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Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Lounge: Taking Tea in a Grand Setting

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 06-16-2010 > Articles > Walt Disney World > Dining  

Walt Disney World is known for many things, but a good afternoon tea is hardly what immediately comes to most people's minds. However, there is one that takes place daily in the Garden View Lounge, just at the back of the lobby of the Grand Floridian. It's the sort of place that you can walk past many times and not even realise it's there. I must admit that, after we booked our tea there, I did have to think hard about where exactly it was.

It's a small place and, as we were part of a large group, we ended up at three different tables, which was a shame, as I had been hoping to chat to everyone in the group. It's something worth keeping in mind if you're planning on going there for a big family reunion.

If afternoon tea conjures up images of enjoying a nice cup of tea with perhaps a cake to go with it, then you're halfway there with what the Garden View Lounge offers, but there’s so much more to their menu. The first choice you need to make is whether you want to make selections a la carte off the menu or whether you want to go for one of their meals. It was a tough choice for us and one that we debated long and hard over, as there was just so much to pick from.

Eventually, I opted for the Grand Tea, which is described as the "classic English tradition of afternoon tea, Grand Floridian tea." Being English myself, I was looking forward to judging just how traditional this was. After all, the food on offer at the Rose and Crown in the United Kingdom in Epcot isn't exactly what I'd call authentic.

Grand Floridian - afteroon tea photo
Grand Floridian - afteroon tea

Serving up some of the delights available at the afternoon tea. - photo by chezp

This begins with a selection of sandwiches and, as a vegetarian, I was able to enjoy the famous cucumber sandwiches that all afternoon teas should have, along with egg mayonnaise and a vegetable paté. As we were in a big group, I was also able to steal some prawn sandwiches from elsewhere on the table. From there, your next course brings you a scone, with jam of course, and a jam tart. Then you can choose from a range of pastries or English trifle and I had to give the trifle a go. I gave the food a very firm thumbs up, both in terms of taste and authenticity. I really felt like a member of the Royal family as I happily enjoyed all the food brought before me. I also enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine, which was a very nice touch and, although I thought it looked a bit odd on the menu, it blended with the food perfectly. 

Other meal options include Prince Edward's tea, which my husband opted for, offering terrines and patés, along with English Blue Stilton, fresh berries and Cumberland sauce. It’s a little less food than the Grand Tea, only offering scones with cream. With this meal, you also get a glass of port.

Both meals filled us up much more than we thought they would. We had planned dinner at Chef Mickey's, but had to ditch those plans after eating here, as we were full by the time we left. It's a little like Victoria and Albert's in that respect, as you feel as if you're not eating much food at the time, but all the same, it comfortably fills you up.

If the meal selections don't grab you, then you can make up your own meal from the a la carte options, which include the various components of the meals, including the British cheese platter, a plate of assorted tea sandwiches, English trifle and English blue Stilton cheese. I did consider going for the a la carte menu for some time and, in truth, it’s worth looking carefully at the meals on offer and deciding if you like everything that’s included. If you’re only interested in one or two things, you may be better choosing this way.

Let's be honest though. The food is only half the story here, the most important part is the tea and they certainly know how to make tea properly here. Perhaps the first thing that caught my eye was the charming bone china cups and saucers that the tea is served up in. Of course, it's brewed in its own tea pot, which is contained in its own very regal looking tea cosy. Your server will pour your first cup of tea for you through the tea strainer, ensuring that you don't get any tea leaves in your cup. I was very impressed that I got three cups of tea out of my tea pot, which seemed like good value to me.

The tea menu is quite something to see. We're avid tea drinkers at home and I don't think we've ever seen so many different teas all listed in one place. They even have their own signature blend, of course called the Gardenview Blend, and a special Princess Breakfast tea. More familiar sounding teas include Earl Grey and Imperial English Breakfast, which I sampled and greatly enjoyed.

Green teas and white teas are on offer here, as are fruit ones. Eros has flavours of mandarin and vanilla, while Cassis, as the name suggests, is a black currant flavour. If you fancy being a bit more exotic, you can try the Mad Hatter, which blends together passion fruit, pomegranate and vanilla. According to my husband, who's very much a traditional tea drinker like me, it was very enjoyable.

If you're not a tea fan, don’t be put off trying the afternoon tea, as they have a whole drinks menu, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The non-tea drinkers in our group loved the experience as much as everyone else. This really is the perfect place to take a relaxed, but refined, break from the parks. I can't wait to go back for my next afternoon tea, Disney style.

The Grand Floridian afternoon tea is available daily at the Garden View Lounge between 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm.

Grand Floridian - afternoon tea photo
Grand Floridian - afternoon tea

A nice cuppa at the afternoon tea. - photo by chezp

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Reader Comments:

Sounds nice,i'll have to try it!

     aleece1 on June 17, 2010 @ 3:38 pm
I am so happy that we will be doing this unique meal in December!
Thank you Cheryl for a great review! :wave:

     Luvsun on June 17, 2010 @ 4:38 pm
We did this in April of this year. My husband went with me just because I wanted to do it so much. He loved it as much as me. We will definately do this each time we go. Very relaxing. thanks Cheryl for such a great reviewsmiley for :)

     jandsdennis on June 18, 2010 @ 12:54 am
As always the Passporter review provides a nice balance and just enough detail to make me both want to visit the Grand Floridian tea next time I'm at WWW but also do so knowing its limitations. But I just can't resist puzzling over the reviewer's statement about being a vegetarian but then enjoying the prawn sandwiches. Last time I looked 'em up, prawns were animals (darn tasty ones too!) :p

     norm27d on June 18, 2010 @ 9:02 am
norm27d;3319296 >As always the Passporter review provides a nice balance and just enough detail to make me both want to visit the Grand Floridian tea next time I'm at WWW but also do so knowing its limitations. But I just can't resist puzzling over the reviewer's statement about being a vegetarian but then enjoying the prawn sandwiches. Last time I looked 'em up, prawns were animals (darn tasty ones too!) :p

You aren't the only one puzzled over that.

     crunchysews on June 18, 2010 @ 9:12 am
I so enjoyed reading the article about afternoon tea. My daughter and I did tea in London and I have always wanted to do tea in WDW. So after reading your article I have decided next trip to have afternoon tea. Thank you

     busymom16 on June 18, 2010 @ 10:28 am
Your article is very good. We have never done this tea before, but we are trying it on our trip in December. It will be my mother, myself, and my dd7. She is having an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party for her 7th birthday in August so she is very excited about this experience. Glad you enjoyed it and I am so looking forward to the experience.

     lshuttleworth1 on June 18, 2010 @ 11:38 am
We have Tea at the Grand Floridian every trip we take. My daughter and I take my granddaughter,and she loves it. Children are served hot chocolate and there is a Children's menu available. Since everything is served on fine china of course there was a creamer and sugar bowl. When my granddaughter took the lid off the sugar bowl she was excited to see sugar cubes. Since she had never seen or tried a sugar cube she was so delighted after putting one in her mouth. Now even though she 10, she is still delighted by the sugar cubes. Your description of a Tea at the Floridian was "right on". It has spoiled us for tea in any other city. We have had tea in Chicago in a few places, and it just doesn't stand up to a Disney tea. Thanks for the great article.

     sheddinglight on June 18, 2010 @ 1:43 pm
norm27d;3319296 > I just can't resist puzzling over the reviewer's statement about being a vegetarian but then enjoying the prawn sandwiches. Last time I looked 'em up, prawns were animals (darn tasty ones too!) :p
Cheryl does eat seafood, but she primarily identifies as a vegetarian and focuses on vegetarian options when reviewing. While this is something she often refers to in her reviews, we'll remember to note this in all future reviews for the sake of new/infrequent readers. smiley for :)

     Dave Marx on June 18, 2010 @ 3:44 pm
I bring my two sons (ages 6 and 9) to the Floridian for tea everytime we come to Disney on vacation. They are well behaved and really enjoy the kids tea (We ask for the "magical" chocolate milk) and kids sandwiches (ham&cheese, tuna, and PB&J). It is very relaxing and quiet! I love the food!

     jessicat on June 20, 2010 @ 4:21 pm
It was a great experience with you, Mark and the rest of our party of 14 (I think that was the grand total) I'm hoping to do it again sometime. Maybe Glenn will do it with me next May now that he knows it's not just for ladies. BTW, I'll be scrapbooking our Grand tea this weekend. smiley for :D

     Minnie Lor on June 23, 2010 @ 11:57 pm
I was waiting for my friend's flight to arrive for our girl's weekend (which we did during the week, but anyway...) and found this to be a great "solo" activity. The setting is elegant, I didn't hear any complaints about duck liver, and was seated by a window, so I could see Cinderella's Coach go by. The waitress encouraged my to bring champagne "to go" and enjoy the Grand Floridian's lobby with my cocktail after I paid the bill. She reminded me all glasses end up in the same magical place, so not to worry about bringing the stemware back.

It was a peaceful retreat. Try it after a pedicure at the Spa for the ultimate in decadent afternoons. A nice excuse to dress up for adults.

     VisTechEd on August 1, 2010 @ 11:42 am
I stayed at the GF back in May and made a reservation for the Afternoon Tea at The Garden View Lounge. It's something I've always wanted to do. Now, staying here made it a better opportunity to do so. I went for the Grand Tea with the Grand Floridian Tea. I enjoyed all the sandwiches, terrine and scones. Although, I think I could of used one more cup of tea. I guess I need to pace myself a little better next time. It was very enjoyable and worth the price. Just the environment, setting and view here was worth the price itself.

I made a late dinner reservation that night, expecting this to be a bit filling, so that worked out well too.

Loved the review Cheryl and glad you enjoyed the experience as much as I did. smiley for :D

     SuperDave on October 16, 2010 @ 3:43 pm
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Updated 06-16-2010 - Article #488 

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