Sunday, February 21, 2016

A New Disney Tea Time Experience, Beach Club Solarium

For those who enjoy a quiet break during a busy Disney Vacation, a new tea service dining experience is now available in a test program on select dates until September. The Crescent Solarium at Disney's Beach Club now offers tea time. (The Garden Room Tea at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort is still available and you can read about it HERE.)
To hear us discuss further details and for my review of the NEW Crescent Solarium Tea Time please tune in to Disney Dream Girls Podcast Episode 94 HERE!
Current scheduled dates for this tea time are limited. They include: Feb.11-14, Feb. 18-21, March 24-29, May 5-8, June 16-19, Sept. 1-5.  More dates may become available if this test run is successful. Call (407) WDW-DINE, for reservations.

For those familiar with the Grand Floridian Garden Room Tea, this is a different experience. The food and teas are all different. The Garden Room Tea can be a replacement for a meal. Whereas the Solarium tea is small bites, yet very elegant, with more high end ingredients and very detailed plating with multiple components to each bite. They are different but both lovely. 

The Menu
Sea Side Park Tea ($45.00) First Course: Selection of Artisan Cheeses and Seasonal Accompaniments, Second Course: Petit Sandwiches and Canapes on House-made breads, Third Course: Scones served with Clotted Cream, Lemon Curd, and Seasonal Jam, Finale: House-made Pastries and Tea Cookies. Accompanied by your choice of Tea. 

Prince Cove Tea ($40.00) First Course: House-made Charcuterie and Cheese plate, Second Course: Scones Served with Clotted Cream, Lemon Curd and Seasonal Jam, Finale House-made Pastries and Tea Cookies. Accompanied by your choice of Tea. 

Sandy Cove Tea ($30.00) Same as the Sea Side Park Tea minus the First Course Cheese Plate.

Valentine's Tea ($35.00) Similar to the Sandy Cove Tea with the addition of a two-piece box of truffles.

White Teas include: White Blossom, Organic Jasmine Pearl.
Green Teas include: Organic Health and Well-Being Green.
Herbal Teas include: Harmony (mint and allspice), Tangerine, and Organic Vanilla Rooibos.
Oolong Teas include: Omanthus Oolong.
Black Teas include: Flowery Earl Grey, Cassis (black currant), Imperial English Breakfast, and Thunderbolt Darjeeling. 
Specialty Teas may be added. For Valentine's Day, a Shanghai Rose Tea was available.

Afternoon Delights
Bubbles include: Blanc de Bleu Brut, California ($10.00), Banfi, Cuvee Aurora Rose, Piedmont ($15.00), Banfi Rosa Regale, Piedmont ($12.00, highly recommend).
Pints include: Lagunitas IPA ($7.75), Left Handed Milk Stout ($7.75).
Spirits include: Buffalo Trace Bourbon ($4.00), Rye Manhattan ($11.00).

We ordered the Sea Side Park Tea ($45.00) and the special Valentine's Tea ($35.00).

I was told that once this becomes a permanent dining experience that the current furniture will be upgraded. During my visit, some of the tables show considerable wear.

The china was a simple design, yet elegant. I was informed that a new, beautiful pattern is on order and should arrive soon. Also, no tea cozies were available yet.  Our server made a point to make us several pots of tea as requested at no additional charge to compensate for the small size of the pot as well as the quick cooling.

Sea Side Park Cheese selection: Blue with a jelly, Brie-type with candied nuts, third cheese I don't recall with honeycomb and thin-sliced apples. Plus, bread toasts.

Sea Side Park Tea: Chicken Curry, Cucumber Watercress, Salmon (if I recall), and Crab.
Valentine's Tea: Lobster and Truffle, Smoked Salmon, Poached Pear, Duck Two ways (confit and prosciutto).
Served with both teas: Raspberry Jam (seasonal), Clotted Cream, Lemon Curd.
Served with both teas: Scones and Pastries. They are served together and not separately as listed on the menu.
Served with both Teas: Scones, Current and Cranberry. Heart-shaped for the Valentine's Tea.
Served with both Teas: Lemon Poppyseed cookie, Raspberry Cookie, Chocolate cake with Ganache and Gold Leaf, Madelaine.
Valentine's Tea: Truffle box.
Valentine's Tea Truffles: Champagne and Strawberry Cheesecake.

The Crescent Solarium is to the left of the front entrance of the Beach Club Resort. Access to the room is currently only through the outdoor entrance, not through the lobby.

The waiting area has a small covered area outside with a few seats. They were behind by 20 minutes when we arrived. So, most had to stand outside the covered area. At this time, no exact plan was in place for rainy or cold days. Likewise, many baggage carts for the DVC building passed through the waiting area. I suggested that these carts be redirected through the lobby and interior hallways during the tea time hours. The team leaders were receptive to the suggestion.


A little hand-written note from our charming server.
I attended the Crescent Solarium Tea on the first week that it opened. As expected in the pilot stage of operation, a few tweaks are needed. Several team leaders were there and very receptive to feedback about improving the experience. Below are a few suggestions that I made to them in addition to those comments listed above. I plan to return with Michelle from the Disney Dream Girls Podcast in September. I am very curious to see the evolution and improvements between the first week and final week of this test-run!  
Menu details were not listed nor described prior to service. This may have been an oversight, but if you are not open to trying all items presented, request menu details prior to ordering for modifications. 
Currently, a temporary kitchen is set up for service. I spoke to a team leader who said that if this becomes a permanent dining experience that a kitchen will be set up. We did receive some stale bread, browning apples, and soggy bread for a few items. I'm sure that having a better kitchen set up will improve the quality considerably. 
Also, due to the location of the temporary kitchen and use of a screened off temporary wall, there is no access to the Beach Club lobby bathroom from the Solarium. For a bathroom, Guests must exit the room AND the building and walk outside on an uncovered path to the Disney Vacation Club rooms section of the resort and use the bathroom in that lobby. This is slightly inconvenient but would be more so when raining. Hopefully, access to the main building lobby will be available to avoid this in the future. 
A final note of this tea was that including the 20+ minute delay from our reservation time, we were there over 3 hours. We had a very knowledgeable and kind server, but we were on our third pot of tea by the time we received scones. Several other Guests also complained about the slow (even for tea time) service.  I believe this will also be worked out in time. Some other tables seemed to move a a slightly faster pace.

*Crescent Solarium Tea is handicapped accessible.
*Follow Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers, Facebook @ThePrincesspapers and on the Disney Dream Girls Podcast @DisDreamGirls on Twitter.

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