Monday, March 19, 2012

Tea! My Review of the Garden View Tea Room Afternoon Tea!

As a little girl I LOVED a tea party.  Now, I'll admit that my tea parties consisted of the southern staple, sweet iced tea.  The finger sandwiches took the form of Nilla Wafers, Oreos, and Kraft Singles style cheese sandwiches.  As an adult I still LOVE a good tea party.  I love the formalities of it all.  I love picking out my tea amongst a sea of descriptions and flavors.  I love getting my own pot of tea.  I love teeny sandwiches fancified for the occasion.  And, I love sugar cubes!  Love it all!  
On my last Disney trip I decided to try out the Garden View Tea Room at Disney's Grand Floridian.  I booked through ADR (What's that?  Click here to find out!) and planned an afternoon for just the girls!  And boy was it fun!  Today I am breaking down my time in the Tea Room to let you in on all the magic!  So, when you are ready, won't you join us for tea? 

Garden View Tea Room is located in the beautiful Grand Floridian hotel.  We got there right at our reservation time but, we still had a bit of a wait.  But no worries!   We found the Grand Floridian a delightful spot to wait.  There was a pianist playing relaxing music and even a jazz band.  There is excellent shopping throughout the Grand Floridian as well as comfortable waiting areas.  I tell you was plain and simpler RELAXING!!!!  The perfect prep for a time to slow down and enjoy the afternoon!

So finally it was our turn for tea!  We were beyond excited!  We made our way into the Tea Room where we were seated for tea.  The tea room overlooks the grounds of the Grand Floridian.  Light from the afternoon sun cascades the tables and creates just the right mood!  This hidden gem takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the parks and puts you in another place!  Everything is beautiful fresh flowers and the daintiest tea settings!  You really do feel like royalty!  

There are a couple of choices to make with Tea.  The menu includes packages as well as a la carte choices.  We went with the traditional tea called the Buckingham Palace tea  (about $23.00 per person.  Yes, this is a bit expensive but it was so worth it to spend the afternoon being treated like a princess with my favorite girlfriends).  This package included traditional favorites like tea sandwiches, scones, tarts and 2 choices of pastries and of course your choice of tea.  The choices are unlimited and our waiter really helped us in picking out a tea that we would each enjoy (good tip here from the waiter:  each person should order a different tea so everybody can sample the selections.  We found this to be a REALLY good idea).  

 Did you know that Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford of came up with the idea of afternoon tea in an attempt to tie her over between a very early, light lunch and a very late dinner.  The offerings at today's afternoon tea feature 3 courses if you will the savories,  scones, and pastries.  So, let's take a look at our tea course by course, one by one, till you shout...oh, gotta love a Beauty and the Beast song break!  Let's have some tea!

Choose a Tea!
I have had tea at the Inn on Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC so I had a bit of an idea about the choices. The waiter helped to describe the teas and lead us in the right direction.  I chose the Mad Hatter tea, a black tea with hints of mango (which oddly enough came off like hints of chocolate.  The waiter knew his stuff because I mentioned a chocolate tea I had at the Biltmore and he recommended the Mad Hatter.  Good call!).  My sister chose the princess breakfast tea (very minty), my friend Chelsea chose a strawberry infused green tea, my friend Heather chose a current infused tea called cassis, and my Mom chose the Gardenview Blend.  We doctored up our tea with traditional milk, sugar cubes, and honey.  I read on a tea website that it is unlucky to put milk in before sugar.  Superstition states "to put milk in you tea before sugar is to cross the path of love, perhaps never to marry"  (I sure do hope I put the sugar in first-oh well!).  Oh, and p.s.- I totally have to read up on tea etiquette before making any more blunders.  I found this awesome book on just the subject; oddly enough it is title Tea and Etiquette by Dorthea Johnson (check it out on Google  Books).  I am thinking about adding this too my reading list before my next trip!  

We were served 4 different tea sandwiches. The sandwiches were (from left to right) pear and Gorgonzola cheese, curried chicken salad, shrimp salad, egg salad, and a watercress and cucumber sandwich with an onion tart.  I really liked all the sandwiches.  The tart...not so much.  The other girls I was with didn't care much for the pear sandwich.  I guess it is a matter of taste!  

We were served a delicious scone which I am pretty sure was darted with currants and a side of Devonshire cream and a jar of strawberry preserves.  Also there was a very yummy strawberry tart!  I was digging this course!  I will say that I had the privilege of having scones baked by parent at school who was born and raised in London and her Devonshire cream was very different than what was on my plate for tea.  The Devonshire cream I had back home was more of a loose consistency (think homemade whipped cream) and it was amazing!  I could have eaten that stuff straight up!  So, the Devonshire cream at the Garden View Tea Room was more of a butter consistency and didn't blow me away with much flavor but it wasn't bad.  In fact I used every, last, bit of it! 

This round was probably the hardest!  That's because our waiter brought out a tray loaded with huge chocolate covered strawberries, graceful currant stuffed puff pastry swans, eclaires, morsles of caramel goodness, fruit tarts, and much more OR we could choose one serving of strawberries and cream.  I am a chocolate girl.  So I chose the eclaire and salted caramel morsel.  I thought both were really good.  A couple of my friends chose the swan which turned out to be quite tart.  But no worries for Heather because the waiter snuck her an extra pastry!  I was pretty happy with my can't go wrong with chocolate!

Tea ends on a sweet note!  Each guest receives a beautiful pink rose! What a beautiful way to end an amazing tea!  

 This truly was one of the (many) highlights of my trip.  I will most definitley be returning to the Garden View Tea Room!  I can't wait to have a little girl to take someday!  I hope you'll try it out too if you haven't already and let me know your thoughts!  Remember, reservations are required and the Tea Room is not part of the Disney Dining plan!  If you are 180 days or less out from your next trip make your reservations now!  Seriously.  Do it!  at 407-939-3463 or online here. You won't regret it!  

1 comment:

  1. Reading this post brought back such wonderful memories of our time there. This is an experience that everyone needs to have. I know that I have been to Disney World a lot of times, and this by far has been one of my favorite experiences. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. I cannot wait to go back!