Being able to dine with Winnie the Pooh and his friends at the most magical place on earth is pretty darn special.
And you can do exactly that at Crystal Palace, one of two character dining locations at Magic Kingdom. This restaurant is specifically tailored to the Hundred Acre Wood friends.
Here, you can enjoy a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, meet some adorable characters like Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore.
It sure sounds like a fantastic way to hang with Pooh and his pals on Main Street, U.S.A. inside Magic Kingdom, but is Crystal Palace worth your time and money?
That’s what we’re here for. It’s been a minute since we’ve tried Crystal Palace, but we decided to change that in 2023 and see if the character dining spot is a good use of your park time and budget.
It’s important to note that the dinner buffet served here is exactly the same as lunch. The breakfast buffet is, obviously, different. So, if you’re debating whether or not to book lunch or dinner at Crystal Palace, know that the characters, food, and pricing detailed below are exactly the same.
Now, let’s dive into our review of Crystal Palace.
The Crystal Palace
Location type: Character Dining
Type of food: American Buffet
Meals Served: Breakfast and snacks
- On the Disney Dining Plan? Yes, 1 table service credit
- Pros: This is a Winnie the Pooh and friends buffet character meal that has the benefit of having both good food and fun character interactions
- Cons: Can be a wait, even with reservations (which you almost always have to have to get in here)
How we got a Crystal Palace dining reservation
Crystal Palace can be a highly sought after dining reservation to get at Magic Kingdom.
We recommend (like we do with most dining reservations at Disney World), to make reservations as soon as you can.
Reservations for all the restaurants at Disney World currently open up exactly 60 days in advance — and you should book dining as soon as you can.
Grabbing dining reservations at Disney World is extremely competitive. We were somehow lucky enough to snag a lunch reservation for Crystal Palace 47 days before our trip.
You never know when there will be availability, but the most surefire way to get any reservation is booking 60 days before your trip begins.
Speaking of never knowing when there will be availability, Crystal Palace had a sign outside stating there was “seating available” on the same day as our reservation and to “inquire with the host or hostess.”
This might not always be the case, especially during busier times of year, but this just goes to show you that it never hurts to ask if there is any availability on your park day.
Other ways to score a Crystal Palace dining reservation
Set dining alerts
If you don’t get a Crystal Palace reservation or want to try to book one last minute, try setting up a dining alert.
Reservation finding services are built to constantly check for openings at restaurants that you choose. Depending on the service, you can receive an email and/or text alert or a push notification when something becomes available.
You can also keeping checking yourself to see if anything opens up. We’ve had a lot of luck with this method. Trust us when we say reservations become available all the time — even the day of!
Join the waitlist
Many Disney World restaurants also have a waitlist option that you can either join in the My Disney Experience app or in person.
If you don’t have luck snagging a reservation, this might be your next best bet. But, keep in mind, it’s not always a guarantee.
Like with many Table Service restaurants across Disney World, you are able to check in for dining reservations 20 minutes prior using the My Disney Experience app.
We checked in at 1:17 p.m., which was 2 minutes past our original reservation time. Heather and Felicia were finishing up some touring plans with and without Genie+ at Magic Kingdom and then they quickly rushed over to Crystal Palace.
After you check in via the My Disney Experience app or in person at the host/hostess stand, you’ll wait on the outside porch until your party’s name is called.
We always recommend showing up on time (a few minutes early is a good thing too) for any reservation, but Disney typically holds your dining reservation up to 15 minutes after your scheduled dining time. If you’re later than this, they can and will reallocate your table to other diners.
After checking in via the app, we sat on the porch for about 9 minutes before hearing our name called at 1:26 p.m.
What’s included at Crystal Palace lunch and dinner
Let’s take a look at what’s included during lunch and dinner at Crystal Palace…
The all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffet at Crystal Palace includes:
- Beverages (all alcoholic drinks cost extra)
You meet four friends from Hundred Acre Wood (they all sign autographs, but you are not given an autograph card here):
- Winnie the Pooh
It doesn’t get cuter than being able to hug and say hello to Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
The characters at Crystal Palace include:
Winnie the Pooh
The characters came around in a timely manner and we were even able to meet Eeyore and Piglet twice.
Tigger and Pooh seemed to move a bit slower making their way around the large dining room, but they also seemed to be more popular, which is why we think it took them longer to make their way to us.
Don’t worry if you’re in the buffet line, using the restroom, or anything like that, because you will get to meet each character.
There is also a mini parade the characters have as they march around the restaurant carrying perfectly themed props, like a flag and a balloon.
The characters were extremely adorable and played their parts perfectly. But, if we do say so ourselves, meeting Winnie the Pooh made the top of our list.
He was so bubbly, loving, and all-around sweet. He even held Allyson’s hand as they posed for a photo.
Just look at him!
It’s important to note that while the characters do sign autographs, you are not given an autograph card compared to other character meals, like Tusker House and Chef Mickey’s.
Overall, there was good pacing for the meal and saying hello to some of the cutest characters you can encounter at the park.
Crystal Palace food and drinks
Crystal Palace serves a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s all you can eat for each meal.
Here’s what was included in the lunch buffet during our visit to Crystal Palace on May 3, 2023 (keep in mind that menus and prices change, so the following may not always be the same):
The Main Buffet Line
Compared to other character dining buffets at Disney World, Crystal Palace’s is on the smaller side. But, don’t worry, there are still plenty of option that are also tasty.
You can start at the salad bar, where you’re able to build your own tossed salad or choose from pre-made salads like Mediterranean couscous or fresh fruit salad.
There’s quite the variety of sides, including broccoli, green beans (with bacon and onions), mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and more.
As for entrees, they ranged from oven-roasted chicken, to Italian sausage, to country fried chicken, to carved prime rib, to shrimp creole.
Heather and Felicia walked away loving the “Cajun-Chipotle Cream Pasta.” They loved it so much, they each had two helpings.
You can see the cajun pasta here next to the mashed potatoes:
The pasta had small bites of sausage mixed in, but it wasn’t overpowering and they actually couldn’t taste it until the second time around.
As for the offerings for vegetarians and vegans, there were a handful, but not as many as we’ve previously seen at Chef Mickey’s and Tusker House.
For strictly plant-based eaters, Crystal Palace isn’t a great character dining option, nor one we’d recommend for them. Vegetarians have more variety, but, overall, the choices were limited.
If you’re traveling with little ones, there is a kids’ station that features crispy chicken breast tenders, creamy macaroni and cheese, miniature beef quesadilla, and cheesy pizza bread.
Like most other character buffets, there is a section with assorted desserts at Crystal Palace, including soft-serve ice cream and cookies!
While the majority of assorted desserts at Disney World buffets are mediocre, Crystal Palace’s sweet treats were quite good, not to mention cutely decorated.
Our favorite was the plant-based citrus cake. This is the Eeyore-themed cake you can see above, with the gray frosting tail and pink bow.
Here’s what you can expect from beverages at Crystal Palace…
Water, soft drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and milk are all included with the cost of your meal.
Alcoholic beverages for an additional price
While you can’t purchase alcohol at Quick Service restaurants across Magic Kingdom, you can have alcohol at the park’s Table Service restaurants. At Crystal Palace, you can order beer, cider, seltzer, wine, or cocktails.
Allyson ordered a Blue Moon. You can get this beer at several locations across Disney World, but it tasted great after a lot of walking around the park and on a hot day.
Felicia order a Jai Alai India Pale Ale. She’s had this before and enjoyed it like she has in the past. That said, you definitely need to be an IPA fan to like this.
As for Heather, she had a Mimosa served in a coupe glass, which she liked. Isn’t it fancy for a character dining meal?
Important: If you or someone in your party has dietary restrictions, many Disney World restaurants have accommodations and they also sometimes list the allergy-friendly items on the menu (online and in the My Disney Experience app). If you have questions, be sure to chat with a Cast Member and they’ll be able to assist you. Per Disney, for Crystal Palace, there is an “Allergen Guide available upon arrival to the location.”
Our most recent review of Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace is one of the more unique character dining options at Disney World thanks to being able to meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore.
Typically, you meet Mickey and friends at character meals. Don’t get us wrong, we love saying hello to the likes of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, and Daisy.
But, there is just something special about Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore — and meeting them all at once in the same location!
While you can meet Pooh and Tigger over at the Thotful Spot next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction in Fantasyland, Crystal Palace is the only place at Disney World where you can meet all four beloved Hundred Acre Woods friends together.
It’s a truly great character experience for guests of all ages, especially those who love Winnie the Pooh.
As for our service, it was great. Our server constantly checked to make sure we met all of the characters and continued to give us a time check on when each character was coming by.
It was the perfect amount of time for a meal. The entire experience from checking in to paying the bill took a little over an hour.
Finally, the food. Crystal Palace has a good buffet with lots of variety and delicious choices. Some might think it’s too small, but it’s also not overwhelming compared to other buffets on property.
If you’re vegetarian, you will find several choices that are good. However, the same can’t be said for those who are strictly vegan. There are a few plant-based dishes on the buffet line, but, overall, it’s limited for vegans.
Is Crystal Palace worth it for lunch/dinner?
Yes, we do think Crystal Palace is worth the reservation for several reasons.
The character meal has a solid buffet that isn’t overwhelming, unique characters that aren’t Mickey and friends, and is a fun and cute experience for guests of all ages.
We also appreciate that Crystal Palace has three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), which gives you more of an opportunity in your day to eat here.
Who is Crystal Palace good for?
- Families and groups traveling with little ones
- Fans of Winnie the Pooh
- Those who don’t have a plant-based diet (due to the limited buffet options)
- For those who want to meet a handful of unique characters at once
While any character meal will have a lot of families and little ones in attendance, Crystal Palace never seemed chaotic or loud.
The ambiance, environment, and experience as a whole was relaxing. There were quite a few empty tables during our reservation, as well, which added to the chill vibe compared to Chef Mickey’s, which is typically packed with lots of noise.
That said, buffets can be more difficult for those with little ones. Plus, many guests don’t want to have to serve themselves or get get up from the table to head to the buffet.
There are plenty of other character meals at Disney World that aren’t buffet if you’d rather avoid this style of service, including Epcot’s Garden Grill, breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace, Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.
We of course have to mention that character dining isn’t cheap. It’s completely up to you what you want to spend and what kind of experience you want to have during your time at Disney World.
While character meals are expensive, they are a great way to enjoy a sit-down meal, take a break from the crowds, escape the heat during the middle of the day, and meet several characters at once.
Overall, if you’re a Winnie the Pooh fan visiting Magic Kingdom, we definitely recommend checking out Crystal Palace for lunch.
Have you ever had lunch or dinner at Crystal Palace? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments!
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