Character Meals: Vol 6 – Crystal Palace

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What is the difference between a character meal and a regular meal? The characters (I started with an easy one to get the brain warmed up). The trouble with some of the character meals is that you can get burned out on certain characters if you do these things a lot. For instance, there is a strong possibility that I will eat three different meals with Mickey on my next trip. There is, however, only one place that you can dine with Winnie the Pooh and friends…that’s right, the Crystal Palace (I gave it away in the title again, didn’t I?).It's not just a meal...it's a Friendship Day Celebration!

Atmosphere

The Crystal Palace is located in the Magic Kingdom, just off of Main Street U.S.A. and facing the main hub. It is a beautiful building made seemingly entirely of window (hey, I get why they call it ‘Crystal Palace’ now). It really is a remarkably nice space, full of light and tastefully decorated. It is also quite loud, which seems to be a common theme of these character meal posts.

There isn’t really a theme as far as I can tell, although it does incorporate into Main Street very well. It almost seems to be a throwback to days when women in hats would attend brunch accompanied by men with top hats, canes, and a monocle (although I might be confusingly adding Mr. Peanut in there somewhere).

Honestly, one of my favorite things about eating at the Crystal Palace is the location. Since it is right near the hub of the Magic Kingdom, it can be added into a day of touring remarkably easy. You can walk out the door and head right for your favorite attraction without having to worry about added transportation time. Of course you may have to worry about the 10 pounds you just put on at the buffet, but I’m sure you can walk that off.

Characters

The characters that attend meals here are Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about these characters. They were not dressed in hideous costumes (hi Cape May Cafe), and they came to our table often and spaced at wonderfully regular intervals (hi again, Cape May). In fact, Eeyore was even brought back to our table out of order because my daughter missed him the first time (2 year old bladders wait for no character). All of the characters were patient and playful with the children, and Piglet had an expectedly horrified reaction to my sausage link.

Food

If I was going to get picky about the Crystal Palace, this is where it would be. My family and I were here for breakfast and, while good, it was mostly the same things served at any breakfast buffet in Walt Disney World. Bacon, sausage, Mickey waffles, and egg-like objects were all there for consumption (or to poke at and pretend you don’t like…ah, kids). I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the food because you already know what it’s like…simple, standard, filling, and fine, but nothing special. (If you would like to see for yourself you can now find the menu on Touring Plans)

Odds, Ends, and Details

Character meals at Crystal Palace are offered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are priced right about at what you are probably expecting from Disney: Breakfast is $22.99/$12.99 (adult/child) per person plus tax. Lunch is $24.99/$13.99 and dinner is $36.99/$17.99. It is definitely not a steal, but not out of the ordinary for Disney’s character meals.

Final Thoughts

As you can probably tell by the brief-ness of this post (well, brief for me anyway), I don’t have a ton to say about the Crystal Palace. That is by no means a bad thing, but it’s not a great thing either. Everything is fine about the meal, the food, characters, building, location…all good to very good. The best thing I can say is that there were absolutely no complaints from anyone in my party. The worst thing I can say is that my wife had forgotten we even had this meal until I mentioned it.

I would eat here again and I would recommend it to anyone, especially fans of Pooh (okay, that’s my one and only childish giggle at the name… I restrained myself). I would say not to go in expecting anything fantastic, but a solid meal in a very nice building in a great location.

Thanks for reading!

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My previous character meal reviews:

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Posted on January 25, 2012

15 Responses to “Character Meals: Vol 6 – Crystal Palace”

  • It’s a little heartbreaking to me that the two most beautiful places to eat in the Magic Kingdom—Crystal Palace and (what used to be) King Stefan’s Banquet Hall—are now character dining only.

    • I’m glad someone else has this gripe! I would also add Akershus to this list. And how much longer until Tusker House is all characters all the time. Why are all the beautifully decorated buildings doomed to characters?

  • Love your blog posts, they always make me laugh! I would have to agree with you on pretty much every point, except our character interaction was not good at all. We were there for an 8 am pre-Rope Drop breakfast and only saw Eeyore and Pooh. We were the last table visited before the parade and by then more tables had filled in, so we never saw Tigger and Piglet. Fortunately my kids weren’t disappointed (Sons 10 and 7 were probably relieved and Daughter 3 didn’t know what she was missing) but I was a tad annoyed. We saw them all later in the week, so it was fine, but I would caution people to make sure they stay on top of it if it is imperative they see the characters.

    • Jennifer; noted that you have 2 sons, 10 & 7….will be bringing my 2 grandsons, 10 & 7, (and their parents to WDW Halloween wk, what would you says were the best 1/2 dozen or so experiences for the boys….

      Thanks for any feedback

  • I was pretty unimpressed with Crystal Palace when we went this past September. The food was okay, and the characters were fun, but it wasn’t my favorite character meal. I didn’t like the timing that the characters came out. My husband wen to get food for himself and the kids (no characters had come by yet), but by the time he came back the characters were coming and I had to wait to get my food, otherwise I would have missed out on photo ops (unless I wanted to trust my husband with picture taking…which would result in heads being cut off or something)!

    It was just mediocre in my opinion. Like you said, it wasn’t BAD, but it wasn’t fantastic, either. We’ll try somewhere new on our upcoming trip.

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  • I thought Crystal Palace was just ok. The food was a disappointment and we did not get to meet all the characters.

  • We ate here earlier this month, for dinner. Food was horrible. Just terrible. Desserts were okay, but really, location isn’t enough for me to return. Next time, Casey’s Corner next door for hot dogs. Also – it took 90 minutes to see 4 characters. I understand it’s a big place, but we saw each character for about 20 seconds (photo, hug, gone). Got one refill of soft drinks in 90 minutes, and that took asking twice. Disappointment.

    • Agreed (for the most part). My new wife and I went to Disney World for our Honeymoon in September 2011. A few of my friends strongly recommended Crystal Palace and I thought it was a neat and easy way to meet Pooh & Friends (we are kids at heart).

      I made reservations 6 months in advance and we arrived 10 minutes early for our reservation time. I completely understand that there would be a little bit of a wait, but we got seated about 30 minutes after the reservation time (40 minutes after we arrived).

      We got seated and we loved seeing the characters. It took a while to get to us, but I understood and forgave this as the restaurant is big and there were a lot of kids. (No gripe here, lol)

      The food (in my opinion) was not so great. I usually hate buffets because they remind me of college, BUT I loved Chef Mickey’s. Maybe breakfast is different. We went for lunch and I was not impressed at all with the food. I found it sub-par and not worth the price. I won’t go for lunch again and not for dinner either.

      If I have kids someday and they want to see the characters I will arrange breakfast.

  • Agree with Jennifer, your posts always make me laugh. Usually when you’re pictured, though.

    Nice review. I agree with your sentiments on Crystal Palace all around.

  • Aren’t Pooh and Tigger still at 1900 Park Faire breakfasts?

  • I had a good experience when dining here with my family of 10 (ages 2 to 75) this past September. Really don’t remember the food because I was too busy making sure everyone else was having a good time. All the characters came around to visit in a timely manner and I loved seeing my father-in-law hugging Pooh. We had an ADR for 8:15 and managed to stuff ourselves and see all the characters and get to the rides in plenty of time. And because we were there so early we got great family pictures on Main Street without anyone else around. And being one of the first 50 or so in the park was nice too. If my kids want to eat here again on our next trip, we will.

  • We did four character meals on our first trip to WDW in October. We ate here for breakfast on the last day of our trip and absolutely loved every minute!! We love mickey waffles and fresh fruit! The characters were great interacting with our kids, 11 and 6. The restaurant is beautiful and we can’t wait to go back!!

  • FYI… for breakfast they have an egg & pancake station where you can get them made to order. I always go for that instead of the food that has been sitting in the warmers. Fresh hot Mickey pancakes & a couple eggs fresh off the griddle are much better.

    And as others mentioned, that 1st ADR of the morning puts you in prime position @ 9am to start your day ahead of the crowd. We can usually get in 3 or 4 rides before we notice the crowds catching up to us.