The Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World is a family buffet located near Cinderella’s Castle. This is a must do buffet for our family on each trip. My family loves the Winnie the Pooh characters that come to each table while you are eating and the food is above average buffet fare.
I always start with a salad plate when we eat at Crystal Palace. They have a great selection of greens, fruits and pre-made salads on their cold buffet. I tried the tuna salad, green salad with feta, potato salad and I couldn’t wait for a taste of my favorite dish fire roasted corn spoon bread. Everything was very good. But, the spoon bread is the one dish I always look forward to and again it did not disappoint me. It has a slight spicy bite to it but not enough to be overpowering. Delicious.
This picture is a bit difficult to see but from left to right there is a slice of beef over sun-dried cherry chutney, fire roasted corn spoon bread, ancho rubbed salmon and vegetable medley with balsamic glaze with a pasta salad over the top. The stand outs on this plate were the sun-dried cherry chutney and the salmon. The chutney had a sweet/tart flavor and when combined with a bite of the beef totally transformed the beef to a better flavor. The salmon was as delicious as always. Not too heavy a fishy taste but light, flaky and perfectly seasoned.
My children love Crystal Palace as they can always find plenty they like. Both of my children are fairly adventurous eaters but this plate shows that she is still a typical child sometimes. From the left garlic mashed potatoes, chicken tenders, apple slices, mixed fresh fruit, medium rare beef and cheese pizza. Other than the pizza which she declared, “Eh,” there was nothing left on the plate when she finished. Her favorite being the garlic mashed potatoes.
My son is gluten-free (gf) and also cannot have any food coloring so we work with Disney Dining and the chefs at each restaurant to make sure he gets what he needs to eat. He LOVES Crystal Palace as they have a large selection of foods that he can eat. His salad plate has apple slices, peel and eat shrimp, green beans and mixed fresh fruit.
My son insisted that I take a picture of his gluten-free rolls at the Crystal Palace as he thought these were the best rolls he had ever tasted. They were served piping hot with plenty of butter. He had two plates of rolls. For a child who very rarely gets bread or rolls these were a big treat.
Sometimes a simple dish like chicken strips and french fries can help my son feel “normal.” He loved these and the chef happily made two plates for him. We are grateful for Disney Dining and the chefs who work with us in finding wonderful things for our son to eat. My son loved the chef at Crystal Palace who took the time to come back to our table 3 times to check and see if my son would like anything else or if there was something else he could make for our son. He was WONDERFUL!
My partner’s first plate consisted of the pork loin, fire roasted corn spoon bread, garlic mashed potatoes and seafood bisque. I tasted a bite of the pork and thought it was well cooked, not overdone or dry like in some restaurants. The seafood bisque though was delicious! I ended up eating the whole bowl of soup as it was creamy with bits of shrimp, fish and I think crab in it. The broth had a hint of sherry and was absolutely wonderful.
Now to one of our favorite parts of the meal – the desserts! Shown above from the left are an espresso mousse tart, German chocolate brownie, banana cream tart and a chocolate cannoli. The chocolate cannoli was delicious as was the espresso mousse. Both had lots of flavor and were “fresh” tasting. The brownie bite was a bit dry and the banana cream tart had little to no flavor. Everyone was in agreement that it almost tasted like vanilla pudding in the tart.
Apple crisp with vanilla cream sauce. The crisp was good but could have done with a bit more cinnamon and sugar. It was a bit tart. The cream sauce was very good and I could have eaten a whole bowl of that!
So with full bellies and happy memories of the Winnie the Pooh characters we left Crystal Palace. We will be returning again very soon as it is the one meal we all agree makes us happy and full.
edited – July 24, 2011
I feel I need to add this from an abc news report:
ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s summertime and that means the kids are out of school and it’s time to enjoy the amusement parks! But when you get off the roller coaster to chow down, have you ever wondered how clean all those restaurants are?
In a special I-Team investigation, we looked through over 250 restaurant inspection reports from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants in and around the amusement parks, including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Busch Gardens, Universal and surrounding
For the most part, the amusement park restaurants seemed to keep their places clean. But we found two restaurants at Magic Kingdom on North Monorail Way in Bay Lake that might make you think twice about how magical things are in the kitchens.
The Crystal Palace advertises that you can join Winnie the Pooh and friends at a bountiful buffet but state inspectors found food they serve at dangerous temperatures. On June 9, 2011 Crystal Palace had to throw out two large pans of shrimp and 10 pounds of NY strip beef because they were not properly cooled overnight from 135 degrees to 70 degrees in 2 hours and then from 70 degrees to 41 degrees in 4 hours. The restaurant also had to toss out over 8 pounds of grape jelly because the cans were rusted and not in good condition. Crystal Palace had a total of 25 violations during that June 9th inspection, accumulating 13 critical violations and 12 non-critical violations.
Disney World response: “We are committed to the highest standards in food safety and have been internationally recognized for our efforts. We take matters such as this very seriously and quickly worked to address the inspector’s concerns.”
Zoraya Suarez – Manager of Media Relations, Walt Disney World
Liberty Tree Tavern and Rose and Crown were also cited for Health Code Violations. Disney always seems so concerned for health and corporate image that I imagine this was immediately taken care of.