Lately, Kim and I have been really into tea. It’s an off again on again thing, but this time we’ve gone deep and are enjoying exploring more varieties. So, of course, I had to look into Disney’s tea options. There are lots of places to get tea out at Disney, such as Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea or Starbucks. Epcot has localized drinks in each of the countries, including teas, and the festivals there bring different limited beverages throughout the year. I knew of the tea room and experience at the Grand Floridian, but that seemed a little too formal for us. I didn’t know about the tea experience at the Rose & Crown Dining Room in Epcot.
After doing a little research, I made reservations for a couple weeks out. The experience is only once a day in the morning, Thursday through Sunday. It takes place in the Rose & Crown Dining Room, and there are about 30 people in each experience. The World Showcase is still closed during the tea time so they can take advantage of the entire building. It’s $35 a person, and I recommend making reservations. It’s not booked or hard to get a spot, but you’ll want to make sure to plan ahead, secure it, and have it all taken care of to be safe.
On the Friday morning of our tea, it was cold and windy, which made the experience all the better. I think it still would be enjoyable in the summer, but being inside the snug, traditional dining room sipping a hot drink was really nice. Between it being early and the weather, there weren’t many people as we made our way through the park. Therefore, we made good time on our walk and arrived early for check-in. We were then seated fairly quickly inside at about 9:45. There was preset seating, so we were escorted to a table with our party’s name card, which was neat. It was also exciting to have a bunch of tea stuff neatly set out and waiting for us(it felt like “Disney” treatment). You may be seated with other parties, as every available seat is utilized at each table. We got lucky and were at a table for two, and I even had a beautiful view of the sun shining on the World Showcase Lagoon outside.
The event is hosted by tea company Twinings, who run the tea store in the United Kingdom in Epcot. The hosts and servers introduced themselves and went over the plan for the event. There were two Twinings experts, a tea sommelier, and during our event, they were all from the UK. This was neat because they gave us their histories and experiences with tea from a British standpoint. This extra information added to the authenticity of the experience for me. Hence the experience is basically a lesson on Twinings, English tea, and tea history. Hot tea kettles were then provided, and we proceeded with the tea tasting. The hosts went over how much water to pour and how to use the traditional hourglass timer, which is very old-timey, but useful. They have different colored sand in each hourglass for three different types of tea; when the sand runs out, you remove the teabag.
We tasted four hot teas and one iced tea. These were sampled overtime throughout the experience, and a second teapot was brought later for the final two. As we tasted each tea, we learned a little bit about it. The hosts recommend trying the drinks straight first and then adding sugar or cream to taste the differences. I don’t usually have cream or sugar in my tea, but it was fun to play a little since it was part of the experience.
During the first two hot teas, a plate of sandwiches was brought out to each guest. These were served cold and each a little larger than a quarter of a standard sandwich. When the food came out, so did the chef. He went over everything that was on the plate and offered to take questions before we ate. This again was a nice added touch that made the experience stand out. The sandwiches weren’t really meant to be filling, but after eating them all, I felt full enough. They were all delicious, yet probably not anything you would typically eat. I wouldn’t say I like egg salad sandwiches very much, and I think that was my favorite of the four. Of course, if you have dietary restrictions, Disney will make whatever accommodations possible if they are told ahead of time. Between the first set of teas and the second, we tried Lady Grey iced tea, which was delicious and refreshing. Not only had I never tasted it, but I’d never even really heard of it before.
The second set of teas was a little sweeter and therefore served with scones. The chef came out again to go over the scones and answer any questions. There were two types of scones, plain and raisin with clotted cream and house-made strawberry jam to put on them. The scones are pretty big, and we’re really good with the jelly. I don’t usually eat scones, and these were somewhat like traditional biscuits, but they were excellent. By the time I got to the end of my second scone, I was full.
After giving us a little more information on the last two teas, the hosts left us to eat and drink. They told us not to rush, and we took our time finishing everything up. Before we left, they gave us each a little baggie with a couple of different teas to take home with us. The World Showcase was open by this time, so the tea experience had lasted about an hour. We took a few pictures before heading back out into the cold. There were a lot more people in the park when we left the Rose & Crown, but we had such a good time it didn’t really matter what was next. I can only imagine if we had more fun planned out in the park for the day.
I highly recommend the tea experience, if you like learning, tea, or exclusive experiences you will have fun. It’s a great date, and it can all be set up and paid for ahead of time. I thought it was very relaxing, and it only took up about an hour of our day besides travel. It gave me insight into the world of tea and an appreciation for sitting down to enjoy a cup. The hot teas we tried were Earl Grey, Apple Chai, Green Tea with Cranberry and Lime, and Caramel Rooibos Herbal, all of which I enjoyed. The Lady Grey was served separately in a tall glass over ice. The four sandwiches we sampled were: egg salad, Branston pickle and cheese, Boursin and cucumber on rye, and yellow curry chicken. I think all of these sandwiches are probably best eaten in small doses, but I finished them all with my tea. I give the Tea Experience at Rose & Crown Dining Room 5 out of 5 scones. There’s nothing I would change about the whole ordeal.