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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!

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife September 25, 2012 at 1:14 am

So jealous! We were there in February for the Princess Half. Luckily, my friend works for Disney so we got in for free for four days, plus she knew exactly what to do and where to go. It was an amazing way to see the parks (which I hadn’t been to in 10 years).
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2 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale September 25, 2012 at 5:40 am

I’ve definitely always wanted to live close enough to an amusement park (Disney is the ultimate dream … but I’d settle for ANY amusement park!) to have a season pass and go super often. I don’t care about the magic potentially wearing off — I’d deal with that when it came. I LOVE parks and coasters!!
And what a lovely tea! Getting dressed up for a lovely, classy tea social would be my little-girl dream come true. :)
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3 Cait @ Beyond Bananas September 25, 2012 at 6:25 am

You made me miss Disney! I haven’t been there in almost 10 years! :)
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4 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut September 25, 2012 at 6:47 am

What a fun day! Bummer about the disappointing scone though. When you don’t eat something often- like a scone- you want it to be GOOD. Same goes with cupcakes. :) Nice job on making a healthy choice for dinner…even at the Magic Kingdom!
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5 Sarah September 25, 2012 at 7:03 am

That looks like so much fun! :) and you should also be at the international food and wine festival this year! *wink wink nudge nudge* :D
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6 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats September 25, 2012 at 7:25 am

I would definitely get a pass if I lived right by Disney! I LOVE theme parks but only get to go once every few years.
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7 Caroline September 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

Tea sounds like so much fun! There’s a tea house in my town and a few times a year my friends and I manage to go. I’d love to get an annual pass to Disney! I haven’t been since 5th grade!

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8 Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 25, 2012 at 8:01 am

I want to go to Disney now!!! The Grand Floridian is one of my favorite places there. We always stay at The Polynesian, but I make my family take me there so I can walk around and feel ritzy :D
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9 Chelsea September 25, 2012 at 8:43 am

Meghann- I tried to reach out to you via email but the link wasn’t working and the mail came back.

Meghann-

I’m a long time reader in the Tampa area and am interested in getting into swimming and triathlons. Any recommendations on bikes and also where do you do your swim practices and is that open for others to join. If so, where, when and how much? Thanks!!

Chelsea

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10 Meghann September 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

That’s odd. My email is mealsandmiles@gmail.com. I’m going to try emailing you though. :)

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11 Kathy September 25, 2012 at 8:59 am

I love when you show Disney…brings me back and makes me want to book a flight there right now! Yes, that is a great deal for FL residents….I guess you need a perk to put up with all the tourists! ;-)

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12 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats September 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

I love Disney. The new play area is a genius idea! I am also impressed you were able to resist the Mickey Mouse ice cream. I think I always manage to consume one within the first 15 minutes of being there.

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13 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats September 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

I love Disney. The new play area is a genius idea! I am also impressed you were able to resist the Mickey Mouse ice cream. I think I always manage to consume one within the first 15 minutes of being there.

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14 Emily N September 25, 2012 at 9:02 am

So… become a Florida resident? Is that what you’re saying? :)
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15 Rebecca September 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

I miss Disney World! I haven’t been in a few years and want to go back! I really like that ticket paging system – really cool! I really like the Fast Pass idea as well.

I remember as a kid I used to see the billboard signs for the annual pass for Florida residents and feeling some envy – would love to go to Disney all the time :-)
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16 Natalie @ Free Range Human September 25, 2012 at 9:12 am

I’m so jealous that you live that close to Disney. I love it there!
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17 Carissa @Fit2Flex September 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

I love this post for so many reasons! Mainly Disney and wine! haha! I didn’t realize how amazing the new FantasyLand is going to be. I’ll have to take my Mom when she’s here for Wine and Dine.
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18 Lisa in IL September 25, 2012 at 9:25 am

Several years ago we were in Orlando the week before Thanksgiving and watched the set-up for Christmas displays at the Grand Floridian, it was absolutely stunning when it was finished. Someday I’ll spend a holiday there, someday. Didn’t know about the afternoon tea, next time will definately make that an experience.

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19 kim@hungryhealthygirl September 25, 2012 at 9:31 am

I wish I lived near Disney World….you lucky duck! Love an afternoon tea with all of the girly decor, choice of teas, pastries, and little sandwiches. Your friend’s son has gorgeous hair, by the way!
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20 Rachel M September 25, 2012 at 9:40 am

Wow, that was fun to reread our day with you! That was a lot of fun catching up and we must do it again sooner than 10 years from now :-) Thanks for joining us!

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21 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope September 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

Oh, I am so jealous! Disney World is my favorite place on earth. I wish I lived that close for an annual pass :)
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22 Dione September 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

I think it was a good idea renewing your pass now. I waited until Cars Land to open up here in CA and the prices went way up!! So technically you are saving money!!

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23 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

Pretty much the main reason why I wished I lived in Florida. I feel like I would want to be there every weekend!
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24 Gretchen September 25, 2012 at 11:18 am

Great photos at the tea, Megs! :)
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25 Jackie @ MomJovi September 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I’m so glad you did the tea and blogged about it! I’ve been thinking of doing that with E. but I wasn’t sure what it’d be like. Did you happen to check out the new Alice in Wonderland splash pad at Grand Floridian? I almost made a special trip over from MK on Friday just to see it but ran out of time. Next time.

I’m so glad I was a bad/good Disney influence! We’ll need to plan our next girls’ day out at MK. Christmas again like last year?!?

I really want to make reservations at the new Be Our Guest restaurant but we have decided on the when yet. I can’t WAIT to see the big Gaston statue. Love him!
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26 Meghann September 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I think E. would enjoy it! I only caught a glimpse of the Alice in Wonderland splash pad from the balcony. The whole area is still full of construction, so it kind of takes away from the appeal of the new renovations.

And YES! to girls day! Count me in for Be Our Guest too ;)

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27 Meghan @ After the Ivy League September 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Awww now I’m dying to go to Disney world!! Is it acceptable to go with friends when you’re 25-26 years-old (and none of you have kids)?
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28 Meghann September 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

haha – I would still go without a friend who had a kid!

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29 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer September 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I love this a million times! I am a disney addict and can’t wait until fantasyland opens up and I can come visit. Did you get to see any of the new Beauty and the Beast Stuff?
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30 Genna September 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I love love Disney so I will happily accompany you any free day,!
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31 Denise September 26, 2012 at 12:04 am

My mom and I are planning a girls trip to disney in a few weeks. This afternoon tea will definitely be added to our agenda!
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32 Laura @ My Pink Thumb September 26, 2012 at 10:29 am

Ahh I am so jealous that you are able to get an annual pass and go to Disney World whenever you want!! I was literally just there with my family this past weekend and well.. considering we had to fly from Toronto, pay for our villa at animal kingdom, as well as park hopper passes.. well you don’t want to know how much that cost us. ;) haha
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33 melissa October 1, 2012 at 9:26 am

I love afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian. but you’re right, if you do the whole service, it’s a meal!

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