by Fancy Free Diva
My friends sometimes tell me that I’m not a real grown-up because I do not drink coffee. I can’t stand the stuff. But I prefer to think of myself not as less of a grown-up, but as someone with a more discerning palate: I am a tea drinker. If you also have a discerning palate, then the Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room in Disney’s Grand Floridian is not to be missed.
First, the turn-of-the-century ambiance of the Grand Floridian sets the scene. Walking into the lobby, you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a more elegant era. There’s often a piano player creating soothing melodies, and the glow from the chandelier infuses everything with a golden light.
The Garden View Tea Room is located just off the lobby, and if you’re interested in the Afternoon Tea, you should definitely make ADRs (advance dining reservations) by calling 407-WDW-DINE or by using My Disney Experience. Afternoon Tea begins at 2pm, and you can book up to 180 days in advance. Since the Garden View Tea Room is a relatively small venue, I definitely recommend making reservations ahead of time.
Once inside, you have several options to choose from the menu. Some of the tea services, like the Yorkshire Tea ($175 per person as of July 2015) include such luxuries as caviar and champagne, but there’s also a child’s option, the Mrs. Potts Tea ($13 per person as of July 2015), which actually comes with chocolate milk rather than tea. On our visit, my mother, husband, and I each opted for the Bedfordshire Tea ($30 per person as of July 2015), which includes a selection of finger sandwiches, berries, cheese, scones, jam, pastries, and, of course, tea.
In terms of tea, there are several signature blends created exclusively for the Garden View Tea Room by a Master Tea Blender, including the Princes Breakfast Tea, a strawberry-vanilla Rooibos, and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, a pomegranate-passion fruit Ceylon blend. There are a number of green, white, herbal, and oolong teas to choose from, but black teas are my favorite, so I selected a pot of the Eros, a mandarin orange and vanilla Ceylon blend to begin with, but I also ordered an additional pot of the Organic English Breakfast, which had a deep and gorgeous flavor. The tea is served in teapots covered with plush velvet cozies, and each person at the table gets his or her own pot.
The table settings in the Garden View Tea Room are all fine china, and everything is so exquisitely delicate. There is something very upscale and refined about this experience, and the sedate quality of the tea room offers a perfect respite from a busy day of park touring and thrill rides.
When our first course arrived, the tiny tea sandwiches were cut into perfect triangles, and they were all delectable. There was a cucumber sandwich, which my husband found bland, but which I enjoyed, and egg salad, which was perfectly tender. There was also a sandwich with a curry flavor, and all of the tea sandwiches were served with a small onion tart on the side. I am not a fan of onions typically (I think they’re evil), but the onion tart had a sweetness to it that made it bearable, even for me.
The highlight for me, though, was the second course. The second course included a buttery scone accompanied by marmalade, clotted cream, and lemon curd. The lemon curd was the perfect tart counterpoint to the buttery scone, and I thoroughly enjoyed not only my own portion, but my husband’s as well. This second course was followed by dessert. I chose the house-made pastry plate, which included a delicate puff pastry swan that was almost too beautiful to eat. Notice that I said “almost.”
The eclair and chocolate dipped strawberry offered the perfect amount of sweetness to serve as a counterpoint to the richness of the tea. While I enjoyed my pastries, my husband and my mother both enjoyed the strawberries and cream. The presentation of this dessert is posh and sumptuous, with the Grand Floridian monogram stenciled atop the thick cream.
Beneath that loveliness, you’ll find fresh strawberries complimented by the perfect amount of sugar to offset the natural tang of the berries themselves. Fortunately, my husband is more generous with his desserts than I am with mine, so I got to try a bite. It tasted like the most perfect summer day.
All in all, this was a perfect afternoon and a perfect experience. The service was on point, the atmosphere was divine, and the tea service was exquisite. While I enjoy every minute of my time in the Disney Parks, the Afternoon Tea provided a quiet respite that was relaxing and rejuvenating. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who loves tea and classy things.
Diva Tip: We scheduled our afternoon tea to coincide with our daughter’s Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare, also at the Grand Floridian. Since the Wonderland Tea Party is for children only, the adults needed something to occupy our time, too. You can read my review of the Wonderland Tea Party here.
If you need help planning your Disney vacation or booking your Afternoon Tea, contact Patricia with All for Dreams Travel, the official travel agent at Tips from the Disney Diva.
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