By Scot Mahlke
The Disney Parks are getting ready to start celebrating the winter holidays. The pumpkins and fall décor are making way for Christmas trees, wreaths, holly, and poinsettias. If you’ve ever been to the parks at Christmastime I’m sure you’ve been blown away with the annual
redecoration, but one of my favorite things to see during this time of year are the gingerbread houses that start showing up in the resort hotels.
The gingerbread houses are a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to seasonal theming. Some hotels have relatively small but elaborate gingerbread houses, some resorts offer guests the opportunity to build their own gingerbread houses and some even have contests between teams of Disney Cast Member where the guests get to vote for their favorites. And then there are
truly spectacular gingerbread houses like the one found in the lobby of the Grand Floridian. It’s an actual house! If you’re on the second floor of Grand’s lobby you’d find yourself just about eye level with the powdered sugar dusted shingles on the highest part of its roof! Over the years I’ve
had friends and family think that I was exaggerating its size when I’ve told them that there are Cast Members working inside the gingerbread house selling cocoa and treats (gingerbread cookies of course) right out of the window. Each year a new house is baked from scratch, and the culinary team at the Grand Floridian has been doing this for just over 20 years now.
Although it’s usually the largest of the Disney gingerbread houses, it isn’t the only unbelievable oversized baked structure. Disney’s Yacht and Beach
Club is home to a gingerbread carousel that actually rotates. Directly across Crescent Lake at the Boardwalk you’ll find Donald Duck stuck inside gingerbread chimney. In recent years they’ve added an incredibly detailed recreation of the boardwalk hotel itself. Over at The Contemporary you might find a 20 ft tall gingerbread Christmas tree or a giant gingerbread version of Cinderella Castle.
Our guests visiting the west coast definitely won’t find themselves left out of the fun, Disneyland is home to an oversized gingerbread creation too. Each year the Grand Californian builds a gingerbread house to rival the one at the Grand Floridian, and although it’s not large enough to house people selling seasonal treats inside, nearby in the lobby you’ll find the best hot cocoa I’ve ever had. The Disneyland hotel even has a fun gingerbread Sleeping Beauty Castle display.
So if you’re visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland during the holidays and your family your family is looking for a fun activity that gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy parks, take a tour of some of the truly unique and amazingly creative confections in one of the nearby resorts.