Saturday, September 12, 2015

Disney Tea Time for Adult Princesses!

What better way to celebrate a birthday and a day of princessing with a friend than an afternoon enjoying tea time at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Garden  View Lounge Tea Room?  This unique and relaxing experience is located in a sunny room at the end of the lower lobby level of the resort, and I highly recommend making an advanced dining reservation during your next trip. (There were several gentlemen at tea. So, do not be hesitant to bring along a male companion. Everyone can enjoy some quiet pampering!)

The menu for the Garden View Tea Room has recently changed.  The a la carte items are no longer available but a selection of multi-course options provide more than enough choices. Prices start at $30 per person and can go up to nearly $200 for two guests if you opt for splurging on champagne and caviar.  We chose The Bedfordshire Tea ($30 per Guest). It includes three courses plus a pot of tea per Guest.  These same three courses are included with each tea menu option. The higher priced meals include additional courses. We found this basic tea to be more than enough food for our lunch/dinner. It is much more filling than it appears.

A four-cup pot of Tea is included for each Guest.  You may choose from a wide selection of seasonal, signature (made exclusively for the Garden Tea Room by the company, "T," and available for purchase in tins starting at $20), green/white, herbal, and many more.  Our server, Riley, informed us that the Tea Room offers more selections than what the menu shows and he offered to help "pair" a tea to our tastes if nothing on the menu seemed appealing.
I chose an Organic Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea. I was very happy to see an organic option. It was very smooth and easy to drink. I had one glass over ice with the first course and the rest of my pot hot with a drizzle of honey.  It paired well with the meal and did not compete with the flavor of any of the food. My guest chose the Mad Hatter Tea. This is made exclusively for the Garden View Tea Room and is not the same Mad Hatter Tea that you may see for sale in Disney gift shops.  They are made by two different companies. My friend said that the tea was delicious and tropical.  It definitely had a tropical scent. She drank it hot, but I am sure that it would be delicious iced as well.

Our first course included a selection of Finger Sandwiches, Fruit, and Cheeses.  

The sandwich flavors had changed since my last visit and I was sad to see that they no longer offer the pear and gorgonzola.  The new options include: egg salad, curried chicken (sweet, not spicy at all), cucumber watercress, and an open-faced pickled yellow beet on goat cheese. Also hiding on the plate is a little caramelized onion tart. Another change is the addition of fruit (grapes and berries), cheese (Tillamook cheddar and a sage flavored cheese), as well as sesame lavosh crackers.  I really enjoyed the fruit and cheese, possibly even more than the sandwiches. Everything was very tasty. If there are any items that you do not like, substitutions are welcome. 

The second course was a Berry Tart and Warm Golden Raisin Scone.

These are accompanied by a trio of toppings: house-made lemon curd, clotted cream, and apricot jam.  From an earlier visit, I learned a trick for this course, request a side of sweetened whipped cream as well. It is absolutely delicious on the scone with some jam.  A drizzle of honey along with the clotted cream on the warm soft scone is also to die for! 

By the final course, we were both very full and buzzing on sugar. Unlike the set menu for the first two courses, on the third course, you have three options: Seasonal trifle (pineapple and I think mango was the summer flavor), strawberries with fresh whipped cream, or a trio of mini pastries. I chose the Trio of Pastries, which included a cream puff in the shape of a swan filled with a milk chocolate caramel mousse, a chocolate cream filled eclair with a rich dark chocolate top, and a strawberry dipped in white chocolate and artificially flavored strawberry crispies. 

The strawberry was juicy but I am not a fan of the artificial flavor of the crispies that were attached to it.  I had a taste of the swan mousse. It was delicious but I did not detect the caramel flavor that the server mentioned.  The star was the eclair. I enjoyed the dark chocolate shell. It was very rich and unfortunately, I was too full to finish the plate.  Riley happily brought a to-go box and included an extra swan because, "we don't want the other one to get lonely in the box." (You can't help but smile with a wonderful Cast Member like that!)

My friend chose the strawberries and cream.  The presentation was spectacular with the Grand Floridian logo design on top! She said they were divine and warns that there MAY have been a bit of liquor in them. If we weren't wearing tiaras and being proper princesses, she said that it was good enough to lick the bowl!

At the end of our tea, Riley surprised my friend, the birthday girl, with a gorgeous long stem rose.
To my surprise, he also presented one to me as well.  Again, it is lovely to find such wonderful Cast Members.
Overall, we really enjoyed our tea time in the Garden View Tea Room.  The food was yummy, the service was excellent, and it was VERY relaxing.  Our dining experience was nearly two hours.  It never felt slow or like we were waiting.  The set menu means that the food is ready and the servers go at YOUR pace.  We chatted and had a leisurely time and were not rushed at all. Some other Guests were quicker with their tea. If you would like a nice slowed down vacation moment, take your time. This is a wonderful place to relax.
*Accessibility: There are stairs leading into the Tea Room. However, I believe there is a ramp to the side of the room and Cast Members were asking if Guests would like to stay in wheelchairs. So, I believe the room is fully accessible.

*Tables in Wonderland is accepted. 
*Book your next WDW vacation with Katherine (link on the right side of this page) and tell her the princess sent you! She will be more than happy to make all your dining arrangements including Tea at the Garden Tea Room.
*Children are welcome at the Garden View Tea Room. However, a child specific tea time is also available and includes child friendly food, a doll, bracelet, and necklace, as well as storytime and other activities. The cost includes one child and one adult and is approx. $250. Additional children may attend for an additional charge. Available on select days.

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