The Crystal Palace is a fan favorite of many Disney World visitors. Its location in the Magic Kingdom makes it a hot spot for guests of all ages seeking character interaction. You can find it just off Main Street, USA, in a beautiful glass atrium building. To match its location on Main Street, its decor is Victorian all the way. Painted wrought iron adorns the glass ceiling restaurant, with several planters scattered throughout to give a greenhouse feel in the atrium. Topiaries of the Winnie the Pooh characters round out this garden feeling.
Meals here are served buffet style for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My family recently dined here for breakfast. Many of the typical buffet items can be found during the morning hours, including eggs, cereal, fruit, and an assortment of pastries. Pooh’s Puffed French toast is found in the kids’ area of the buffet, but don’t let that stop you from sampling it. It was easily my favorite part of my meal. Otherwise, I thought the food was fairly average for a Disney buffet, but I certainly had nothing to complain about. Everyone in the family seemed to find something to enjoy, including the picky kids.
Between bites of food the characters visit each table to greet guests, take pictures, and sign autographs. If you aren’t sure how a character meal works, please refer back to my recent blog post explaining how to maximize your experience at one of these restaurants. Which characters make the rounds at The Crystal Palace? Pooh Bear, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger are the guests of honor at all three meals throughout the day. I thought the characters and handlers in The Crystal Palace did a nice job of giving each table a bit of time for pictures and playfulness. I never felt like they were rushing off to the next group or short changing my family of a great breakfast.
As with all families, each child in my group reacted differently to the characters. My nieces and nephews seemed to really enjoy the character interaction. The oldest needed a few minutes to warm up, but then she was more sure of the situation and loved meeting Eeyore. Her sister (the middle child) was less cautious about Tigger bouncing over to the table, and as soon as the adults reassured her, she was was ready to hug each character who came by the table. My nephew, who is the youngest, loved every second of the visits from furry friends. He giggled while he hugged and poked them; he didn’t need any encouragement from the adults at the table.
Speaking of the adults in the group, my brother and sister-in-law were happy to get to see so many characters without waiting in line. I think they were blown away by how long many of the queues were during February break, so this opportunity to get pictures and see the kids so excited was a welcome experience. They may not have been blown away by the food choices, but I think they were satisfied and thought it was well worth the time we got to spend with Pooh and friends. My dad probably didn’t need a character meal in his life, but really got a kick out of watching his grandchildren play with the characters. As for me, I really loved getting to see the kids interact with their Disney idols. Is anything better than seeing kids you love grin from ear to ear while Piglet wraps his arms around them?
If you are thinking about booking a meal here, there are a few basic items we should go over before you make your ADR. For starters, a credit card is required to make your reservation; you will be charged a $10 per person “no show” fee if you don’t cancel your ADR more than 24 hours in advance. If you are participating in the dining plan, one table service credit will be used on breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The Tables in Wonderland card is also accepted at The Crystal Palace if you prefer to use that discount.
I had such a good time at The Crystal Palace that I’ll be going back this weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday! How about you? Is this restaurant a tradition for your family, or do you avoid it at all costs? Let me hear about your meals here in the comments!