I always like to be completely transparent with my posts. I like to share both good and not so good experiences, because that’s life. Not everything goes as planned and not every experience is great. Of course, that applies to meals and dining experiences while on vacation.
Disney Dining in General…
While at Disney, you have so many dining options, it can be overwhelming, even to some with Disney experience. First, you can either eat in the parks, at the resorts, or at Disney Springs. Then, the type of dining establishments range from quick service, sit down, character dining. Prices are all across the board. Oh and have you downloaded the My Disney Experience app to check or booked 180 days out (if you’re staying at a Disney resort)?? Overwhelmed yet? I thought so.
Now, onto Crystal Palace
We always book our dining 180 days out, for the high demand restaurants that we know book that early (Ohana, Be Our Guest, etc.). It’s insane to think about what you want to eat, close to six months ahead of time, but it’s WDW reality. Not every meal is booked for us and, oftentimes, we may book something the day of.
One of the times we ended up booking a dining reservation the day of, was during our recent vacation, for The Crystal Palace (CP), located in the Magic Kingdom
We dined at CP about fives years ago and I was not impressed. Since a while passed, I figured we could give it another shot.
CP is a character dining experience, with the Winnie the Pooh characters. As most other character dining establishments, it is a buffet. What this means most to you, as a customer is, it will be EXPENSIVE…but I’ll touch on that later.
We were on time for our reservations, waited a few minutes and were seated. As soon as we sat down, our waitress came over to take our drink orders. She was nice, but also very matter of fact. She let us know that two of the characters were nearby, so we should hurry up and get our food, if we want to be able to meet them, otherwise I’d be an hour and a half (!!!) wait. I was a bit annoyed, to be honest. Usually, you are seated in a spot so the characters are spaced out and you can still enjoy your meal.
As with buffet meals with kids, we had to go up in shifts. There was a ton of food and options for everyone. For me, I’m not a buffet person and find myself taking too much of a weird mixture of food, just because it’s there.
The first character came over as our two of our family members were at the buffet. I had to flag them down, just to make sure they didn’t miss the photo and autograph opp. Then, we were all off in timing. Some family members already had food, some were up at the buffet, some were finished or wanted seconds. It was frustrating. As Moms know, you’re the one going back and forth between the buffet to replenish everyone else’s plate. And, once your kid is done eating, you’re done too.
Here’s our Magic Kingdom vlog, with our review of CP. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, Destination DeRo, for all things family travel!
There was a wide array of desserts. Once again, we felt obligated to take some, just because they were there.
They did have a super cute parade through the restaurant that all kids could join in. It was adorable and actually happened twice during our short dinner.
I do like the decor and Victorian era theme of the restaurant. When you first enter, there’s an atrium with a high ceiling, with tons of natural light and stained glass. In the middle, there are plants and topiaries of the one hundred acre woods characters. It’s a cute spot for a picture.
When in the restaurant, the main colors are white and green, with lots of round globe lights. The tables are very close, which made navigating to/from the buffet and characters a bit difficult. There were also booths and half booths throughout. We had a half booth (I honestly hate half booth/half table seating. It tends to be super tight and I don’t want to sit next to strangers, but I digress), which was good, to see everything going on around you, but also very tight. I felt like we were also dining with the people at the table next to us.
The characters were polite and took their time at our table. They were aware and receptive to any kids that clearly did not want to get close. Nothing too exciting to cover here. The characters making their rounds were Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger.
And then, the bill came….
So, we know that Disney character dining experiences are more expensive than most family friendly sit down restaurants. We understand that you’re basically paying for the experience.
We anticipated the price to be about twenty dollars for the kids and between 35-40 for the adults. We were way off. Each child cost well over thirty dollars and each adult was over fifty dollars. We were flabbergasted. I was annoyed. It was our most expensive meal during our ten day long Disney vacation! For all it cost, we were rushed and didn’t even have any cocktails (wine and beer are available, to those interested). They do honor the Annual Passholder discount, so there’s that.
- The location is top notch; if you’re in the Magic Kingdom, it’s a perfect location to stop.
- The decor is Victorian and feels very Mary Poppins-esque.
- Four characters to meet
- Rushed service
- Tables very tight, hard to move around
- Very expensive
- Buffet (this may be a pro for some, not to me)
In conclusion, unless you have a kid that is obsessed with Pooh and the characters, I’d pass on Crystal Palace. What’s your opinion on the Crystal Palace.