We Tried It! Disney Cruise Line’s Royal Teaby Sherri Eisenberg | December 11, 2016
From the moment the little girls are announced and crowned as you enter the dining room, you know that this afternoon tea won’t be anything like the others you have been to in your life.
What It’s Like
First of all, this tea is more about pomp and circumstance than about, well, tea. Invitations are sent to the guest rooms of children who have signed up, written out on parchment-inspired paper with a seal, inviting them to court.
Once they arrive, the children are led to their seats by court guards, and the whole two-hour affair includes entertainment by the host and hostess, Lady Chamomile and Chef Brule, who sing and dance and amuse the children throughout the afternoon.
In addition, three princesses — Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel — all make their own grand entrances to the room, and make a point of visiting each of the tables so that the little ones (most of whom are dressed in their own princess outfits) can get autographs.
The grandeur of having the entire chandelier-decked Royal Court dining room for a mere 40 people having tea is undeniable, and the sheer number of people involved in creating the illusion of a royal tea is impressive.
Children are poured apple juice while the adults are offered real tea. Then, the servers march in and present the food to each table simultaneously. These small tiered trays of finger sandwiches and sweets — one per each table of eight — are fine for an afternoon snack, but they shouldn’t be a replacement for lunch. They also don’t seem to take into account that the little girls all want what the other ones are having or that sandwiches such as banana jam are going to be more popular with children than, say, smoked salmon. Sweets include marshmallows dipped in chocolate and pretty little miniature eclairs, but there’s an odd moment when everyone looks around at the table of strangers and realizes that having two or three of each thing means that everyone will just get to taste a few things. (Fortunately, at the end, the waiter offered additional sweets and finger sandwiches, too.)
Each adult is also presented with a warm scone with clotted cream and jam, and each child is delivered a tea cup filled with a giant buttercream-topped cupcake, frosted in the color associated with her favorite princess, information that was requested in advance. We were amused to watch some of the mothers eye the cupcakes and some of the children eye the scones and jam; perhaps the line should bring out enough of each for everyone to try them. That said, the cupcakes are certainly large enough to share.
In addition, at the end of the tea, after the last song is sung and the last child has chatted with her favorite princess, children have a rare opportunity to have their picture taken with all of the princesses at once. Later, the photos are delivered to your cabin on the last night of the cruise, slid into the pages of a lovely keepsake album.
Sherri Eisenberg is the New York City-based editorial director of ShermansCruise.com.