a range of changes in the last few years. If you’re looking for a dinner review that details the normal experience, check out our Review: New Food & Fun at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Additionally, our favorite time to do Whispering Canyon Cafe is during November or December. Since it’s an open-air restaurant with views into the lobby of Wilderness Lodge, dining here at Christmas-time is an awesome way to enjoy the decorations and the iconic lobby tree.
Our favorite meal at Whispering Canyon Cafe is a late dinner during Christmas as part of our Free Walt Disney World Yuletide Tour. We won’t bury the lede–that’s much better than breakfast. However, “dinner after 9 pm from mid-November through December” may not be practical–or even possible if you’re visiting Walt Disney World during the other 10+ months of the year.
With that in mind, let’s dig into our summer-time breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe!
For breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe, I ordered the Carnivore Skillet: House-made Buttermilk-Cheddar Biscuits and Sausage Gravy with Scrambled Eggs, House-smoked Ham, Oak-smoked Beef Brisket, Hickory-smoked Bacon, and Pork Sausage Links.
Let’s get the meal’s disappointments out of the way right off the bat. This skillet includes Walt Disney World’s infamous rubber bacon cut with a paper slicer and standard issue reconstituted eggs–the same ones you’d find at literally any counter service food court on property.
Hiding under those hearty helpings of low-cost breakfast items is one (1) piece of oak-smoked brisket and one (1) piece of house-smoked ham.
These two items are significantly higher quality, which probably explains why you’re given less of them.
Accompanying the proteins in a separate skillet is the biscuits and gravy. These are both excellent, with the cheddar biscuits being so good that you could enjoy them on their own, or with some butter instead of gravy. (My initial serving of this was one biscuit–pictured above is the refill.)
If the Carnivore Skillet were a single serving, it would be a colossal disappointment. Thankfully, it is not…and it is not! But we’ll circle back to that in a minute.
Before we do, here’s a look at the All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Signature Skillet that Sarah ordered for breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe. She opted to go with The Lighter Side: Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal), Fresh Fruit, and Yogurt with Egg White-Spinach Frittata, Turkey Bacon, Turkey Sausage, Country Potatoes, and Mickey Waffles.
Normally, ordering a “lighter” all-you-can-eat meal is the equivalent of ordering the vegetarian entree on the Disney Dining Plan: not advantageous from a value for money perspective. However, that’s actually not the case at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Our server advised that for skillet refills, we could both choose items from both skillets. To my knowledge, this is not official Whispering Canyon Cafe policy, so it’s subject to change or disallowance by your server. With that said, we’ve had this happen unofficially several times. It seems likely that this is the informal policy, even if it’s not published anywhere.
This worked out to our advantage because I was able to order fruit, Mickey waffles, and the superior turkey bacon. (All you can eat veterans may scoff at me eating fruit, but it and other fibers serve an, ahem, “practical purpose” while traveling, and is not cheap a la carte at Walt Disney World!) Conversely, Sarah was able to order brisket and biscuits.
For my refill, one of my requests was “a ton of brisket.” Our server obliged, with a generous pile of that glorious meat. It probably helped that I hadn’t touched the powder eggs or paper rubber bacon, so perhaps she realized this wasn’t my first rodeo at Whispering Canyon Cafe. I knew the score here.
Now, if you fancy yourself a smoked meats connoisseur, this brisket may be underwhelming. However, for a bottomless breakfast at Walt Disney World, I think it’s exceptional. The signature mustard BBQ provides both a nice texture and a slightly acidic punch. The meat itself is delicious, at least as compared to the aforementioned paper-cut rubber bacon. If we’re comparing this to 4Rivers, not so much. But that’s much more expensive and not all you can eat. As with so much in life, it’s all relative.
Here’s a look at the full spread of my second round of breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Although the initial skillet was underwhelming, I was incredibly satisfied with this.
The quality was high, but the quantity was even higher. We did the last seating of the morning here after rope dropping Magic Kingdom, and that approach worked perfectly for us. I also didn’t end up eating again until 7 pm, which should further reinforce the bang for buck we got out of breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Sarah’s experience and meal were similar, albeit with more healthy stuff and less brisket. Regardless, she also left Whispering Canyon Cafe full and happy.
Whispering Canyon Cafe is all about “food & fun,” so the signature skillets are only one half of the equation.
As for whether this was truly a bonkers breakfast…not really. Our server threw a ton of napkins and straws up in the air above us and had some sharp remarks, but that was about it. Very few tables in our vicinity were filled, but from what we could observe from a distance, this was about par for the course.
Given the circumstances, this is hardly a complaint. It’s also not representative of what you might experience at Whispering Canyon Cafe this fall or beyond–or maybe even later this summer.
During our meal, Walt Disney World was still in the midst of its “phased reopening.” This meant that our server was wearing a mask and face shield, which made for (understandably!) difficult interactions. Beyond that, Whispering Canyon Cafe was clearly understaffed, and we saw our server hustling around the restaurant to help her many tables. She was already stretched too thin, and adding a show element to the mix without substantive service suffering would’ve been impossible.
Ultimately, the Cast Members at Whispering Canyon Cafe did a great job making sure we had plenty of food, so we’re willing to give everything else a pass at this time. While the lack of hijinks was somewhat of a disappointment, we sort of expected that going into the meal, being cognizant of both real world realities and Walt Disney World’s staffing woes. If this is still the situation come October 2021, we’ll revisit our assessment, but for now, we’re not going to be unreasonable about some of the necessary compromises being made.
Turning back to the food, the signature breakfast skillets at Whispering Canyon Cafe more or less are what you make of them. That’s true at most Walt Disney World family-style restaurants, so it’s not particularly profound insight. If you simply eat what’s first presented to you, the likelihood of disappointment is high. If skip the cheap, food court-quality options and tailor your refill requests to what’s actually high-quality and delicious, the likelihood of happiness is high!
Have you done the signature breakfast skillets at Whispering Canyon Cafe? What did you think of the cuisine in them? Have you dined at Whispering Canyon Cafe during the phased reopening? If so, how did your experience compare to ours? Planning on trying Whispering Canyon Cafe? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!