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Review of the Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom

Review of the Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom

The Crystal Palace is a character dining restaurant in the Magic Kingdom where you get to meet characters from The Hundred Acre Woods (ie, Winnie the Pooh and Friends.)

According to Mickey Wiki, the Crystal Palace is as old as the park itself, but originally was a very different format: cafeteria-style, with no upright-walking bears or donkeys to come along and hug you while you eat. It wasn’t until 1996 that the restaurant changed into the format it is today.

I have fond memories of my mother reading The House at Pooh Corner to me and my brother when I was young, and even as an adult The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is one of my favorite Disney movies. So it’s no surprise that I’m somewhat biased toward Crystal Palace right from the get-go.

Crystal Palace on Main Street
Me and Rebecca with Eeyore!

 

Where is Crystal Palace in Disney World?

The Crystal Palace is located at the end of Main Street, USA, on the left side as you enter the park, on the path toward Adventureland. It is next to/behind Casey’s Corner.

 

Crystal Palace Architecture and Inspiration

According to WDW News Today, the design of the Crystal Palace is San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, which was completed in 1879.

And what was The Conservatory of Flowers inspired by? The Conservatory in Kew Gardens, England, which was built in a late Victorian style.

Here’s a photo of San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers:

 

And here’s Disney’s Crystal Palace:

 

What Characters are at Crystal Palace?

The cast of characters are pretty straightforward and are the same at breakfast, lunch, and dinner: Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh.

Disney Piglet PlushDisney Piglet PlushDisney Piglet PlushDisney Eeyore PlushDisney Eeyore PlushDisney Eeyore PlushDisney Winnie The Pooh PlushDisney Winnie The Pooh PlushDisney Winnie The Pooh PlushDisney 9-inch Tigger PlushDisney 9-inch Tigger PlushDisney 9-inch Tigger Plush

 

 

Is Crystal Palace a Buffet?

Yes, like most (but not all) character dining, Crystal Palace is a buffet. You do need reservations, and it counts as one Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

 

Crystal Palace Prices

The prices listed below are from Touring Plans and do not include tax. Lunch begins at 11:30am.

Breakfast Prices

  • $38.00 for adults (ages 10 and up)
  • $23 for kids (ages 3-9)

 

Lunch and Dinner Prices

  • $52.00 for adults (ages 10 and up)
  • $31.00 for kids (ages 3-9)

 

Crystal Palace Menu

Breakfast Menu

This is your basic basic breakfast buffet. There is a scrambled egg and omelette station, which is a nice touch, and things like:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Fresh fruit
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Biscuits
  • Cereal
  • Pastries
  • Mickey Waffles
  • Puffed French Toast
  • Potato Casserole

When we went, I thought the breakfast food was good, but nothing particularly amazing.

 

Lunch and Dinner Menu

There is a section called “Pooh’s Corner Children’s Buffet” that has things like chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and steamed peas and carrots.

The regular buffet includes things like:

  • Rolls with Butter
  • Various Salads
  • Tomato Basil Soup
  • Roasted Striploin of Beef
  • Roast Peach BBQ Glazed Pork
  • Oak-Grilled Rotisserie Chicken
  • Banger Sausage with Collard Greens
  • “Hunny” Glazed Carrots
  • “Rabbit”-touille
  • Vegan Pesto Pasta
  •  

    Desserts

    The Disney Food Blog lists several desserts, including

    • S’mores Tarts
    • Hunny Mousse Pot
    • Gloomy Blueberry Mousse Dome Cake
    • Pink and Red Velvet Cupcakes
    • Chocolate Chip Cookies

     

    Does the Crystal Palace Serve Alcohol?

    Short answer: Yes.

    Longer answer: Magic Kingdom was “dry” from its opening in 1971 all the way until 2012, when Be Our Guest opened and had alcohol on the menu.

    Apparently Disney must have gotten a lot of positive feedback (and made a lot of money?) with that move, because only six years later, in 2018, every table service in the Magic Kingdom (including Crystal Palace) started serving alcohol (and still do).

    I have to be honest: I’m not sure that I like that. I’m not a teetotaler, but there’s something incongruent to me about dining with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet while drinking a beer. Silly, I know.

    Anyway, regardless of what I think about it, the drink menu includes beer and hard cider, various wines, and mimosa.

     

    Crystal Palace Breakfast Before the Park Opens

    One nice possible perk about breakfast at the Crystal Palace is that you can reservations as early as 8:00am, even though the park doesn’t open 9:00am (if you’re lucky enough to be able to get a reservation, which so far I haven’t been).

    This has a few advantages:
    1) You get to check “Eat breakfast” and “Meet four characters” off your to-do list before the park even opens;
    2) You’re already inside the park the second it opens (although, in the case of Crystal Palace, you are behind the Fantasyland Rope Drop, so it’s not as big an advantage;
    3) You can enter the park as early as 7:45am, wander around a little, and take some photos.

    Note: Some people say that if you get a pre-park opening breakfsat “you get Main Street all to yourself.” However, from what I understand, these people are exaggerating quite a bit. Or, more accurately, that used to be the case, but isn’t anymore.

     

    Crystal Palace Disney characters

     

    Can you See “Happily Ever After” from the Crystal Palace?

    If you’re not familiar, Happily Ever After is the 18-minute “fireworks extravaganza” in the Magic Kingdom. It replaced Wishes in May 2017 and, unlike Wishes, includes a lot of laser projections in addition to pyrotechnics.

    Although having dinner at the Crystal Palace while watching Happily Ever After sounds like a good idea, it doesn’t really work. Because of the projections, you’ll want to get a good view of the Cinderella Castle, and there will probably be people on the porch blocking your view.

    According to Disney blogger Tom Bricker, if you want a good view of Happily Ever After from a restaurant, you’ll be better off at:

    • The California Grill at the Contemporary Resort
    • ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort (specifically, going to Sunset Point after dinner)
    • Narcoossee’s at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    • The outdoor terrace outside Chef Mickey’s or Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary Resort

     

    Crystal Palace vs. Similar Restaurants

    When it comes to finalizing your Advance Dining Reservations, people often have it narrowed down to two somewhat similar choices, as in, “I can’t decide whether we should do This or That.”

    Here are a few “thats” that are often considered along with Crystal Palace, with some thoughts on how the two choices compare.

     

    Crystal Palace or Tony’s Town Square

    I think of Tony’s Town Square — also located on Main Street, on the opposite side — as “the forgotten Disney World restaurant.” I never hear anyone talk about it. If you had asked me last week to name 7 restaurants at the Magic Kingdom, I’m sure Tony’s Town Square wouldn’t have to come to my mind.

    We ate there on our very first trip to Disney. We were trying to save money on our trip and made no dining reservations and knew nothing about any of the restaurants. One day at the Magic Kingdom around lunchtime we said, “We’re hungry, what restaurants are nearby?” looked at a map, and just wandered in to Tony’s. That was the only time we ate on Disney property during the entire trip. It was Fine but Forgettable.

    It’s hard to really compare the two, since they have nothing in common other than being sit-down restaurants on Main Street. If you’re looking for good table service at the Magic Kingdom but don’t want a buffet or the noise of a character meal, and you like Italian food, then I would say that Tony’s is a good option choice.

     

    Crystal Palace character buffet in Magic Kingdom

     

    Crystal Palace or Liberty Tree Tavern

    Liberty Tree Tavern, located in Liberty Square is another lunch and dinner option at the Magic Kingdom that isn’t a buffet and doesn’t involve either big furry creatures or princesses. It has a colonial-style theme and “New England style fare.”

    It’s hard for me to compare the food between the two restaurants since I’ve only had breakfast at the Crystal Palace and lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern. So I went searching for others’ opinions.

    Chamonix from the DisBoards says:

    Crystal Palace has better food. At the very least you will have far more variety and more choices at CP which includes pretty much the main things you will get at Liberty Tree Tavern anyway (roasted meats, gravy, mashed potatoes) plus so much more to choose from. The Liberty Tree Tavern dinner menu is very limited. Overall the quality itself isn’t any different, but Crystal Palace wins for variety and choice.

    and Got15 says:

    We love dinner at Crystal Palace! We are not big fans of buffets- but my kiddos love Pooh & crew- its super fun- and has a great selection of fresh items. I can always find a good array of salads and proteins. The deserts at Crystal Palace are meh- better to grab something else in the park.

    Liberty Tree Tavern is nice- but bland. I have given Liberty Tree Tavern a go with our family a few times but its always running behind, im not crazy about a heavy meal, but I love that Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake! If I could do desert at LTT and the food at CP- i would be happy!

     

    Crystal Palace or Be Our Guest

    Be Our Guest is located in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. It is nota character meal, although you might see the Beast at dinner. Like Crystal Palace, you can get pre-park opening reservations for breakfast.

    I have never eaten at Be Our Guest, and have no plans to any time soon. It seems to get really mixed reviews: some people rave about it, but many others say it’s the most overrated restaurant in Disney World.

    Here are some other opinions I found about which of these two restaurants is best for breakfast:

    SurferStitch on the DisBoards says:

    We’ve done both (Crystal Palace many times), and we would choose Crystal Palace any day over Be Our Guest. We found the breakfast at BOG to be terribly overpriced, and just not good. The pastries were very boring and dry. The main courses were very small, and just not satisfying. We were very disappointed with Be Our Guest.

    Now, we’ve always had great breakfasts at Crystal Palace. The buffet always had fresh, hot choices and very good pastries/sweets. Plus, you get the Pooh characters (Eeyore is my favorite), so that’s a great bonus.

     

    Memma05 says:

    I personally prefer Crystal Palace! I was not a huge fan of the breakfast food at Be Our Guest. However it is quicker to do Be Our Guest if you aren’t looking to sit interact with characters. We generally go in and get our first must do rides out of the way and then head to Crystal Palace for a late brunch:) I book all our Fast Passes for the early afternoon when it tends to be super busy.

     

    NancyG56 says your itinerary should be taken into consideration as well:

    I would make my choice based on where I wanted to begin touring. We have been choosing Be Our Guest and after we are through we head to Peter Pan. I know a lot of people head to the Mine Train, and next time so will we, but we love the standby queue for Peter Pan. That attraction back up quickly, so we like the short wait.

    I also think that if you are not a big breakfast eater, Crystal Palace is an expensive way to get that Main Street picture. I would book Be Our Guest, get to the park early enough to be in front of the line, and order one meal to split. There is enough for two when you consider the pastry plate (which seems to change a bit. One time it is mini pastries that are really lovely, and the next time it is the larger pastries cut in half. Still good but not as good).

     

    And North of Mouse sums it up by saying:

    If you’re going for the food – I’d say Crystal Palace, if for the location to start your touring day – then Be Our Guest.

     

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    Crystal palace or 1900 Park Fare

    1900 Park Fare is located at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. I’ll be visiting for my first time (for dinner) on our next trip.

    What made me decide on 1900 Park Fare?
    1) I’ve already been to Crystal Palace and wanted to try something new;
    2) I like the idea of leaving the park and having a more relaxed meal at a resort;
    3) Cinderella’s stepsisters are supposedly hilarious.

    The characters at 1900 Park Fare are different depending on when you go:

    The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast has Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, the Md Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger.

    Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner has Cinderella and Prince Charming, plus Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella (ie, the evil stepmother and stepsisters).

    If you’re trying to decide between Crystal Palace or 1900 Park Fare for dinner, here are some comments that might help you decide:

    DisneyDanceMom73 on the Disboards says

    Tough call! Food wise, the food is similar giving a slight edge to Crystal Palace. You can’t really go wrong with the characters at either. Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters are worth the price of admission alone at 1900 Park Fare. As others have said, it really just boils down to which set of characters everyone in the party would get the most out of and enjoy more.

     

    MouseFan73 votes against Crystal Palace:

    We found the Crystal Palace just one big mess of little, screaming kids, running about and making messes everywhere. Nothing against kids ( have 2 myself). but I think that by default this place draws families with smaller kids, so almost every table has very young kids, hot and tired by dinner time. . and when you get that many together it’s a mess.

    Reason being:
    1. It is IN magic kingdom ( parents find it too exhausting to schlept strollers and kids outside of MK and then back in)
    2. Winnie Pooh and friends just draws little boy and girls.

     

    But ChicagoDisFan votes for it:

    Okay, I will be the lone cheerleader for Crystal Palace! We have gone there on 6 different trips for dinner and always have a wonderful time!

    I think the food there is great. They had two types of grilled fish on our last trip along with a carving station and wonderfully creative cold salads that I really enjoy. The restaurant is gorgeous and is light and airy. And the character interaction is excellent! We love the characters and we always get the best pictures there because everyone (them and us) is so happy! And the friendship parade that they do around the restaurant is adorable.

    Now that being said, my kids (ages 9 (turned 10 on our trip), 6, and 2) love Pooh and friends. Even the 10 year old loves it. There are a lot of kids but I think that is just part of being a character meal. We did a bunch of character meals on our trip and didn’t find it be nearly as crazy as Minnie’s Dine at Hollywood and Vine and even Tusker House (we love Tusker House too) …

     

    EnchantingOdin thinks the answer rides on two words:

    Umm.. does Crystal Palace have Strawberry Soup? I don’t think so. So it’s gotta a be 1900, I mean OBVI.

    Seriously though, I think it wins on a few things. First, and most important to me, FOOD. It’s a smaller venue and at a resort. In my experience resort restaurants are just generally better in food quality than park ones.

    Second, Character Interaction, unless you have someone in your party who is REALLY into Pooh and the gang, the ‘face’ characters at 1900 offer much more improvised iteration. You can ask them silly questions, and they can joke around with you more. I know Crystal tends to be busier and characters can be rushed. But that can happen anywhere.

    Third, ’cause I feel it needs it’s own reason, Strawberry Soup. You can only get it at 1900. Not sure what kind of crack they put in it (this is a joke of course) – but it’s just a-MAZ-ing.

     

    Crystal Palace or Tusker House

    ahref=”https://threekidsthreecatsandahusband.com/why-we-love-tusker-house-at-animal-kingdom/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is another great character meal, feature Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald and Daisy Duck.

    I’ve been to Tusker House for both breakfast and lunch, and there is no contest: the food is much better and more interesting at Tusker House, especially at breakfast. (Sorry, Pooh!)

    I will say, though, that I personally like the atmosphere at Crystal Palace a little bit better. It is brighter and more “fun” than at Tusker House.

     

    Crystal Palace or Chef Mickey

    Chef Mickey in the Contemporary Resort is a character buffet that features the “Fab Five” of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto.

    For myself, if I had to choose between these two for breakfast, it would be the Crystal Palace. The environment is nicer: more interesting and less noisy.

    However, I think breakfast at Chef Mickey could be a better choice for some families. For example, if you’re dining with a 3 or 4 year old boy, they will probably love watching the monorail go by overhead. And most kids just really really (really) want to meet Mickey and the Gang. Also, since Chef Mickey is located in a resort, you can visit on a non-park day.

    What about for lunch and dinner? Well, let’s just say that based on what I’ve read, I will never have lunch or dinner at Chef Mickey.

     

    Video — Chef Mickey’s vs. Crystal Palace

     

    Crystal Palace Recipes

    It’s always fun to try to replicate your Disney dining favorites when you come back home. As usual, I went digging for some copycat versions of some of the food served at the Crystal Palace.

     

    Pooh’s Breakfast Lasagna Recipe

    Exclusively at Crystal Palace, this concoction is made with layers of pancakes, waffles, pound cake and fruit. Mmmm … a bit of overkill, if you ask me, but my younger self would have loved it.

     

    Crystal Palace Potato Casserole

     

    Domestic Geek Girl has a recipe that she calls “stupid easy to whip up.” The ingredients are shredded potatoes, sour cream, heavy cream, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. I bet kids would like this, especially my one kid who is a big potato fan. And hey, even though these are called “breakfast potatoes,” I think they would actually work better for dinner.

     

    Genius Kitchen has a copycat recipe that serves 8. It looks very involved (something that you might even want to make over a period of 3 days), but would be very impressive for company or a potluck-style brunch.

     

    This video shows you how to make the French Toast recipe in the Cooking with Mickey Volume Two Cookbook.

    Video — Crystal Palace Puffed French Toast Recipe

     

    Cooking with Mickey, Volume 2Cooking with Mickey, Volume 2Cooking with Mickey, Volume 2Mickey's Gourmet CookbookMickey’s Gourmet CookbookMickey's Gourmet Cookbook

     

     

    Now it’s your turn.

    What has your experience at the Crystal Palace been like? How does it compare to the other restaurants mentioned above? Have you ever gotten a pre-park opening breakfast reservation, and if so, was Main Street empty?
    Let us know below in the comments!

    Where is Crystal Palace in Disney World? Is Crystal Palace a buffet? What characters are at Crystal Palace? Find out everything you need to know in this restaurant review. Includes prices, breakfast and dinner menus, and copycat recipes for Pooh's Breakfast Lasagna and Puffed French Toast

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Avatar Flight of Passage: Wait Times, Motion SIckness, and Plus Size Guests

Avatar Flight of Passage: Wait Times, Motion SIckness, and Plus Size Guests

Flight of Passage is the better and more popular of the two rides in Animal Kingdom’s newest land, Pandora — The World of Avatar. It is, of course, based on the then-popular-now-not-so-much 2009 film Avatar.

Disney began developing Pandora — World of Avatar in 2011 along with movie director James Cameron. Construction on it began in January 2014 (in the area where Camp Minnie-Mickey used to be) and the land opened to the public in May 2017.

Gift shop in Avatar World of Pandora
Me with a little stuffed Pandora buddy

If you, like many of us, are wondering how and why Avatar, of all things, inspired a new land in Disney World, YouTuber Jenny Nicholson has a very interesting video explaining how Avatar — World of Pandora came to be.

It includes the history of Animal Kingdom, including why it originally was intended to include dragons an unicorns — and why it didn’t end up having them. She also gives a full review of Pandora, including the rides, restaurants, and gift shops.

Don’t be put off by the video’s length. You won’t be bored.

(The Flight of Passage review begins at 21:40 in the video, if you want to just skip to that.)

 

Video: An Excruciatingly Deep Dive into the Avatar Theme Park

 

Now, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t really like the movie Avatar (although my daughter Rebecca loved it). I thought it was beautiful, but surprisingly dull, and I didn’t care about the characters at all.

However, I thought Flight of Passage was absolutely amazing. And here’s the kicker: I don’t have the ability to see 3D effects. So I couldn’t even experience the full attraction (sadly) … and yet I still thought it was incredible. I can only imagine how what the ride must be like for everybody else.

In this post I’ll cover the basics about Flight of Passage and address some of the questions and concerns you might have about it:

What kind of ride is Avatar Flight of Passage?

If you haven’t ridden Flight of Passage yet, you might be a little confused about what it even is. Is it a roller coaster? Does it go upside down? It is basically “Soarin’ Over Pandora?”

The answers are no, no, and kinda/sorta/not really.

Put simply, Flight of Passage a 3D flying simulator ride where you ride of the back of a winged banshee over Pandora. Technically, you’re not really riding a banshee, but rather you’re linking to an avatar already in flight. Whatever.

Yes, the basic idea is similar to Soarin’ in Epcot, but to compare the two does Flight a Passage a major injustice. (And I think Soarin’ is great.) Flight of Passage is much more immersive for many reasons, including the wind in your face and the fact that you don’t see other people’s feet hanging in front of you.

Also, the ride vehicle is an individual one that’s sort of like a motorcyle, so it’s a much more individual experience.

Here’s a short video that explains the ride vehicles and how to board them:

 

Video — Closer Look at Avatar Flight of Passage Ride Vehicles

 

Avatar Flight of Passage Height Requirement

The ride’s height requirement is 44 inches, the same as the requirements for both Space Mountain and Expedition Everest. Children under 7 must be accompanied by someone age 14 or older.

 

Does Flight of Passage Have a Single Rider Line?

The short answer to this is “No, but.”

No, there is no separate line for single riders. (The only rides that have this are Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, Rock n Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, and Test Track in Epcot.

But …

Once you get to the point where Cast Members split people into different lines for the different theaters, they will ask for single riders to come up ahead to fill in any missing spots. So you will probably get to ride at least a little faster if you’re a single rider.

 

 

Does Flight of Passage Cause Motion Sickness?

As I’ve mentioned before, my hudband Rob is very prone to motion sickness and was sick for several hours after riding Mission:Space (before they offered the “Green” version). I, on the other hand, ride anything and everything and never get sick, much to Rob’s amazement.

So I can’t really answer this question because I never get motion sick, and Rob can’t answer it because he thought it would be best to skip it. (There are signs saying not to ride if you’re prone to motion sickness.)

The general consensus seems to be that, from a motion sickness standpoint, Flight of Passage is fairly mild and comparable to Soarin’. It won’t make you as sick as Star Tours, and it definitely won’t make you as sick as Mission:Space.

Part of the reason it probably won’t make you as sick as those other rides is due to the nature of its motion. Instead of being jerky and frantic, it’s more gentle and gliding.

However, just because you do fine on Soarin’ doesn’t mean that Flight of Passage won’t do you in. Jaiminee Krickit from the DisBoards says:

I made the mistake of not watching a video of the ride before riding it. I wanted to be surprised. I heard multiple times before riding that it was “Soarin’ on speed”. I love Soarin’! I thought it won’t be bad.

I was horribly wrong. I made it about 30 seconds before I started feeling horrible. I tried closing my eyes, but then there was wind in my face. That caused me to hyperventilate a little bit. Then there was mist blowing in my face. I turned my face away from the screen and that helped a little. After it was over I thought for sure my cookies would be tossed. The woman next to me even asked if I was okay. Somehow the long exit queue made me feel better, but I will never ride it again.

To compare – if I do not watch the road in a moving vehicle (any moving vehicle), I get nauseous. I can handle Mission Space Green just fine, but probably couldn’t ride it more than once in one day. I absolutely cannot do Star Tours any more. That one ruined an entire day for me a few years ago. I can’t handle most roller coasters, especially ones that go upside down.
I say, if you’re prone to motion sickness, maybe take Dramamine or something before riding. I won’t risk ruining an entire day at WDW to ride it ever again.

 

Avatar Flight of Passage Queue Walkthrough
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

 

Is Flight of Passage Scary?

This is really hard to answer, especially if your question is really, “Will my kid be scared if they ride it?” It’s hard to predict what will scare kids — or anybody, for that matter.

I will say that I don’t think it’s an objectively scary ride, either “scary” from the ride itself (like the first ten seconds of Rock n Roller Coaster) or “scary” because of the story and action (like at the end of Dinosaur when they try to convince you that you might die any second.)

When Rebecca and I rode it, we did not see any children (or adults) crying as they exited the ride, for whatever that’s worth.

I think motion sickness is the bigger concern over being frightened.

 

Wait Times for Flight of Passage

When our family went to Disney World in fall 2018, I could not get a FastPass for Flight of Passage. Rebecca and I arrived at Animal Kingdom before it officially opened and followed the masses to the ride’s line, where there was already a StandBy wait of 60 minutes.

However, it definitely did not feel like an hour wait. I wasn’t paying attention to the time, so I’m sure if that’s because the estimate was off or just because the queue is so interesting that time went by quickly.

According to Touring Plans, the average peak wait time ranges from 125 minutes (2 hours and 5 minutes) to 250 minutes (4 hours and 10 minutes). And that’s just the average peak time, so it could be even longer.

So what should your game plan be if you don’t want to spend half the day standing in line for one ride?

First, assuming you want to ride Flight of Passage, try your darndest to get a FastPass for it. Start early, and keep trying.

If, like us, you just can’t get a FastPass no matter how hard you try, here are some things you can try:
1) Arrive at the park 30-60 minutes before it opens (this is what we did);
2) Get in the Stand By line about 15-30 minutes before the park closes;
3) Ride during Extra Magic Hours;
4) Keep trying to get a FastPass throughout the day

 

Flight of Passage Queue

Avatar Flight of passage ride

The queue for Flight of Passage is beautiful, and extensively detailed … and long. (Just like the movie.)

How long is it?

According the Disney blogger Tom Bricker, “It will literally take longer to walk through the Flight of Passage queue when it’s empty than it will to walk through Na’vi River Journey’s line, board the boat, do the attraction, and leave.” Wow.

The queue takes you through Pandora’s mountain range, interior caves, and RDA bunkers.

Avatar Flight of Passage Queue Walkthrough
Photo courtesy of Brett at Disney Photo Snapper

 

Flight of Passage Pre-Show

Flight of Passage two pre-shows (or, I guess, one pre-show with two parts, depending on how you want to look at it. I’m guessing it’s set up this way for some logistical reasons, but I have no idea.

In the first video, you and your ride group are matched to your avatars, while the second one is focused on the details of what’s about to happen.

Rebecca and I both thought the pre-shows were a little … weird. Or maybe a better word is “awkward.” There was one point where it felt like they were literally just stalling for time. I mean, maybe they were … but good grief, it shouldn’t obviously feel like it.

And apparently we weren’t the ones who felt that way. Tom Bricker says:

As much as I’m gushing over the ride experience, I was underwhelmed by the pre-shows. Actually, underwhelmed is way too charitable.

The pre-show videos are downright bad. And uh, felt choppy and amateurish in places. And uh, there was too much exposition. And uh, you’re beat over the head with the how and why of connecting to an Avatar (we get it–we’re not actually flying a banshee). And uh, it just really doesn’t set the appropriate tone for what’s otherwise a graceful and downright majestical ride experience.

Quite bluntly, the pre-show needs serious retooling. And uh.

But a couple clunky pre-shows was a small price to pay for an awesome queue and an amazing ride.

 

Flight of Passage and Plus Size Guests

A big concern among some guests is that they might not even be allowed to ride Flight of Passage because they are “Pooh sized” (as some people like to call themselves). If a guest cannot fit in the seat well enough to have the restraints locked by a Cast Member, they will told they have to exit the ride.

This is potentially upsetting for at least two reasons:
1) It would be awful to wait in line for 3-4 hours (or more) only to be told you can’t even go on the ride;
2) It’s embarrassing, to put it mildly, to have a mini-crowd of strangers watch you be unable to “fit” in a seat and then be asked to leave (and have everybody watch you during your Walk of Shame.)

So let’s talk about whether this could present a problem for you or someone in your party, and if so, what you can do about it.

First of all, Disney now has a test seat outside the entrance to the queue, so you can at least can get an idea of how well you fit before you wait on line for hours:

While this definitely helps, it’s still not perfect, because:
1) It’s not exactly private, and some guests may still find that unnecessarily embarrassing to have stranger watching them struggle to fit into a seat;
2) For reasons that don’t really make sense to me, I’ve heard of some people fitting in the test seat but not the actual ride, and vice versa.

Unfortunately (I guess?), there is no magic number for either height or weight that will tell you if the Flight of Passage seats will work for you or not. Two guests might weigh exactly the same, but one can ride and the other can’t because of their body shape and the way their weight is distributed.

The good news is that, to some extent, you can shift your position on the ride vehicle in certain ways that might make it possible to fit better.

DsnyFan246 from the DisBoards shares how they’ve successfully gotten into the ride vehicle multiple times, despite not being to fit in the test seat outside the queue:

At 5’8’’ and 310lbs I have never been able to fit on the FOP test seat. The last time I tried, the CM told me to go through the line anyway and try the actual seat. I quickly found some tips online, and I was able to fit that time and every time since.

Here’s what I do:
1-sit down and move all the way forward;
2-(when the CM says they’re activating the restraints) sit up straight with perfect posture, hold in my stomach, arch my lower back inward, and lean forward;
3-(right after 2) lift my heels off the floor so only my toes are on the floor (flip flops or bendable sandals are best) and then relax my back and feet after the restraints lock;
4-if the CM comes to check my restraints, I repeat steps 2 and 3. Sometimes the CM has to push the restraints manually. Once the restraints are locked, I relax and experience the best ride ever!

My sister (who is larger than me) follows these tips, and she has been able to ride every time. We also do not wear thick or layered clothing on the ride. Hope this helps!

There has been some talk that Disney eventually will — or least should — make some changes to this ride so it can accommodate more guests, but all of that is speculation and opinion.

 

Now it’s your turn.
What did you think of Flight of Passage? Did it make you motion sick? How long did you have to wait, and did you think it was worth it? What did you think of the pre-show? Let us know below in the comments!

 

Avatar Flight of Passage Tips

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Review of 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Review of 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In my post about the best Disney restaurants for first time visitors, I recommended the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios even though our personal experience was not that great (because our waiter was not that great).

I still wanted to give 50’s Prime Time Cafe the proper praise that I think the restaurant deserves (after all, the people at the nearby table with a different server were having a great time).

So I asked my friend Gini over at MickeyIsLife.com to do a guest post review of her own experiences there.

By the way, if you’re heading to 50’s Prime Time Cafe and want to avoid having the lame experience we did, when you arrive ask the host for a good server who “really gets into it.”

Unless, of course, you don’t want a server who’s going to play around you … in which case, I suggest you eat somewhere else. (More on that later.)

And now, here’s Gini!

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The 50’s Prime Time Cafe is a family-friendly diner that takes you back in time. Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the restaurant is known for its old decor, which serves as a fabulous throwback to the 1950s.

Open for lunch and dinner, the vintage joint offers reservations for those who’d like to skip the line (it can get quite busy sometimes!). Planning ahead is easy—just use the My Disney Experience app!

50s primetime cafe sign

 

Theming

The American eatery is a blast from the past with its retro theme. Not only are there old school TVs scattered throughout (be sure to watch the black and white clips!), but each table is designed to resemble “mom’s kitchen” from the 50s. Did I mention that the floor is covered with black and white tiles?

TV at 50s Prime Cafe in Hollywood Studios

 

The theme extends to the staff as well; most waiters and waitresses will be sarcastic and sassy—50s style. If anything, they play the part well. Many will be happy to pull out all of their “tricks” so that you can enjoy the experience.

A sense of humor is highly recommended!

 

Where is the 50s Prime Time Cafe?

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe is one of the many restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Located in Echo Lake, a themed land that features a small oval-shaped lagoon, it sits between the Tune-In Lounge and the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost.

 

Cafe Hours

The restaurant is open from 11:00 am to 9:15 pm on most days; they close early at 9:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. As far as their lunch menu goes, it runs until 3:15 pm. From there, they serve dinner until closing.

Know what day you’ll be visiting? You can look up their hours for that day on the Disney website.

 

Is the 50s Prime Time Cafe Quick Service or Table Service?

Decor Disney 50s Prime Time Cafe

The cafe offers table service. In other words, you get to sit down and enjoy the meal that’s brought out to you by your waiter. You might not feel that they’re your waiter, though—after all, they’re in character. Some of them might even refer to you as their cousin! Don’t worry, it’s just part of their role play.

Just sit back and have fun with the experience!

 

Is 50s Prime Time Cafe on the Disney Dining Plan?

The Disney Dining Plan is available for those who are staying at a Walt Disney World hotel. Essentially, it’s a prepaid meal plan that allows guests to budget their dining costs in advance.

There are three types:
Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan
Standard Disney Dining Plan
Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.

You’ll be happy to know that the 50’s Prime Time Cafe does accept two of them—that is, the Standard Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.

In both cases, it will require one credit. (you get one of these per night during your stay at the resort).

 

The 50s Prime Time Cafe Rules

Once you’re seated at your table, your waiter will let you know about “Mama’s Rules”.

These rules include:

– No elbows on the table
– No cellphones (that didn’t stop me from sneaking in a few photos, though!)*
– Use your manners at all time

* Note: Your waiter won’t hesitate to call you out if they see you on your phone! Just something to keep in mind, you know?

 

The Menu

fried chicken at 50s Prime Time Cafe

 

The 50’s diner offers six different types of appetizers:
Beer-battered Onion Rings
Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese (served with apples, grapes, and raspberry sauce) Chicken Noodle Soup
Cousin Amy’s Iceberg Lettuce Wedge
Grandpa’s Crab Cake (with bacon and chili sauce)

I was feeling a little under the weather that day so I opted for a bowl of chicken noodle soup. As much as I’d hate to admit it, there was nothing spectacular about the dish. It tasted exactly like what I’d eat at home—I suppose chicken noodle soup will be chicken noodle soup no matter where you are, hah!

Entree-wise, they have:
Pork Chops
Pot Roast
Chicken Pot Pie
Meatloaf
Caesar Salads
Vegetable Lasagna
Blue Plate Special (more about that in a minute)

Personally, I went for Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken (because you can never go wrong with fried chicken, right?). It came with a scoop of garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn. (see photo above.)

My first impression was that it came with a lot of chicken—”there’s no way that I can finish all that!” I thought.

The fried chicken was flavorful, yet not to the point of being too salty. While the meat was slightly dry, it was nothing a little gravy couldn’t fix.

Being the small eater that I am, I got pretty stuffed after eating two large pieces (don’t forget, there were the sides as well!). What did I do with the rest? I offered them to the BF, who happily devoured them.

Note: Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the restaurant for dinner. Their lunch and dinner menus are pretty much the same!

 

Vegan Menu

As with most Disney restaurants, the 50’s Prime Time Cafe does offer a few vegan options:

Cousin Ryan’s Vegetable Lasagna—Order it without cheese.
Fruit Salad
Garden Salad
Spaghetti (unfortunately, the vegetarian meatballs are not vegan, as they are made with eggs)
Vegetable Platter

I have heard mixed info about whether or not you can get vegan ice cream (made with either Tofutti or Rice Dream). Some people say you can get ice cream, but not milkshakes. Some people say they’ve gotten both, some people say they no longer offer either one. So you might want to call ahead and ask.

 

Allergy Menu

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe does have allergy-friendly offerings. Do note, however, that you’ll have to ask for the special menu. It covers the top 8 common allergens (gluten/wheat, milk/dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish.

They’ll be happy to work with you as long as you let them know about your allergies!

 

Children’s Menu

One of the great things about the restaurant is that they have several options for kids under the age of 9.

They offer three types of kids’ appetizers:
Garden salad
Vegetable Platter
Chicken Noodle Soup

Children’s entrees include:
Goofy’s Salmon
Grandma’s Macaroni & Cheese
Grandpa’s Grilled Chicken
Aunt Betty’s Chicken Tenders

All the entrees come with two sides (green beans and carrots, mashed potatoes, corn, fruit salad, cupcake) and a drink (milk, water or apple juice).

They also have a specialty drink for kids that’s served in a cool-looking souvenir Character Cup—one that comes with a glowing clip-on light!

 

Dessert

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe boasts a variety of desserts, including
Apple Crisp
Dad’s Favorite Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layered Cake
Ice Cream Sundaes
Cheesecake
Mom’s Brownie (everybody’s favorite!)

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to try the brownie (mainly because I was too full from the soup and chicken), but judging from how fast the people next to us ate it, it must have been pretty darn good!

If I ever go back, I’ll be sure to save some room for dessert.

 

Milkshakes

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe has two types of milkshakes on their menu:
Standard Milkshake (Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry)
Peanut Butter & Jelly Milk Shake

They are Big.
And they are Good.

 

Blue Plate Special

Aside from their regular entrees, they also offer a Blue Plate Special. As per their menu, it’s a “healthy seasonal alternative with all the fixings.” Just keep in mind that they’ll charge you the market price.

Some examples of the Blue Plate Special are:
Mahi Mahi
Osso Bucco
Braised Pork Shank

 

The 50’s Prime Time Sticker

Once you’re done your meal, your waiter will give you a nice little souvenir to take home—a 50’s Prime Time Cafe sticker. Be sure to ask for one if they forget to give it to you (sometimes they’re a little busy)!

 

50s Prime Time Cafe or Sci-Fi Dine-In?

When people are making their Disney dining reservations, there are often two similar restaurants they have trouble deciding between.

In the case of 50’s Prime Time Cafe, the obvious “comparison” is with Sci-Fi Dine-In, because
1) They are both in Hollywood Studios;
2) They both have a unique theme;
3) They serve similar types of food

I’ve never been to Sci-Fi Dine-In (and neither has Jen), but it seems to get pretty good reviews (for people who like a themed restaurant and are not expecting fine dining).

So which to choose if you can only do one?

As usual, Disney expert Tom Bricker nails it when he says:

The question is whether your party is primarily introverts or extroverts. If you have a bunch of introverts, or people who simply want to decompress and be left alone while eating, 50’s Prime Time Cafe is a bad idea. The ‘relatives’ serving you won’t break character if your party isn’t into it, either. They still pick on you and insist you clean your plate (etc.), and we’ve witnessed some awkward encounters at adjacent tables that inexplicably didn’t ‘get’ the concept through their entire meal.

Extroverts and older guests who were children of the 1950s through around the 1970s tend to love 50’s Prime Time Cafe. It’s a situation where you get out of it what you put into it, and the interactions can be a hoot if you roll with them and engage in a bit of banter with the servers …

By contrast, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is the ultimate restaurant for introverts or decompressing. Not only is the entertainment entirely passive (and the service low-key as Cast Members stay ‘out of the way’ of the movies), but you are seated in rows of a car, meaning you pretty much only have to interact with one person for the duration of the meal. For extroverts or families with kids, this seating arrangement can be a definite downside–it’s the most common complaints we receive about Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.

 

50’s Prime Time Cafe Recipes

Want to pretend you’re at 50’s Prime Time Cafe even after you come home from vacation? Just push play on one of these classic TV shows and put together one of these recipes:

 

Fried Chicken Recipe

This recipe for Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken includes wheat flour, soy flour, and non-fat dry milk.

 

Meatloaf Recipe

This copycoat recipe for meatloaf is made with beef and pork and topped with a glaze or ketchup, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

Video — PB&J Milkshake Recipe

 

If you’re interested in making more recipes from Disney restaurants, be sure to check out these cookbooks:

Mickey's Gourmet Cookbook: Most Popular Recipes From Walt Disney World & DisneylandMickey’s Gourmet Cookbook: Most Popular Recipes From Walt Disney World & DisneylandMickey's Gourmet Cookbook: Most Popular Recipes From Walt Disney World & DisneylandChef Mickey: Treasures from the Vault and Delicious New FavoritesChef Mickey: Treasures from the Vault and Delicious New FavoritesChef Mickey: Treasures from the Vault and Delicious New FavoritesCooking With Mickey and the Chefs of Walt Disney WorldCooking With Mickey and the Chefs of Walt Disney WorldCooking With Mickey and the Chefs of Walt Disney World

 

 

Final Thoughts on 50’s Prime Time Cafe

There’s just something special about eating at a ’50s themed restaurant so I would definitely come again given the chance! There are plenty of other dishes that I’d like to try (I’m eyeing their crabcake appetizer), not to mention their desserts.

One thing to remember, though, is that your experience depends largely on your waiter—some are more “immersive” than others. We were lucky in that ours was super fun and interactive!

In any case, anyone who’d like a blast from the past should go check out the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Even if you’re not from the ’50s, you’ll have lots of fun—I guarantee it. And anyway, who can say no to American comfort food?

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Gini has been a Disney fan for as long as she can remember. Enticed by the magic, she makes an effort to visit the parks at least once a year. When she isn’t planning her vacation, she enjoys playing with her five-year-old husky and working on her blog, Mickey Is Life.
Click here to follow Gini on Instagram.

50s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios

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