Review: Lunch at Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Welp, boys and girls — it’s time to head into Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and take in lunch at Crystal Palace! This is a beloved character spot for many Disney fans, and a must-do character experience for lots of you.

Me? I hadn’t been to Crystal Palace in foreva…not since an ill-fated late-night visit a couple of years ago when the food was AW-FUL! Yep, it was the end-of-the-night dregs of the buffet and we were pretty much just grossed out. (Have you ever seen a buffet about 15 minutes before a restaurant is about to close? Not pretty.) We ate very little and left as soon as we could. Sad, since we do love dining with Pooh and friends.

But it was time to revisit the 100 Hundred Acre Wood — after all, we’d had lots of great meals here previously — and I made reservations with some friends for lunch.

We have tons of shots to show you, so let’s get started!


You’ll find Crystal Palace to the left of Main Street USA’s end, just as you approach Cinderella Castle. The beautiful glass building, inspired by ornate conservatories of the late Victorian Age, is a slice of Disney history as well. The restaurant has been around since opening day in 1971.

Entrance to Restaurant

Entrance to Restaurant

And here’s a tip if you’re looking for an extra-special experience during your Disney vacation: try and book Crystal Palace for an early breakfast. You’ll be one of the first guests into the Park when you do this, and visiting a nearly empty Magic Kingdom is an event to remember.

Once you step inside, you’ll see whitewashed walls that carry the bright, light decor throughout. Artwork depicting inspiration for the architecture as well as photos of lush palms cover the walls.

Artwork and Framed Photos

Artwork and Framed Photos

The soaring atrium above is gorgeous — especially on a sunny day!

Crystal Palace Atrium

Crystal Palace Atrium

After you check in, you’ll wait for your table outside on the shaded veranda. But once you step in, pause a moment to take it all in.

Dining Rooms

Dining Rooms

Tons of windows and glass domes allow for plenty of natural light in the two dining areas.

Dining Room from Another Angle

Dining Room from Another Angle

And really — look up. Because the windows are really stunning. I love the beautiful stained glass detail.

Stained Glass Windows

Stained Glass Windows

The decor puts you in mind of a Victorian conservatory, with its outside-but-inside feel. Lush flowers and what reminds me of patio furniture finish the area.

Evening Light

Afternoon Light

Crystal Palace is, of course, a character dining experience, and you’ve stumbled onto a party!

Center Atrium -- Up Close

Center Atrium — Up Close

In fact, visit here, and you’ll take part in a Friendship Day Celebration with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.

Banner -- Up Close

It’s Friendship Day!

Just check out these gorgeous flower topiaries of the whole gang!

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Eeyore Topiary

Eeyore Topiary

The sweet little figures appear to be made of dried roses, and foreshadow the characters you’ll meet while you dine.

Piglet Topiary

Piglet Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

And beautiful hanging arrangements of tropical flowers complete the classic conservatory feel.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh Flowers

Seating is standard and fairly comfortable. Heavy, padded chairs share the space with booths, but some tables are situated a bit too closely for our comfort.

Seating for Two

Seating for Two

Seating along windows gives you a glimpse of guests waiting to be seated! But beyond them, you’ll also see a beautiful view of [Read more…]

Review: Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion

Speaking of Morocco…which we’ve been doing a LOT this past week…let’s check out an old favorite today —  Restaurant Marrakesh.

With its interesting food, the beautiful surroundings, and lively entertainment, I have always enjoyed my trips to this hidden treasure. Time to see if it lived up to the test of time and my fond memories.

Let’s meander to the back of the Morocco Pavilion, shall we?


And meander is exactly right. Wind your way through the shops, alleys, museum, and other delightful nooks and crannies of the Morocco Pavilion to make your way to Restaurant Marrakesh.

Restaurant Marrakesh — Outside View

Trust me — you will enjoy the journey. I personally have long considered this pavilion to be one of World Showcase’s most beautiful spots.

Marrakesh Sign

As you enter, you’ll notice a couple of things straightaway. First, you’re surrounded by palace-like opulence. Secondly, much like another popular Epcot table service spot, Le Cellier, there’s no discernible natural light.

The interior of Marrakesh is decorated with the same hand-laid, zellige tile work that you see throughout the Morocco Pavilion. Tables are covered with white tablecloths, contributing to the formal feel to the restaurant.

Dining Room of Restaurant Marrakesh

The tile work even covers the ceilings! And the ornate chandeliers, characterized by filigree, lend a beautiful soft light to the enclosed restaurant.

Beautiful Lighting

Here’s a picture that shows you the detail of that [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma…Flavors of Africa is a tried-and-true Disney fan destination.

Many guests number it among their must-have advance dining reservations for it’s fun atmosphere, unique menu, and cult favorite dishes.

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the pleasure of eating at Boma not once — but twice…in the SAME DAY! Yep — we had breakfast and Boma AND dinner at Boma!

While I’ll be sharing the details of our Boma breakfast in a later post, today we’re taking a look at the rockin’ spread available for dinner.


Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma is just one of three incredible restaurants at this resort — it’s a true food-lovers haven here.

Boma Sign

You’ll find Boma on the ground floor beneath the lobby level, adjacent to both The Mara and Jiko. (Sanaa is located in nearby Kidani Village.) And while The Mara is the resort’s counter service location, Jiko is a signature restaurant, and Sanaa features a table service fusion of flavors, Boma serves as the resort’s buffet offering.

But while many Disney buffets are more about character interaction than cuisine, a trip to Boma is all about the food. A sign in Animal Kingdom’s lobby provides a little background on the meaning of the restaurant’s name — and encourages you to make your ADR for Boma well in advance!

Boma Background Information

The term boma loosely refers to a fence fashioned of sticks, and you’ll see this motif throughout the restaurant’s interior. A wrought-iron version of a boma borders either side of the wide, winding path into the restaurant.

Walkway into Boma

Here, the fence borders a low wall separating the seating area from the [Read more…]

Review: Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It’s been a LONG time since we’ve talked about Tusker House, so let’s get down to business!

I consider this sprawling restaurant within Disney’s Animal Kingdom to be one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to Disney World character meals.

Yep — Tusker House is known for its bounty of African dishes, but it’s also a character dining destination. BUT — if you’re coming for the characters, be sure to book your ADR for breakfast and lunch. Mickey and friends don’t make an appearance for dinner.

We have a ton of yummy pictures to share with you, so let’s go!


Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite Disney parks due to its truly incredible themeing, and Tusker House takes this one step further.

Tusker House - Outside View

It’s one of the Disney restaurants that doesn’t just incorporate theme on the surface — I could spend hours exploring all of the specialty decor, finishes, and props Imagineers have added to this massive restaurant.

You’ll enter the restaurant through the village of Harambe in Animal Kingdom’s Africa, and Tusker House serves as Harambe’s “open air” market on the edge of the Harambe Wildlife Preserve. The podium for the restaurant was outside during our visit. Once you check in, you have the option to wait at a few outdoor tables that are leftover from the days when Tusker House was a counter-service restaurant.

Outdoor Waiting area

Also, next door is one of our favorite watering holes — the Dawa Bar. This is a great spot to [Read more…]

Guest Review: Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco

Today, Disney Food Blog welcomes back guest author Joey Beyer with another “hidden gem” review of dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco pavilion. Man, I think it’s time I went back to this place!

While I am always excited to write a piece for the Disney Food Blog, this review is particularly special for me because I get to write about one of my absolute favorite restaurants: Restaurant Marrakesh.

Nestled in the very back of Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion, Restaurant Marrakesh is a truly unique and authentic experience. An argument could easily be made that Morocco is the most authentic and immersive World Showcase pavilion.

As a result of the restaurant being somewhat hidden at the very back of the pavilion, there is a kiosk right on the promenade where interested parties can make a reservation and look at the menu. There are always cast members at this kiosk to answer any questions people may have.

In addition to these amenities, there is a book containing pictures of most of the menu items. This same book can be found on a table outside of the entrance to Restaurant Marrakesh.

Marrakesh Sign and Menu Book

Many people seem to be a bit apprehensive towards Moroccan cuisine, and for that reason it is usually possible to walk up [Read more…]

Guest Review: Disney’s Least Ordered Menu Items

Join me in welcoming guest author Tracy Antonioli to the Disney Food Blog!

While we usually review menu items that are commonly ordered and enjoyed, Tracy is turning the tables with an interesting experiment! She wanted to find out what some of Disney World’s least ordered menu items were like… Read on to find out the results…

My last trip to Disney World happened to fall over One More Disney Day, the 24-hour celebration of Leap Day that occurred in the Magic Kingdom and in Disneyland on February 29th. In thinking about what I’d do with one more day, all the things I’d eat came immediately to mind.

Of course, the hardest part about dining in Disney World is deciding what to have. There are so many great choices, from food on a stick to filet mignon. But I wanted to do something different. And so, a rather bizarre experiment was born — the least ordered item experiment.

Popular Dishes

You see, there are many dishes in Disney World that are well-known and sought after. The dole whip float. A hot dog from Casey’s. The cheddar cheese soup from Le Cellier, the wings at ‘Ohana, and the ubiquitous turkey leg.

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier Steakhouse

And while there’s likely a good reason for the popularity of these items (all but two of which I also enjoyed during this trip), I imagined that there were just as many amazing — yet unknown and under-appreciated — menu items in Disney World. So I set out to find them.

During my trip, at two different restaurants — one counter service and one table service — I chose to sample the least-ordered menu items. Of course, this was in no way a scientific study. I didn’t ask for ordering statistics or an ‘items sold’ pie chart.

I simply asked the cast member taking my order ‘What item on the menu is ordered the least?’ Yes, they both looked at me kind of strangely at first, but so what? I was also walking around sporting gold sequined, feathered Mickey ears.

Least Ordered Dish — Counter Service

Because I was super excited to get this experiment underway — and I had an early morning flight and skipped breakfast — my first stop after getting off of the Magical Express was the closest counter service location, which in my case was The Mara, at Animal Kindgom Lodge Jambo House.


Unsurprisingly, the least ordered dish at this counter service location is the most exotic-sounding dish — the [Read more…]

Managing Your Diet Plan in Disney World: Low-Carb Diets

One thing I haven’t been able to master is staying on a specialized diet plan in Disney World. Luckily, I have a few friends who have been able to be diet plan superstars while on vacation, and they’ve agreed to share some of their secrets with you! This series will include information about vegetarian, vegan, and low-carb dining, as well as dining in Disney World after having weight loss surgery.

Today, we welcome guest author Christina Relacion again to the food blog. She’s been successful with the South Beach low-carb diet in Disney World and has some great tips and tricks!

Good vibes -- Posted in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Healthy dining at Walt Disney World. That sounds like an oxymoron. With fried foods, hamburgers and devilish desserts around every corner, it must be impossible. I’m always trying to watch my weight, and being a foodie, that can be hard with all the great choices at home and on the road, especially at a place like Walt Disney World.

Fruit at Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Last year, I started on the South Beach Diet, a diet plan created by Arthur Agatston that helps you determine good carbs from bad carbs and good fats from bad fats. One of the first things I thought of when beginning the diet was: [Read more…]