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Guest Review: Afternoon Tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

A big thanks to Mary Giordano, who just returned from a trip to Disney World! She’s been kind enough to review a special dining opportunity in the Grand Floridian Resort, the Afternoon Tea (which I have done and can highly recommend)! Take it away, Mary!

Nestled in the corner of the Grand Floridian’s massive Main Building is the Garden View Lounge. Every afternoon from 2pm to 5pm, an afternoon tea of sorts is served at the lounge. After many years of hearing about the afternoon tea, I finally found time during a recent trip to check it out and can only ask myself why I had not tried it sooner.

Garden View Lounge

Atmosphere:
The Garden View Lounge is beautifully sunlit from the windows overlooking the garden outside. It is a bright and intimate space despite being within the main confines of the grand lobby. It also has a feeling of formality, though casual wear is certainly acceptable.

Afternoon Tea at Garden View Lounge

Upon being seated, I immediately recognized classic Disney songs being played on the grand piano in the lobby, sometimes accompanied by the upbeat jazz band in the lounge upstairs. This helped to create a truly warm and inviting atmosphere.

Seating at Grand Floridian Afternoon Tea

As I sat down at the table with elegant settings of Royal Albert china, I instantly felt like royalty. Our server explained that we could order a full offering, which includes the tea as well as multiple courses, or we could pick and choose our own courses and tea ‘a la carte.’

Tea Setting

Eats:
The tea menu was overwhelming (in a good way!), having nearly two dozen options of black teas, green teas and herbal infusions. I chose the Eros tea (a delicious blend of orange and vanilla flavors) while my friend ordered the Mad Hatter tea (a blend of passion fruit, pomegranate and vanilla flavors). We were both impressed by our respective choices. It is certainly the best tea I have had on property.

Eros Tea

The full offerings range from $13 – $25 with a $10 children’s option. I ordered the Buckingham Palace option, which included my tea as well as tea sandwiches, a scone, a strawberry tart and a choice of two desserts. I found the prices to be reasonable for such a unique experience. The courses were small but tasty.

Scone with cream and jam, and Strawberry Tart

I especially enjoyed the various tea sandwiches (watercress & cucumber, egg salad, shrimp salad, pear & gorgonzola and chicken salad).

Tea Sandwiches

For dessert, we were asked to choose two desserts from their dessert platter. I chose a chocolate-covered strawberry and a chocolate-covered éclair…and I chose well! Next time I would love to try one of their cheese platters from the ‘a la carte’ menu.

Desserts

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Kelly Tressler, we have a couple more shots of Tea Service options:

Strawberries and Cream

Pastry Swan and Eclair

Overall:
The Afternoon Tea is not meant to provide a hearty meal. Instead, it is a wonderful place to enjoy a late afternoon snack and to relax in Disney’s most luxurious resort. Take time out from an exhausting day at the Magic Kingdom, hop on the monorail and enjoy a couple hours of serenity, you deserve it!

Unfortunately, at the time of my visit, there was some construction going on in the garden outside, which did not offer the best of views. Hopefully that will clear up sooner than later. My only other criticism is that the service was a bit slow as it seemed that there was only one server at the time.

This is also a great place to go if you have late dinner plans (at Citricos or Narcoossee’s for example). Also, consider taking your little girl here for a special date with mom or dad. You can also book My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party here.

Afternoon tea reservations are not available online, but can be booked by calling Disney Dining (407-WDW-DINE).

Thanks to Mary for this wonderful review! We’re looking forward to more reviews from Mary’s recent trip as well, so stay tuned!

Photo Credit for initial tea photo and some delectable pastry shots: Kelly Tressler, via the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza Flickr Group.

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30 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    Great review! I loved tea at the Grand Floridian! The only thing I have to note is that if you have a food allergy–especially a nut allergy you need to let them know in advance and probably let them know what you’d like to order. I forgot to note this on my reservation and discovered that many of the offerings have tree nuts including several of the sandwiches and the pate! All of these items are made in advance and there is not a chef on hand. Our waitress was kind enough to find a chef doing prep at Citricos who prepared a nut free pate for me! (Thanks!) While this is a great example of Disney going above and beyond this would have been a far better experience if I had noted my allergy on my reservation and called in advance to let them know that I would love to enjoy the pate and sandwiches!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    An outstanding review, but one little quibble … “high tea” actually is not a synonym for “afternoon tea.” Afternoon tea is a light meal, often somewhat or very formal, taken usually between 3:00 and 5:00 PM and consisting frequently of tiny sandwiches, cakes, scones, etc. It is basically an elaborate snack and is what is served at the Grand Floridian, as well as at numerous grand hotels throughout the UK (often for the benefit of tourists–sadly this event has largely been abandoned by average people, since they are generally at work when it would be served). High tea, sometimes called a “meat tea,” is a meal served in the early evening, between 5:00 and 6:00, when working people come home from the farm or factory. It often consists of more substantial foods than afternoon tea and might include cold meats, egg dishes, etc. For farm and working people, it was basically the evening meal, and working class (and some middle class) people still refer to their evening meal as “tea.” Afternoon tea tends to be fancier, and high tea tends to be plain and substantial. Americans often say “high tea” when they mean to say “afternoon tea,” perhaps because it sounds grander. In actuality, it is not a particularly grand meal.

  3. Kelly says:

    We’ll be heading back in 30 days :D The full service is surprisingly filling! Need to be careful when we go this time as we’re doing Party for the Senses that evening! I had the Mad Hatter tea the last time, it was wonderful! Some teas are served in a tea pot, the others in a press. The Mad Hatter is in a tea pot.

  4. Courtney says:

    I enjoyed the afternoon tea on my last solo trip to the World. I made a reservation for the day I arrived and found it was a nice relaxing way to start my trip. If I can every make it back to Disney World with my mom, I will make sure we have reservations as I would love to share this experience with her. I chose the Gardenview blend, which was made specifically for this tearoom–I highly recommend it. And if you don’t care for hot tea (the horror! ;) ) they have other options.

    I even saw a man or two there with there wives having a beer and sandwiches, so anyone can enjoy this gem!

  5. AJ says:

    Heather — GREAT point on noting the allergy on the reservation! Thank you so much for sharing that!

    Elizabeth — Updated the post to reflect the correction. Very cool — I never knew the distinction and I’ve actually lived in the UK! At least the title was correct :-)

    Kelly — I’ve got your Mad Hatter tea pic a the top! :-) Thank you for posting those on the flickr page! Can’t wait to hear what you pick for your next visit!

    Courtney — I did this with my mom and it was wonderful! The perfect mother/daughter experience. We’re both anglophiles and love to “take tea,” though, so we got to dress up and pretend, too :-)

  6. Joy4Tigger says:

    I did note my allergies on my reservation and the chef came out (it was actually the same chef from my 1900 PF meal the previous day LOL) and we discussed all my options. It was such a wonderful tea! And I had the strawberries & cream for dessert and have to say it was the most delicious strawberries & cream I’ve ever had – I still dream of it!

  7. Fabulous review!!

    I took my mom to the Tea last September and we loved every minute of it. We ordered everything a la carte and will continue to do so. We just aren’t fans of the ingredients of the sandwiches, etc. The scones are AMAZING! I could have made a meal just from them. The dessert tray has many fabulous desserts, including the strawberries, hazelnut mousse, and raspberry mousse. I had the Eros tea and I still dream about it. Mom loved the basic chamomile. Can’t wait to go back!

  8. Christina says:

    Great review! This is one of the top things on my Disney to-do eats list!

  9. Andrea says:

    I am so glad you posted this. My daughter and I LOVE tea and have considered doing this many times. We also have a new found love of scones! Off to make a reservation!!

  10. Gray says:

    This is one of those experiences that I haven’t taken the time to enjoy yet, but really need to do it on my next trip. It just sounds so relaxed and civilized in contrast to my usual “commande, take Disney World by storm” style.

  11. Karin says:

    I have plans to do this with my daughter in a few weeks, but we were just diagnosed with celiac. Has anyone with celiac ever enjoyed tea here. I’d love to hear your stories! Thanks!

  12. carolyn says:

    Agree – wonderful review. I think my mom would love it! The tea looks divine, too!

  13. Jessica says:

    wonderful review :)
    i did afternoon tea for my sweet sixteen and i loved it, i would love to do it again. I got something africa tea….it’s been a year since i tried it, so my memory isn’t the best. I also got an extra desert because it was my birthday :)

  14. Melissa says:

    Great Review!! I love LOVE having tea at the Grand Floridian. My friend and I did a Grand Floridian girl’s weekend back in January and spent almost 2 hours there having tea and just a great time! Definitely one of my favorite things to do :). My next step is taking my mom there one day!

  15. Josh says:

    Wonderful review! The Grand Floridian is already great, but this just adds to it. It looks like Elizabeth already beat me to it, but she is correct on the High Tea synonym part. Many of my friends (who are still in the England area) still say they have to go for “Tea” as they have yet to use the American-ized version of “Dinner”. It’s funny that most folks that don’t understand it clearly think they are going for a cup of tea, and nothing else.

    What I’m surprised about is that there is really no reference to Mickey or even Disney World! It’s like you are in a very elegant hotel that is unrelated. I’m assuming that you must make reservations for this, but do you have to be lodging at the Grand Floridian as well?

    By the way do you happen to have a picture of the menu? Thanks!

  16. Kelly says:

    Hi Josh: It’s like any other Disney restaurant, you don’t need to be staying at that hotel to go to it (good because we’re staying *gasp* OFF SITE in October!) The only thing to note is that you can’t book it online, you have to call. I believe their hours of operation are 2-5pm, but I could be off an hour in either direction.

    Here’s the menu over on All Ears. It hasn’t been updated since last year, but I don’t think much has changed: http://allears.net/menu/menu_gft.htm

    And you’re right! There’s absolutely nothing to remind you that you’re at Disney. I absolutely loved it when I did it with my Mom, this year we’ll be doing it with my Dad & Boyfriend too!

  17. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I did this about 10ish years ago, when I started going to Disney again. My anglophile friend said that got the food and the high but relaxing attitude just right.

    In my opinion this isn’t the best place to go after a day at the park to wind down. This is an “I’ve been at the resort (or resort hopping) all day and just chilling by the pool” type of thing. It’s relaxing, but if you are already relaxed you are going to be in just the right zone. It’s a very leisurely experience. Come. Sit. Don’t gulp your tea. Good tea can handle more than one seep. Relax. Nibble. Talk.

    The finger sandwiches are fantastic, especially the watercress & cucumber. They really feed you so a late dinner is a must.

  18. Mary G says:

    Thanks everyone for the feedback – my apologies for the high tea error!

    I’m glad so many of you are thinking about going to the tea. You certainly don’t have to be a Grand Floridian guest (I wasn’t). It is an easy hop from the Magic Kingdom for any guest.

    Or…might I suggest…coupling it with a Spa day at the Grand Floridian?! Relaxation and pampering at its best!

    The AllEars menu looks to be spot on from what I can recall.

  19. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I feel like I need to clarify. My friend “R” meant the high atmosphere of the resort, not “high tea.” She meant high/upper atmosphere of the resort and relaxing tea. Sorry, I wish I could go back and edit to clarify. I hate getting things wrong or misspeaking! My only excuse is that I’m a elementary school teacher and it’s the first week back to work so I feel like it’s 1am.

  20. Josh says:

    Thanks Kelly for the information, and especially the menu! It really does look amazing variety of choices to pick from. This is definitely one of the places I’m going to stop at next time I am at Disney World.

    This then brings up the big question of if you are allowed to get tea from off the menu upstairs at Citricos.

  21. carolyn says:

    Kelly, can you tell me if they do take reservations? According to a Dining App I have, it says No Reservations. I would like to verify.

    Thank you!

    ~CA

  22. Carolyn,

    They do take reservations, and they’re usually a must. You have to call though and can’t book it online. :)

  23. Brooke says:

    So glad to see this! One of my favorites, we did afternoon tea at the Grand for my mom’s 60th bday. It was a wonderful treat, and we’d like to turn it into a family tradition.

  24. Lelia says:

    OK, not only am I more than ready to leave the snow that is supposed to fall today and come for sunny Florida weather I am certainly ready for a lovely tea experience. I guess I am just too used to Disney Land in LA to have imagined such a nice tea spot in Orlando Disney. Yay!

  25. Cleo says:

    I hope someone orders and posts a review with pictures of the gentlemen’s course with duck terrine et al. Everyone seems to order the Buckingham.

  26. Anne Marie Geary says:

    Love Love High Tea.. My daughter and I always make reservations. We’ve taken young ladies who never been and they leave wello verse in tea tasting and finger food…
    Took my husband, and he was pleasantly surprised and enoyed the food….
    If you never been, please go and enjoy….

  27. sarah kraiter says:

    i recently booked afternoon tea at the grand floridian online! yay!

  28. Jack says:

    Is it on the Dining Plan

  29. MARY KELLY says:

    HI TEA? I THINK NOT…..IT WAS MORE LIKE LOW TEA. THE TEA WAS LIKE WATER. WHY HAVE TEA STRAINERS WHEN THERE IS NOTHING TO STRAIN. THE TEA SANDWICHES, PATE AND DESSERTS WERE AT BEST MEDIOCRE. WE WERE ALL VERY DISAPPOINTED. IT’S THE WORST HI TEA I HAVE EVER BEEN TO. SORRY!

  30. Jade Paris Adams says:

    I went here when i was little with my sister, Grandma, and my Mother. My grandma wanted to spend the day with us when we were little. The Food was amazing but i am not a tea person so i didn’t drink it.

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