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Guest Review: Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Lounge

Today, we’re visiting the Garden View Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort as DFB guest author Julie B. takes us to afternoon tea.

Tucked in the back of the Grand Floridian lobby is the Garden View Lounge, offering a perfect afternoon tea.

The lobby at the Grand Floridian!

This is the perfect option for a Mother/Daughter getaway or a relaxing solo escape.

Atmosphere

This delightful little room is completely open to the lobby and also features huge windows to bask the entire room in afternoon light.

Enjoy tea at the Garden View Lounge!

The icing on the cake to set the mood was beautiful piano music floating in from the lobby (especially the Disney songs!).

Listen for your favorite Disney songs!

Of course, you may see a few familiar faces while you’re here!

The familiar faces of Mrs. Potts and Chip.

Eats

This afternoon, we were at the Grand to sample the afternoon tea. There are endless possibilities on the menu. Diners can choose between many a la carte options and teas, or opt for a tea service and food accompaniment.

Afternoon Tea!

The two most popular choices are the Buckingham Palace or the Grand Tea (essentially the same as the Buckingham Palace service but also featuring a glass of sparkling wine).

Afternoon Tea Menu at the Garden View Lounge.

We opted for the Buckingham Palace tea service, featuring our choice of tea, as well as tea sandwiches, scones and jam, and a choice of dessert.

For tea I chose the Mad Hatter — a light black tea with hints of pomegranate and vanilla, while my dining partner went with the Princess Breakfast tea — a rooibos with vanilla and strawberry flavors. Each teapot is served with a velvet tea cozy!

Tea Service at the Garden View Lounge.

Chip joins the tea party!

The first course after your tea is served is the sandwich plate.

On the plate were 6 different options: cucumber and watercress, egg salad, salmon, curry chicken salad, roasted pear and gorgonzola, and an onion tart.

The two standouts for me were the cucumber and chicken salad. The cucumber paired perfectly with a light layer of cream cheese and the mild watercress. Maybe it’s just that I associate classy tea luncheons with little cucumber sandwiches, but for whatever reason, it was perfect! The curry chicken was a surprising winner for me with it’s sweet/spicy seasoning.

Sandwich Plate at the Garden View Lounge.

Our next course was the scone plate. The plate included a strawberry tart, golden raisin scone, cream, and strawberry jam. Sometimes I find scones a little dry, but this was moist, dense, and flavorful! Here’s a pic from DFB reader Mary G, since we dug in before getting a photo!

Scone with cream and jam, and Strawberry Tart

For the third course, we were given a choice of either strawberries and cream or dessert tray. I love strawberries, but dessert was the only thing on my mind!

They presented a tray of desserts and let us pick two. Choices included: chocolate covered strawberries, coconut mousse in chocolate shells, raspberry linzer tortes, chocolate éclairs, and Bailey’s mousse swans.

Dessert Tray!

The desserts were decent, but not my favorite part of the afternoon.

The pastry for the éclair and swan was a traditional cream-puff like pastry and a little dry. On the other hand, the filling of the swans was the best part of dessert, with a potent and delicious Bailey’s flavor! Put Bailey’s in any dessert and I’m sure to like it!

Dessert.

Pastry flavor aside, look at how cute those little swans are. They were very hard to resist!

Bailey’s mousse swan.

And here’s a photo of the strawberries and cream, should that be your choice when you go! Thanks to DFB reader Morgan C. for this pic, which was featured in the Sunday round-up just a while back!

Strawberries and Cream!

Overall

The entire afternoon was absolutely lovely! You know that you’re right next door to one of the busiest parks in the world, but it’s easy to forget when you’re in the serene Garden View Lounge.

If you’re looking for an elegant event or a perfect place for a girl’s day out, look no further than an afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian.

Have you escaped for tea at the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Lounge? Who would you like to take to tea on your next Disney vacation? Let us know in the comments below!

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26 Comments

  1. Prof. Brainard says:

    Except for a fine cigar, good liquor, a properly-cooked steak, expensive chocolates, witty conversation, a New York pizza, and sex with select persons, there is absolutely nothing on earth more heavenly than afternoon tea! In fact, I expect Heaven will consist entirely of afternoon tea (plus the other things mentioned), and if it doesn’t, I have no intention of attending the proceedings! (P.S.: scones on the dry side are easily remedied by piling on HUGE mounds of clotted cream and strawberry jam.)

  2. Raelynn says:

    I still dream about the wonderful scone and my introduction to clotted cream from my December trip! My favorite sammy was the pear and gorgonzola. And the special holiday teas were both SO good. Do they always have special seasonal teas?

  3. Sara says:

    Tea is a must for us on every trip! The trifle they offer as a dessert option is simply amazing! Unfortunately, the last time we were there, the service was terrible. Our server forgot one of my courses; I had to ask to have it brought out. Then she forgot several items from our plates (our scones, my onion tart, cutlery, etc) and never even poured our tea! Part of the experience is definitely the service. It sadly makes us not too keen to rush back on our next trip :-/

  4. Amanda says:

    I have enjoyed this spot many times, but probably will never go back. I tried to go in March, had to wait 20 minutes past my reservation time, when the dining room was only half full, and was told that they were short staffed. We decided to leave since we had eaten then when they were short staffed and it was not a plesant experience. Love the tea and food, but not the experience of waiting to get into the dining room and having bad service once we’re seated.

  5. Sherri Erwin says:

    Have they changed the trifle out for strawberries and cream now? I love the trifle! This would be a sad substitution, though strawberries and cream are good, too. The trifle was served to look exactly like that, with the GF on top.

  6. Actually, the picture labeled “strawberries and cream” appears to be of the trifle as it currently appears. Previously the trifle was scooped out of a large tub, but on my last tea experience (I’ve done this one a lot!) it came as pictured, with the fancy monogrammed cream!

    Not sure how the strawberries and cream actually appear as I’ve always done the Grand Tea’s trifle. Incidentally, that’s the other difference between the Buckingham and Grand – trifle becomes a dessert option.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I’ve done this twice, once in ’07 for a girls only trip, and we had a blast!

    Last June, I surprised my fiance with this as our anniversary gift. We were celebrating 10 yrs together, and he loves the GF so I knew this would be the perfect gift. And it was, he was so surprised!

  8. Camryn says:

    Do you get the Chip cup there? Do they sell them? I want one so bad!

  9. Essie says:

    Thank you for this lovely report! This is something that I positively want to do on a future trip with my girlfriends, as I know that we would just love it. I had teas in England and they are a wonderful experience. To have one at the GF would be absolutely grand!

  10. Marion Durham says:

    Thank you so much for this review! I had previously and erroneously believed they only did the incredibly overpriced children’s tea at the GF. I’m excited to try this out at some point in the future with my daughter or girlfriends. Does anyone know if they take Tables In Wonderland!

  11. Dawn says:

    What a timely article! I am taking my daughter there in 25 days for her 10th birthday! She is my tea drinker in the family. We couldn’t be more excited! Thanks! (I’m curious about the TiW also)

  12. Sherri Erwin says:

    Thanks Ain’t Baroque, for addressing my question on the trifle. It’s so good!

  13. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I’ve gone on about how great this is in previous comments. I suggest this as an afternoon break for everyone I know. My favorite food experience at WDW, bar none.

  14. Mouskalollie says:

    My daughter-in-law and I did this for the first time on our trip last December! It was AWESOME!!!!!! Planning another trip for this coming November and I’m trying to talk DH into doing it :) Everyone should experience this at least once!

  15. Julie says:

    Sadly the chip cup isn’t sold there :( It’s actually an old cup from a circus snow cone but I brought it because I wanted to take a picture of him with Mrs. Potts- Beauty and the Beast is my favorite! The trifle was available as an option (choice between strawberries and cream, trifle, or two small pastries) when I went back a second time and had the Grand Tea service- it was wonderful! The pastry options on the tray were also different- there was a different filling in the swan, a tiramisu option, and a carrot cake option.

  16. Beth says:

    My son and I went back in March and we also experienced bad service. Our first visit, three years ago, was lovely. My son is a vegetarian and for his tea we ordered the cheese plate and the strawberries and cream. He also got my scone and I got to nibble some of his cheese. On the more recent visit, the cheese plate didn’t have as much fruit and the cheese selection wasn’t as good. Considering this on top of the bad service makes it unlikely we’ll visit again.

  17. Beth says:

    I saw someone was curious about the strawberries and cream: when my son got it, it was just a bowl heaped with lovely strawberries and whipped cream. It was a bit like strawberry shortcake without the cake.

  18. Beth says:

    Reading back makes me wonder if Sara and Amanda had the same server we had! We had the same sort of problems with waiting for 20 minutes when the place wasn’t full and the lady who wound up serving us was just standing around. Then she was absolutely scatterbrained forgetting our silverware, tossing the tea cozy on top of our food when she was going to serve the tea, etc. I would feel bad to think that good servers are being overshadowed by one impressively bad server!

  19. Marlene says:

    Yes, Garden View Tea Room is in the list for 20% discount with Tables in Wonderland.

    When in doubt, just check the current discount list at:

    http://tablesinwonderland.com/

    Since they no longer use the gold trimmed Royal Albert Old Country Roses bone china, glad to see they’ve finally gotten a similar rose pattern instead of the plain white dishes they were using last year.

    Questions:
    Do they sell the tea cozy?
    (Last time I checked there we no place at the Grand Floridian to purchase them.)

    And are they still using the plain white pot?
    Or have they gotten a tea pot with the roses on it?

    Thanks!

  20. Marlene – in my experience the teapots generally match, with a flower motif. However, there are some teas (I want to say some of the herbals?) that for some reason require a different pot, which is metallic and looks kind of like the basic tea brewer from Teavana.

  21. missbianca says:

    I am just back from a week-long trip to WDW with some sad news about the tea at the Grand Floridian. They no longer offer any a la carte options on the menu and our server said that only the cheese plate was available by itself. He said this was a VERY new change. I was quite upset because there are also only two “teas” on the menu that do not come with an alcoholic beverage; these being a version of the “Gentleman’s Tea” and the children’s tea. Want scones and pastries? Pay for a glass of champagne as well!

  22. Tina says:

    We had a group of 7 women all go to tea to celebrate the end of our theatre season and were so excited to get all dressed up and just have fun together. While we thought the food was acceptable, some of it delicious (onion tart and scone with clotted cream were amazing!) our experience was extremely marred by very poor service. We were talked down to (as a group of 25-35 year old women, we didn’t need to be told rather snarkily that real cream would alter the flavor of the tea because chemistry?!?), ignored for looooooong periods of time, and had our food basically dropped on the table with no acknowledgement or checking in. It ended up being a 2 1/2 hour ordeal and even the most mild mannered of our guests was fuming mad by the end. The biggest insult was that we all watched our server being very nice to the other tables and just obviously had some sort of issue with us from the moment we sat down.

    I think it had potential to be lovely, and I certainly think for maybe a smaller group or folks who haven’t done a nice afternoon tea elsewhere it is a special option, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go again. I’m looking forward to returning to high tea in Victoria, B.C. this summer instead :-)

  23. Ginger says:

    I’m sad to see that they no longer use Old Country Roses bone china, but the lesser everyday looking cups and saucers instead. We had tea here 2 years ago and it was lovely, though the service was just ok. After reading all the comments it looks like I’ll be skipping this for a few more years. Sounds like they need to work though a few things.

  24. Bethan says:

    We had an ADR here for May 10th at 3:40pm.
    We we were seated on time, and I agree, it is a lovely setting. However, we had a far from lovely experience.
    I am really confused… before our trip I had browsed menus and had read many other people’s experiences and saw that you can order items a la carte as opposed to having one of the set tea services with food. We were not interested in a set tea and wanted to purely order some pots of tea and some items from the menu. However, I couldn’t spot the a la carte section on the menu. I enquired with our server who very rudely informed me that I couldn’t do that; if I was interested in any of the food items such as the scones or trifle then my only option was to order one of the set tea services. I did not want this and so just ordered a pot of tea. Our server was horrible and really belittled us – it was all super awkward. I am at a loss as to why he wouldn’t allow us to order a la carte… I really wish I had spoken to a manager about the attitude of our server at the time, but I was so upset and I just wanted to leave… hindsight is a wonderful thing. Safe to say that I won’t be returning. it’s such a shame as we were all looking forward to this.

  25. cummins odile says:

    My daughters and I have been going to the tea rooma t the grand Floridian for at least 10 years .we,he enjoyed the service it has always been impeccable,the finger sanrdwiches delicious all and all a very wonderful experience.I,m 85and god willing if I,m still alive next yea l’. .ll be back .

  26. Joni says:

    Have never seen Mrs. Potts and chip there. That is cute.
    Noticed in the last visit it is lacking a bit. In food and service. And Not Teapot cosey (not sure on spelling) Hope with the refurbishment that can change.

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