Yes, I know that this, in essence, is a meal, but it's not set up that way and is more of an experience that just a meal, so I'm putting it in the Special Edition section. It takes reservations like a normal restaurant, but that's where the normality ends!
Located inside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa (or Disney's Indian Burial Ground resort, as I like to call it due to it's freaky Indian Burial Ground vibe), the Garden View Tea Room is on the main lobby floor.
There are plenty of things to see in the GF's lobby,
including a band:
and don't forget to look down:
They also have various shops, from the fancy-smancy clothing store, to their very own Basin which has scents that are specific to the Grand Floridian. Plus, at Christmastime, it's one of the best on property (here's a teaser, I'll do a Christmas review at another time):
If you arrive via monorail,
you will either have to take the stairs:
or the elevator down to the main level:
It is a very small area and the tea only happens for about four hours a day, so reservations are extremely hard to come by (and now they are rehabbing the room, so it's temporarily closed until late fall). It's another thing that we do on a Magic Kingdom day because it is so easy to take the resort monorail directly to the GF.
The decor is very Victorian (like the rest of the GF):
right down to the China:
I can't help but blush at the cherub with the saggy va-jay-jay (yes, I'm twelve), but we always seem to be looking right at her! Must be because the room is so tiny:
There are several different experiences to be had here, from a package to ordering separately. We typically do a package, the Grand Tea to be specific. Here is the descrption directly from AllEars.net:
The Grand Tea - The classic English tradition of Afternoon Tea, Grand Floridian style. We offer you a variety of tea sandwiches, scones and jam tarts, followed by your choice of our freshly baked tea pastries or English trifle, accompanied by a glass of Domaine Ste.-Michelle sparkling wine and your choice of tea. Iron Horse Cuvee $6.00. Veuve Clicquot $9.00 $29.00
They bring you samples of the tea to sniff if you are undecided about which to choose. They carry everything from blacks to whites to greens to oolong, and every flavor in between. They also have herbals, but here's where my tea snobbery is the worst...HERBAL TEA IS NOT TEA! There are no tea leaves in it! It's more of a natural Kool-Aid than tea, but I digress:
The tea arrives in your own pot and the CM serves it up for you. Each person gets their own pot (which is good). We don't typically get the same flavor anyway.
It stays hot the entire time due to being covered in cozies:
We've also swapped out the champagne for mimosas:
Here are the scones and jam tarts (the jam tart flavors have always been the same-Strawberry, but the scone flavors tend to vary):
Next comes the finger sandwiches, and these are hit and miss:
I usually have to cover up the pate (because it's nasty) and I don't eat the onion tart, but the sandwiches are all pretty good...there is usually a cucumber pear (which you'd think I'd hate, but it's actually rather good), an egg, a seafood salad, and a very mustardy flavored one with chicken.
Then come the pastries! We've gotten everything from strawberries and creme:
to a selection of pastries you pick from a trolley:
to my all-time favorite, English Trifle:
which has now been fancied up a bit more:
It's a very "English" experience, and we all know how much I love all things English! Am likes to really ham it up while we're there:
sometimes they give out roses:
I won't show you the one picture of me, sticking my tongue out because I didn't want her to take my picture. You should be spared that horror!
All the tea they serve, they also sell, including a Garden View Blend that is specifically made for the tea room (it's a bit like a Lady Grey with a floral twist to it, I absolutely LOVE it!). Now, I think I may have mentioned that I'm an extreme tea snob, I don't take tea lightly, but I have yet to try a flavor that I didn't like.
It's an event we try to do as often as possible, and, although we usually have the same menu items, it seems like an entirely different experience every single year! Granted, I would never be able to stay at the GF (due to the Indian Burial Ground vibe), but it's Amber's favorite and she has stayed there before. I can't manage more than the couple of hours it takes to do the tea and to pick up some Basin White bath bombs (my absolute favorite) without my spidey-sense kicking in and urging me to get the heck out of dodge!