Recommended: Yes to meet Eeyore and Piglet. Toss up to go for the food alone.
I’m not sure what The Crystal Palace was originally designed to be, but I think the Winnie the Pooh character meal was not their initial intent. This is a beautiful building, very closely resembling the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. But, somehow, throwing Pooh and his friends in the mix does not hurt the charm of the place at all. In fact, while it doesn’t seem to fit together theme wise (I know Pooh is a British story), the old and new elements work well together and make the place very fun and lively!
While you dine, your buddies from the Hundred Acre Wood will come to your table.
Other than during the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I have not seen Eeyore or Piglet available anywhere else in Disney World.
Now, the downside to a character meal/buffet is that you’re getting up and down, and you may not be able to see the characters coming before they hit – or miss – your table! Tigger, especially, seems to carve out his own walking path, and we ended up missing him at first. The waitress asked his handler to get him to stop by again before he left for the other side of the dining hall, but Tigger was Tigger and didn’t listen! It was over an hour before we were finally able to catch him again, and this was after even a manager asked him to come back. >.< So, keep your eyes open, and be prepared to pounce if you see a character walking away from your table!
This was also the anniversary celebration meal for my husband and myself, so we got a little extra gift! Apparently, it was supposed to be a photo of the Pooh gang, but those ran out. I still like this one all the same, though!
To get to the food, as I mentioned before, it is a buffet. The options are pretty random, stretching from salads and traditional carved meats to samples of Indian and Mexican food. A number of standard desserts were available. Nothing was really bad, but nothing was really amazing either. It reminded me of a smaller scale Golden Corral.
Honestly, though, if you have a party of two adults and two children under 10, you are looking at roughly $80 for any sit down meal that you have, before the tip. At The Crystal Palace, we paid just around the $100 mark before the tip, and that included time with the characters and any beverage that we wanted, so it’s not an awful deal for Disney prices. For the extra $20, I prefer to get the character experience and let the kids meet the hard-to-find guys. So, even though the food wasn’t stellar, considering any other sit down lunch would have cost the same, I’m not dissatisfied with what we got.