Orlando is a destination filled with thrills and adventure. Fortunately, there are a growing number of places that are serving up the perfect way to wind down and enjoy some small-bites and sweet treats along with a soothing cup of tea.
The tradition of afternoon tea originates from Duchess Anna of Bedford in the nineteenth century. Back then dinner was served much later than in our modern time, so the Duchess needed a little something after lunch. Nowadays, it's more likely to be served in the late morning or early afternoon, and can be a time of intimate conversation or a group festivity.
Here are our top picks for high tea, just in time for Mother's Day.
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Garden View Tea Room
Don't let the formal decor fool you. High tea in the Garden View Tea Room is an indulgence, but in relaxing setting with the magical Mickey touches (check out the "blanket" for the tea pot to keep it warm!) Finger sandwiches, house-made pastries with cream and jam, and a variety of sweets to top off the service. For an experience with Disney royalty, the My Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party includes a kid-friendly meal, doll and other regal gifts. Call 407-WDW-DINE to reserve either/both experiences.
American Girl Store
Within the Orlando store at the Florida Mall, the American Girl Bistro serves dainty sandwiches and sweet desserts with your choice of hot cocoa or tea. All the girls - human and doll form! - are invited to the weekday Afternoon Tea and Craft. Book online or call 1-877-247-5223.
Elegant surroundings, smoked salmon, cucumber and egg salad-filled tea sandwiches, live piano music filling Peacock Alley - Royal Tea has all the formality you'd expect from the Waldorf Astoria. More than just scones and biscuits, arts, tea cookies and macaroons fill the sweet part of the menu. Really celebrating? Add a glass of champagne for a "Grand Royal Tea." For reservations at least 24 hours in advance, call 407-597-5450.
Dandelion Comunitea Cafe
This is not traditional in its menu or atmosphere, but that's what makes Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Thornton Park so much fun. With a selection of 40-50 different kinds of teas, and a beer and wine selection to drink, you won't find small sandwiches or pastries shaped like birds. But you will find poetry nights, moon circles, live music, and "Dandy Hour" ($5 appetizers). But don't worry, you're more than welcome to enjoy the wide variety of food served in this organic vegetarian cafe - pinky up, if you prefer.
The afternoon tea menu item (minimum two people) is served on the traditional three-tier tray, but that's the only traditional part about its tea service. Infusion Tea in Winter Park has the vibe of a coffee shop or Boba place, with a gift store and art gallery. More than 70 teas are on the menu, almost two dozen are organic, served hot or iced. A special Mother's Day tea is served on May 8 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., including mimosas and tea, finger sandwiches, pastries, gelato and a pot of tea for two. Dress is casual, with a small outdoor seating area in front. For reservations, call 407-999-5255.
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