The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival kicked off on February 28th, 2018 and along with it, a tour that originated in Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion in 2017. While the English Tea Garden in World Showcase has offered free tours for years (presented by Twinings) during the Festival, last year Disney started including a paid version for those who wanted to take it. The Royal Tea Garden Tour is about double the length of the free version, and includes scones and Twinings tea at the end of the tour. The cost is $18.00 (which is what we paid) and there are no discounts. Theme park admission is not included. Here is my review of the tour!
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We arrived at Epcot for opening, as the Royal Tea Garden Tour begins at 9:45 a.m. and check-in began at about 9:15 a.m. This is earlier than World Showcase officially opens, though Les Halles Boulangerie in France and the Frozen Ever After attraction in Norway are among the few locations that are open daily at 9:00 a.m. in World Showcase. The United Kingdom otherwise isn’t. Reservations cannot be made at the pavilion, call (407) WDW-TOUR for availability. I do recommend reserving ahead. It says on the website that Guest Relations can make reservations too but we were told they didn’t have the ability to do that when we checked during opening day of the Festival.
There are very few opportunities to get this photo from a distance, so I took it while walking to the United Kingdom.
Walking to the United Kingdom from the Epcot front entrance can take 10-15 minutes, so give plenty of time for that. If entering from the International Gateway, it is just a few minutes walk.
Guests check in at the Rose & Crown Dining Room. The back patio can be seen while walking there.
Everyone gathered at the outside patio where Cast Members can be seen in the background.
We received our tour badge, which we later returned for a small sample of tea.
I love World Showcase in the early mornings, especially during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. From France toward the United Kingdom and then on to Norway makes a nice walk from 9:00 a.m. and on.
Brogan was our tour guide. She seemed very familiar with tea and explained everything in depth with humor. The garden itself is a little different this year, including some tea flavors that I don’t remember seeing before (including cold brews). I drink a lot of tea, and it is always interesting to learn something new. For example, last year we were told that pumpkin isn’t really a flavor that is popular in the United Kingdom.
The English Tea Garden sign here explains the Camellia sinensis plant, which is where most teas come from.
Steps of Tea Production also makes mention of this plant.
The English Tea Garden is one of the prettiest areas of Epcot during the Festival.
English Breakfast Lemon is one of the newer tea blends. It actually is a nice blend, like a liquid lemon drop.
The English Tea Garden can also be enjoyed as a self-guided tour.
Another flavor that is newly mentioned this year is Holiday Berry, which is also the Berry Fusion flavor. It is an herbal tea (which is caffeine free and officially not a “true tea” because of that).
Some of the tea varieties have been mentioned here for a number of years as well.
Captain Hook and Peter Pan can be found this year nearby.
After the tour, scones and Twinings tea were served.
There is one regular scone and one savory (Irish Cheddar). Clotted cream and an Earl Grey butter is included again this year.
Guests can try any of these teas during the 20+ minutes available to enjoy the scones and tea.
And you can’t beat the view.
This is the area we were in, which was the Rose & Crown meeting area at the start of the tour as well.
The two scones and tea definitely give a lot of value to this tour. Having a longer tea tour is also nice too, since the free version has been one of my favorite aspects of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival for years. Without a Festival Center available to guests this year, it is nice to still have educational components to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.