*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
As a big fan of character meals, it wasn’t that long ago that I wrote an article asking Disney to please bring back the character meals in all their glory. As a parent of young kids, there’s just so much magic in those dining experiences. My all-time favorite has always been The Crystal Palace because I love the ambiance and the location. Main Street U.S.A. will always be my favorite part of the Magic Kingdom, so having a place to sit down and enjoy a meal in that general area is a true pleasure.
On our most recent trip, we were able to snag a reservation at The Crystal Palace on September 27, just one week after the characters returned! We have had the pleasure of dining at The Crystal Palace twice before, so I was excited to see how the experience compared now that it was back with characters after a long hiatus.
Overall, I was pleased with our experience. As always, the characters were playful and true-to-form, with Tigger being bouncy and full of life while Eeyore spoke to my “I’m over it” soul. One change I noticed on this visit compared to others was guest etiquette. I saw many people rushing to the characters rather than waiting at their tables. Often the handler would remind the guests to wait their turns, but at times this wasn’t done, and you did have characters being rushed as they came through the main dining area. I’m sure this is a kink that will be ironed out quickly as everyone adjusts to the characters being back, but I saw it repeatedly happen while at the restaurant. It didn’t impact my visit or make it less enjoyable, but it was markedly different from past experiences.
The food was your standard Disney buffet fare, with a carving station and various offerings ranging from different meat, pasta, potato, and vegetable options. I was sad not to see the pasta salad options at the salad bar, which I always loved to add to my salad, but otherwise, it was very similar to my last visit. For me, the highlight at Crystal Palace is always the dessert! I am a big fan of these little nibble-sized offerings and truly find them to be the highlight of the meal.
If you haven’t tried Crystal Palace yet, it is absolutely a must-do as far as I am concerned. From the beautiful glass windows with a view of the castle to the garden-style greenery at the entrance or the fun and interactive characters, this is a meal that keeps me coming back.