One of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World is to have afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room. Located in Disney’s posh Grand Floridian Hotel, the Garden View Tea Room offers quiet elegance for those looking to relax and unwind. Perfect for special occasions, a birthday treat, Mother’s Day, taking your little princesses for tea (or princes, who says boys can’t like tea), some mother and daughter time, or just because. The Garden View Tea Room’s large windows overlook manicured garden landscaping of lovely plants and flowers according to the season. In winter, they have lighted reindeer in the gardens.
There are several ways to order your tea service. You can strictly order a la carte, or choose from a list of their bundled offerings – the Buckingham Palace, Prince Edward’s Tea, Sally Lunn Tea, or The Grand Tea. For children, there is the Mrs. Potts Tea (special tea – Chocolate Milk!) service. I usually order the Buckingham Palace, it comes with everything I like, and although it does not seem like a lot of food, it is actually very filling. The Buckingham Palace comes with their traditional tea sandwiches, scones and jam tarts, strawberries and cream OR a selection of freshly baked pastries, served with your choice of tea, and there are many to choose from. The best value is to order one of the pre-set courses mentioned above, it will always save some money compared to ordered those same items a la carte.
The flavor of scones varies, I have had at least two different varieties on different occasions, cranberry and golden raisin. There are also some variations in the freshly baked pastry flavors, during the holidays they offer eggnog flavor filled swan pastries – which were excellent. Other pastries include mini chocolate eclairs, chocolate dipped strawberries, fruit tarts, and Linzer Torte. Some notable menu items are the English Trifle, Sally Lunn bread, English Blue Stilton Cheese and Gentleman’s Tea Platter (pates and cheeses).
The British Cheese Plate is always a favorite of ours, we order it every time as well. It comes with a sampling of cheeses with fresh fruit and Pepperidge Farm crackers. As you can start to see, two adults both having the Buckingham Palace service and sharing a cheese plate is a lot of food. We usually take home a couple of our small pastries for later. Since most Disney hotels have small refrigerators you can just pop those in there for a midnight snack.
There are custom blended teas, made exclusively for the Garden View Tea Room, various black teas, herbal infusions, green teas, white teas, and often times seasonal varieties. Your tea specialist should be able to help you decide on which kind to order. They are very knowledgeable and usually very accommodating. If you order a tea you do not like, they will usually change it for you. We have had two servers there that we really liked. Our server, Patrick, was very friendly and made it a point to let us know if we didn’t like the tea, he could change it for another kind. If tea is not your thing, you can also substitute for a French press pot of coffee.
This is one of those places where you really must have an Advanced Dining Reservation. Their hours are from 2 pm to 5 pm daily (they will not pressure you to leave at 5 pm, those coming in with late reservations get the same relaxed service and you are not rushed out). The last reservation time is usually 4:45 or 4:50 pm. It is a very popular place so book early if you can. In some cases you may be able to get same day reservations if you check early enough. Transportation to the Grand Floridian can be by boat (from Magic Kingdom), by bus, or by monorail. You can also self-park at Grand Floridian for free. If you are using a Tables in Wonderland card you can also use the Valet Parking and get it comped (just be sure to tip the valet), just provide them with your TiW card and receipt from the Garden View Tea Room.