Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A Buffet With Character at The Magic Kingdom's Crystal Palace

Wednesday 20 April 2016. We are in Disney's Magic Kingdom and are heading for the impressive Crystal Palace restaurant where we have pre-booked a meal.

They describe it as a "Buffet with Character", because various characters from Winnie the Pooh will be coming round the tables as we eat. Well, they won't get any of my scraps...!

Eddie gives in his name as he made the booking and we take a seat on the benches on the tasteful veranda whilst our table is prepared.

This overlooks the central roundabout in front of Cinderella's Castle and this acts as the hub of the Magic Kingdom with paths to the four major sections of the park. Gardens and water features abound and consequently so do bridges. This is an excellent spot for a sit down when the legs get tired or the heat gets too much!

Even without leaving the comfort of the bench, this is the view you have whilst taking your ease. And as a big big plus, you are sitting in the shade and out of the heat of the sun.

Our name is called and we are seated at our table. Grace busies herself with the first priority - getting her autograph book ready in case Pooh or Piglet happen along!

Ah... She's spotted someone! The Crystal Palace has the feel of a large summer house. It was light, airy and cool - the last being quite a relief after the heat of the day outside.

The meal is a buffet so we can go and get whatever we want. But first, whilst we wait to order drinks - a quick round the table set of photos!

Eddie gets a photo all to himself with Tigger seemingly about to bounce into his ear... Okay, you had better prepare yourselves...

Oh, on second thoughts, there's something strangely attractive about these two...

Eeyore has the privilege of being the first character to make it to our table and is given a big welcome from a very excited Grace!

Mummy and Daddy get in on the act as well. Meanwhile our drinks have arrived and we can make our way in our own time to the buffet which has several cold cuts, a carvery section, a beef stew and lots of salad items. After a day spent entirely outside in the full heat of the day, I just picked a few things to nibble. The beef stew though was lovely. I'd have gone back for a bit more, but by the time all the characters had been round, my plate had somehow disappeared as I was distracted... I could easily have picked up another but...

Winnie the Pooh is the next one to come round. We had already met Pooh Bear and Tigger of course, but it didn't seem to spoil Grace's excitement at seeing them again!

Ooh! Piglet! Not seen Piglet, real and live and in the rind before! Incidentally, Gill's dress got many comments during the day. Miss Franny made it.

Piglet signs the autograph book with a clearly delighted Grace looking on. She has a plate of rather cold chips (sorry! - fries!) by now but it doesn't look as though she's bothered much, does it?

Then it is the turn of Tigger, who has a rather attractive security guard escorting him... The little boy behind is clearly impressed with Grace's lighting-up shoes!

We were only two days in and starting to wonder how long the autograph book would take to fill up!

Gill's birthday badge pays dividends as a cup cake with a candle is delivered and a card signed by all of the characters doing the round of the tables.

A joint effort is required to blow out the flame! A short while to sit back and relax and make sure we've seen every fluffy creature that wants to visit us at our table and then we head out back into the park. It is by now starting to cool down a bit and feels fresh with a little breeze.

Just outside Casey's Corner a white upright piano stands. Every now and then this amiable gent comes out to play it honky-tonk style. A favourite of every pianist around Disney seems to be Scott Joplin's piece, Maple Leaf Rag. Even though I never saw two pianists at the same place at the same time, there seemed to be a race as to who could play it the fastest...

The sun starts to get lower in the sky and we decide, having arrived for a breakfast at 8:30am, that it's time to head back to Caribbean Beach Resort. We turn the corner from Casey's and find Main Street U.S.A. already in shadow apart from the upper storey on the right.

Thus ends day two of our holiday. Tomorrow we can have a little lie-in instead of charging out and we'll have breakfast at the resort before heading out to EPCOT.

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