This counter-service spot is themed as a production warehouse, and serves up classic theme park entrees such as burgers, sandwiches, and salads. This spot typically a reliable place to stop for lunch in the park, and we’ve we’ve enjoyed a few of our meals here in the past. Recently, we found a very Instagrammable cake here! On this visit, we noshed on a couple entrees, as well as a Star Wars-themed treat! Will this visit measure up? Let’s find out!
In recent years, Disney has been adding more diet-friendly items to their menus all throughout Walt Disney World. Disney has also made plant-based items extra easy to find with a little green leaf icon on their menus!
But now we’re learning that Disney has plans to offer even MORE plant-based options for us to enjoy at home!
In the pantheon of character meals at Walt Disney World, there’s only one where you can dine with big, fluffy friends straight out of the Hundred Acre Wood — and in a classic Magic Kingdom location: Crystal Palace!
Truth be told, we’ve had a bit of a roller coaster relationship with Crystal Palace over the years. Some visits have been good (like this lunch four years ago and like breakfast here back when you could get into the nearly-empty park!), and one was particularly awful (dinner at the end of the night = icky buffet remnants…I didn’t even do a post about it).
But the opportunity to dine with Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger is pretty much a Disney World rite of passage and something that every Disney fan should do at least once. And dining in the Crystal Palace — a gorgeous building that’s been a mainstay since Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 — is a lovely experience.
But what about the food — arguably the most important aspect of any restaurant? It’s standard, but acceptable on most visits, with breakfast having, perhaps, the most interesting options with Pooh’s Breakfast Lasagna and Puffed French Toast being crowd favorites. And so I returned recently, for lunch this time, to see how things are going.
Hollywood Studios has really been changing things up on us lately!
Of course, we saw some of this coming with fair warning: we knew that several Counter Service spots would be closing in early April to make way for the construction of Star Wars and Toy Story Lands. So far, construction has most affected the former Streets of America section of the park, and the remaining dining location in that area — Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano — is now part of the recently renamed area of Muppets Courtyard (meanwhile, its nearby neighbor, Toy Story Pizza Planet, is closed for a major makeover of its own).
Suddenly down a few dining locations, rumors of additions are starting to swirl (like a possible themed bar coming to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction). That’s just a glimpse of some of the changes around the park. And as much as these changes are highly likely to result in a really great experience once the new Lands are complete, it’s all enough to make you want to visit a tried-and-true spot and soak in some familiarity.
So it came as a fairly big surprise when one of those tried-and-trues revealed an entirely new menu on our most recent visit.
The Oasis Canteen (located near the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular) has been the Hollywood Studios home to the theme park staple of Funnel Cakes for years.
There are some pretty serious debates about where in Walt Disney World you’ll find the best fish and chips. Today, we thought we’d throw a little fuel on that fire by taking a closer look at some of our favorites.
Yorkshire County Fish Shop
Mention that you’re visiting Walt Disney World and you’re hankering for this traditional British fare, and it’s a sure bet that somebody’s gonna have an opinion. And chances are good that you’ll be told to make a beeline for the UK Pavilion in Epcot.
When you get there, you’ll find two different spots that offer fish and chips. We’ll take a look at Yorkshire County Fish Shop first.
Located just before you cross the bridge into France, Yorkshire is a walk-up window where they keep it simple: you can order fish and chips, a cookie, or your choice of a few beverages.
And thank goodness for simplicity, because even with it, the lines here can get loooooooonnng. But there’s a really good reason for that…the fish and chips are pretty great.
Because this spot is so busy, the fish is usually pretty fresh. The crunchy batter isn’t too greasy or heavy, and the chips really are more chip-py than french fry-like.
And since it’s counter service, you can score delicious, filling food with no advance dining reservation. We also hear from lots of you that a stop at Yorkshire is a WDW ritual worth keeping during every visit!
BUT — seating can be hard to find on busy days. We’ve enjoyed our Yorkshire fish and chips sitting on a curb or while standing a time or two.
Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room
And that brings us to the next contender: Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room right next door.
Whether you’re just after a pint or you’re looking to enjoy a meal, this traditional British pub is an extremely popular stop. If you’d like to dine here, we strongly recommend you book an advance dining reservation.
At Rose and Crown, you can order fish and chips off of the pub menu, or you can order them in the restaurant as well. Size and price vary depending on where you’re enjoying your fix. 😉
But having them served at a table service restaurant means that you have more choices. With a menu that includes other fish and chip shop standards, like mushy peas, you can round out the meal a bit.
Seating choices include comfy a/c inside, or gorgeous views of World Showcase Lagoon on the patio.
Cookes of Dublin
But then, there’s the relatively new kid on the block who has brought some serious fish and chips game. Yep, we’re heading to Downtown Disney for a trip to [Read more…]
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.
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.
The soaring atrium above is gorgeous — especially on a sunny day!
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.
Tons of windows and glass domes allow for plenty of natural light in the two dining areas.
And really — look up. Because the windows are really stunning. I love the beautiful stained glass detail.
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.
Crystal Palace is, of course, a character dining experience, and you’ve stumbled onto a party!
In fact, visit here, and you’ll take part in a Friendship Day Celebration with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
Just check out these gorgeous flower topiaries of the whole gang!
The sweet little figures appear to be made of dried roses, and foreshadow the characters you’ll meet while you dine.
And beautiful hanging arrangements of tropical flowers complete the classic conservatory feel.
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 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…]
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park in Disney World when I’m in it. The theming is incredible. I could wander around just looking at things there for days! But the other thing that keeps me coming back to Animal Kingdom again are some seriously awesome restaurants. This place has it all!
Let’s take a look at some of our favorites — and what sets them each apart from the crowd.
If you haven’t booked a meal at Tusker House, then you’re missing out.
This sprawling restaurant sits on the main thoroughfare in Harambe Village within the Africa section of the park. And with some of the best immersive theming anywhere at Disney World, it’s hard to take in all of the intricate details and Imagineering here with just one meal.
But it’s not just the surroundings that are interesting. Tusker House has some incredible food as well. Inspired by the flavors of Africa, you’re in for a treat whether you’re dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
We especially love the Spit-Roasted Meats. And taking advantage of the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet may save you on other meals during the day.
Oh, and did we mention that one of your fellow Tusker House visitors is MICKEY MOUSE?!?
That’s right! Tusker House offers Character Dining to Animal Kingdom guests, and Mickey and friends (Donald Duck among them) are dressed to go on a Kilimanjaro Safari with you!
Just before the bridge into Pandora — The World of AVATAR, there is an oasis by the name of Nomad Lounge.
Love of travel is the theme for this beautiful bar, inspired by the adventures of the Disney Imagineers who designed the park itself.
Indoor and outdoor seating are both plentiful and beautiful.
While the small bites menu doesn’t blow us away, the drinks — both cocktails and mocktails — are creative, unique, and refreshing, and unlike offerings you’ll find elsewhere in Disney World.
We love the Hightower Rocks — a watermelon twist on your typical margarita!
Make sure your inner traveler plans a visit to Nomad Lounge!
Yak and Yeti Restaurant
Looking for something exotic with an Asian twist? Then check out Yak and Yeti Restaurant. You can’t miss the big purple building in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom!
Themed as a grand home that’s been converted to a hotel, guests to the town of Anandapur are guaranteed to find
Today, we are enjoying lunch in one of my very favorite corners of Magic Kingdom — Columbia Harbour House!
This restaurant is an original fixture of Magic Kingdom, although it opened way back in 1971 as Nantucket Harbour House. It was soon re-christened Columbia Harbour House, which echoes references to both Disneyland and the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. (Pause for sigh of nostalgia.)
Without knowing better, you may be tempted to pass right by this quick service spot, thinking that it’s a garden variety bastion of fried food. But while there are some battered options here, you’ll also find some lighter fare that’s worth a closer look. (Actually, I think the fried stuff is pretty rad, too.)
Today, we’re exploring that fabled upstairs dining room, and we’re ordering up one of the eatery’s classic combos!
With its long-standing history and incredible attention to detail, Columbia Harbour House should not be dismissed as just another counter service spot.
One of the most interesting things to note about the restaurant is, in fact, its outside view. From the Liberty Square Side, it appears to fit in perfectly with its environs. It reminds me of a spot right on the harbor of some quaint New England town.
But be sure to approach the restaurant from its Fantasyland side as well for a completely different view, which is decidedly more European. From that side, it looks like something straight out of Bavaria.
Once inside, you definitely feel like you’ve [Read more…]
Let’s welcome back guest author Katie Drake with an interesting food challenge: saving cash by NOT ordering kids’ meals! Sounds counter-intuitive? Read on…
The Kids’ Meal Dilemma
Tell me I’m not the only parent this has happened to: you sit down for lunch, and instead of eating their chicken nuggets and apple sauce, your child is eager to get moving to the next ride.
So you and your spouse pick at the nuggets, eventually throwing most of the meal away. And 30 minutes after lunch is done, you hear the dreaded whine: “I’m hungry.”
No Kids Meal Challenge
I’m not a plate cleaner myself, but I do hate seeing so much food – and money – go to waste. So on our recent trip to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, our group of three families agreed to a challenge: no kids meals.
Instead, the three sets of parents would share their meals with the five kids in the group, supplementing with snacks if we were still hungry.
We figured this would work:
- because Disney’s portions are generally pretty big,
- our kids are still fairly small (ranging in age from one to five years old),
- we’re never actually hungry in the parks anyway since there is so much good stuff to eat by way of snacks.
Always prepared, the moms did supplement our meals a bit. String cheese, juice boxes, crackers, apple sauce, and fruit snacks all made their way into the parks with us, and they were available whenever any child showed the slightest hint of hunger away from a meal or other snack. [Read more…]
Tucked into one of Disney World’s most iconic resort hotels — The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa — Gasparilla Grill is one of the only restaurants open 24 hours in Walt Disney World!
Gasparilla Grill is the the counter service location at the Grand Floridian and is sandwiched between the Grand Floridian Cafe and the Grand Floridian Kids’ Club.
It offers both hot and cold (grab-and-go) items as well as bakery items and soft-serve ice cream.
You’ll find plenty of seating inside and outside. Outdoor seating has a fantastic view of [Read more…]