There are several character meals you can book for your visit to Walt Disney World, and in this post, I’ll be sharing our experience at the popular Crystal Palace Character Meal with Pooh and Friends. It was a great way for us to meet the characters while we enjoyed the lunch buffet, and our 3 1/2 year old preschooler, Little T, loved interacting with Piglet, Tigger, Pooh and Eeyore.
Breakfast reservations at Crystal Palace start as early as 08:05am, so booking breakfast there is also a great way to get into Magic Kingdom early. You can book Walt Disney World dining reservations up to 180 days in advance through the My Disney Experience app or website which is straightforward and easy to use. You will be asked for your telephone number and credit card, and you can cancel or amend your dining reservation up to 24 hours before.
Tip: When booking your dining reservation through My Disney Experience, phone numbers must be 10 digits, so to enter your UK number, drop the first ‘0’.
I made the booking for Crystal Palace about a month in advance via the My Disney Experience app, originally for lunch at 1pm. Little T was unwell the day before we originally had planned to go to Magic Kingdom, so I logged in to modify our booking and managed to reschedule for the following day at 12pm. I was lucky to find a time available the next day at such short notice, otherwise I would have had to cancel the booking altogether.
The design of Crystal Palace was inspired by Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s and features topiaries, tropical palms and lots of natural light. Locations that are thought to have influenced the design of the Crystal Palace include the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and, a favorite at this blog, Kew Gardens.
Pooh and Friends
Little T – and I! – loved having the chance to meet Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore and watch them make their way around the restaurant. Who could resist hugging these big cuddly animals? It turned out to be the perfect character meal for our preschooler and one I’d highly recommend especially for families with young children.
Piglet was the first character for us to meet, and I think Little T was taken off guard at first as we had just sat down to eat, but he soon warmed up to Piglet and was laughing as the character gently poked his nose and rubbed his tummy. We then took some photos with Piglet before Little T asked for an autograph. It was a sweet moment and a great start to our experience!
The next character for us to meet was Tigger – again lovely to have photos taken with and Little T loved interacting with him and sneaking a peek as Tigger signed the autograph book.
Little T was thrilled to meet Winnie the Pooh – it was so sweet to see him giving Pooh a great big hug! I was hoping to have a photo taken with Pooh too, but Mr. G had stepped away to refill his plate while Pooh was at our table. Once Mr. G was back, I waited until Pooh had a free moment moving between tables and asked if we could take a few more photos with him, and he kindly obliged.
The selection at the buffet exceeded our expectations. It was a good spread that had pretty much something for everyone, starting with a selection of salads…
And a children’s buffet with chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, corn and peas and chicken drumsticks.
There were several side items, including mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, fire-roasted corn spoon bread, steamed rice and sautéed green beans.
Along with ham and pineapple, oven-roasted chicken, honey glazed carrots and collards and ham.
Mr. G liked the fish options – honey soy-glazed salmon and herb-crusted tilapia. There was also jambalaya, cheese perogies and artichoke cream pasta.
The roasted carved meats were grilled flank steak and roasted turkey. I had a delicious plate of roast turkey with gravy and cranberries.
The dessert selection was very tempting, with s’mores tarts, raspberry tarts, banana cream pie, chocolate chip cookies, honey pots, sugar cookie and spiced cannoli. Also not shown here, the selection continued at another counter with toffee molten brownie bites and warm caramel apple tartlets. Yum!
The service was excellent throughout our experience. We checked in at the restaurant’s front desk and only had about a ten minute wait until we were seated. Our server was kind and helpful, regularly checking in on us about our drinks, our experience with the characters and anything else we might need. The manager was also helpful and prompt in arranging for us to meet with Eeyore when it was possible.
Our lunch at the Crystal Palace was a great experience and my favorite out of the three character meals we booked during our Walt Disney World vacation. Our 3 1/2 year old preschooler absolutely loved meeting Tigger, Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore. I would highly recommend this restaurant to everyone, and especially families with young children as it’s a fun experience and a great way to meet the characters. There was a good selection of food at the lunch buffet, the service was great and the restaurant itself has a good atmosphere and is beautifully decorated.
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