Like a Bull in a China Shop
A Teenager's View of
the Grand Floridian Tea

by Pete Saroufim
AllEars® Feature Writer

Feature Article

This article appeared in the September 10, 2002 Issue #155 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Several months ago, the Czarina shared her critique of the afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian. This week, one of our favorite teenagers offers a very different perspective on this charming English ritual as interpreted by Walt Disney World.)

I felt like a Bull in a China Shop... or is it Sasquatch in a lingerie shop? No, no, I was right the first time. I've never been good with these clichés, but when I walked into the Garden View Lounge for Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian, amongst the tea cups and saucers, there was no doubt I felt like a bull.

So how does a mother convince her 6'1", 200 pound, 14-year-old son to go to such a tea parlor? Guilt, of course. Payback for her taking me to a wrestling event back in late January. Five months later I find myself walking with my arms to my sides like a Marine, trying not to break anything, and hoping that I won't be forced to cross my legs or hold my pinky in the air.

We were quickly seated into an almost empty and completely quiet room, and as I sat down I could see a hint of fear in our hostess's eyes. Maybe I was imagining it. I myself felt a similar fear looking around at the sparkling china and the fancy finger sandwiches. I never thought anybody could make Peanut Butter and Jelly look fancy, but anything can be elegant with enough dollar signs.

The menu arrived and the first thing I spotted is "duck liver en croute". I stared at my mother as if she had just asked me to eat, well, duck liver. With further inspection, I was much more satisfied. I had my choice of such fine fillers as scone, jam tarts, country pate, potted crab crostini (is that some sort of vegetable?), peanut butter and jelly, Sally Lunn rolls, pastries, countless finger sandwiches, and of course, the duck liver.

I decided to have the Buckingham Palace, although Mrs. Potts' Tea (PB&J, ham and cheese, and magical dark tea, aka chocolate milk) looked very tempting. The Buckingham Palace included "our traditional tea sandwiches, scones and jam tarts complimented by fresh strawberries and cream, along with choice of tea." Not bad, and it's only -- whoa! $17.50! You know I could get a nice, lean, juicy Prime Rib for that much? But I'm here for my mother; let's not pinch pennies... or twenties.

On to the tea. Oh, am I ready to order? "A few more minutes, please," and our pleasant waitress went off to her other guests. I scanned the tea list: English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Irish Breakfast, Ceylon and India, Garden View Bouquet, Formosa Oolong, Hot Cinnamon Spiced, Organic Green Tea, Earl Grey, Jasmine (man, the colonists must have worked pretty hard at the Tea Party), Black Current, Lemon Verbena, Raspberry, Chamomile, and Peppermint. I went for the Jasmine tea (I'm an Aladdin fan, what can I say?) and my mother, the Captain Picard fan, went with the Earl Grey.

The food arrived in courses, starting with the finger sandwiches. We made some trades for the ones we liked, but they were all pretty good, especially the egg. Next came the scone and the jam tart. Not too impressive on the eye, but let just one scone touch your tongue and you're singing "Hallelujah" for the next few minutes. Well, this bull was not satisfied with just one, but we're in Disney. Two more scones magically appeared in seconds, on the house. The strawberries and cream were light but tasty, nothing extraordinary. Is that it? Oh right, the tea! I had about two pots... 'nuff said.

Final impression: They did it. I wouldn't have believed it, but they really did do it. I actually walked out of there full. This is coming from a kid who alone eats two whole platters at the Whispering Canyon Café. Would I do it again? Absolutely, and that's no bull.

-o-o-o-o-o-

Pete is a high school sophomore from Boston, Massachusetts. He began traveling to Walt Disney World at the age of 5, and has visited 17 times in the past 10 years. When not in WDW, he spends his time playing basketball, soccer and volleyball, writing, creating web pages, and conquering demons with PlayStation2. If you'd like to contact Pete, his email is TheLebageek@aol.com

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