The loveable 100-Acre Woods characters, a bright and beautiful setting, yummy food, delicious service – does this sound great to you? If so, you need to schedule a meal at the Crystal Palace during your next trip to Disney World. We ate there, and here are some reasons we loved the experience.
- CHARACTERS. Who doesn’t love Pooh and his friends? They’re gentle and not too chatty (in fact, they don’t talk at all). As we waited outside, my children were ecstatic upon sighting Piglet inside walking around the dining room. During our meal, Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore each made their way to our table separately, hugging the children, signing autographs, and posing for pictures. At one point during the meal they led a parade of children through the restaurant, encouraging the kids to wave their green cloth napkins as they marched to create the 100 Acre Woods. Some of the characters stopped by our table more than once, and they never seemed rushed.
- FOOD. This is usually why I visit a restaurant, but since the Pooh characters were my kids’ (okay, and my own too!) favorites, that was my main reason in choosing to eat here. I must admit upfront that I am not a “buffet snob” – I love quantity and down-home good quality, so buffets are favorites of mine. This one is a buffet, and it did not disappoint. My three kids, my husband and my dad were all very pleased with the selections and we all left absolutely stuffed. There is a wide variety of salads – the typical lettuce and the more unique (edamame salad, vegetable curry). The main selections are also plentiful and had enough variety to please both my ‘meat n potatoes’ dad and my more adventurous husband. All dishes are labeled which I found very helpful. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the large pot labeled “Ratatouille” because of the Disney film by that name. There was a very small children’s bar “Pooh Corner” (just chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, and green beans) for the picky eater to resort to if all the more exotic foods are too scary. Perhaps best of all was the dessert bar, with banana bread pudding, double chocolate brownies, lemon bars, strawberries, and yes – even a soft-serve machine for the kids. As we waited on the porch to be seated, a cast member told us that the food was excellent and that many guests eat here each visit because of the exceptional food. I can understand that!
- SETTING. The Crystal Palace is a wrought iron and glass building modeled on the Crystal Palace built in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851. I think that its ambiance is absolutely wonderful – very light inside with so many windows and a glass atrium. At night when lit, it is breathtaking as well. The front porch is a relaxing place to wait for your seats, and I have heard it’s an excellent venue for viewing the nightly fireworks over the castle as well. Crystal Palace is just off of Disney World’s Main Street, so it is easy to access.
- SERVICE. Disney Magic was in evidence throughout our visit. Our waiter was professional and thorough, introducing himself to us with a charming British accent. Cast members were seen throughout our meal, ensuring that the characters made it to each table and left no one out. Our drinks were refilled promptly, plates cleared quickly also, and our check left in a timely manner. We were treated very well!
My tip for ensuring that you enjoy your Crystal Palace character meal is to make reservations. Go to Disney’s website and call the number, up to 180 days prior to your visit. We visited during a slower time of year, but frequently the park is much busier and you may not be able to get in without reservations. We were seated within 10 minutes of our reserved time.
Crystal Palace serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all with the Pooh characters. All meals are buffet-style, with prices increasing throughout the day. Enjoy your magical experience!
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