As we were seated at a sweet little table for two against the window at the Skipper Canteen restaurant, our jungle skipper apologized for the sorry state of the windows: “As you can see,” he said with a straight face, “they’re stained.”
We appreciatively played along until Amy noticed a crack in one of the panes. “Looks like someone tried a little too hard to get the stain out,” she commented.
Turns out, that was a crack with a history!
Our skipper proceeded to explain, this time without the jungle humor, that the reason the cracked pane couldn’t be replaced is because the stained glass was original to the building—which dates back to 1971, when the restaurant first opened as the Adventureland Veranda—and that type of glass is no longer made. Even the soldered framework that holds the panes in place is no longer used.
Our skipper pointed to the far end of the dining room, at more stained glass panes, explaining that although they were installed more recently, they, too, are irreplaceable. It was only the border treatment that was newer. “You can tell these are the older ones,” he added, “because these are leaded. The ones over there are un-leaded. Leaded/unleaded,” he paused for reaction, which was instantly forthcoming as groans. But before we could accuse him of the longest setup for a pun ever told by a jungle skipper, he confessed that only came to him just then, and it took even him by surprise. “That was not one of the regularly scheduled skipper jokes, I promise you,” he was genuinely candid.
And so… wow! That cracked pane beside our table became part of the remarkable and memorable experience that was our lunch at the Skipper Canteen. In fact, it was our second Skipper lunch of the trip, because… it’s that good.