As soon as it posted, I purchased my tickets for this unique high tea experience; thus saving on the early bird pricing. Held at the “Fairmont Vancouver”, I had high hopes of grandeur, coupled with dreams of castles and happily ever afters; like those belonging to Disney princesses. It was advertised as being Disney-themed, but not directly connected to, or affiliated with the “house of mouse”.
To skip the reading and just watch the highlight reel, check out my latest vlog, now up on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.
Based on the event’s website, I expected decorations and plenty of photos ops, so planned to stop by early to enjoy those without a crowd or wait in line. However, this was not the case. Early or not, everyone was hoarded into a ballroom and told to wait in a line. A ticket checker in Mickey ears then came around asking to scan your passes. And there we stood, impatiently waiting until 15 minutes after the advertised event start time. It was planned at 2hours, so while holding my breath, I wondered how will they make up for the loss of time? $75-80 is steep for high tea. The venue made up for part of it, but the experience left me wanting more.
There are 3 different sittings throughout the day. The earlier brunch sessions were family friendly, while the evening’s festivities was adults only. High tea and sit down service in the AM. And a cocktail and canapé style event, with over 4 hours of entertainment, in the PM. I rather sit and take in the setting, than chase rotating small bites. Plus, we did plan on drinking, and preferred to do it during the day. We took full advantage of the alcohol available to purchase, but it would have been nice to be greeted with a welcome glass, to set the mood.
You trade cash for drink tickets, and use them to purchase your choice of beverages between classic martinis, craft beer and bottled wine. With a $2 difference between deluxe and premium labels. We enjoyed premium white wine, but wished for sparkling; I felt like that would have been more princess-like.
Seating is first come first serve, wherever there is room. Each table is named after a Disney movie or theme. “Jungle book”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “enchanted tiki room”, and/or “golden zephyr” (to name a handful). We grabbed two seats at the latter, only to have two families with small children join us. We ended up swapping tables, in search of one only seated with adults. This was to ensure that our drinking would go without judgement. Seeing as the room was split in two, with the dance floor down the middle, it would have been nice to split the guests by under 19 and over 19; with the bar centrally located in the latter.
Each table is preset with the necessary dish ware and cutlery, along with two tea towers for everyone to share. One of each item, for each person. However, you can get away with seconds if your table mates passed on theirs.
The menu for high tea was posted before the event, so I knew to be disappointed when we didn’t get what was promised. This was especially the case for the finger sandwiches.
Instead of a “Smoked Salmon & Dill” sandwich, we got an open faced cucumber and cream cheese with green onion. An easy and light start, but not the same without the salmon.
The listed “Roast Beef Horseradish Creme Fraiche” was actually ham and white cheese with mayo and zesty mustard. Once again, good, but not as good, when you know what you should have gotten.
I did like the “Chicken Salad” sandwich. I am not sure if we got what was planned, but it was delicious, and my favourite item of the brunch. Flavoured with fragrant curry, it was definitely memorable.
The online menu also mentions a “Tomato & Cucumber” sandwich as the fourth, but we only got three.
The “Freshly Baked Scones” were buttery soft and crumbly. Each person had two: one plain with powered sugar; the other, slightly salty with baked cheddar cheese. Good as is, but for those who needed a spread, there was “Whipped Cream & Fruit Preserves”. The latter, a nice mellow apricot.
The “Selection Of Petit Fours” did not disappoint. Other than the juicy raspberry tart with custard in a buttery crust, they were all decorated to today’s theme.
A mini chocolate cupcake with chocolate disks to represent Mickey Mouse and his ears. It was spongy and moist, best consumed in one bite.
The sugar cookie was shaped like Cinderella’s glass slipper. They even got the perfect shade of pale blue, to match her iconic ball gown. It was not too sweet, but buttery like the texture of shortbread.
And my favourite was the swirl of meringue, made to look like Olaf from “Frozen”. He was the most animated with chocolate arms and a whimsical facial expression. You felt bad biting into him, and having him crumble on to your tongue.
At the beginning of the service, servers came around to pour coffee or tea, and later again to clear any empty glasses. But the whole brunch felt pretty much like self serve. You get up to get your own drink, you use tongs to grab an item off the tea tower; and if you need anything else, you have to search for an employee to get it.
As you ate, actors recreated popular scenes from your favourite Disney cartoons . All set around “Beauty and the Beast”. Belle and the Beast are spending time together. Belle is recalling her favourite fairy tales, retelling them like stories, with the Beast listening intently.
Belle starts things off by welcoming everyone, and asking them to “be our guest”. She sings this large musical number, alongside her fellow princess friends.
Next, Ariel explores her underwater world and recalls her collection, though showing and telling.
Flynn and Rapunsel sing around her freedom and what the future holds for the two.
Then Aladdin takes Jasmine on a magic carpet ride, all the way “to a whole new world”.
Elsa proves that you don’t need anyone saving you, as she belted out: “Let it go!”
After, Belle and Beast took to the dance floor. There, they re-enacted the moment where they fell in love, mid waltz.
Then humoursly, the “show” closed with all the actors getting together to sing their favourite Disney song, “Hakuna Matata”; nodding well to the upcoming, live action Blockbuster movie.
Those who knew the words sang along to all the songs above. However, with all that was going on, and all the young kids walking through the dance floor with careless abandon, it was distracting. The live actors were great at rolling with things, as their microphones squeaked; and their dance floor saw congestion, as tiny bodies tried to hug their favourite princess. Despite all that, I still definitely preferred this high tea setting to the adult only cocktail mingler. Though the all ages aspect did take away from my experience, as a fun loving adult. If they repeat this event again, I would suggest having two lunch seatings, or brunch on two different days, with and without children.
There was a list of karaoke songs printed out and set at each table, yet there wasn’t any mention of it, or an opportunity to sing along to your favourite tunes. But that might be because they were having difficulties with their projector and getting their message across in the screen.
Along with the live show that came and went, with breaks between musical numbers; there were photo ops and vendors scattered through the ballroom. Not to mention, ones with the actors, once their performance was done.
A paper flower wall of blues, purples, and pinks with gold centres for you to pose in front of.
And a scene decorated to look like a forest clearing with paper mushrooms and butterflies, as well as artificial turf and tree.
There were also two tables where local jewelry artists were set up for shopping. This was a nice idea, but none of their goods necessarily matched the princess theme. Had they, I could see more guests becoming customers, purchasing diamond necklaces and matching earrings to fill out their look. Or something overtly Disney in tone, to take home as a keepsake. Instead, there were crystal necklaces, metal outlines of nature, and animals printed in enamel settings.
And the calligrapher who wrote out the name of each table was on location, creating bookmarks for all the guests. Your name against watercolour or metallic on black. This was a nice little keepsake, and helpful in receiving your seat. Shame, I didn’t wait the 5 minutes necessary to have it fully dry.
Overall the “Magical Brunch” was a great idea, but I would have liked to see it executed differently. The venue was stunning, but I would have liked two high tea seatings, one just for families and another for adults only. The photo ops could have used more props and something more representative of the theme, and maybe more of them. An underwater background for “The Little Mermaid”, the ability to climb up a tower to put yourself in Rapunzel’s shoes, and/or a frozen landscape to build a snow man with Elsa. They could have done much more to elevate this to the level of the “Fairmont Vancouver”, and I didn’t get that. Not to mention what was promised on the menu and indirectly in the photos used to advertise the event, did not measure up. Memorable, but I would not pay the price again.
THE MAGICAL BRUNCH