Meals With Character – The Crystal Palace and The Garden Grill

Some people might think "Oh, character meals are just for kids!" but we think otherwise. While there may be a few character meals geared more toward kids (think: Hollywood and Vine at breakfast and lunch), the majority of character meals at Walt Disney World are just perfect for "kids" of all ages!

Two favorites are The Crystal Palace and The Garden Grill. While both have great food and friendly characters walking through the dining room, you will have a different experience at each restaurant.

The Crystal PalaceThe Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace, located in the Magic Kingdom, is arguably one of the prettiest buildings at the Magic Kingdom (aside from the castle, of course). It resembles a Victorian greenhouse and is light and airy inside. The front porch is always bustling with guests waiting for their reservations. Once inside, you'll be dining at one of the better buffets on property for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The food on the breakfast buffet includes items such as scrambled eggs and an omelet station, and of course Mickey waffles! For lunch you'll find a fresh salad bar, seasonal fish and vegetables, pasta, carved meats and a kid's buffet featuring kid-friendly items such as pasta, chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. The dinner buffet is similar to lunch but there are often a few more options including peel-and-eat shrimp.

A highlight of the meal is, of course, when Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet stop by your table for a hug and photos. They'll sign your autograph books too. And if you have the kids with you, make sure they participate in the parade through the restaurant - it's a great time!

The Land's Garden GrillThe Land's Garden Grill

For a change of pace, make a reservation at The Garden Grill, located inside The Land pavilion at Epcot. This table service location is open for dinner and features a family-style meal. And, it's the only rotating restaurant on property. That's right - one of the coolest things about eating at The Garden Grill is that it rotates so diners can see the various scenes from the Living with the Land attraction. Oh, and did we mention that Mickey, Pluto, and Chip and Dale stop by too?

The food at The Garden Grill is really exceptional.
Your meal starts with rolls served with maple butter and a salad that includes vegetables from the greenhouse in Living with the Land. Talk about fresh! The family style meal also includes filet of beef with red wine butter, roasted turkey, a sustainable fish of the day, smashed potatoes, and fresh vegetables. Dessert is usually a seasonal cobbler, but that can change.

While you dine and enjoy the changing scenery, the characters stop by for photos and autographs. The layout of the restaurant - two tiers with tables and booths - makes it so diners never feel crowded together. The food and atmosphere make The Garden Grill a truly unique dining experience.

Farmer Mickey at Garden GrillFarmer Mickey at Garden Grill

If you're thinking of character meals for your next trip, be sure to check out The Crystal Palace and The Garden Grill. You'll find great food, fun characters and a fun dining experience at both locations.

Thanks so much to our friends over at the Disney Food Blog for letting us use their images, and to Traci C. for another guest post. Have you eaten at either of these great locations? Leave a Comment below and let us know what you thought!

J wrote on Thu, 04/18/2013 - 11:26:

J's picture

Personal favorite from a grown up perspective is Garden Grill. Nice variety of food, plus you usually get a couple of visits from each character. A good time.

Spook wrote on Thu, 04/18/2013 - 19:08:

Spook's picture

We went to the Garden Grill for the first time last year. We are definately booking a reservation for this year! The food was great, the characters came around alot and the service was great too. I love that place!

JoAnn C wrote on Thu, 04/18/2013 - 22:22:

JoAnn C's picture

I've been to the Crystal Palace but haven't tried Garden Grill yet.

Jens67 wrote on Sun, 04/21/2013 - 18:36:

Anonymous's picture

The Garden Grill and Crystal Palace are both wonderful Character Dining options. For children (of all ages) who love Pooh and Friends, the Palace is the way to go. However, the Garden Grill is my choice because the exceptional food is served family-style and the revolving restaurant (with views from Living with the Land) makes for a very enjoyable dining experience.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 04/22/2013 - 18:28:

Kristen K.'s picture

I haven't eaten at the Garden Grill since I was a little girl, but this article makes me want an ADR!

Eric wrote on Sun, 04/28/2013 - 23:10:

Anonymous's picture

We've had CP for breakfast and GG for dinner and we've enjoyed both of them. The food was good, atmosphere was good and characters were great. Would recommend both.

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