The Crystal Palace is one of our favorite Magic Kingdom restaurants, a must-do on each of our Disney vacations. We were so excited to be able to go back! As at most Disney restaurants, reservations are pretty much required. If you’re not too picky about what time you eat, you should be able to get something on short notice – if you want a pre-park opening reservation, you’ll need to book as far out as you can, probably at the 180 day mark when the window opens.
Prices range from $25-44 for adults and $14-25 for kids, depending on the season and whether you go for breakfast or lunch/dinner. This time, we went for breakfast, but we’ve also gone for lunch (which is the same menu as dinner, as far as I know). The food is pretty standard fare for a Disney buffet – good, but not amazing. The cast members are great at making sure your drinks are refilled often, and they’re quick to refill the buffet when items run low.
The real draw, of course, is the characters. At the moment, Eeyore and Piglet can only be met at the Crystal Palace – they’re not available anywhere else at Disney World. Like at all character meals, they come around to your table, sign autographs and pose for pictures. Interaction can vary – we usually have one or two great experiences with the rest being just okay. However, I’m sure if you either have very young children or are especially outgoing, you’ll probably get great interactions from all of the characters. For this visit, Tigger was the playful one. When Niall was younger (the sweet spot was when he was about two years old), all the characters just adored him and he got some very looooooong hugs (Niall would never voluntarily stop hugging a character). Now the kids are older and a bit less interested than they used to be.
However, they do LOVE buffets, so they’ll put up with the characters if it means unlimited bacon. Our biggest tip for breakfast buffets like Crystal Palace (but also including others like 1900 Park Fare) is to get as late a reservation as possible. There are several reasons for this. One: if you’re in the theme park, like at Crystal Palace, you do not want to spend the first hour or two after rope drop in a restaurant. Bring a few granola bars in your backpack and get on all the rides while they don’t have lines, then head to ‘breakfast’ after 11. Two: not only will you accomplish more, but you’ll also probably spend less on food because your breakfast will feel more like a lunch, and you can get by with just a snack until dinner. Three: at buffets that serve breakfast and lunch without an actual break in between, you may get to sample some of the lunch offerings. And finally, four: it’s not as busy then, so characters will usually spend more time with you, and even circle back for another round of hugs.
As always, we put together a little video of our trip to Crystal Palace! Enjoy, and as Tigger would say, TTFN! Ta ta for now!