I've always had a love for British faire and tradition. Some 18 years ago, I traveled across the pond for a wonderful stay in London and have been craving a second visit since then. In order to tame my longing for what would be a very expensive trip, I've embraced aspects of the culture and made them a regular part of my daily life. This includes becoming a bit of a connoisseur of fresh tea. It only made sense then to visit the Garden View Tea Room at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for an experience that was practically perfect in every way.
The Garden View Tea Room is located on the first floor of the resort. The front portion of the room overlooks the impressive hotel lobby while the other half offers a spectacular view of the well-manicured grounds and gardens. It's the perfect spot to take a break from the typically hectic nature of a Walt Disney World vacation whether alone, with friends, or even as a mother/daughter date.
Upon approaching the hostess stand, you'll notice a new feature right away: text message notification service. This is a new system that Disney is experimenting with and, during my visit, I found it to be fantastic. A guest provides his or her cell phone number and receives a text once the table is ready. This allowed me more time to enjoy the lobby of the resort without being tied down to one location. Those having tea in the later afternoon - around 3 PM or so - will especially enjoy this perk when the live band or piano player is serenading guests in the lobby.
After being seated, a friend and I were presented with a menu featuring a wide assortment of offerings. The menu is broken down into "packages" which feature multiple courses of pastries, fruit, cheeses, sandwiches, and desserts; guests choose a pot of tea each from a grand selection of aromatic herbal and exotic teas.
We selected the Derbyshire Tea experience for our visit which featured not only tea but also a glass of champagne. I found it difficult to choose from all of the wonderful teas listed on the menu. Ultimately, we both shared the Osmanthus Green and Apple & Elderflower selections. Both were fabulous, but the Osmanthus was absolutely incredible. It was nutty, but sweetened by flavors of apricots and peaches. The Apple & Elderflower was crisp and refreshing as well.
The first course included a crisp onion tartlet made with sweet caramelized onions, chilled berries, an assortment of cheeses, several types of finger sandwiches: curry chicken salad, cucumber and watercress, open-faced golden beet, and more. All were freshly prepared and absolutely delicious. I appreciated the variety of items and, even for a picky eater like me, enjoyed every bite except one - the beet sandwich which I found to be overly sour and just not to my liking.
After enjoying these delicate, yet hearty treats, we then met our next dish, a jam tart and buttery scone. Both were accompanied by a trio of toppings; fresh marmalade, creamy lemon curd, and luscious clotted cream made for a charming second course. The jam tart was sweet, but not overpowering and the scone was perfectly prepared.
The final course was an assortment of pastries to enjoy while sipping the remainder of our tea. Eclairs, puff pastry swans filled with cream, and chocolate-covered strawberries were the stars of this course. Despite being filled to the gills with the other courses, the relaxed nature of this dining experience allowed a reprieve before diving into these desserts. They were quite good!
Overall, this was an amazing way to spend a sunny afternoon at the Grand Floridian. The entire experience took close to two hours from start to finish due to the leisurely, and very much appreciated, pace. I would highly recommend it for those looking to take a break from the parks, celebrating anniversaries or birthdays, or veteran visitors to the World looking for something new to do. There is also a special tea option for younger guests; note though that this is a very quiet and serene atmosphere, so proper etiquette is necessary (think tea with Mary Poppins).
Tea is served 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Tuesday and Thursday. A reservation is highly recommended as the tea room itself is relatively small in comparison to most eateries at the Grand Floridian.
About The Author: Nicole Mancini
Born and raised in New Jersey, Nicole is an avid Disney fan and frequents both Walt Disney World and Disneyland several times each year. Interests include Walt Disney Imagineering, merchandise, dining, backstage tours, and more. You can also find her on The DIS Unplugged forum on DISBoards.com. Be sure to check out Nicole's other articles here on the DIS Blog and follow her on Twitter @DISNikkiBell for regular updates about all things Disney!