My two teenage daughters and I recently had a “girls only” trip to Walt Disney World, and I thought it would be fun to try something new, that Dad might not necessarily be upset about missing out on (it turns out that I was wrong about THAT assumption!), so I booked us for Afternoon Tea in the Grand Floridian's Garden View Tea Room (Garden View Lounge).
The Tea Room is located on the first floor of the Grand Floridian, just off of the lobby.
It has lots of windows and is full of light and comfortable seating.
As you enter, be sure to look down to see the lovely mosaics in the floor.
Afternoon Tea is served daily from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. I decided that we would make the tea one of our main meals of the day, so I booked our Advance Dining Reservation for 4:30 p.m.
We arrived at about 4:15, because we had had a light early lunch, and we all very hungry. Although the Tea Room was not full and there were a number of empty tables, I was surprised when the hostess asked us to take a seat and that it would be a 10 to 15 minute wait. About 10 minutes later, we were escorted to a lovely round table near the window. The table could have seated up to six guests, and I could see that the reason for our wait was that the folks at the smaller tables in the room were still lingering over their tea and goodies. Because we were the last party seated for the day, I am not quite sure why this was a problem.
In any case, we WERE seated, and after a short wait, were handed our menus. I must say that it took some time to read through the menu to decide what we wanted to order, as it is extensive.
The menu includes the Tea Room's tea selections (green, white, black and infusions), selections for “full” afternoon tea service (including a savory selection like tea sandwiches or cheeses and pates, scones, jam tarts, pastries, tea and an alcoholic beverage, priced from $23 to $38) and a la carte items (scones, jam tarts, strawberries and cream, tea sandwiches, etc. priced from $3.50 to $14.50). We decided to go for the full service, since this would be an early dinner for us.
For our tea selections (which, a la carte, are $6.25 per person), I chose the Gardenview Blend: “A signature blend made exclusively for Gardenview Tea Room.” It was a lovely, traditional black tea. Daughter Number 1 (DN1) chose the Nobo Whole Fruit: “Full bodied and rich in sweetness. An array of berries and apple, accompanied with hibiscus, rose hips, and cornflowers,” and Daughter Number 2 (DN2) chose the Harmony: “A tranquil blend of sweet chamomile blossoms, peppermint, allspice and orange blossoms for a mild and sweet taste.”
It appeared that the other diners were being served their tea from traditional ceramic pots covered with velvet tea cozies to keep the tea warm (sorry, I wanted to get a picture of those, but somehow didn't). They must have run out of the ceramic pots, as our tea was served from glass press pots.
I chose the Prince Edward's Tea: “A delicious array of assorted pates and English Blue Stilton, the "King" of English cheeses, served with marinated fresh berries, and Cumberland sauce. We then offer our delicious freshly baked scones served with rich Devonshire cream. Served with your choice of tea and a glass of our Fonseca Bin 27 Character Port. $24.50 per guest. Cockburn 20 yr Tawny Port $2.00.”
Yummy! I love Stilton, and it, the pates and the berries did not disappoint. I had to Google Cumberland sauce when I got home: “Cumberland sauce is a fruit-based sauce, usually used on non-white meats such as venison, ham, and lamb. Created sometime in the late 19th century, the sauce was named after the Duke of Cumberland who had ties in Hanover, Germany, where the sauce was invented.” Who knew? Anyway, it tasted great, and really worked well with all of the items on the plate.
DN2 chose the Princess Kate Tea: “A Spring tea served with a classic dish of potted shrimp followed by a medley of cheeses, an array of seasonal fruits, and cheddar cheese biscuits. A scone, jam tart, and a selection of delicate pastries is accompanied by a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne and your choice of tea. $38.00 per guest.”
Since DN2 is not of an age to appreciate (nor legally imbibe) a lovely Veuve Cliquot, the waitress was nice enough to serve her glass of champagne to me
and to substitute the port that was supposed to come with my meal for a nice glass of Martinelli's sparkling cider for her. DN1 decided that she would like a glass of sparkling cider too, please, thank you very much.
The potted shrimp were to die for. DN2 usually won't touch shrimp, but she devoured these, and only shared one very small bite with her mother!
DN1 decided that she “only” wanted the British Cheese Plate: “A selection of traditional British cheeses, served with an array of seasonal fruits. $14.50” As you can see, there were plenty of wonderful cheeses and fruits on the plate, including the wonderful Stilton (which DN1 doesn't really like, so I got even more for myself!).
Once DN2 and I finished our first courses, we were each served a scone with clotted cream and jam, and DN2 also got a jam tart, and some pastries. I think that it is a very good thing for my waistline that I cannot get clotted cream at my local grocery store, I love it SOOO much! The girls didn't quite get it.
At the end of the meal, we were each brought a lovely, long-stemmed rose.
Mad Hatter: Would you like a little more tea?
Alice: Well, I haven't had any yet, so I can't very well take more.
March Hare: Ah, you mean you can't very well take less.
Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing.
Note: The Tables in Wonderland card can be used for a discount for tea in the Garden View Tea Room. There are no other discounts currently available, and the Disney Dining Plan is not accepted.
The previous post in this blog was Disney World: What's New, What's Next August 5, 2011.
The next post in this blog is A Quiet Meal at the Turf Club Bar & Grill.