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!

Atmosphere

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…]

Guest Review: Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion

A visit to Walt Disney World includes dining at some unique restaurants! In Epcot’s Germany pavilion, the Biergarten is more than a place to eat; it’s also an entertaining venue! Welcome back guest author Rebecca Dolan with a fun review.

Everyone has a restaurant or two that, for them, make a trip to Disney World complete. For me, that’s Biergarten.

This all-you-can-eat smorgasbord in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion is one of the few restaurants I insist on visiting nearly every time I’m in Orlando. Like Rose and Crown, Biergarten was one of those places my mom made me eat as a kid and I hated it. But, now it’s one of the few places where I truly relish getting my meat and potatoes on. And, if you’re a meat and carbs kind of a guy/gal, then this is definitely the place for you!

The back of the Germany Pavilion.

Atmosphere

The Biergarten can be found at the back of the Germany Pavilion, under the big bell. The hostess stand is located outside, under the stone arch to the left.

They’re a bit particular about how things are run here, and you won’t be allowed inside the restaurant until your name is called and your party is complete.

Once you’re party is called, you’ll be shown in through these doors.

Walking inside is actually like being transported back outside, as the cavernous restaurant is designed to look like an Oktoberfest celebration being held in a town square.

A semicircle of Bavarian-style buildings, draped with flags of various German locales, arches around a central stage, while a full moon oversees the action.

Inside the courtyard.

At least once during your seating, the stage will come alive with the sounds of a lederhosen-clad band that plays everything from alpine horns to polka.

The band takes the stage. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes.

Playing the alpine horns.

More cowbell!

It’s important to note that the party atmosphere comes complete with [Read more…]