From the first moment I learned that the Tea-Quila Rose Club was planning a Christmas tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa I said, “Sign me up”.
Well, the day finally arrived and I was so excited. Especially as the itinerary grew to include monorail trips to see the decorations at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
We boarded the bus at 8:15am and off we went. The bus was alive with conversation as we made our down the highway.
We entered the lobby of the Grand Floridian and were in awe of what we were seeing. In the center of the lobby was a Christmas tree that rose at least three stories high, perhaps more. The tree was beautifully decorated with thousands of glass ornaments, beautiful bows, white swans, small bird cages and bouquets of lovely flowers. All the decorations had such a wonderful feeling of Victorian times. I loved them all!
Also in the lobby was a wonderful life-size gingerbread house. It was truly amazing to see. And, oh, the railings were draped with beautiful garlands. I stopped for a moment and thought; this is just the perfect place to be to get into the Christmas spirit. Everyone who entered the lobby felt the same way as they stopped to take many, many photographs so as not to forget one thing they had seen.
We went directly to the Garden View Tea Room and took our places. I sat with a group of lovely ladies, some I knew and some I met for the first time. And had a lovely time as we oohed and aahed each time a new plate of tasty delights was placed before us, talked about the holidays and grandchildren.
There was a menu next at each seating letting us know that we would be enjoying the Cheshire Tea this morning. The first course of our tea was already on the table when we arrived.
The dish was a lovely assortment of exotic fruits and imported cheeses with a small orchid in the center of the plate. There were several slices of a fruit I had never eaten. Eileen told me they were Star Fruit. Our server brought three teas for our enjoyment, Earl Grey, English breakfast and a holiday blend infused with wonderful spices. I chose the English breakfast.
Our second course was a plate filled with finger sandwiches, cheeses, berries and these very interesting crackers. I learned later that they were called lavosh. Lavosh is a Middle Eastern bread that can be soft like a tortilla or hard like a cracker. Our lavosh was more like a cracker. They were very good and went very well with the cheese. I was happy to see that the little tea sandwiches included a cucumber sandwich. I always laugh when my granddaughter, Madalyn says, “It is not a proper tea unless there are cucumber sandwiches”.
The next course was a delicious, buttery scone with Devonshire cream and jam and a small jam tart. The scone was so very delicious.
And, last but not least were our wonderful dessert choices. We were given a choice of Strawberries and Cream, English Trifle or a plate of house-made pastries. I chose the pastries. They were all delicious.
Tea at the Garden View Tea Room was just wonderful. The atmosphere was festive, the food delicious, the service wonderful and my tablemates fun to be with.
After tea we were given a bit of time to walk around the hotel to enjoy the decorations. We took turns taking pictures of one another in front of the tree and admiring the gingerbread house before making our way to the monorail to see the decorations at the Contemporary Hotel. We were a little disappointed at the minimal effort put into the hotel decorations and moved on to the Polynesian Resort.
Fun was the first word that came to mind when we entered the lobby of the Polynesian Hotel. In the center of the lobby was a wooden Tiki with colorful leis hanging down from his outstretched arms standing on a bed of lava rocks and surrounded by beautiful white and red poinsettias. The tree in the lobby was beautiful and decorated with colorful glass balls, wispy bows, tropical flowers and the most beautiful carved tropical fish. I loved it.
I noticed a nice woman standing at the front door with a number of pretty artificial leis dangling from her arm. I asked if they were only given to guests of the hotel. “No, they are for anyone who would like one,” she said. “Then,” I said, “I would really like one and perhaps for my lady friends too”. She smiled and graciously draped a lei around each of our necks. I thought that was such a nice touch.
We walked around the hotel a bit stopping for photographs and taking pictures for others. Then we decided to take a walk around the grounds. The pool area was abuzz with activity and squealing children. We eventually came to a small white sand beach and stopped to admire the view of the Floridian across the lake.
As we strolled the grounds we all agreed that we were so lucky. It was a little cool when we first boarded the bus but as the day wore on the temperature rose, the sun was high in the blue sky and not a cloud in sight.
We needed to return to the Floridian to meet our group and board the bus for the next stop on our itinerary. We hopped back onto the monorail and returned to the Floridian. We made it there with time to spare so we walked around the hotel a bit more admiring the beauty of the place then went outside in search of liquid refreshment.
We ordered our drinks then found a table overlooking the lake and gave our feet a much needed rest. I ordered a Grand Margarita. The drinks were refreshing and gave us just enough of a boost to enjoy our next stop, The Wilderness Lodge.
As soon as I entered the lodge I felt as though I was at Yellowstone Park. I looked around at the towering totem poles, the teepee shaped chandeliers and felt as though I was visiting that wonderful lodge out west. The atmosphere at the lodge was warm and inviting. The landings were draped with beautiful garlands and above the front door was a lighted deer display that lent a woodsy air to the room.
The tree in the center of the lobby was so tall reaching high above the lobby floor and was beautifully festooned with beautiful glass ornaments and dotted with drum and teepee ornaments. The decorations on this tree were very unique.
We spent a few minutes walking outside and saw beautiful gardens and a lovely water fall that actually started in the lobby and made its way down to the pool. I loved the river rocks and lovely pieces of driftwood in the stream.
It had been a full day of friendship, delicious food and wonderful sights befitting the Christmas season but it was time to board the bus and wend our way back home.
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, I wish you a wonderful and healthy holiday season.