Fantastical Gingerbread Displays Decorate the Walt Disney World Resort
by Alex Dunlap, Food & Beverage Content Relations Coordinator
As the holiday season draws near, the Walt Disney World Resort pastry chefs are bustling with excitement as they prepare their magnificent gingerbread displays! Each year, guests travel from around the world to see the beautifully-crafted gingerbread creations that adorn our parks and resorts. Today, I’m giving you the inside scoop on what’s in store for this year!
Starting at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Tusker House Restaurant will have a 3-foot long African-inspired gingerbread marketplace on display from Dec. 10 to Jan. 2, created by Pastry Chef Amber Vega. Over at Epcot, Pastry Chefs Noah French, Jason Stricker, and Crystal Saunders will be putting together two gingerbread displays at The American Adventure featuring the United States Capitol Building as well as the Lincoln Memorial. These will be on display starting Nov. 19 and will contain over 50 pounds of gingerbread! On Black Friday, Nov. 24, Pastry Chefs Yoly Lazo and Joseph Lodato from Disney Springs will have a set of gingerbread icons that celebrate the story behind Town Center; look for a display in the window of Amorette’s Patisserie where you can enjoy a sweet treat in between shopping stops.
If you’re planning to go resort hopping to see the festive holiday decorations, our deluxe resorts will be featuring gingerbread displays that you won’t want to miss. Starting Nov. 9 on the 4th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll find the beautiful Cinderella Castle, designed by Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes and his talented pastry team. This display recreates the castle in the style of legendary artist Mary Blair on a backdrop inspired by “it’s a small world.” With oversized gingerbread cookies depicting Cinderella and Prince Charming greeting guests from the castle forecourt, this 18-foot tall display is crafted from thousands of gingerbread blocks, rolled fondant, and a mouth-watering amount of modeling chocolate!
This year also marks the 18th anniversary of the Holiday Carousel – a life-size, edible spinning carousel that’s become a holiday tradition at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This year’s carousel is designed by Pastry Chefs Thomas Huebner, Jennifer Ladisky and Cindy Roman. The Lilo and Stitch-themed carousel will feature horses with hand-painted holiday characters and hand-crafted gingerbread snow flakes. See if you can spot all 18 hidden Mickeys on this display! There will also be a limited-edition pin featuring Lilo and Stitch available for purchase starting 11/17 at the Beach Club Marketplace. And right next door at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, you’ll also find the annual Holiday Miniature Train! These beautiful holiday displays will be in the lobbies of each resort starting Nov. 17.
And for our “Grand” finale, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is celebrating the 19th anniversary of its famous life-size gingerbread house, which will be located in the main lobby of the resort Nov. 15-Jan. 1. Each year, the Grand Floridian pastry team, led by Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek, spend over 400 hours baking the gingerbread and over 160 hours constructing and decorating the house, which also contains The Bake Shop. There you can find gingerbread ornaments, cookies, and gingerbread house kits, all made using a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria. On Nov. 18, there will be a pin trading event with a special limited-edition pin featuring the penguins from “Mary Poppins.” What’s more, decorating aficionados will be excited to attend gingerbread house decorating demos conducted daily in the lobby in front of the display starting Dec. 1.
Note: Parking at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels is for the exclusive use of guests with confirmed rooms, dining and recreation reservations. However, bus transportation is available from each of the four parks and Disney Springs. Guests may also park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and visit Epcot, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort via the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail.