DiningSaturday Six

SATURDAY SIX: 6 Secrets of Disney’s SKIPPER CANTEEN Restaurant

Share This!

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Secrets of Disney’s Skipper Canteen! Regular readers of the SATURDAY SIX know just how much we love all the little details hidden throughout Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort. These theme park “Easter Eggs”  are a great touch for longtime guests, whether it’s a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Nautilus in the queue for the Little Mermaid ride, Back to the Future’s Doc Brown in The Simpson’s Ride, or even references to the former Seashore Sweets bakery in BoardWalk’s AbracadaBarThis week we are going to look at six of our favorite references in the Magic Kingdom’s Skipper Canteen, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Jungle Cruise Imagineers

It’s no shock that Skipper Canteen (full name Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd Skipper Canteen) has a lot of nods to the Jungle Cruise attraction, but one of the best references is the faux upstairs offices for Skipper Marc, Skipper Bill, and Skipper Harper. “Marc” refers to Marc Davis, one of the most well known Imagineers in Disney history. While Marc was involved in creation of the Jungle Cruise, he is also known for his design work on other beloved attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and the Country Bear Jamboree.

Tribute to Marc Davis.(photo by Brandon Glover)

Another door honors Morgan “Bill” Evans. The plant studies designation underneath his name refers to how instrumental Bill was in developing the horticulture of the Jungle Cruise. In fact, Bill Evans and Disney landscaping includes the creation of Disneyland itself. When Walt Disney needed to convert acres of orange groves in Anaheim into a theme park environment, he called the team who had just landscaped the grounds of his personal home. Those men were Bill Evans and his brother Jack.

“Walt told me we were all out of loot and that the time had come to put Latin names on the weeds.” – Bill Evans

Tribute to Bill Evans(photo by Brandon Glover)

The last door references Harper Goff, who – like Marc Davis – was an artist who had worked with Walt Disney in the film world before the parks. Harper was behind many of the amazing effects in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, was the set director for a little film called Casablanca, and you just may remember his incredible art direction in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the good one, not the Johnny Depp remake.) Harper worked with Walt Disney on the Jungle Cruise attraction and has been credited for suggesting to Walt that the ride experience should be like the movie The African Queen.

Tribute to Harper Goff. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 5 – Albert Falls

The backstory of Skipper Canteen is that it is owned and operated by Alberta Falls, granddaughter of Dr. Albert Falls. In storyline, Dr. Falls established the Jungle Navigation Company (the company behind the Jungle Cruise.)  One of the best (worst?) jokes of the Jungle Cruise is when you approach the famous Schweitzer Falls, which is revealed to be named after Dr. Falls instead of Dr. Schweitzer, a physician whose work includes setting up hospitals in Africa. With business on the Jungle Cruise doing so well, Alberta opened up the restaurant in order to serve hungry travelers.

Inside the Skipper Canteen there are several references to both Albert and Alberta Falls, including paintings of each. There is a bookcase that leads to the Society of Explorers and Adventures dining room, and one of those books is by Albert Falls.

Paintings of Albert Falls (left) and Alberta Falls. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Albert Falls. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 4 –  Cambodian Temple

There is a ton of great artwork lining the walls of Skipper Canteen, but one of our favorite paintings contains several elements of the Jungle Cruise ride. In the forefront of the painting is large snake wrapped around a tree branch, which is just one of the many exotic animals you encounter along your cruise. In the background you see an actual Jungle Cruise boat making its way out of a Cambodian Temple. One of my favorite parts of every trip on the Jungle Cruise is going through this mystical – and creepy – temple. Not only does it have a unique atmosphere compared to the rest of the attraction, it is also the only part of the ride where the skippers aren’t spieling, which also makes it stand out.

Cambodian Temple. (photo by Brian Carey)
Cambodian Temple. (photo by Ryan Kennedy)


# 3 – Adventureland Neighbors: The Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Orange Bird

We mentioned the bookcase earlier, and just about every book – whether the title or the author – is specifically related to something you can connect to in the Disney Universe.  Some of our favorites include the books which refer to other things in Adventureland, including the Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean, along with the little Orange Bird at Sunshine Tree Terrace. Books include Songs Of The Tiki Bird by Prof Boag (Boag is referencing Wally Boag, a Disney Legend who voices Jose in the Enchanted Tiki Room,) Native Orange Birds Of the Southeastern United States, Pirates of the Caribbean by Coats (Claude Coats was an Imagineer who worked on the Pirates attraction), and Profiles of Legendary Pirates of the Caribbean by Gibson (Blaine Gibson was a Disney sculptor who worked on attractions such as Pirates, Haunted Mansion and Tiki Birds.)

Just about every book contains a references of some sort. (photo by Ryan Kennedy)
Tiki Tiki Tikis of the South Pacific and more! (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 2 – The Backside of Water

Maybe the most groan-worthy moment of the Jungle Cruise is when we all pass by the “backside of water.” Of course I mean that in the most respectful way possible as it is a signature moment in the ride, and if it were taken out guests might riot. Inside the Skipper Canteen you’ll find a barrel containing some “backside of water” to be shipped!

Backside of Water. (photo by Ryan Kennedy)
A skipper on the Jungle Cruise shows us the backside of water. (photo by Ryan Kennedy)

# 1 – The Society of Explorers and Adventurers. (S.E.A.)

For hardcore Disney fans, the world building of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.) is getting fun. Members of this group include Harrison Hightower III (of Tokyo Disneyland’s Tower of Terror), Mary Oceaneer (of the recently opened Miss Fortune Falls at Typhoon Lagoon), and Lord Henry Mystic (of Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland). We mentioned earlier that Albert Falls was also a S.E.A. member, and the group has a storyline tie-in to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as well. It all stems from the beloved Adventurer’s Club at the former Pleasure Island, but it seems as if more and more references of the group are being added to the Disney parks. Who knows, maybe we’ll even get a dedicated S.E.A comic book in the future from Marvel’s Disney Kingdoms line (we’ve already had one based on Big Thunder, Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room.)

The Skipper Canteen contains several references to the S.E.A. including an entire dining room dedicated to the group. There are S.E.A. fez hats that belong to several members, and there are books in the bookcase references S.E.A. projects (such as Treasures From The Manor by Henry Mystic.)

S.E.A. fez. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Treasures of the Manor by Henry Mystic, S.E.A. member. (photo by Brandon Glover)


One of the most recent changes to the Jungle Cruise has been the whimsical Jingle Cruise overlay during the Christmas season. Inside Skipper Canteen you’ll several some Jingle Cruise props sitting on some shelves, along with a Jingle Cruise advertisement on the bulletin board. Like the bookcase, the bulletin board is filled with a ton of references and tributes and is worth going out of your way to check out if you are a fan of Disney history.

Jingle Cruise decorations. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Jingle Cruise. (photo by Ryan Kennedy)

So there you have it: Six Secrets of Disney’s SKIPPER CANTEEN! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles (which we just celebrated our THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY), or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)

This monkey coming out of a vase has a fun moment inside the temple (one that is very hard to photograph, trust me, we tried!)

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:

The Six Best Kept SECRETS at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT

FATHER’S DAY SPECIAL: Celebrating Dads at Walt Disney World and Universal

The Six Best Souvenir Cups at Walt Disney World

Six Of Our Favorite Shows That Went to Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Locations Used in Hulk Hogan’s THUNDER IN PARADISE!

Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, the bad boy of Rhode Island’s Most Dangerous Man Ryan Kennedy, the newest member of Team SATURDAY SIX Michael Carelli, the sommelier of Tony’s Town Square Brian Carey, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-host Aengus Mackenzie and fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.

Where have we seen these two guys before? (photo by Brian Carey)
Oh yeah, now we remember! (photo by Michael Carelli)

You May Also Like...

11 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX: 6 Secrets of Disney’s SKIPPER CANTEEN Restaurant

  • No reference to “Skipper Dan” from the Weird Al song?

  • Could the Country of Rivers be a nod to my beloved and forever missed River Country? I couldn’t make out the author for it to see if it may have yielded another clue.

  • I’m not sure at all where it came from,but I’ve person always interpreted it to mean it’s the “back”of the falls instead of the front and yes that would include a slang interpretation of it being your backside. I think it’s more the fact that it’s just plain dumb that gets people to groan/laugh

    • That was supposed to be personally interpreted,not personal auto correct ggrr

  • I know everyone groans at the joke about the backside of water but I just don’t get what’s funny. I am not sure if it’s an American joke and being from the UK it doesn’t translate – in the UK your backside is your bottom so I always assume it’s a play on those words but I could be wrong. I get (and groan) at all the other jokes on the Jungle Cruise – it’s just that one!

    • One of the Jungle Cruise Skippers, who had previously worked at Disneyland London, told me that in the UK, they do, in fact, refer to the “bumside of the water”.

    • I think our previous reply from Chris is confused with the Skippers on the Nautilus Submarine where you are actually looking up to “the bumside (bottom side, not back side) of water”.

    • Actually, you are both right! When Disneyland London was closed to make way for Disneyland Paris on April 1, 1992, many Jungle Cruise Skippers were moved to “The Mysteries of the Nautilus” (La Belle et la Bête) attraction.

      As an Easter Egg to their previous duties, the Skippers, now Captains, continued to refer to the “Backside of Water” (not facing the front, but the back of a waterfall) which was now the “Bottomside of Water” (submerged under water, looking up towards the surface) as the “Bumside of Water”.

      Guest laughter at the obscure reference was considered to be an act of “solidarity” for the lack of a Jungle Cruise attraction at the Paris location; a tradition that 25 years later has since crossed the pond to Florida and California.

    • You are confusing the terms “backside” (your bum) with “back side” (two words, meaning being behind something). When you approach the falls for the first time, you are on the “front side” of the falls. When you approach it the second time, you are behind the falls, or on the “back side” of the falls, hence the “back side of water”. Simple as that.

      • Lee, to be fair, the bucket inside Skipper Canteen looks like it is labeled “backside” and not “back side.” This is probably a case of word play where both sides can be right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *