See Tigger, Piglet & other Hundred Acres Woods characters on display in topiary form at Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom at WDW

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So given that it’s 2021, character meals at Disney World look a bit different.  And in the case of Crystal Palace, it looks completely different.  As in, there are no characters walking around.  Because, normally, a meal at the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom means you get to be greeted by your favorite Winnie the Pooh characters.  But your favorites from the Hundred-Acre Wood, like Piglet and Tigger, are currently taking a break.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing meal at the Crystal Palace.  In fact, in some respects, the meal is even better.  So let me tell you about my family’s recent experience at the Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace Decor

First of all, one of the biggest highlights of the Crystal Palace to me is still there.  And that is the location.

The Crystal Palace is located on Main Street.  You might pass by it when you walk into the park if you are like my family and the first thing you normally do is head for Adventureland to ride the Jungle Cruise or the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Crystal Palace is a beautiful restaurant on Main Street at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Before I ate here, I always looked in and could see it was beautiful inside.  But it actually far exceeded my expectations.

The Crystal Palace is themed like a Victorian greenhouse circa the late 1800s, in fitting with the Main Street theme.

They have a lot of flowers on display and tropical palms that are absolutely beautiful.

Beautiful flowers make up the decorations at Disney's Crystal Palace which is themed like a 1800s era Victorian greenhouse

I really liked the Friendship Day banner themed like the Winnie the Pooh characters.

Subtle Winnie the Pooh decor are up at Crystal Palace at Disney World in Orlando, FL

I really like the artwork up, too, that really fits the overall theming of the restaurant.

Crystal Palace at Disney World has great decor like these paintings of flowers

Crystal Palace at Disney World has a luxurious inside with great decorations

But my favorite part of the decor has to be the topiaries!  If you love the topiaries at the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, you will love the topiaries here!  They are, of course, of Winnie the Pooh characters!

See Tigger, Piglet & other Hundred Acres Woods characters on display in topiary form at Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom at WDW

Crystal Palace restaurant on Main Street in Magic Kingdom at Disney World has Winnie the Pooh character topiaries

My family loves eating at Crystal Palace in Disney World not only because of the food but also the decorations like these Winnie the Pooh character topiaries

Crystal Palace restaurant at Magic Kingdom in WDW has great decor like these Winnie the Pooh & Eeyore topiaries

The rest of the restaurant is brilliantly decorated, from the chairs to the tables to the carpet.

My family loves the beautiful, upscale atmosphere at Crystal Palace at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando

My family just loved the upscale atmosphere of the restaurant, and we know your family will feel the same way!

Crystal Palace Food Review

But enough about the decor; onto the food!

So, in addition to the characters no longer walking around, another big change to the Crystal Palace is that it is no longer a buffet in the traditional sense.

Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom in WDW is buffet-style eating

Gone are the days where you can just get back up and refill your plate.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t still function like a buffet.  It’s just that the waiter or waitress will bring the food to you.

How it works is that they bring out the food in different courses.  And if you want more of any food, you can just ask for it.  And you won’t have to pay for seconds, thirds, etc., so it functions like a buffet.

In the first course, they bring out a salad.

Crystal Palace at Disney World has a great salad with pickled onions, candied pecans, tomatoes, cucumbers, mixed greens & more

The salad has Mixed Greens, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Candied Pecans, Carrots, Pickled Onions, and Red Pepper-Dijon Vinaigrette.  The pickled onion was the biggest hit of the salad for my family.  The vinaigrette was also a hit, too.

They also bring out bread.

The first course of the new 2021 menu at Crystal Palace in Disney World includes cornbread muffins

You have a choice of Home-style Cornbread Muffin.  These are a solid color.  You can also get the Cheddar-Bacon Cornbread Muffins.  My family really liked the more traditional cornbread muffin.

Then, it’s time for the main course.  Here, you get a bit of a choice.  You can pick out an entree and a couple of sides.  The neat thing is that while the entrees are listed with sides, you can change up what your sides are.  You can get a double order of a specific side (I did this with the macaroni & cheese) or you can just choose from a list of the sides.

For adult entrees, you can choose between:

  • Crispy-Fried Chicken
  • Southern-Fried Cauliflower
  • Fire-roasted Prime Rib of Beef
  • Brown Sugar-glazed Bone-In Pork Chop
  • Blackened Catfish & Shrimp

The sides include (but are not limited to):

  • Macaroni & Cheese topped with toasted Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Potatoes Au Gratin
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Creamy Cheddar Grits

Get potatoes, aspargus & prime rib at Crystal Palace on Main Street at Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando

You can order an entree and your choice of sides at Crystal Palace at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida

Eat Southern comfort food like fried chicken at Crystal Palace restaurant at Magic Kingdom in Disney World

My family enjoyed the entrees of prime rib and fried chicken.  The fried chicken was a bit spicy so if you don’t like spicy foods, I would stay away from it, but it was really good.

The sides my family liked the best were potatoes au gratin and the roasted potatoes.  I did not like the macaroni and cheese that much (even though I awkwardly went all in by ordering double the amount).

After the main course came the desserts!  They brought you out one of each dessert.  You were allowed to get more of any dessert if you liked.  So if say everyone in your family really wants a cupcake, don’t worry, you can all get a cupcake!

Strawberry shortcake, banana cream pie & a delicious cupcake are some of the desserts you can order as part of the buffet meal at Disney World's Crystal Palace

The desserts you get as part of the family style dessert platter include:

  • Banana Cream Pie
  • Hummingbird Cake
  • Honey of a Chocolate Cupcake
  • Strawberry Shortcake

My whole family loved the desserts.  Even my mother, who doesn’t love sweets, liked the hummingbird cake.  The pineapple in that is so good and it was such a great mix of flavors.

But the real standout was the cupcake!

My family loved the chocolate cupcakes you can get at Crystal Palace on Main Street in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

Our Thoughts on the Changes

Honestly, the changes were good for my family.  I do see how if you really love seeing the characters that would be a huge disappointment.

But it’s honestly nice to have the waiters and waitresses bring the food out to you rather than to keep going back in line at a buffet.  I mean, you’re on vacation.  Isn’t it nice to be waited on?

But the main reason my family liked this way of having our meal is the price.  Character meals at Disney World often cost around $60 per person for adults.  But it’s $39 per adult under the new format.  And depending on the size of your family, this really adds up.

So if you’ve ever walked by the Crystal Palace and wondered what it would be like to eat inside, now is the time to do it!  Your family will love it – and you will love how you have saved money by doing it now rather than later!

And speaking of saving money, you can save a lot of money on Disney World tickets by clicking here.