Anytime is snack time at Tokyo Disney Resort! One thing people often remember from their visits are the adorable, wacky treats like funky popcorn (not to be confused with the deliciously funky popcorn soda) or the famous Little Green Man mochi. But never before have we seen such a massive all-you-can-eat haul like what we experienced at the NEW Crystal Palace Restaurant Dessert Buffet in Tokyo Disneyland this week.
That’s right, you can now set aside an hour to take a “greatest hits” tour of some of the best snacks and treats at Tokyo Disneyland, so we went to check it out! And not only that, we also reviewed every single item on offer and made a video tour. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive right in to kawaii snack heaven!
You can check out our full tour of the buffet above, and then keep on reading for an overview and reviews of everything!
If you’ve been to the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, the look inside is essentially the same at Tokyo Disneyland. A number of tables are blocked off or spaced apart to promote social distancing.
The buffet costs ¥2980, or about $27.89, and requires a Priority Seating reservation. Once you’re brought to your table, you’re given a card that denotes your hour timeslot (in our case, 2:10-3:10pm), and a wrapper to place your mask in. Every table-service restaurant at Tokyo Disney Resort is offering these during the COVID-19 pandemic. But unlike at other restaurants such as Polynesian Terrace, you’ll need to take your mask in and out of this several times. The restaurant requests that visiting Guests wear their masks when they make runs to the buffet, for sanitary reasons.
And speaking of sanitary reasons, it really isn’t a true buffet. At the food and beverage stations, Cast Members are stationed with masks and gloves to serve Guests. So you must tell the Cast Member which treat or drink you want and they will serve it to you, so as to best prevent contamination between Guests. This is probably the best we’ll approach to a buffet experience during COVID-19, but it certainly isn’t inefficient in the least. Cast Members were friendly, helpful, and most of all, quick to help!
The center island begins with the famous Little Green Man mochi, divided by flavor: matcha and custard. It’s accompanied by a lovely decorative pile of mochi, which adds a nice flair to the iconic treat.
Next door sits the muscat verrine and the strawberry and white chocolate mousse.
On the other side, you’ll find the healthier option of the fresh fruit cup.
And directly adjacent is the souffle cheesecake and the cupcake pair.
Make a 180 degree turn and you’ll find a novel but striking item – the shrimp and chicken cutlet sushi roll.
Next door are warm items – spring rolls and meat-filled naan. The heat lamps only work with varying degrees of success. The review below discusses how well these work.
Next up is this collection of cakes and puddings. Left to right, we see strawberry cream roll cake, custard a la mode, and “strawberry shortcake”, which is a bit of a misnomer.
Then we’ve got the Mickey Mouse-shaped milk pudding with passionfruit sauce, purple sweet potato mont blanc, and strawberry mille crepe.
And finally, there’s soy milk corn soup, a questionable choice for a sweets buffet, and the strawberry tapioca soup, pre-portioned in small bowls.
Everything is ready for the Guest to eat! I don’t know about you, but looking at the arrangements is getting me hungry. How about we actually try them all? Let’s dig in!
Every Treat, Reviewed!
And now, the moment you’ve all waited for—we tried every single offering at this buffet to see how it fared. Some things we’ve seen and loved in the parks before, but there were a few surprise additions we didn’t expect. What you see above is but a small selection!
Pizza Spring Roll
These incredible spring rolls are normally sold at Mickey’s Trailer in Toontown for ¥350 ($3.27) alongside a much less appetizing Egg & Shrimp variety. Thank goodness they chose the pizza flavor, if you ask me, because these are one of my favorite snacks at Tokyo Disneyland! The pizza spring roll is delicious and gooey, with an excellent balance of tomato sauce and cheese, but it’s extra-greasy on the outside. Like if you touch this outside of its wrapper, you’ll definitely need a few napkins. But by no means does that outweigh the deliciousness within!
Chocolate Tipo Torta
Tipo Tortas are a staple of Tokyo Disney Resort, and feature some kind of flavored crust with a gooey filling of some kind. You either love them or hate them (I personally love them but can’t bear the wait they usually carry), but you can’t deny their popularity! The two perennial flavors are chocolate and pizza, with other flavors (like my personal favorite of all time, purple sweet potato) occasionally rotating in seasonally. They’re normally sold at Village Pastry and Tropic Al’s at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea respectively for ¥360 ($3.37).
The tipo torta served here was chocolate-flavored (my favorite of the two perennial flavors), but was also half-size. Not a big deal at a buffet, but still interesting. It featured a crunchy, crumbly chocolate exterior with a gooey dark chocolate-filled interior. Be careful with this one if you’re not a dark chocolate person, but also in general because crumbs will go everywhere, and it’ll completely split apart if you bite in to it wrong.
Strawberry Mille Crepe
A similar dessert was sold in Cafe Portofino at Tokyo DisneySea during Pixar Playtime earlier this year. The strawberry mille crepe carries a light but distinct strawberries and cream flavor and has a nice fluffiness to it that characterizes many Japanese desserts like roll cakes and crepes. It’s not at all a bad choice for those seeking a less overly-sweet option, and the fresh strawberry garnish was delicious as well!
Little Green Man Mochi – Custard & Matcha
These cute little guys are essential to any visit to Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea, and traditionally come in three flavors—custard, strawberry, and chocolate. Sadly, two of those were absent this round, with only custard and matcha red bean flavors on offer.
The matcha red bean flavor isn’t normally part of the assortment. Traditionally its only offered in the set of nine Little Green Man dumplings that appears every winter. It tastes about as you’d expect, with a rich matcha and azuki red bean balance. These are both difficult tastes to describe if you haven’t tried them before, but think of a green tea paste with a slightly sweet bean in there. Some western visitors enjoy matcha and azuki red bean, others don’t. You can see a similar contrast in our review of Tokyo DisneySea’s Matcha White Chocolate popcorn from earlier this year.
The custard one tastes as one would expect from custard—sweet and slightly milky. Definitely the more bland of the two, but still a sweet treat. I would’ve preferred if they’d offered the chocolate and/or strawberry varieties instead, but you can still find them over at Pan Galactic Pizza Port in Tomorrowland!
Strawberry Roll Cake
This delicious strawberry roll cake bears a resemblance to our favorite gal pal Minnie Mouse, with an adorable polka-dot white and red exterior and a fluffy strawberry cream interior similar to that crepe above. But because of the sheer amount of filling, I’d give the edge to the crepe. This much filling and flavor makes the roll cake overly sweet.
Strawberry Tapioca Soup
They couldn’t be more on-the-nose than this, although cold and soup seems like an oxymoron in my head. Doubly so with something as sweet as strawberry. It’s essentially strawberry juice with chunks of strawberry and strawberry-flavored tapioca inside. You’re better drinking this than using a spoon, but it was quite excellent! I would’ve rather drank this than use the drink bar, honestly. But if you’re looking to avoid the overly-sweet end of the spectrum, best to steer clear of this one.
Mickey Milk Pudding with Passionfruit Sauce
This is pretty similar to an offering we saw for Disney’s Easter 2019, also at Cafe Portofino in Tokyo DisneySea. Except this time, it uses the same Mickey Mouse head mold as the Almond Jelly served at China Voyager and Vulcania! It tastes fairly conventional as far as milk pudding goes, served with passionfruit chunks and boba with passionfruit sauce that compliments the comparably plain milk pudding flavor well. I’d definitely recommend this, it won’t disappoint anyone’s palates!
White Chocolate & Strawberry Mousse
This one’s a bit more of a hodge-podge, with the mousse coming from the perennial Duffy souvenir cup available in Cape Cod Cook-Off at Tokyo DisneySea. The difference is the white chocolate bow on top, seen on all the desserts from Very Very Minnie earlier this year, and the chunk of cheesecake as well! The cheesecake and coconut shavings are just divine, and I would frankly enjoy more of that than what else we got. Not to say that this is bad, I just have very hit-or-miss experiences with TDR’s layered desserts.
The strawberry pudding is almost unnoticeable, especially between the strawberry preserves on top and the white chocolate on the bottom. They’re all rather rich compared to other layered desserts usually served in souvenir cups, quite honestly. When you combine all three layers at once, the central (and very mild) strawberry mousse layer is completely lost. I would recommend this to those who enjoy white chocolate, but it wasn’t a huge hit in my eyes.
Now this one’s an interesting flavor for sure. We last saw this dessert as part of the special set at Casbah Food Court for Pixar Playtime earlier this year, and now it’s here at Crystal Palace! For those unaware, muscat is a type of grape, commonly seen as white table grapes sold in your everyday grocery store. But these didn’t carry a traditional grape flavor as we’d normally see. Rather, they have a very distinct white grape flavor, with the pudding being the stronger of the two. Since they’re essentially the same flavor, the two build upon each other rather than clash. But you’re best eating it first when you do pick it up, because the jelly liquefies quite quickly.
Custard a la Mode
Despite the English translation, it’s literally Japanese pudding with some fruits. It tastes like a slightly bitter flan, par for the course for Japanese pudding. I’ve never been a huge fan, but many people do enjoy this one. Nothing particularly unexpected here, in all honesty. The strawberry is fresh and juicy, but skip the honeydew, it’s bland and flavorless.
Shrimp & Chicken Cutlet Sushi Roll
This one is another perennial snack favorite, normally found at Bayside Takeout at Tokyo DisneySea. Since I’d never tried this before (shocker, right?), I was excited to see it on the menu! And surprised once I did at how much I enjoyed this one. The rice amount is perfect, and the chicken/shrimp flavor balances out well. If you like California rolls, you’ll definitely like this one.
Chilled Soy Milk Corn Soup
Out of all the things at this buffet, this is the only one I was legitimately dumbstruck by. Who thought this was a good idea? It’s just cold, runny corn soup. Corn potage is regularly served as a side at many Tokyo Disney Resort restaurants and I always love it. But that’s definitely meant to be served warm. I can’t imagine the logic behind serving it cold and runnier here. Definitely a hard pass from me.
I’m a bit of a cheesecake snob, it’s my favorite dessert. But the resort definitely hit a home run with this one. It’s commonly used as a base for other seasonal desserts, but served plain is equally delicious! It’s nice and rich, which is a welcome change from most Japanese cakes. I could’ve gorged myself on about thirty of these if I hadn’t been getting full by the end!
Fresh Fruit Cup
No harm in offering a (relatively) healthier option at a dessert buffet! The cup contained three types of fruit—strawberries, pineapple slices, and honeydew chunks. Two of these three were fantastic. The strawberries were fresh and juicy, doubly so for the pineapples. But the honeydew tasted like gooey, flavorless blobs. Eat the top two layers and forget the honeydew, it isn’t worth it.
Demi-Glace Potato Churro
Another import from Tokyo DisneySea, the potato demi-glace churro is normally served at the Refreshment Station in Mysterious Island. But its never been all that popular, and frankly I can understand why. It’s a giant potato shaped like a churro, and the demi-glace sauce inside doesn’t really do any wonders for adding flavor. In particular, this desperately needs salt. I suppose if you’re going to try this snack, better you do it here where it’s included in the cost rather than schlepping out to Mysterious Island and shelling out for it.
Vanilla & Chocolate Cupcakes
There’s nothing all that special about these, they’re your garden-variety vanilla and chocolate mini-cupcakes that you can find at nearly every grocery store in the world. The raspberry puffs atop the vanilla and the dark chocolate whip on the chocolate were both excellent, however! And that Mickey silhouette chocolate garnish is a nice touch. Nothing special, but still fine nonetheless.
Calling this “strawberry shortcake” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more just a buttercream vanilla cake with some strawberry in the middle. Out of all strawberry-flavored things in this buffet, this is probably the closest flavor that doesn’t have actual strawberry chunks in it. It’s nothing special, but you certainly won’t feel disappointed by anything other than the ridiculously small portion.
Naan with Meat Sauce
Another favorite typically served in Toontown, the naan with meat sauce is a solid (if a little delicate) choice for a snack on the go. Like the churros, it’s cut in half. But it still doesn’t disappoint, with a hearty meat sauce filling reminiscent of spaghetti sauce with less tomato. I think the problem here is that this sort of thing isn’t really meant for a buffet. It gets cold quickly unless you eat it first-thing, and even then that’s only if you get a fresh one. You’re probably better off going to Toontown and picking up a fresh, hot one instead of eating the buffet version.
Purple Sweet Potato Mont Blanc
Another popular imported dessert, mont blanc is everywhere in Japan. These are a bit of a throwback actually, we last saw this as the souvenir dessert at Cape Cod Cook-Off for Duffy’s Delightful Autumn Woods in 2019. And for those unfamiliar, purple sweet potato is a rather common autumn flavor in Japan, with a sweet/savory flavor that’s difficult to describe without trying it yourself. The problem is that it’s a flavor that’s very hit-or-miss depending on how you serve it. Fortunately, it’s a hit this time, balancing the savory-sweet flavor with the whipped cream inside. Plus the bottom is nice and crumbly, making it easy to enjoy in pieces!
Is it really a trip to Disney without eating a churro? These strawberry churros are normally found at Rackety’s Raccoon Saloon in Critter Country, and you’re best served going there to get one rather than trying it here. Seriously, churros are not made for buffets. Even when we first got this, it was already cold and stale despite being under a heat lamp. I normally love this, but I just can’t recommend trying it here at the buffet. Just go get the hot and fresh version instead.
And that’s every single thing at the delightful Sweet Time Selections buffet at Tokyo Disneyland’s Crystal Palace Restaurant! There’s so many choices and classics, it’s hard to say which one is my favorite. But you certainly won’t be disappointed with your experience here, both in a culinary and safety sense. Better hurry though, because who knows how long this will last! Make your Priority Seating reservations at Crystal Palace Restaurant as soon as possible, and let us know how your experience is in the comments below or on social media!
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