Today we're heading over to the Magic Kingdom to see what revisions have occurred at The Crystal Palace. Formerly, this Character Dining Buffet offered all-you-can-eat foods, including Prime Rib, Roasted Pork, and Salmon. Now, after just reopening on December 13, 2020, they have a whole new menu and method.
The revisions have transformed The Crystal Palace into the Magic Kingdom's latest table service with a twist. The twist is a new, lower price and still offering you all-you-can-eat entrees.
What menu options are available at The Crystal Palace?
The transformed menu offers you two types of rolls with butter and jam, a family salad, main entrée, and a family dessert platter. The entrees are as follows:
Prime Rib of Beef with Au Gratin Potatoes and Creamed Spinach
Brown Sugar Roasted Bone-in Pork Chop with Sweet Potato Casserole and Green Beams
Fried Chicken with Baked Macaroni and Cheese and Collard Greens
Blackened Catfish with Blackened Shrimp, Cheddar Grits and Corn Salsa, and Creole Sauce
Fried Cauliflower with Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans and Collard Greens
Wow, talk about a drastic change from their previous menu. Gone are the buffet lines for the mashed potatoes, Spoon Bread and Jambalaya.
Now, this table service offers you a complete service without leaving the table. Unfortunately, the Characters are on vacation, but hopefully, they will return in the future. However, this is still a great dining experience here in the Magic Kingdom.
When it comes to dining in the Magic Kingdom, choices have been limited with Skipper's Canteen (a must-do), Be Our Guest, and Cinderella's Royal Table, you only real table service options. Another excellent quality location is Liberty Tree Tavern. They operate as a Family Style Dining Experience, but still great to consider.
How Does the new Crystal Palace stack up with the competition in Magic Kingdom?
First, let me say that our two go-to options in the Magic Kingdom are Skipper's Canteen and Liberty Tree Tavern. These two locations differ widely as Skipper's is a table service while Liberty Tree is a Family Service. Both offer quality food at reasonable pricing.
The New Menu at The Crystal Palace hits hard on good Southern Food, Prime Rib, Pork Chop, Fried Chicken, and Blackened Catfish. Here, these entrees differ from almost everything in the Magic Kingdom as Skipper's food draws inspiration from African, Asian, and South American Foods. At the same time, Liberty Tree is Thanksgiving all year long with Turkey, Pork, and Pot Roast.
Pricewise, The Crystal Palace was a pleasure. The entire diner, including biscuits, salad, your choice of entrée, and dessert platter, is currently priced at $39.95. WOW. This pricing also includes your beverages. This pricing also undercuts all table service location pricing within the Magic Kingdom, and by quite a bit.
Is The Crystal Palace worth the new price?
We booked a reservation at The Crystal Palace four days after opening, not sure what to expect. Let me say we were nicely surprised. While the dining room is in its crystal glass glory with a great view of the Castle, the great hospitality was still great.
So, for the $40 price tag, is the food worth it. In one word – YES? Not only did we find the food hot, visually appealing, but also very tasty. Not bad for only being open for four days. Yes, there were a few areas to improve, but overall it was a delightful meal that did not leave us wanting.
Also, even though they don't promote this item, the entrees are refillable. So if you ordered a Prime Rib, you could ask for a second or third piece. Not that you will need it, as the original slice is a 10 oz portion. This ability to refill your order outpaces the competition in the Magic Kingdom, as only Liberty Tree Tavern is a refillable platter.
Similarly, the fried chicken is a 22oz portion, offering you a breast, thigh, and drumstick. That's a lot of chicken for almost anyone. Also, the Catfish is a 7-9 oz portion, and the bone-in Pork Chop is approximately 1" thick, massive.
These entrees offered great value, especially if you consider the buttermilk biscuits and bacon & cheddar biscuits (refillable) and the watermelon and tomato salad with arugula and Frissee lettuce with a pepper jam vinaigrette (refillable).
Then there is the dessert platter, again refillable if you make it this far. It offers you a family platter including a yellow cupcake topped with Raspberry Mousse, Banana Cream Tart, Fritters with Chocolate Dipping Sauce, and finally, the favorite, Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Put this all together, and you have a great quality meal that will not leave you wanting. To make things even better, the sides of potatoes and veggies assigned to each entrée can be swapped out if you like. This option gives you even more flexibility. So if you don't like collard greens, you can opt for green beans or creamed spinach.
What about the entrees at the Crystal Palace?
We've tried them all, and they all will satisfy your hunger, with the Prime Rib and the Catfish being our favorites. So let's take a closer look.
Fire Roasted Prime Rib with Au Jus, Horseradish Cream. The standard sides are the Au Gratin Potatoes and the Creamed Spinach. Our first helping came in at medium-rare. Just right for our table. You can ask to have it cooked to a higher temperature.
It was tender and flavorful. No need for a steak knife here, it fell apart in your mouth, and we cut it with our forks. Just a note, this Rib is cooked on the fire rotisserie in the center of the restaurant, behind the carving station.
Blackened Catfish and Shrimp with Creole Sauce and Corn Relish. This dish is served on cheddar grits. Now, I'm not usually a fan of grits, but these were amazing. They were smooth and had a deep cheddar flavor. They paired perfectly with the Catfish.
Fried Chicken with Baked Macaroni and Cheese, and Collard Greens. This massive plate of chicken was the only entrée that didn't look the part as the breading was not crispy, but rather soggy. However, overlooking that, the hot and spicy honey dipping sauce was perfect for bringing out the chicken's flavor, which was moist and flavorful.
Brown Sugar Roasted Bone-in Pork Chop with a Sweet Potato Casserole and Green Beans. This pork chop was massive, especially by Disney standards. It was moist and flavorful, and the apple bourbon reduction was perfect for bringing out the flavors.
Remember, all of these are refillable. However, you can't choose a different option for your second helping—still, a fantastic value for the price.
Entrée Sides at the Crystal Palace
While the entrees all have specific sides associated with the dish, you can swap them out. This option is excellent as some of the sides appeal to particular palettes.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese – Oven-baked with bread crumbs. Smooth, creamy, and cheesy. A good macaroni and cheese, especially in a Theme Park
Au Gratin Potatoes – Baked off to perfection. Great Cheesy flavor that will leave you wanting more.
Oven Roast Potatoes – Available as a side on the Plant-Based Cauliflower Entrée, these potatoes are flavorful and straightforward
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows – Oven-baked with a browned marshmallow top, this sweet potato casserole is worth consideration.
Green Beams – Sauteed with garlic and salt. Simple yet full of flavor.
Creamed Spinach – Creamy and smooth, this side didn't disappoint and was our favorite.
Collard Greens with Ham – The name speaks for itself. I've never been a fan of collard greens. However, I can say they had good flavor with the ham coming through.
As stated, these sides are all specific to a particular entrée. However, you do have the option to swap them out, so don't be afraid to ask.
How was the Dessert Platter at the Crystal Palace?
This refillable desert platter contained four items. All were good, but we thought the Hummingbird Cake took the prize as our favorite. Here's a description of the things to make your mouth water.
Hummingbird Cake – deep banana flavor with walnuts in this deep cake. It is then covered in a decadent Cream Cheese Frosting.
Banana Cream Tart – This item was pleasant with a strong banana flavor, but not that sweet. If the Hummingbird Cake is too sweet for you, then this item is the choice.
Yellow Cupcake with Raspberry Mousse – Great Cupcake with a fantastic raspberry mousse topping, and lots of it.
Fried Fritters with Chocolate drizzle sauce. These were good, but the least favorite at our table. So if you need to conserve space, go for the Hummingbird Cake or Cupcake.
In the end, our trip to The Crystal Palace was a delightful dining experience. The food was excellent, tasty, and plentiful. Service was friendly and efficient, and the price was attractive. This location is a good table service location in the Magic Kingdom, especially if you're looking for some Southern Comfort Food.
This new menu allows you to have a choice of dining experiences in the Magic Kingdom. The Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree Tavern, and Skipper's Canteen are now our top three table-service options when visiting this park.
We are Theme Park Fantasy, and we hope this insight into the new Crystal Palace located in the Magic Kingdom will give you a new location to sit back and enjoy the park over lunch or dinner. We have more helpful information on our website at www.themeparkfantasy.com Head over to the site and see how else we can help you plan your next Disney World Vacation.