Crystal Palace Vintage Walt Disney World Images

crystal palace

Crystal Palace Vintage Walt Disney World Images

The Crystal Palace restaurant at the Magic Kingdom has gone through a few changes over the years. I looked at some vintage Walt Disney World images (from the fantastic 1979 book, the Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World) earlier, for this post, I want to do a little theme parkeology on the Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace

crystal palace

I had to do a little photo editing on this full-spread image of the Crystal Palace restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. Notice anything in particular? It does seem like the clientele is a wee bit older than we’d see today (a lot less strollers, anyway). When Disney World was being designed, it was always felt that the majority of guests would be from the state’s large retirement population. Also, these are regular park guests and not cast members chosen and posed. And you can see actual food!

The first thing that I noticed, though, was the carpet!


OK, so the chairs are pretty cool, too. It’s so rare to see any photographic documentation of flooring inside of shops and restaurants. This looks like a great Victorian print, no? I was surprised at how institutional the tables actually were.

Notice anything else?



It was so difficult to get a good scan of the food.  It looks like peas and sweet potatoes. There’s also a small salad, a dessert of some sort and a great cup!

And trays!


I’m surprised to see a rather plain tray, but I wonder when Disney started designing custom trays.

There’s another close-up of food. A larger salad and another cup! There’s a dark blue cup behind it. I wonder if that’s the one for sweet tea.


Next up: lights!


You can see the decorations on the lamps, which look like a flower design. Also, notice the brass-like decorations on the poles.

For this last detail of the Crystal Palace, check out the wall decoration.


I’m wondering if that was fuzzy wallpaper or just paint. Anyone remember?

Do you remember eating at the Crystal Palace before it became a spot for Winnie the Pooh and Friends?

3 thoughts on “Crystal Palace Vintage Walt Disney World Images

  1. I spot an ashtray on the table! You don’t see those in restaurants anymore, at least in Florida. Or in at least half the country where there are smoking bans in place.

  2. A band with strings and accordion. That’s cool. Wondered if they were regulars and what they played.

  3. I remember the original buffet here, w/fam always trying to score reservations (sometimes at turnover between breakfast & lunch/from lunch to dinner, a “hack” also available at standard buffets like GC, now defunct Ryans, etc; just be careful, as buffet mealtime prices are sometimes a bit different from each other so some buffets frown on/outright ban this “mealtime crossing” trick)/time walk-in seating in the rare brief “slow”/rarer still “quiet” times of biz days.

    More than the food/even the “fixed” atmospherics, what we recall most happily were the various plants@the OG Palace@WDW (TokyoDL also has a version, bit bigger, brighter but usually less decorated&thus not as magical ambience inside for some guests tastes) from the 70s-80s, & how doors/such were often open long nuff birds would enter&move around inside (a few guests could be seen tryna feed/otherwise attract them, tho this was always frowned on&sr staff often reminded visitors by signage&/WOM just how important “natural balance” etc was to the likes of Walt&some of his OG imagineers; they didn’t outright invent nature shows but definitely flung the door wide open for the likes of PBS’ Nature, Attenborough’s LIVING PLANET, etc; these regular programs might not have gained such public favor if not for the Mouse’s glossier, crossdemographic forays into that niche).

    Those animals sometimes inside were the plussing”accidental floorshow” of vintage GP, making it feel almost like its inspirational English namesake (despite what some newer foll may think, GP was designed to evoke that older expo hall&not the younger similar size&outer theming “copycat” structure housing San Francisco’s premier multisciences museum). Whenever they were in there, it truly felt like a typical golden age DISNEY fairytale film (indeed, more than once they actually hopped/flew onto guests even w/out any1 actively trying for that, just like in CINDERELLA, SNOW WHITE, etc).

    Does anyone else recall this unplanned plus to GP, &/the larger more varied amount of horticulture inside it back before the vibe there shifted somewhere around the 90s?

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