The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom is one of the most popular Magic Kingdom Restaurants. As home to the Disney Character Dining experience with Winnie the Pooh and Friends, this table service restaurant serves up a buffet that is budget-friendly and fun. Serving Breakfast, Lunch and dinner, we’re sharing our Crystal Palace Review for what you can expect at this Magic Kingdom Restaurant.
Crystal Palace Atmosphere
The Crystal Palace is known as the Disney World Winnie the Pooh restaurant because in addition to great views, you also get to see Poo and friends during every meal here. This Disney restaurant is a budget-friendly, buffet-style, family sit-down table restaurant with characters that visit your table throughout your meal. Consider it the equivalent of dinner theater dining. You’re eating, but really – you’re just there for the show. As the Crystal Palace is aimed at young families expect high chairs, children who love Pooh, and little kids jumping around the place. Adding to the atmosphere little ones can also join in on Winnie the Pooh and Friends Friendship Day Parade!
Dinner is definitely more harried than breakfast. Especially if you’re aiming for an earlier reservation you will not be rushed in and out as you would during the dinner time meals. We’ve been here for dinner before and actually left before ever getting a chance to see the characters. At breakfast, you can expect a calmer crowd. People are still cheery this time of day and don’t rush you out to fit other guests in. If we had to pick which meal is best at this restaurant it would be breakfast.
Pros of The Crystal Palace
Before we dive into the review, take note of the main things to know before you go! From what to expect while you’re dining to cost and more, here are the reasons we think Crystal Palace is a Good Place to Eat in Magic Kingdom.
- The littles are everywhere! Get ready for cuteness overload with little ones dressed up in princess gear or pooh shirts. Its a super fun, lively atmosphere.
- Buffet style food. No matter what picky eaters you’re bringing here, there is surely something they will like to eat.
- Cost. At $48 per adult and $30 per child at breakfast and $61 per adult and $40 per child at dinner this character dining restaurant falls in line with Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios and the Garden Grill in Epcot. And with characters you won’t find together anywhere else, may make this worth it for you.
- Location: We’ll go into this more later. But the ability to position yourself in the most desired location in Magic Kingdom makes this restaurant a nice option if you want to get ahead of the crowds for castle shows, parades, and fireworks.
- Characters!: You get to see Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and Rabbit all together for the Friendship Parade, and they visit you throughout the meal. This is the ONLY restaurant at Disney World where you get this group Disney Characters together.
Cons of The Crystal Palace
Of course, if you’re looking for great food, then a buffet may not be your first choice. People that eat here are typically Winnie the Pooh fans that make the cost worth it. But, it may not be your best choice. Here are a couple reasons you may want to skip The Crystal Palace.
- The littles are everywhere. If you are a more grown-up family or have teens, get ready for scowls and eye-rolling. No one should be this joyful. And with characters around every corner, and squealing children, Crystal Palace could test the patience of many.
- Buffet-style food. Honestly, we don’t love buffet-style food. We don’t love the warmers, we don’t love the weird salads and the fact that at the end of it, your plate isn’t really themed to any one set of flavors. You can easily combine Hawaiian pork with a Mexican omelet and some apple French toast and call it a meal.
- It’s Basic. This is your typical American fare. You won’t really find new flavors here or special drinks. You won’t find a to-die-for dessert. But it meets the “we gotta eat” need.
Crystal Palace Characters
The Crystal Palace is a buffet restaurant where the characters make the rounds while you’re eating. We have a love/hate relationship with character dining because you never really know when they’re going to pop by your table. And they will, regardless of whether or not you have spinach in your teeth or a coffee stain down your shirt, and hug you like crazy while someone takes pictures of the whole ordeal. It is however a small price to pay for a little extra character magic in the morning. And Crystal Palace is the ONLY place on park property where you’ll find Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore together, with the exception of the Halloween and Christmas parties.
Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by Eeyore in the foyer. Pictures are taken here before being seated. The hostess will share where the characters are in the rotation and when your table may be visited. As with any buffet restaurant, involving characters, we would recommend visiting the buffet in shifts.
Crystal Palace Breakfast Menu
The Crystal Palace Menu includes dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your meal will start with beverages. Our waiter Ariel was wonderful. He brought water, and juice, and coffee. And you don’t actually need to “order” the coffee… if you’re a grown-up they’ll assume you need it and bring it by anyway. Obviously a major plus. The buffet at Crystal Palace is a double aisle with the same things on both sides, and an omelet station at the center. A selection of eggs, veggies, hash browns, fruit, salmon, pastries, and ice cream await you. And as an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet, you can go back for as many servings as you like.
The Puffed French Toast is the “reason” most people book this breakfast. While its legacy is not as well known as the Kona Tonga Toast, it is just as lovely and more kid-friendly. It’s a puffed-up Dutch baby-type French dough with cinnamon and sugar, and definitely worth a try.
For the grown-ups you can visit the Omelet station where an extremely experienced chef will add whatever you want to the omelet they cook fresh on the grill. It makes for an extra healthy, protein-rich breakfast to start your busy Disney day. The food quality is pretty decent considering this is one of the cheapest table service options available.
What Time is Best for Breakfast Reservations at Crystal Palace?
Typically the earlier the better! Which gets you close to the castle and all the rides. The Crystal Palace sits catty-corner from Cinderella’s Castle, making it the most strategic location for practically any parade, castle show, or fireworks display. To take the best advantage of early morning emptiness at WDW now that you’re up against the new rope drop ceremony we’d recommend a breakfast reservation pretty close to 8 am here at The Crystal Palace. You could also book a later breakfast around 11 am to act as your breakfast/lunch for the day if you’re watching costs and still want to be close to the Friendship Faire Show at 12 noon at the Castle. There isn’t any outdoor seating at Crystal Palace, so the location here really is just about being ahead of the front-of-park crowds.
Crystal Palace Lunch and Dinner Menu
Lunch and Dinner at Crystal Palace includes basic American fare, including Country Friend Chicken and gravy, seasonal pasta, carved prime rib, vegetables, shrimp, salads and desserts. You can expect variations on the basics here, as well as things for the kids like chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, and other staples that you typically find at any Disney buffet. Check out the Crystal Palace Lunch and Dinner Menu.
Crystal Palace Cost
The food at Crystal Palace is your basic buffet fare offering up a variety of foods for every palate, perfect for kids and adults. Breakfast at Crystal Palace Costs $48 per adult and $30 per child, while Lunch and Dinner at Crystal Palace costs $61 per adult and $40 per child. These prices are on par with other character dining across the parks, though be sure to check the Crystal Palace Menu for current menu options and prices.
- Crystal Palace Breakfast Cost: $48 per adult and $30 per child.
- Crystal Palace Lunch Cost: $61 per adult and $40 per child
- Crystal Palace Dinner Cost: $61 per adult and $40 per child
Know that if you choose to add any beers, or wines to your meal, that alcoholic drinks cost extra. You have the choice of beers, hard ciders, wines, and cocktails.
Crystal Palace Restaurant Review
You won’t be seeing the Hundred Acre gang all together in one place anywhere else. Consider this your one-stop shop to get in some wonderful character pics, without waiting in line for an hour. These are also the most top-notch characters! They have major interaction skills and love playing around. Getting the characters all in one place saved us hours waiting in lines. We use character dining as the same strategy at Trattoria al Forno and Akershus for the princesses as well.
As budget-friendly as buffets are we don’t necessarily love the food-sitting-under-a-warmer feel of the typical buffet restaurant. Crystal Palace however seems to take a lot of care with the food here and an early breakfast reservation will get you fresher food. Frankly, it probably moves so fast out of the buffet dishes that it doesn’t really have a chance to cool down to “warm” anyway. The food is fresh, the pastries light, and there is ice cream if you want a morning treat.
If you’re looking for a Disney Character Restaurant in Magic Kingdom that gives you a unique experience and an all you can eat buffet option, then Crystal Palace is the perfect choice. While the price per plate may still seem expensive, it is on par with the other character dining locations at Disney World. Tusker House at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios are other options to try.
We can’t stress enough how important the location, location, location is here. An early reservation gets you close to the action on the castle stage, the main street dancers, and every other thing that goes up and down Main Street. Being this close to the action this early in the day without fighting the crowds could get you closer to the rides you want and closer to the castle.
You can show up somewhat casual to the Crystal Palace. Flip flops are fine, and mickey ears are expected. The cast members are super friendly and will offer lemon water while you wait for your table and you can relax and eat for as long as needed. The whole atmosphere is cheery and fun and you even get to see a Celebration parade through the restaurant every half hour or so.
Hopefully, you get a chance to try this easy-going breakfast at Magic Kingdom. It truly is a fun experience, and if you want to see Pooh and Friends, this is the best place to get that chance. Let us know what you think of your next meal here!
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.