The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Afternoon Tea In The Grand Floridian

Mini trip report! Read all the posts in this report here.

We finish out my WDW Marathon trip report with a review of afternoon tea in the Garden View Lounge.

I have probably had afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian than I have had any other WDW experience. Off the top of my head I’ve done it at least six times, although admittedly not since 2013.


Naturally many changes may occur in the space of that many years, but that’s not I made my ADR for one the day before the marathon. No, I made it because a giant pot of tea and baked goods sounded like a fabulous way to hydrate and carb up for a long run.

For those unfamiliar, afternoon tea takes place in the Garden View lounge on the main lobby floor of the Grand Floridian. The views are not astounding and the room is open to the sometimes chattery lobby next door, but it’s a pleasant enough setting. I do wish the tables weren’t so close together, but what can ya do.

There is always a long list of teas available, and while you can make a la carte food purchases it’s much more efficient to purchase a set tea menu. This can range from tea sandwiches and pastries to a full cheese plate spread and champagne to top things off.

I say it’s more efficient; I do not say it’s a good value, at least on the face of things. I swear I remember getting one of the fancier teas for $35 as recently as 5 years ago, the one that included a glass of champagne. Well, no more; the standard tea spread itself is now $35, and you’ll need to rocket up to $50 if you want that glass of bubbly.

Ah well. We do not go to Disney because we feel that it’s a bargain, no? I ordered the cheapest, basic $35 Bedfordshire spread with, after some deliberation, the caramel rooibos tea (normally I get cassis but I wanted something herbal so it wouldn’t be dehydrating).

The tea came out first; my server poured my first cup, then ensconced the teapot in a tea cozy. The caramel rooibos had a rich flavor that was enhanced by the addition of sugar cubes from a little sugar bowl, tongs and all.

The first course was the finger sandwiches. Interestingly enough, every online menu I’ve consulted says they are accompanied by berries and cheese, but I don’t remember seeing that and I definitely didn’t get any. 

Sandwich flavors included cucumber, cheese spread with roasted tomato, pear and Gorgonzola, egg salad, an onion tart, and, always my favorite, curried chicken salad. All are good but, with the potential exception of the curried chicken salad, none of it stands out as a mind-blowing culinary triumph. Totally a sucker for curry. I kinda want to tell them to bring me only that…

Once my sandwiches were done my server brought out my final two courses, which is interesting because they were formerly delivered separately, in true course style. Admittedly that little tier thingee is neat, but it does take away some of the luxuriousness of a drawn out experience, if that makes any sense.


Anyway, I started with course two, the jam tart and scone with accompaniments. The jam tart is basically shortbread with some thick raspberry jelly in the middle. It reminds me of a very high end Pop Tart. Can I get some frosting up in here?

The scone is freakin’ delicious – it’s got currants in it, which are like raisins but not and that’s a little weird, but the scone itself is soft and buttery, like a biscuit but without the crusty elements. I’m way into it.

Accompaniments have changed a lot over the years. This time around there was apricot jam (eh), butter (good but could’ve been softer), and the most recent addition, lemon curd. I have no idea why the last one exists because I don’t think it does much for the scone itself, but I will sure as hell eat it with a spoon.
The one tragic loss is the Devonshire cream, which was like butter RIGHT before it becomes butter and it is DELICIOUS. But apparently some people didn’t like it, because it peaced out. 🙁 Please come back, Devonshire cream!
For the dessert course, in the Bedfordshire tea, you have three choices: trifle, strawberries and whipped cream, or a selection of pastries. For years the trifle was ALWAYS strawberry, but a couple years ago they started to do seasonal flavors. This time around it was blueberry-lemon, but I don’t like blueberries so pass on that. On rare occasions strawberries don’t agree with me, so pastries it was.
Back in the day you got to choose a couple from a tray, but that’s changed too; now you get what they give you. Normally one of those things is a chocolate covered strawberry, but see above note about strawberries. My server was kind enough to double up on the pastry swans.
Those pastry swans were excellent – the choux pastry or whatever that made of the swans didn’t have a ton of flavor, but the mousse was something nutty… I want to say hazelnut? Very light but with an assertive flavor. The macarons were just that – macarons – good, nothing special. Looking around I saw flavors other than what I had, so that seems randomized. 
All the while, I sipped my tea and read a book and messed around on my phone and relaxed, and that was fantastic. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone wants a light but filling lunch where you can chill. Just come prepared to drop a little money.
I think I might do this again before next year’s marathon. Who’s in?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Receives An Influenster Vox Box

Wanna hear something weird? Influenster believes you are interested in my opinions! I can tell because, against all odds, they sent me their Spice Vox Box, full of stuff I did not pay for. I am nothing if not chock full of integrity, however, so you can be sure that the following thoughts are devoid of bias. You can tell because sometimes the things I say aren’t complimentary; which is another way of saying this may be my last Vox Box. Time will tell!

So what was in this, my first and potentially final box? Well…

Good Health Veggie Stix – Made with broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, and the like, these are definitely a healthier alternative to potato chips. They’re not a substitute texturally, and are strangely a little greasy, but if you’re craving something salty it’s not a bad pick. I wouldn’t buy these on the regular but it would make a great road trip or airplane snack.

Not Your Mother’s Whip It Up Mousse (FB) – This stuff comes out like whipped cream and smells like vanilla frosting. All major pros in my book but don’t give it to your toddler unless you fancy a call to poison control. I’ve used it in my hair a couple times, applying it wet and then blowing dry, and it worked nicely enough, but I did not notice enough difference to label this a must-have or miracle product. I’d buy it on sale but not go out of my way for it.

Boots Botanics 81% Organic Hydrating Day Cream – I was skeptical of this product from the start, especially since my facial skin can be temperamental. The texture of this cream is thick in the jar but comes out on your fingers much thinner, which threw me off, and once soaked into my face I thought I detected a waxy residue. But having used it several days in a row, I found it really did leave my face looking pretty good, soft and even. And this next bit will be a love-or-hate thing for potential buyers: you can REALLY smell the rosehip oil. I loved the smell, which lingers on your face for a bit, but if you’re sensitive to scents or prefer something more neutral, skip. Otherwise, give it a shot. Major bonus: cruelty-free!

Sinful Colors Nail Polish & Topcoat – I lasted painted my toenails… I want to say… two and a half years ago? And the last time I can actively remember painting my fingernails was in 8th grade. You could say I’m not the target market for this product, but I’ll give them this: the deep, rich red they sent me ALMOST tempted me into trying it. Who knows; I might slap this on my toes someday. Further updates as events warrant, but until then I give this a hearty ???

Yogi Tea – I received two flavors, vanilla spice and tangerine. Neither are really in my wheelhouse (I’m a mint and/or green tea girl), but both did the job. I was not blown away by either flavor but the vanilla spice was excellent from a thematic perspective when I was wrapping Christmas presents. I recommend you add a little sugar to really bring out the vanilla notes.

Foot Petals Kill Kushionz – There were two models of shoe augmenters sent in these boxes, and of course I got the one I don’t have much call to use: the one for heels. I don’t wear heels much because a) I like to walk really fast and b) my boyfriend is max two inches taller than me and while neither of us care from a symbolic perspective if I’m taller it’s not really conducive to good times if you’re constantly addressing your words over your date’s head, y’know? Next time I do bust out some heels, I’ll let you know if these are worth the money. In the meantime, Foot Petals, if you want me to send those boot inserts, they would get a VERY THOROUGH REVIEW.

And now, saving the best for last…

Soapbox Soaps Coconut Shampoo & Conditioner – LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. I’m not going to go into too much detail just yet because I’m trying to arrange a discount code or giveaway from the company earlyish next year, but suffice it to say you should buy some right now. It does nice things for my hair AND it’s animal-safe, which is very important to me. Never looking back!

There you have it: a bunch o’ opinions from me.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Pre-Run Snack Suggestion: Raspberry Scones

MOON: Jenn and I are very liberal with what we consider “good” energy for running (but this is mostly because we love baking), so we made scones this weekend! Carbs for running! We had raspberry scones (my favorite) – all organic ingredients, of course.

JENN: When did we first make raspberry scones? I feel like it’s been a go-to for awhile.

MOON: I have no idea – I think we initially decided to bake them to go with tea a couple years ago.

JENN: That does sound like something we would do. We started talking about tea pretty quickly around here!

I know you used a different recipe this time – did you switch cream for milk like you’ve been doing lately?

MOON: Well, the last few times I’ve done scones I haven’t had cream on-hand, so I had to use milk. This time I knew we were planning on making them, so I bought some ahead of time!

 
JENN:
Do you feel like it made a difference?

MOON: Well, I would say that the consistency is a little better with cream. Not quite as soggy. The recipe was the same otherwise! We did, however, roll the dough out differently – instead of mixing the fruit, we scattered it over the top of the dough and then rolled it up. It worked pretty well.

JENN: Which recipe did you use? Did you make any modifications?

MOON: So, I have used all sorts of recipes, but because I have none of them at the apartment, here is the one we used yesterday, from Chow.com (thank goodness for the internet!).

JENN: These scones don’t come out as sweet as some of the ones you might be familiar with from bakeries, but you can always adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. They’re also ENORMOUS; you might consider cutting yours smaller, although you’ll want to watch them closely as they’ll probably need less time in the oven that way. The texture, regardless, is fantastic. Although I can’t guarantee yours will be as good as ours; Moon is a magical master baker. You may need to borrow her for best results.

So there ya go. Runner’s breakfast! Carbs and fruit!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

In Which We Talk Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian

MOON: Okay, let’s do tea!

JENN: We did the afternoon tea in the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Lounge for the first time in June of 2008. There have been many changes since then, some positive and some negative, but it is the one WDW restaurant I have returned to more than any other. I think my count is up to… I dunno, five times? Six?

Anyway, Moon and I went again in February, so we figured we’d talk about it, because it is awesome.

MOON: I was just looking at photos of our tea yesterday. Yuuum. 😀

JENN: The Garden View Lounge is located on the first floor of the Grand Floridian, at the back of that vast lobby area. It’s scarcely even its own room, just kinda roped off up a few stairs in a vestibule. The walls are almost entirely made of window and the views of the grounds are lovely. I love watching the cast members go by and their adorable Victorian outfits with the caps and the knee pants!

The Garden View Lounge afternoon tea service can be purchased a la carte or in certain pre-set prix fixe menus. We almost always get the Grand Tea, largely because of the dessert options, but we’ll get to that!

The first thing you do when ordering said Grand Tea is select your tea. The teas are loose leaf and brewed individually in personal pots. Unfortunately, the tea menu condensed awhile back, deleting my favorite tea, the cassis. Still, the selection is good and the quality is high. I want to say I got the Mad Hatter tea last time? It was a lightly flavored black tea and very good. You’re given lump sugar and milk if you want your tea English style.

They put your teapot in a tea cozy to keep it warmer. And cuter.
The little strainer is for putting over your cup as your pour, to keep
the loose tea leaves out.

MOON: I have no memory of what I picked, but I’m pretty sure I would have picked a black tea. So, one of them.

JENN: The Grand Tea also comes with champagne, although you can substitute sparkling cider. This we did on this particular occasion, as we were running the Princess Half in a few days and didn’t want to overdo it on the alcohol. The strawberry wedged on the edge of the glass is a nice touch!

Another time, this coulda been champagne!

The Grand Tea comes in three courses, alongside your tea and champagne/cider. The first course is tea sandwiches. These had been pretty much the same over the three or four years I had them – and then on this last tea, they changed!

The most important thing about the finger sandwiches I want to mention, however, is that they are easily customizable to fit certain diets. Moon is a pescetarian, which means she’ll eat fish but no meat. The sandwiches include chicken salad as well as duck wrapped in… um… prosciutto? Some pork product. The waitress was happy to sub the chicken salad for a second smoked salmon sandwich and the duck for an extra onion tart.

Other sandwiches include (if memory serves) a cucumber sandwich, an egg salad sandwich, and a pear and gorgonzola sandwich (shrimp salad sandwich wasn’t included during this run – maybe it’ll make a return or maybe it’s been permanently replaced?). I think they’d have to make you something different if you’re vegan, but vegetarians should be pretty easily accommodated by doubling up on the sandwiches they can eat. Of course, it never hurts to call ahead! They can probably make completely new sandwich combinations as well with a little notice.

The chicken salad sandwich has curry and is Jenn’s favorite!

MOON: The first time I went to tea with Jenn was around four or five years ago and at that time I was vegetarian to the max and I remember not having a lot of options. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it! The tea is really why I’m there, anyway. But yeah, if you’re vegetarian you’ll probably want to call ahead, and if you’re vegan you definitely will.

JENN:
  The second course consists of a delicious scone with Devonshire cream and what I believe is strawberry jelly and a strawberry jam tart (again, I’m pretty sure it’s strawberry but my memory could be fritzing; let me know if you know it to be raspberry). These are of course exceptionally tasty, but they’ve changed the presentation of the jam and cream. The latter used to come in a pretty whipped dome shape, and the former used to arrive in its own personal little jam jar. Not that either of these things have any bearing on the taste, but I kinda miss ’em…

The final course is your choice of either two pastries chosen from a little tray or English trifle. We can’t really speak to the pastries because we ALWAYS get the trifle, and I’m going to let Moon take this one because she has such an uncharacteristically effusive take!

MOON: I approve of the trifle! As you can tell by my lack of input that I do not have a strongest memory… But I remembered the trifle from our trip a few years back and had to have it again in February. It’s delicious – kind of like strawberry shortcake, with cream.

JENN: It has gotten WAY fancier. Formerly they just brought you some trifle in a bowl that had clearly been scooped out of a larger receptacle. Now it’s all artistic!

Trifle back in the day up there.

Trifle now below!


MOON:
Retrospectively, I think I would have opted for just the tea and the trifle, because honestly, I was pretty full half way through our meal. Jenn, did we finish the trifle?

JENN: We did! Yeah, a la carte might not be a bad idea, although the individual prices are a bit high… the package meals tend to be a good deal by comparison (some of these are smaller; some larger, so you have options). Maybe split a Grand Tea and buy an extra pot of tea and trifle. Great way to save money and have room for more Disney snacking later. But people with hearty appetites may want to buy their own Grand Tea. And be sure to budget a fair amount of time – we average about an hour and a half for the entire meal and lingering over tea.

MOON: I mean, if you haven’t had the whole grand tea experience: you should. I think the experience really stands out from what WDW has to offer – from a dining AND ambiance perspective.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!