One of our favorite spots on Walt Disney World property by far is the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It holds so many romantic moments and special memories for us. During our wedding week Julie and the ladies had “tea time” at the Grand while the guys had “tee time” next door at Disney’s Palm Golf Course (see what we did there?). Since then, we have both had the pleasure of being back to visit a few times over the years for Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room. On a recent visit we enjoyed the experience once again and wanted to capture the details and share our reasons why this is a must do in our books.
1. We Love the Relaxing Atmosphere
On this particular day we happened to be at the Magic Kingdom and found the crowds to be a bit more than we were in the mood for, so we decided to take a break for a couple of hours. We headed over to the Grand Floridian to chill out for a bit. We generally find the atmosphere there nice and relaxing and love to grab a drink, listen to the live music, or even just sit on the porches to enjoy the views. While sitting at the resort, we decided to pop over to the Garden View Tea Room on a whim to see if they had any open tables. Sure enough, after about a 10 minute wait, we were escorted to a table to enjoy a lovely afternoon tea.
The Garden View Tea Room is a cozy, but open lounge space located on the first floor of the Grand Floridian Lobby (on the opposite end from the main entrance). It has that old fashioned vibe and lots of windows looking out onto the grounds. You immediately feel transported back to another time with the sights and sounds, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a more quiet and relaxing time. The Afternoon Tea is held 7 days a week from 12:00 to 4:00. If you happen to be there at 3pm or later you will hear the live music courtesy of the Grand Floridian Lobby Pianist or the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra as well.
2. It Feels Like a Special Treat
To be honest just being in the “grandness” of the Grand Floridian is pretty awesome. Things feel fancy even when you are just in your park clothes. The service at the Garden View Tea Room is always great, and we love that you can linger. It is basically the completely opposite feeling vs when you are at a hectic character buffet. Enjoying tea is just a different experience than lunch or dinner, it’s an unusual time, with specialty traditional treats, so we find that makes it feel like a unique experience as well.
There are many dining options and special experiences you can choose from around the parks. We love that the tea is one of those experiences that can actually be pretty reasonable in price considering you are in the top tier resort on property. “The Bedfordshire Tea” is $35 per person. We have been to other traditional style teas back home that were the same price point and they were not as good as this one by a long shot. There are other options if you want to get even more special too. You can add on cheese platters with “The Cheshire Tea” for $50 per person, or fancy champagne with the “The Berkshire” priced at $150 for two people. Even though it is “just tea”, we do feel that by the time you eat all the nibbles and drink the whole pot of tea, everything is really quite filling.
3. It’s an Authentic and Delicious Experience
Julie is half Canadian with British roots and really knows her tea. (Back in the day Andrew scored big points when her mom found out he loved tea as well!) We can say that this tea experience is the best and most authentic of any others we have tried in the U.S. You begin with each person selecting their own flavor of loose leaf tea. It is served in a full size, fine china, Royal Albert teapot accompanied by a velvet tea cozy to keep it warm. The tea room features Twinings brand tea and has all sorts of flavors to choose from including:
We love being able to choose two different teas and alternate each cup between both pots. The tea is also served with cream, sugar, honey, and lemon. The first course that is brought includes a plate of mini sandwiches that have been layered and cut to look perfect and proper. The variety is great and you get to enjoy some unusual flavor combos. The sandwiches include:
Sweet Curry Chicken
Traditional Egg Salad
Poached Pear and Gorgonzola Cream Cheese
Fire Roasted Tomato with Oregano Goat Cheese
Andrew, who has been known to sometimes have the palate of a 10 year old, wasn’t too enthusiastic about some of the small sandwich offerings so he asked if he could substitute his for the kid’s options. The server was kind enough not to laugh and said that would be just fine. These included:
Ham & Cheese
Peanut Butter & Jelly
In addition to the sandwiches there was a small savory onion tart included as well. After enjoying sandwiches everyone receives a freshly baked, buttery golden raisin scone, accompanied by Devonshire clotted cream, lemon curd, and jam. There is also another little tart, this one being strawberry. Then come the dessert options which are beautiful and delicious:
Delicate House-made Pastries including a Mouse-filled Swan, French Macaron, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry
Seasonal English Trifle with layers of Lady Fingers, Chantilly, Seasonal Fruit, and Hand-whipped Crème
Fresh cut strawberries and hand whipped cream
Once again it was nice to pick two different desserts and share. We of course went with the first two options because why choose regular old strawberries when there are pastries and trifle to be had? Oh. My. Yum.
We love that the tea overall is a great way to try lots of little things and we take advantage of trying even more with sharing between the two of us. It is good to note if you can’t finish all of your treats you can ask for a box. We also recommend planning other meals around this as you may not want a regular lunch or dinner with this in the middle of the afternoon.
Once again we had a fab time at afternoon tea. We love getting some quiet adult time away from the parks for a bit. We find this special experience a great value and easy to add in to a trip. While we were lucky to get seats right away, we do recommend to make reservations because that may not always be the case. The server was superb and we loved that she was able to accommodate different sandwiches for Andrew, and was sweet to bring Julie a rose after spotting a birthday button. After our tea break, we went back to the Magic Kingdom re-energized and ready for the rest of the evening!
NOTE: This article inspired us to find a recipe for authentic Grand Floridian scones. See our recipe blog post to see how they turned out!