Just a Cuppa Ladies Having Tea

Mother’s day is not my favorite day.  It is always laced with a tinge of sadness which comes from living 1600 miles away from my mom and the understanding that I will probably never be a mom myself, but this year was different.  My mom was actually going to be visiting close enough to Mother’s Day that I would actually be able to do something more than an obligatory phone call and flower bouquet.  I was going to do it up right for the most important lady in my life.  We were going to do afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

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The tea room hours vary, but 2-5 PM is the standard.  We arrived shortly before our 2:05 reservations and were seated immediately at a very quiet table for two overlooking the gardens.  It was perfect.  We were off by ourselves which allowed us the ability to talk and giggle without interrupting anyone around us.     

We selected the four course Cheshire Tea package.  For tea, we each selected a pot of herbal infusion.  I picked the Superfruity while Mom ordered the Golden Caramel Rooibos. Both teas tasted fantastic after a couple lumps of sugar were added.

Our first course arrived shortly after our tea and consisted of a selection of pineapple, mango, papaya, and kiwi. A selection of cheeses were included along with  a small bowl of honeycomb.  Everything on the plate was edible, including the orchid.

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Course two delivered four finger sandwiches:  egg salad, chicken salad, cucumber, and an open faced goat cheese with golden beets.  My favorite was the chicken salad, and while I did not love the beets, they were paired well with the goat cheese. Two slices of cheddar, a delicious onion tartlette, grapes, and berries finished off the plate.

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Next up was a golden raisin scone, with apricot jam, lemon curd, and cream.  A strawberry tart which stood no chance finished off this course.

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Finally it was onto the dessert course.  We had the choice from a trifle, strawberries and cream, or a selection of pastries.  Mom chose the strawberries and cream which were dusted with the Grand Floridian logo in red sugar.  I went with the pastries which included a white chocolate covered strawberry, a swan shaped strawberry lemonade cream puff, and a mini eclair.  At this point we were both stuffed, and sadly I have to say that half an eclair was left on the plate.  

For the first time in a long time I went into a Mother’s Day weekend without the anticipated gloom.  That alone would have made the day special, but each bite and sip of this experience was divine, and the server was very attentive.  The attention to detail in every element made the $50 a person price tag bearable, and the fact that I got to have this experience with my mom made it priceless.

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EPCOT’s Holidays Around the World

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is visiting Walt Disney World with my husband.  Whether it’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, or Animal Kingdom, Disney really knows how to go all out for Christmas.  Millions of lights, towering Christmas trees with oversized ornaments, and characters decked out in their holiday best inspire Christmas cheer from the moment you swipe your Magic Band.  This year we spent the day wandering around the World Showcase and experiencing EPCOT’s Holidays Around the World.

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Our first stop was Norway where we stumbled upon Sigrid who proceeded to tell the tale of a badly behaving Christmas gnome, Julenissen.   Julenissen lives in the woods and barns where he guards the livelihoods and welfare of the owners.  As long as the family whose barn he lives in kept him in good spirits, the family would be rewarded.  Julenissen, true to his trickster personality, would freeze Sigrid as she tried to explain how the tradition came to be associated with Christmas in Norway.  The seven minute show is worth a pause as you explore World Showcase.

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My favorite holiday presentation would have to be Germany where Helga told the story of the first nutcracker and how decorating trees came to be a common symbol of Christmas.  According to Helga, the tannenbaum is decorated by parents on Christmas Eve and is a symbol of the giving and goodwill so associated with the Christmas season. Soon after, Helga tells the story of her first nutcracker.  Upon conclusion of her story, she asks the children to close their eyes and then a nutcracker comes to life and is available for quick pictures before vanishing.

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While the storytelling was fun, the Prost! kiosk is worth checking out as well.  Glühwein,  a German mulled wine that is warm, sweet, and all kinds of delicious, is fun to sip on as Helga tells her stories.  Even though the Glühwein is very good, the Hot Salted Caramel was the highlight of the day.  Like drinking liquid Werther’s, the drink is so sweet it’s almost overwhelming.

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EPCOT has Christmas storytelling at each of the countries in World Showcase with the times printed on the guide you can pick up at the front of the park.  So, if you are headed to EPCOT this Christmas season, be sure to visit the holiday traditions storytelling locations and definitely pause at Prost! for some mulled wine or Hot Salted Caramel.

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What are your favorite Disney Christmas traditions?