Whispering Canyon at Wilderness Lodge changing focus

Edited: May 15, 2018, 3:20 PM

If a post on DisneyDining.com is correct, the high spirited shenanigans at Whispering Canyon in Disney's Wilderness Lodge are over.
If you never ate at this ironically named restaurant, you really missed out on a whole lot of fun.
It was a wild and woolly hoot-n-nanny of a place. It was staffed by crazy servers that engaged with you and your party in surprising and unexpected ways. Loud and raucous laughter rolled up from the dining area proving that there was really no "Whispering" going on in this canyon of a lobby.
I remember taking a bunch of friends to dinner there one night. They were visiting from Pennsylvania and this was their first visit to Walt Disney World. We picked this spot for the very reason that over active kids would not be any problem at all in this dining room. They are college friends and at the time their four kids ranged in age between 7 and 14. It was the 7 year-olds birthday and when the server came out with his birthday cake he make a big fuss loudly announcing the event and asked the entire restaurant to sing "Happy Birthday".
Just after he got the singing started - right there in front of the Birthday Boy, the server scarfed down the entire Mickey Mouse Birthday cupcake getting as much of it on his face as in his mouth.
Young Master Charlie was LIVID! IT WAS HILARIOUS! Of course, just off to the side there was another birthday cupcake waiting for Charlie, but the memories of that stolen cupcake, and the look on Charlie’s face will be a memory that lasts way longer than the taste of that cake.
I can understand how these sorts of goings on may not have been to everyone's tastes, but with so many other dining options at WDW - they frankly could have gone somewhere else.
I'm wondering if any of you have stories you'd like to share about memories of dining at Whispering Canyon.

Replies (8)

Edited: May 15, 2018, 9:05 PM

I've eaten at the Whispering Canyon only once. Yes, I knew the schtick going in. I'm not a fan of places that do this stuff, but I know how to deal wth it and expected what was to come.

But then we had a problem with our meal (obvious food contamination), and the server simply was unable to switch gears out of the schtick to address the customer service issue at hand. So we ended up paying for contaminated food we couldn't eat and hating every moment that the wait staff ignored our real needs to go play with everyone else in the restauarant.

To this day, I haven't been back, and in all the conversations I have had with people about Disney World over the years I never have recommended Whispering Canyon to anyone. Sorry, fans, but you've got to be able to take care of customer service if you want to earn my business and my recommendation.

I agree with Rob — people who don't like Whispering Canyon can go somewhere. But many of us have been going somewhere else. Disney tends not to fix stuff that ain't broken, so I suspect that Disney thinks it can do better by asking the Whispering Canyon servers to tone it down... and, one hopes, focus more on providing better customer service for the individual guests in the restaurant rather than a handful of Disney fans who want the wait staff to stick to a prescribed script.

May 16, 2018, 2:30 AM

Obviously a food contamination issue with allergies was a reason to break character, and I am sure that was a single example of a mistake. Our family is full of allergies, and one thing Disney has been beyond superb at is addressing food allergies. Better than anywhere I have ever seen, and Whispering Canyon was no exception. I have always loved it, and you should never miss the chance to ask for ketchup or get the bottomless milkshake. I will say it has been a few years since I have been there, so it certainly could have gotten more extreme since my last visit, as we tend to change up our hotels. Food contamination is no joke, however. If it happens, you should never have to pay for food you cannot eat.

May 16, 2018, 6:12 AM

I've never been to the place, and have never had any desire to eat there. I've seen enough on TV and read plenty of reviews to know it's not my kind of restaurant. However, that's what WDW is all about - having something for everyone. Those that want this type of place should be able to experience it, and guests that don't like experiences like this can avoid it. There are ample reviews and warnings out there about Whispering Creek Canyon, and any guest dumb enough to walk into this place not knowing what's about to happen probably deserves it.

I think Robert's experience is a rare one, and that perhaps the servers were just off their game when presented a legitimate issue. It's really unfortunate that an experienced loved by many, but loathed by an ignorant few has to be canned to cater to the minority. This appears to be the society we live in these days where everything has to be sterilized (figuratively) and sugar coated so as to not offend or upset anyone. The irreverence of WCC was not my cup of tea, so I avoided it. However, those precious snowflakes out there that can't stand to see the joke on them need to grow up and keep to themselves so guests that love places like this can have fun. It's very sad to see yet another example of the needs of the few outweighing the needs of a many.

Edited: May 16, 2018, 9:23 AM

There needs to be a new review after the changes.

I thought Hoop Dee Do already had pretty horrible service for a dinner show. I would never go to a Whispering Canyon restaurant knowing how they treat their customers.

May 17, 2018, 9:50 AM

This was always a huge recommendation from us and we loved taking new people there. Huge bummer!

May 21, 2018, 8:59 AM

UPDATE -

I wrote an email to the who I was told is the GM at Disney's Wilderness Lodge and got a relpy:

Dear Mr. McCullough,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to the news of changes at Whispering Canyon. Whispering Canyon Cafe is still a rootin' tootin' good time for the whole family, with plenty of antics. You may notice that we've asked our Cast Members to turn down the volume a bit in order to promote participation among all guests. There is still lots of "Shenanigans" for our guests to enjoy.

She goes on to thank me for my comments and assures me that they take all comments seriously.

I do hope that someone will go and report back on what the experience is like now.

May 21, 2018, 9:34 AM

On some of the other boards I browse, it sounded like the WCC changes were because the GM at Wilderness Lodge despises the restaurant, and has been trying to get rid of it since she was appointed. Supposedly recipes have been changed at Artist Point as well, which has resulted in a deterioration of that once highly rated restaurant.


From the sounds of it, the person that got back to you is the person responsible for WCC changing, and is trying to get rid of the restaurant altogether. Everyone that has written to complain has received a similar form letter, so either the restaurant got inundated with complaints that it's backtracking or it's just providing lip service to satisfy the unruly mob. It's definitely something to watch, and those planning to visit WCC should be prepared for anything.

May 23, 2018, 4:40 PM

While not my favorite, Whispering Canyon Cafe is a "thing" to do. It is wacky, a little tacky, and a lot of fun if you are willing to be in on the joke. Its not for everybody, but everybody should try it once. It is iconic and brings character to this resort.

One of the highest rated resort bars in all of WDW is my own "home away from home's" Gurgling Suitcase. Its a hole in the wall, but they are always friendly, make you a nice stiff drink, and people are always up for some fun!

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