The Crystal Palace, a beautiful, Victorian-era inspired restaurant, is one of the five table service restaurants located in the Magic Kingdom park and is the perfect place to enjoy a sit-down meal and quiet that rumbling in your tummy. Winnie the Pooh and his friends make an appearance at all three meals so, as you can imagine, the restaurant is quite popular. Advance dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance and, given it’s popularity, those advance dining recommendations are highly recommended.
The check-in window is to the left of the restaurant entrance but, during busier times, you may also be greeted by a cast member strolling around checking in guests on a mobile device. Even if you have an advance dining reservation, there is a possibility that you may have to wait. This all depends on the time of year that you travel and how busy the parks are on that particular day. We usually travel during the last week of May and the first week of June and the parks are a bit busy during these times so we have always been given a buzzer. But, we also listen for our name to be called as the cast members will usually come out to the porch and call the guests’ names too.
There are quite a few wrought iron benches located on the front porch for guests who want to take a seat. During the hotter times of the year, a table is set up near the entrance with ice water for the guests to sip on while waiting for their name to be called.
The inside of the restaurant is spacious, bright and cheerful which is quite appropriate since Pooh and his Pals have invited you to the Friendship Day Celebrashun! (Pooh’s spelling…not mine)
Just inside the entrance, there is a pretty garden with topiaries of Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet:
As I said, the restaurant is spacious with lots of tables and even some bench type seats. Most of the seating is the standard table and chairs but some of the tables have chairs on one side and a bench on the other.
Magical DIStractions tip- If you have children, seat them in the outside seats as it’s easier for them to get up to meet the characters. Or, if you’d rather they remain seated, the characters can easily pose with them if they are seated in the outside chairs.
The Crystal Palace is an all you care-to-eat buffet restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with the characters appearing during each meal. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted at the Crystal Palace and requires only one table service credit per person in your party.
My opinion, as a seasoned Walt Disney World traveler, is that buffets at Walt Disney World are much better than those that are outside of “the world”. The Disney cast members work hard to keep the food items replenished and the surface of the buffet tables kept clean and neat. During all of our meals at the Crystal Palace, we have seen cast members sweeping the area in front of the buffet and walking around the restaurant making sure that everything is clean.
Once your waiter or waitress takes your drink orders, you are free to visit the buffet! The buffet includes a variety of carved meats, chicken, beef and fish as well as various salads, pastas and other side items. For the children in the group, there are additional offerings such as mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and kid friendly vegetables. Even the pickiest of eaters are sure to find something that they like whether it’s from the large buffet or the kids’ area. Believe me when I say that as my son has been a picky-eater since he was just a little one. The pictures that I post below were taken during our dinner time meal at the Crystal Palace.
Just a FYI, if any of the carved meats are too rare for you, you can ask the attendant at the meat station to place a slice on the grill for you and they will cook it to your liking.
We really enjoy eating at the buffets at Walt Disney World because we can sample a little of this and a little of that and go back for more if we find a favorite dish. Speaking of a favorite dish, the fire roasted corn spoonbread is our favorite item on the entire buffet. The spoonbread is the dish shown at the bottom of the plate below:
As I said, we like to sample the various dishes on the buffet as you can see from our plates. The boiled peel-and-eat shrimp are served cold and aren’t as spicy as those of us Louisiana folks are used to but they were still very good.
While you enjoy your food, the characters are making their way around the restaurant and will stop at every table to pose for pictures and to sign autographs. Every person, young and old, gets one-on-one attention from the characters. There’s no need to worry that your adults-only party will be passed up.
Our meals at the Crystal Palace normally last about an hour or a little more and, during that time, there’s usually at least once parade. Parade? Yes, there’s a parade inside the Crystal Palace! The children are encouraged to join the characters as they form a line and parade around the restaurant to the lively music being played. When the parade is done, the lead character will stop in the same location as the parade began so the children who participated are brought back to the same spot.
Don’t forget to save some room in your tummy for the dessert buffet! Delight in such desserts as warm bread pudding, key lime pie, coconut flan, brownies, fruit cobbler and soft-serve ice cream. It’s the perfect ending to any meal!
It has become our tradition to end our Walt Disney World vacation with dinner at the Crystal Palace and, given the fact that we’ve never had a bad meal there, I don’t see us breaking that tradition any time soon! If you haven’t eaten at the Crystal Palace before, I would recommend that you do. Not only will you enjoy a fantastic meal but the character interaction is great as well.