Full Out Disney: Crystal Palace Dinner
I mentioned a while back that we would be eating at Crystal Palace for dinner Monday evening during our last trip. If I’ve ever eaten at the Crystal Palace it was a very long time ago, but I decided the kids would like to have a meal with Winnie the Pooh and friends as they like to watch both The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as well as the new Winnie the Pooh movies.
As with all Magic Kingdom restaurants except Be Our Guest, no alcohol is served, which is unfortunate because I could have used a drink.
We were coming from meeting Mickey at the Town Square Theater and got to the Crystal Palace just a few minutes early for our reservation, except the reservation window had a line 20 people deep at least. So we waited a few minutes and eventually were checked in and told we would be called when our table was ready. There aren’t many seats on the porch of the Crystal Palace and everyone has to wait outside, so just waiting for someone to come outside and call for you isn’t the most pleasant experience. At least the porch has a cover over it and you can look out at Cinderella Castle and the hub while you wait.
The wait wasn’t too long, however, and a hostess came out and brought us to our table. As we sat down, we noticed Eeyore was around the corner with Piglet not far behind, so I, as resident photographer, stayed at the table with the kids while some others started to get their food. However, the Friendship Parade started, and the characters ran off to parade around the restaurant.
After the Friendship Parade, Eeyore made his way back and over to our table. This is when I started to notice that space in the Crystal Palace is fairly tight as I was squeezing out and around the table to take pictures of the kids. It’s much tighter in Crystal Palace than Chef Mickey’s in my opinion, although this may vary depending on where you sit.
After Eeyore, Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet (who vanished after the Friendship Parade and brought up the rear) each visited the table just far enough apart to keep me from feeling like I could go get something to eat. Finally, after Piglet came by, I got some food in my stomach. The food itself was mediocre, especially for the price. Most items are similar to what’s served at Chef Mickey’s but not quite as good. I definitely preferred the carving station items at Chef Mickey’s. The boiled shrimp were better at Crystal Palace, however (they were clearly under-seasoned at Chef Mickey’s). The dessert is 10 times better at Chef Mickey’s. The standard chocolate cookies, chocolate cake, and apple pie were among the five or so items available at Crystal Palace.
Finally, I took a walk around the restaurant with my camera, again feeling like there wasn’t a whole lot of space. The restaurant itself is still the Crystal Palace, but there’s just enough Winnie the Pooh stuff around to make it feel like a Winnie the Pooh restaurant rather than the greenhouse it was originally designed as.
Estelle and I talked before my trip about how she wasn’t a fan of Crystal Palace for breakfast; just the other day we had a second conversation about how I wasn’t very impressed with it for dinner. We both decided that we wished the Crystal Palace wasn’t a Winnie the Pooh character meal, but neither of us were sure what the Crystal Palace served prior to being a character meal. We were also looking for whether someone had done a history of the Crystal Palace article but couldn’t find one. However, I did find these pictures in a Pictorial History of Walt Disney World book from the early 1990s.
In the end, Crystal Palace, as it currently stands, is more for meeting Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore rather than eating a good meal. We paid too much money for food that wasn’t even as good as Chef Mickey’s. The only thing I could think of doing is going to Crystal Palace for an 8:00 AM breakfast in order to get into the Magic Kingdom before opening. I don’t think I’d eat dinner there again anytime soon.