For well over a decade, the edible holiday displays at Walt Disney World have filled the foyers of some of their best-loved resorts with the spice heavy scent of freshly baked gingerbread. Since this is our first Christmas in the Orlando area, we have never been able to view these works of art in person until this week. I have seen photos of them online for years, but now that we were actually able to go and see them, I can see what everyone makes such a fuss about. Loving Husband is a trained pastry chef, teams of Disney pastry chefs work for months baking, detailing and assembling these life-size gingerbread sculptures. If you live near WDW, or will be here between late November until the beginning of January, I strongly encourage you to spend a little time exploring these exhibits.
The first stop on our self-guided tour was the largest, and in my opinion, the most impressive baked creation is the gingerbread house in the first-floor main lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. The house fits perfectly into the ornate Victorian design scheme of this hotel. This piece is so huge that there is a store with real live people inside of it selling souvenirs of the annual event, as well as edible shingles just like those that adorn the roof of the structure (below). The girls (Samantha & Amber) who worked inside appeared to be flowing over with Christmas cheer and had big contagious smiles. How could you NOT be in a good mood while smelling the goodies all day? As far as the taste goes, the shingles are a lot less dense than most gingerbread I’ve had and there is a citrus overtone to it.
After a short monorail journey, we were at the Contemporary Resort viewing their adorable Frozen Fever themed gingerbread display. I am a huge devotee of the mid-century modern/Scandinavian aesthetic and especially of the Mary Blair design style, making that piece my absolute favorite! While I feel that all of the displays are beautiful works created by very talented artists, none of them inspired me the way this one did. Luckily, the main concourse, where this display is located, wasn’t very busy when we visited and I was able to get a really clear photo with no one else standing in front of the castle. I am in love with the huge “cookie” characters! I was surprised and disappointed to find out that they didn’t have actual edible versions of them for sale, to me that seemed like a no-brainer that would have sold VERY well. We settled on the Olaf gingerbread shingle and the individual serving of the blue cake-in-a-jar (gallery).
Soon we were back on the monorail and then in the car heading to the BoardWalk Inn to try some of their holiday gelato flavors we had heard about via the Disney Food Blog’s Instagram. While we were there we picked up a gingerbread cupcake for later (below); both were excellent by the way. LH liked the gingerbread gelato better and I liked the peppermint best. These foodie finds are sold out of the cutest little edible store called Ginger’s Bread & Cookie Shop (below & gallery). I thought the alternating Mickey and Minnie head cookies around the fascia and the Mickey gingerbread man weather vane were adorable little details.
Our final resort was the Beach Club. Here you can view the life-size rotating gingerbread carousel (video, below & gallery). While it is not a huge example (only 4 horses) it is full size. This is something that they make fresh every year, they just switch up the horse designs. This display includes the highly detailed dried fondant poinsettias that we also saw at the Grand Floridian (below). Between the two pieces, there must be thousands of them. The snowflake cookies that ring the top are available at the Beach Club Marketplace down the hall. After a long evening of my nostrils filling with the glorious smell of gingerbread, we decided to return to the BoardWalk Inn by sea, meaning we took the boat back to the car.