BACKGROUND: The first time that Allison and I had tea at the Garden View Lounge was on her 18th birthday. This first experience was so wonderful that we vowed to repeat our mother-daughter tea on every Disney trip thereafter. I hope you don’t mind if I now take a short trip down memory lane…
Our initial impression of the Garden View Lounge was that it was quiet and peaceful…a rarity among Disney restaurants, and therefore very much appreciated. As soon as our server discovered that it was my daughter’s birthday, she presented her with a pretty birthday tiara to wear, a tiara that she still has to this day. Next came our Princess Breakfast tea served in pretty china teapots and covered with velvet cozies. This was followed by all the delicious food, beautifully presented to us on elegant, rose-covered china. But the icing on the cake, so to speak, was that my daughter was presented with a candlelit cupcake and our server led the other guests in singing “Happy Birthday”. She was made to feel quite special, like a princess, on her 18th birthday. As for me, I loved seeing the huge smile on my daughter’s face, something her mother didn’t often get to see during those teenage years. When we had finished our tea, my daughter was presented with a lovely pink rose. This was not only the perfect ending for this special experience that we had shared but it sealed the deal for us…we would definitely return to the Garden View Lounge for many more mother-daughter teas.
Allison on her 18th Birthday
Thank you so much for allowing me to relive that first mother-daughter tea. Now I will tell you about our 5th mother-daughter…
TEA AT THE GARDEN VIEW LOUNGE
Our reservation was at opening time, which is 2:00 at the Garden View Lounge (located on the 1st floor, just off the lobby of the lovely Grand Floridian hotel). We arrived early (before they began checking in people at the podium) so we relaxed in the comfortable lobby couches and listened to Disney songs being played on the grand piano.
Once seated and presented menus, we first made our tea choices (well, actually Emily doesn’t like tea so she had chocolate milk). Allison again ordered the Princess Breakfast tea, which is described as a sweet custom blend of South African organic rooibos flavored with vanilla bean and a hint of strawberries. I had the Vanilla Rooibos, which I think is the same tea but without the strawberry.
Tea for Two
I was quite happy to see that our tea was served in rose-covered china teapots and cups & saucers, as I had seen a review here from a visit made earlier this year and the dishes were all plain white. So apparently they must have gotten new china recently and during the interim were using the plain dishes. However, something I didn’t notice until I was looking at our pictures from previous years, was that they changed the china pattern. They used to have the Royal Albert Old Country Rose made by Royal Doulton. It had a gold trim and I thought looked quite formal. IMO, the new pattern, while similar, looks a little less elegant and pretty. So I’m wondering now why the change in china patterns after all these years…anybody know??? Anybody care???
Our Grand Tea from last year served on Royal Albert China – See the difference???
It was shortly after our tea was served, that a wonderful surprise occurred. I had completely forgotten that I had noted on our reservation that we were celebrating my daughter’s graduation. Can you guess what was presented to her???
Allison with her lovely pink rose
We looked at each other and smiled, both remembering our very first tea here.
Okay, enough with the sentimental sappy stuff…let’s bring on the food!
While Emily and I ordered some items a la carte, Allison ordered the Buckingham Palace, which includes 3-courses in addition to her choice of tea. Her first course was a plate of 5 finger sandwiches. This included a grilled pear with gorgonzola, an egg salad, a shrimp salad, a chicken salad (which I believe had almonds, just an FYI for anyone who might be allergic to nuts), and a watercress, cucumber, & cream cheese. Each of these was served on a different kind of their housemade bread. The sandwich plate also included a small, but deliciously sweet onion tart. Btw, I also ordered a plate of the tea sandwiches, exchanging the watercress one for I believe a second egg salad…as I find the watercress one kind of boring (but Allison loves it ). Doing this is never a problem here. We both gave our sandwich plate a “Very Good” rating.
Plate of Assorted Tea Sandwiches – traditional tea sandwich plate with five assorted tea sandwiches on fresh, house-made breads
Her second course was a very tasty scone, which can be made even more delicious by slathering it with the Devonshire (clotted) cream and strawberry jam that is served with it. Emily and I also each ordered the scones, not realizing that the a la carte portion included two scones instead of just one. So we actually could have shared one order. Allison and I each gave the scones a “Very Good” rating, but Emily lowered her rating to just an “Okay” once she discovered they had golden raisins. But that’s two against one, so the scones receive a “Very Good”.
Two Freshly Baked Scones (A la Carte portion) – Served with Devonshire Cream & Strawberry Jam
For her final course, Allison had a choice of strawberries and whipped cream or two dessert pastries. Both she and Emily had the strawberries and cream and both rated them as “Very Good”. I just discovered that we forgot to take a picture of the strawberries and cream so I’ve reused one from last year’s tea.
Fresh Strawberries & Whipped Cream
And last but not least (for me anyway), Emily and I shared this…
British Cheese Plate – a selection of traditional British cheeses, served with an array of seasonal fruit and crackers (Cheese Plate #2 of the Trip) – $14.50
This cheese plate contained 5 kinds of cheese, however I can only remember the two I ate (Blue Stilton and Brie), which I loved but Emily didn’t like. Therefore, I let her have all of the other three cheeses and consequently I don’t recall what they were. For our array of seasonal fruit we had slices of honeydew melon, red grapes, and a few strawberries and raspberries. I also think I remember having a few slices of cantaloupe, but you can’t see any in the pictures. Perhaps they are camera shy and are hiding behind the honeydew??? I rated the cheese/fruit plate as “Very Good”, but Emly gave it a “Good” since she didn’t like 2 out of the 5 cheeses, plus she doesn’t eat any kind of melon. So technically this should be given an in-between “Good” and “Very Good” rating but I’ll round up because of the crackers. Oh, that reminds me I forgot to mention them…we were given several butterfly-shaped crackers (plain and wheat) that worked very well with the cheese. And when we finished them, our server brought us several more. It seems like with many cheese plates you are given just a few baguette slices and always run out way before you’ve eaten all the cheese. So a few extra points are given to this cheese plate for the generous portion of crackers served with it.
So our overall rating for this meal was: Very Good
And so that concludes another wonderful mother-daughter(s) tea, again it was “Practically Perfect in Every Way”.