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Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian

by Meghann on September 25, 2012

A few weeks ago I received a Facebook message from an old friend I hadn’t hung out with since high school. Despite the 10-year gap of face-to-face conversation, we’d semi managed to stay in touch via Facebook. You know how it goes – I’d occasionally like one of her photos or statuses, she’d occasionally like one of mine, and every once in a while we’d even leave a comment with a promise that we’d have to hang out again soon. Well, Rachel had enough of promising and decided to put a date on it. The message was an invitation to join her and another friend from high school (also named Rachel) for some fun at Disney World.

But, of course!

Unfortunately, my annual pass had expired in January and, the plan was, to wait until after the Fantasyland expansion was complete to renew. Whomp. Whomp. Luckily we were able to quickly come up with a Plan B – Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room  at the Grand Floridian.

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Afternoon tea was something I’d always wanted to do at the Grand Floridian. Every afternoon from 2 – 5 p.m. the Garden View Tea Room at the back of the Grand Floridian opens it doors and invites guests to dine on assorted pastries, tea sandwiches, and scones while sipping tea with their pinkies up. It’s a quaint room, dressed elegantly with fine china plates and signature floral tea pots.

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Personally, I enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of the tea room. If you’re on a family vacation, I could see the afternoon tea as a nice escape from the hustle and bustle from the theme parks.

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We had a reservation for 4:30, but were able to walk right in at 3:00pm without a problem. The tea menu was extensive, but not overwhelming. I ended up choosing the organic pear tea that I found under the seasonal “Fall Flavors” menu.

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I thought the tea was very light and soothing. A great transitional tea for summer to fall.

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When it came time to order what to eat, I was overwhelmed. At first I was tempted to order one of the platters so I could try everything, but then I talked myself out of it when I realized that would be way too much food (and everyone else was going the light snack route). Instead, I ordered the scones with lemon curd cream.

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The scones reminded me more of the biscuit-like scones I had in Ireland, versus the dry-and-crumbly scones we tend to enjoy here. I thought they were just okay. They were actually better when I borrowed some strawberry jam and added that to the scone as well. Next time I would order both the lemon curd and strawberry jam and combine the two.

I also asked about the “assorted pastries” option listed on the menu. Our server was quick to answer my question by bringing over a tray of said assorted pastries that we could choose from.

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I went with the cannoli, which was fabulous. You can’t go wrong with a good cannoli.

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Overall, the afternoon tea service was great. The tea was good, the service was excellent, and we had a chance to nibble on some goodies while playing catch up. i would really love to return with my niece one day, I think a little girl would be in heaven here.

Little boys? Not so much. My friend’s ADORABLE two year old son wasn’t having any of it – he wanted to MOVE!

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So we bought a bottle of wine from the hotel’s bar and took our party to one of the abandoned patios upstairs.

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Not a bad view either.

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Maybe it was the wine, all the Disney talk, or Silas’ cute desire to ride the “choo choo” but somewhere between discussing marathons and babies, I agreed to renewing my annual pass for Disney World. Whoops?

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Okay, so maybe I’d already been heavily considering it ever since I read MomJovi’s post on the recently opened portions of the new Fantasyland. Yes, it’s just a small sliver of the to-be-completed portions, but it was enough to pull me in. All Rachel and Rachel had to do was the plant the idea of possibly renewing my pass this evening and I was sold. Though, it really wasn’t a hard sale.

All things considered, annual seasonal passes for Florida residents are dirt cheap in the world of Disney. My 12-month pass (complete with limited black-out dates) is the same price as a 3-day park hopper pass for non-Florida residents. All I have to do is use the pass more than 4 times and I’ll feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth (even if that means going by myself ;) ).

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Choo! Choo!

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And the Fantasyland expansion (which is technically the Storybook Circus area)? There’s no way I could do a review of the newly opened area justice. Please check out MomJovi for that one! <- her review covers it all!

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Though, I will say we were impressed with the new play area guests can enjoy instead of waiting in line for the Dumbo ride.

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They give you a ticket/beeper.

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And instead of waiting in line for 20 minutes, they’ll let the kids play and beep you when the 20 minutes are up.

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Where was this technology when I was a kid 20 years ago?!

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We stopped for dinner at Harbor House (my favorite food spot in Magic Kingdom!) and I ordered a bowl of vegetarian chili with a side of broccoli.

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I also had some pretzels with hummus when I got home. It took me a little more than an hour to drive from Disney back to Tampa. When there isn’t any traffic, the drive really isn’t that bad. :)

And not it’s time for bed.

Good Night!

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