Category Rank: 3
Park: "Rest of the World"
Park Rank: 6
What is this? An actual restaurant? Yes, our very first "table-service" restaurant of the list comes at #21, and it is Whispering Canyons.
When it comes to family dining within WDW, it is hard to beat Whispering Canyons. This "frontierland"-style restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge features bottomless skillets of barbecue and other country food. There are bbq pork ribs, pulled pork, roasted chicken, western-style sausage, and chicken quesadillas. It also comes with all the fixin's, including corn on the cobb, cornbread, field greens, baked beans, and Yukon potatoes. Throw on top of that a scrumptious desert and the unlimited milkshakes (for meal plan folks), and you are guaranteed to walk away from the restaurant muttering "oh, I shouldn't have eaten so much!"
But as good as the food is, that's not why you go. You go for the antics of your waiter/waitress. The restaurant is synonymous for its ketchup gag, where there are no bottles of ketchup on the table, and you have to ask your server for it. At which point, she will have you get up with her and bellow "Please pass the ketchup!" Then you receive ALL of the ketchup bottles in the restaurant. Until the next table needs it.
There are many other antics, too. If you ask for a little more to drink, they will bring out a thimble-full, or if you say you are really thirsty, they bring out the half-gallon mason jar. And if you somehow drink all of the jar (or pour it into other people's glasses), they will give you a FastPass to the bathroom.
They have a special fork (3 feet tall) for those that drop theirs. If you are caught stealing ketchup from someone else's table or taking a cell phone call, you get sent to "jail". And, they have a variety of ways to embarrass people on their birthdays.
It should be noted that while the antics are pretty famous, they aren't always guaranteed. We have had luck the times we have visited, but many others have said they've had waitresses who weren't really that into it, even when prompted. Plus, there are some servers who ad lib things you haven't experienced before as well. In other words, you don't know what you are in for before you get there.
Whispering Canyons is one of those great memory-makers, even more so than many of the thrill rides. After a visit at the restaurant, you will have many of the "Remember that time when the waiter did..." anecdotes to reminisce about. For this reason, it ranks higher than a lot of other items that are traditional more synonymous with WDW. For us, the Whispering Canyons experience is more memorable, and therefore more nostalgic.
We are now in the top 20, and our next item is another special one for our family. We go to Hollywood Studios for our top interactive/memorabilia entry, and it happens to be an interactive that tests out your artistic talents.