Another restaurant has reopened at the Magic Kingdom this week! The Crystal Palace has changed a bit since the closure of the parks. This restaurant is no longer a character meal or a buffet. It now is a family style-ish meal that is open for lunch and dinner.
Since it is no longer a buffet, they have moved this to be a family style for the appetizer and dessert, and then you choose a specific entree. This is sort of true for vegans, but we’ll get into that later. With the fixed price on this meal, fountain beverages are also included in your meal, which when we went was $39 per adult.
The meal starts with a family style appetizer which is a basket of biscuits and a salad. We had to let our server know we needed the plant-based options, otherwise we would receive the normal assortment, which is not vegan. Since the normal biscuits contain cheese and bacon, we were given plain biscuits with a side of Earth Balance vegan butter and a hot pepper jelly.
UPDATE 12/16/20: We have now found out that the biscuits are not vegan. Due to this I have removed photos and info regarding it to not confuse our readers.
The hot pepper jelly was incredibly good and not very spicy. I wanted a jar to take home.
We were assured the biscuits were vegan, but we were incredibly skeptical the whole time. [Edit to add for good reason apparently]. Mostly because the salad we were first given was not the vegan one. We know this because the only difference in the two is that that one has bleu cheese on it but the vegan one does not. If this happens to you, know that the vegan one does not have cheese on it.
Once we got our salad situation sorted out and were given a new salad, we dug into the Marinated Watermelon and Tomatoes. This salad was a little odd, but not terrible. The arugula was tossed with a Hot Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette, but it didn’t have much flavor. I would have been happy with this just being an arugula salad though.
The tomatoes were good, but didn’t taste like much other than tomatoes, the same goes for the watermelon. I don’t know what they were marinated in as we couldn’t taste anything unique.
The candied walnuts on it were just weird. They alone were great, but with the salad were too sweet. This salad as a whole was fine, but nothing amazing.
The plant-based entree here is a Southern Fried Cauliflower. The cauliflower comes with Roasted Potatoes and Collard Greens and is topped with a Hot Maple Drizzle. We were surprised that the dish had green beans on it since it wasn’t noted on the menu, but happy to see some more food on the plate.
The slice of cauliflower was thick. It was cooked very well and had a great crispiness to each side from the frying. The hot maple drizzle wasn’t hot in a spicy way, but was very very good.
The only part of the cauliflower I encountered to be hard was the main stem. The florets were cooked perfectly with just enough texture. The cauliflower was absolutely delicious and I will be going back for this alone.
The collards at first were very weird. My first bite was very sweet, but after a while we realized it was due to the hot maple drizzle being on some of the collards, and the rest of the plate. The collards themselves were very tender and a pretty neutral flavor. They weren’t smokey or anything.
The potatoes were not good. We think they must have been microwaved or boiled too long because they were weird and gummy. They were also all cooked, so it wasn’t that they were undercooked. I think we just got a bad batch of them, so hopefully they’re fine next time.
The green beans were flavorful and garlicky, much like the ones from Liberty Tree Tavern. They were cooked well and not too soft or mushy. We also were given a ton of them, which was fine with us since we didn’t touch the potatoes.
For dessert here the only vegan option is a Strawberry Shortcake. Our server went to see if any of the other options for the family style desserts were vegan but they all contained egg or gelatin.
The shortcake was very good. It was a moist vanilla cake on top of what we believe was a raspberry smear. The whipped topping was very good and creamy and it all went well with the fresh strawberries.
We were both pretty surprised with how great this option was. It has been almost 10 years since I ate in Crystal Palace, and this cauliflower was worth the wait. This is a unique and incredibly delicious option. I know cauliflower steaks are very trendy right now, but if you’re going to offer cauliflower as a meal for vegans, this is how you do it.
As someone who doesn’t love character meals (just let me eat, okay!), I was fine with no characters here. This restaurant is absolutely stunning and it was nice to eat here and not feel like I’m being rushed out. We’ll absolutely be back for this option.
Review from December 2020.