Afternoon Tea at Crescent Solarium Disney’s Beach Club


Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

For many years Walt Disney World has offered a popular afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian Resort. Earlier this year the Disney Parks Blog announced a new tea offering: Afternoon Tea at Crescent Solarium, which would be held for a limited time in the Solarium at the Beach Club Resort. It didn’t line up with our February dates, but then a new set of dates for April appeared, and Alert Reader Deb Koma was able to book a reservation for five of us for Sunday, April 17. (Future dates offered are May 5-8, June 16-19, August 11-14, and September 1-5.)

Reservations must be booked by calling WDW Dining – they are not available on-line. A credit card guarantee is required.

Since I’ve had the opportunity to sample the other two Disney afternoon tea offerings this year (Grand Floridian and Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Resort) I was looking forward to trying this new one – and of course I can’t help comparing the three. They are all different experiences, but all enjoyable.

Lee and I arrived at the Solarium for our 1:00 reservation. We are used to entering the Solarium from the Beach Club lobby side – but that door is now closed, and actually opens into the kitchen! The main entrance to the Solarium is from the walkway between the Beach Club and the Beach Club Villas.

The Solarium is really a lovely space – lots of windows and light. I found it very cozy and welcoming. I think we all found it more informal than the Grand Floridian.

We were escorted to a low table set for 5 people – three on a sofa, and two of us in cushioned chairs. Awkward, because our knees were not under the table and we had to lean forward to reach our plates or cups. The seats, especially for those on the sofa, were too deep, but there were no cushions to put between us and the seat back. That was uncomfortable, and those on the sofa had to sit forward, with no back support, for the whole meal.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

There were some traditional tables, but they were for parties of two or four. Any larger parties were at the low tables.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

Our server arrived quickly to introduce himself, offer us water, and tell us about the menu.

For adults there are three different tea services offered: Sea Side Park Tea, Sandy Cove Tea, and Prince Cove Tea. All three include your own pot of tea, scones with lemon curd, clotted cream, and jam, and house-made pastries and desserts. The Sea Side and Sandy Cove teas offer a course of tea sandwiches and canapes also, with the Sea Side adding an additional artisan cheese and fruit plate as the first course. The first course of the Prince Cove is a house-made charcuterie and cheese plate. So that we could sample everything we ordered one Prince Cove, two Sea Side, and two Sandy Cove, and then we shared the extra courses.

I should mention that there is also the Short Sands Beach Tea for children ages 3-9. Also, no discounts are available.

Crescent Solarium Afternoon Tea Menu

We all chose to start with a glass of sparkling wine: Blanc de Bleu Brut. It was very pretty. While there is some blueberry added I didn’t taste any blueberry flavor – it was just a nice sparkling wine.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

The tea menu offered a variety of black, white, and green teas as well as herbal selections. I chose a black tea named Shanghai Rose: “an exotic blend of hand-picked, fresh black tea leaves, infused with the sweet and sultry flavors of seductive lychee and fragrant red rose petals.” It was certainly floral – a little too floral for me. It was fine, but I would order something different next time. Others in our party sampled the Organic Vanilla Rooibos, Imperial English Breakfast, and Thunderbolt Darjeeling.

Each of us received our own tea pot and tea strainer. The essential item that we were missing was a tea cozy to keep the pot warm. We all noticed that the tea in our pots cooled off too fast, and we had to ask for more hot water to warm it up. (Our server told us they had requested those, so I hope that issue will be addressed in the future.)

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

One very nice aspect of this tea is that it was served in courses. (The Grand Floridian Tea used to be served that way, but now almost all the food items are brought at one time.) The first course for us was the Charcuterie Plate for the Prince Cove Tea and the Cheese Plate for the Sea Side Park Tea.

The Charcuterie Plate included rabbit sausage, “piggy pie” and Bonne Bouche goat cheese. Interesting presentation on a substantial wooden board.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

The Sea Side Park Artisan Cheese plate featured Valdeon Blue, Drunken Goat and St. Andre Artisanal cheeses with fruit. Another very nice presentation. This was enough for two people to share.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

For the second course four of us received individual tea sandwich and canape plates. (The Prince Cove did not include that course, though Ms. Prince Cove was still working on her charcuterie plate.) There were salmon rillettes, cucumber and cream cheese, Old Bay lump crab salad and chicken curry on house-made breads. Very elegant and sophisticated offerings – which was not quite what I was expecting in that setting. We were all surprised that the bread was toasted – that’s very non-traditional. While this was another beautiful presentation I was disappointed in it because the servings were all very small – most of the sandwiches were about two bites. Everything tasted very good, there just wasn’t enough of it for me.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

The third course was blueberry-lemon and cranberry-orange scones served with clotted cream, house-made lemon curd and jam. The orange in the cranberry-orange was a little too intense for my taste, and I preferred the blueberry-lemon. The lemon curd was really not very good. And again, I thought the servings were too small. I like a nice big scone. These were both fairly sweet, also.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

The final course was the dessert plate – we all received one. Again, lovely to look at…but VERY small portions. The offerings were chocolate filled cake, raspberry cookie, lemon poppy seed cookie with lemon curd, and a Madeline cookie with a light lemon glaze on top. I thought they looked better than they tasted.

Beach Club Crescent Solarium Tea

The service was excellent. Everything was paced very well, and we didn’t feel rushed at all. There’s something very refreshing and soothing about afternoon tea – I find that it really renews my spirit, and I felt that here as well. It was very relaxing – if only our chairs had allowed us to sit back and get comfortable.

My overall impression of Afternoon Tea at Crescent Solarium is that it was a lovely experience and I really enjoyed the setting and the relaxed atmosphere. I thought the food was beautiful and well-presented, but would have been more appropriate in a more formal setting. And I would have liked larger portions. However, I had run a half marathon that morning, so my appetite was probably larger than it would be normally. Many of the foods we had were fairly rich, where smaller portions are appropriate and (usually) satisfying.

I personally prefer tea at the Grand Floridian – it’s a more traditional tea, and more my idea of what I expect from a proper afternoon tea, especially the sandwich selections and the scone course. That would be my first choice, but if it weren’t available, I would happily choose to enjoy tea at the Crescent Solarium again. That seemed to be the consensus among my tea companions, as well. It was an event that we all enjoyed – just a couple of things that would’ve made it even better.

Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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10 Replies to “Afternoon Tea at Crescent Solarium Disney’s Beach Club”

  1. My reservation for last week was cancelled – it was annoying as I was unable to book another popular meal in Epcot or the boardwalk near the Beach Club where we were staying. They offered to book me into something else but what I wanted was all booked up. If I had known I would have booked something else at the start of my 190 day window.

  2. Wow – Thanks for everyone chiming in to correct Laura. We’re talking about managing perceptions, not “official definitions” here. I’m glad you were detailed Laura so we can make an informed decision. WE LOVE YOU!

  3. We have had Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian several times and loved it – we always dressed up for it. As it was being offered at the Beach Club for a limited time I thought we might try there for a change. I get the impression that its not a dressing up sort of occasion 🙁 I agree with other responses that Afternoon Tea is a light meal. I have experienced quite a few – some on settees and armchairs and some at tables. My personal preference would be at a table but as there are 5 of us it doesn’t look like that will happen. I am sure we will all still have a lovely time though.

  4. Thank you so much for the pictures AND the candid review. The poor seating is a deal breaker for us. If they continue to add more dates, I hope they consider providing better seating/table height.

    We’ve sat in each one of those chairs/sofas while waiting for Magical Express – NONE of them is comfortable, and we were not trying to eat there!
    Maybe it is time for a rehab of the seating in the Solarium ?

    We’ve tried to get reservations at the Grand Floridian many times with no success, and so we really wanted to try Afternoon Tea at Crescent Solarium. We’ll pass.

  5. Didn’t the afternoon tea tradition begin as a light snack to tide one over between lunch and dinner? It was never meant to be a meal in and of itself. I have noticed this trend of very tiny sandwiches and desserts at other hotels in other parts of the country serving afternoon tea. We had tea that same afternoon at the Beach Club. My husband and I were seated in the basket chairs, which was very romantic for me because I had the view into the rest of the Solarium. The food was very delicious and we just wish one of us had gotten the Prince Cove so we could have tried the charcuterie plate. I also thought it would be nice if there were an extra pot of hot water at the table to dilute the tea when it gets too strong. We tend to linger a long time at this kind of event.

  6. The proportions of your servings were correct, as Afternoon Tea is not supposed to be a meal. More of a proper respite from the afternoon slump of hunger pangs. And the “low table” is actually traditional for an afternoon tea. There is a tea room in London that serves its famous afternoon tea on coffee tables surrounded by sofas. Afternoon Tea is not High Tea (which is an informal hearty supper, served on “high” tables, with meats, cheeses, bread and tea, for the farm workers at the end of the work day). Sometimes in an afternoon tea, the courses will be delivered all at once, or in stages…either way is acceptable. I wish the Contemporary would have a tea, too. It would be a great place for such an event. Glad you mostly enjoyed your BC tea.

  7. We have been to tea multiple times at the Crescent Solarium. It was an amazing experience each time. Tea is not meant to be giant portions. It’s meant to be a relaxing experience with lovely bites. The Cresent Solarium definitely delivers. The servers are knowledgeable and attentive. The space is lovely and bright. The food is scrumptious. The last few times we attended tea at the Grand I felt like their food had slipped significantly. It lacked freshness and that special touch. I was pleased to find none of those issues at our Beach Club experience.

  8. How did it compare price-wise with GF? That has gone way up in the last year or so.

    We stayed at BCV in January. They were testing this out the week we were there. We were expecting to be able to watch NFL playoffs in the Solarium, so this was a surprise.

    We didn’t attend the tea. My concerns were with seating, specifically the issue you had.

  9. Thank you for your honest review. They always save me a lot of time and money when we go to WDW. I really appreciate your true opinion.

  10. I agree that the food was great but the portions were insultingly small. The Tea at the Grand Floridian is much better. The atmosphere is much better at Grand Floridian as well