The Garden View Tea Room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of my favorite places at the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s so relaxing but also refined, and it offers beautiful views of the resort’s lobby and the gardens just outside the room’s sweeping windows. Whether you regularly indulge in afternoon tea or you are looking to try it out for the first time, there are so many things I love about this location.
Afternoon tea is offered daily from noon to 4:00 pm (the Disney Perfectly Princess Tea Party takes place earlier from 9:00 am-10:30 am). If you are bringing little ones to tea later in the day, know that the experience is not really geared towards children the same way the Disney Perfectly Princess Tea Party is but there is still the “Mrs. Pott’s Tea Menu,” that features a similar three-course afternoon tea experience with modified menu items.
The tea menu consists of various options for the different courses that come with afternoon tea. I imagine that the Bedfordshire Tea is the most popular as it is the most inexpensive of all of the options. For $35, this includes a first course of finger sandwiches, a second course featuring a seasonally flavored scone with butter, jam, and lemon curd, and a third course of your choice of desserts (house-made pastries, strawberries and cream, or English trifle), and your choice of a pot of tea.
The step up from the Bedfordshire Tea is the Derbyshire Tea, which at $50 comes with all of the above plus a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne. I’ve ordered both, and unless you’re really celebrating a special occasion I would make the Bedfordshire Tea my go-to. It was nice to have the champagne (and we used it to toast the end of my Disney College Program) but it really wasn’t necessary with everything else that goes along with afternoon tea.
For the same price as the Derbyshire Tea, you can also order the Cheshire Tea, which comes with all of the above minus the champagne and with an added first course of exotic fruits and cheeses. (For $65 the Cheshire Tea can also include the champagne). Again, I would go with the Bedfordshire Tea just because I don’t really think it needs anything else, but I have seen lots of other guests order the Cheshire Tea so many the fruit and cheese is totally worth it and I’ve been missing out all this time.
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Now if you want to get really fancy you can also order the Yorkshire Tea (which includes all of the above with the champagne plus caviar with traditional accompaniments for $175 for two) or the Berkshire Tea (which is the same as the Yorkshire Tea minus the champagne for $150 for two). These two are obviously on the more expensive side of afternoon tea, but I think many guests skip trying the afternoon tea here because of the price. For the Bedfordshire Tea though, $35 per person is less than you would typically spend at a Disney signature restaurant. So if you are on the fence because of the cost I would give that one a try.
Now for the tea! When you order you’ll also have to select which tea blend you’d like for your pot. The tea menu has any kind of tea you could possibly be craving including green and white teas, black teas, flavored black teas, Oolong teas, and herbal infusions. In addition there are usually seasonal teas depending on the time of year. Also on the tea menu are the signature blends which are made exclusively for the Garden View Tea Room.
Although the variety in the whole menu is really nice, I like to order from the signature blends because you can’t get those teas anywhere else– my favorite blend is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: medium-bodied Ceylon tea leaves scented with the essential oils of vanilla and natural fruits, including passion fruit and pomegranate.
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The finger sandwiches vary by season, but they follow the same sort of rules that most afternoon tea rooms follow with varieties of egg salad, chicken salad, smoked salmon and dill, chicken curry, cucumbers and cream cheese, etc… I’ve had a couple of different kinds of tea sandwiches here and they’ve all been delicious. The caramelized onion tart that is often served with the tea sandwiches is scrumptious as well.
From the savory sandwiches we move right along to the sweeter end of afternoon tea with the second course of buttery scones. This is my favorite course of afternoon tea, as I love the lemon curd and clotted cream that goes along with the scones. The type of scone also occasionally changes at the Garden View Tea Room, usually it’s a light cranberry or raisin.
I would also point out (particularly for those who are concerned about the price) that each course of Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room has some really thoughtful touches that you don’t always see in other venues. For instance, the finger sandwiches are actually much more substantially filling than you probably expect. While you don’t go to afternoon tea to really fill yourself up, a common gripe I hear about it is that you’ll be hungry after you eat it. This tea will not make you “Thanksgiving dinner stuffed” but I think you’ll feel quite satisfied after dining here.
The inclusion of the tarts with the first two courses is also something I haven’t seen at many other venues. Not only do the caramelized onion tart with the sandwiches and the jam tart with the scone add to the amount of food you’re getting, but the flavors really go well with everything else on the plate. These small touches aren’t necessary and I don’t think they’re common as I haven’t really seen them elsewhere but I really think it adds a nice thoughtful touch to this experience.
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Now for dessert! I’m going to be totally honest here and just let you know that sweets aren’t always my thing. It’s not that I don’t like them, I’m just really particularly. I enjoy fresh and flavorful sweets, but I get easily turned off when desserts are “too sweet” if that makes sense. The assorted pastries at the Garden View Tea Room however are right up my alley, and the cream puff is my absolute favorite!
With the cream puff, you get a couple of different flavors of macarons along with a chocolate covered strawberry. I think this is the perfect way to end afternoon tea, and with my particularly tastes I always find that the sugary sweetness of the macarons are perfectly balanced with the cream puff and the strawberry. (Plus how adorable is the swan cream puff!?)
The other dessert option I’ve tried is the strawberries and cream, and while I prefer the assorted pastries I highly recommend this one as well. I think I would have hesitated to order this in the past since I’m always worried that I’ll find this kind of cream to be too sweet, but the Grand Floridian pastry team really does get this exactly right.
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Some other things to note about the Garden View Tea Room: You’ll definitely want to make reservations for afternoon tea. This never really comes up when you think of places that you need reservations for in Disney, but it can be difficult to get a walk-up table and you may not find reservations last-minute.
Lastly, there is no dress code for dining here which admittedly seems a little strange given the setting but this is not considered a signature dining experience. That being said, I personally would feel a little weird showing up in leggings and a tank top, but if you’re set on afternoon tea and the only time you have to do so is during a break from the Magic Kingdom, you can largely wear what you’d like since no dress code applies (outside of the usual no bathing suits, bare feet, etc when dining inside resort).
Have you had afternoon tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa? I highly recommend it for either first timers to afternoon tea or seasoned tea lovers. Even if you’ve had afternoon tea before, it’s really such a unique experience to do it in Disney. Let me know if you’ve tried the afternoon tea here or if you’re thinking about giving it a try in the comments!