This afternoon my son and I attended Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian, which is offered in the Garden View Lounge between noon and 4pm daily. Our reservation was for 2:25 and we checked in with the hostess right on time, but were asked to give our phone number and told we would receive a message when our table was ready. We found a comfortable seat in the lobby and about 10 minutes later received the text to return.
If you’ve ever been to the GF before, you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the Garden View Lounge, as it is located at the back of the lobby and is largely open, which allows for the live piano or band music to be heard from within, which adds to the ambiance. We were seated at a table right in front of the large windows, marking our experience with a true garden view, and were given our menus to look over.
My son is already 10 (or, 10 and a half, as he will tell you), so he is technically considered an adult by Disney dining standards (eye roll, yes), but our server did tell us he was welcome to order the children’s Mrs. Potts Tea ($23.79) if he preferred. He might have done so, had it included scones, however it didn’t, and he had his heart set on them.
We both chose the Bedfordshire Tea ($35 or add a glass of champagne for $52), which was the most basic and traditional adult option on the list. It included finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a choice of dessert. Other options could include exotic fruits and imported cheeses or caviar.
We first chose our tea – my son chose the Golden Caramel Rooibos and I chose the Nutty Chocolate. We both loved our choices. So much so that I would go as far to say that it was one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted. It was smooth and aromatic, and you have to imagine the flavor to be that of tea if it had a scoop of Nutella in it. So. Good. The teapots are kept hot in their own little cozies (word of caution: it keeps them so hot, that the handle is almost too hot to hold when you take it off, so be careful).
It helps when your little date knows the correct pinky placement when holding a teacup. Let me preface the rest of this to say, we vacationed in London last summer, and my son and I love all things British. We had afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel, and it was so charming and wonderful that we had very high standards for this experience.
Now, because we are not novice tea goers, we knew that we just weren’t super adventurous when it comes to finger sandwiches. As such, we asked if we could order the children’s sandwiches, which consisted of ham and cheese and PB&J (and tuna salad, if you chose, but we didn’t). Our server was accommodating and didn’t make us feel silly for asking. She brought us our Plain Jane sandwiches, but did allow me to take a photo of the traditional sandwiches, as well.
Now it was time for my favorite course: scones. We love scones, and I can especially appreciate them, having made them from scratch before myself. These were basically perfection; not too dense, not too soft. They do have golden raisins baked in, which may bother some, but I found them almost not noticeable. These are kept in a warmer in the center of the room, where your server places them on the plate immediately before serving. Served with authentic Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam and lemon curd, we wolfed these down so fast it would have appalled the Queen. Oh, a small Strawberry Tart was included, which was good, but the scones stole the show.
Having worked our way up the tiers, we were ready for the grand finale, dessert. We had some trouble deciding if we both wanted to order the pastries, or if one of us wanted the Seasonal English Trifle, and our server was so amazing, she brought us each the pastries, and then a trifle to share.
The pastries included 4 macarons (chocolate, raspberry, lemon, and pistachio), chocolate covered strawberries, and two beautiful cream puff swans! I mean…
We were on the full side at this point, but had to try the trifle, which currently features layers of strawberries, Boston cream, lady fingers, and a fruit compote. I found this to be good, but my son really enjoyed it and ate most of it himself (#momlife, am I right?).
Speaking of mom life, I want to take a moment to mention that while there were many adult-only tables dining on champagne and caviar, there were also several diners with younger children (think: little girls in the most adorable dresses and tea party hats 😍), and they were all very well behaved. No crying or yelling – you could tell they all felt very fancy and were acting accordingly.
We really enjoyed our experience and have already decided to make this an annual summer tradition. They do offer an annual passholder discount, so be sure to alert them if you are AP’s. You can make reservations online or call 407-939-5277. Leave a comment if you have tried or plan on trying Afternoon Tea on your next visit.