Disney goes big for the holidays as the parks and resorts are filled with cheer, decorations and delicious foods of the season. Whether it’s savory or sweet, you can find it at Disney World. One of the most popular Christmas time desserts is gingerbread cookies. The Grand Floridian takes this beloved flavor to a whole new level. The spacious, white lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa hosts a life size gingerbread house each year. Guests love this unique, over the top staple of the holidays at Disney World. It takes 500 hours to bake the gingerbread for the house and another 480 hours to decorate it.
When does the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Go Up each year?
You can expect the Grand Floridian gingerbread house to go up in early November each year. The date varies annually but the display is always up before Thanksgiving. Disney starts early with many decorations up on November 1st or earlier in the theme parks.
In the past, the switchover from fall and Halloween to Christmas decor was wildly fast. From one day to the next, guests were treated to a complete, whirlwind change of the seasons. Since the parks reopened in 2020, the switch of seasonal decor has changed a bit. It seems the garland stars on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios keep going up earlier. If you’re in the park before Halloween it’s likely you’ll see the red and silver star frames lining the street up to Tower of Terror.
With the amount of time the Grand Floridian gingerbread house takes to construct, it doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes many cast members multiple days to pull off this spectacular exhibit.
The Christmas tree at the Grand Floridian does, however, go up overnight. Each of the resorts that have massive Christmas trees has a team of cast members pulling an overnighter to get the decorated tree up in one complete take.
When does the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House open in 2023?
We asked the front desk on a recent visit and were told the Grand Floridian gingerbread house opens November 8 or 9 in 2023. The Disney Parks Blog has now confirmed the Grand Floridian gingerbread house opens for the season November 8, 2023.
When does the gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian close?
Disney says the Grand Floridian gingerbread house will be open November 8, 2023 through January 1, 2024. What this really means is that the gingerbread house will be selling treats through these dates. It’s possible the house will be up and completed a few days before this and still standing a few days beyond this for viewing.
What’s inside the Grand Floridian gingerbread house?
There is a small store inside the Grand Floridian gingerbread house. Guests do not shop inside of it but, instead, walk up to the window to see inside and order. There are usually a few cast members inside fulfilling orders. An annual Grand Floridian gingerbread house pin is sold at the counter as well.
Tip: The line for treats at the Grand Floridian gingerbread house can be long. While it can move quickly and the scenery is lovely, it’s possible to get some of the treats elsewhere. Just across the hall from the display there’s a lobby gift shop called Sandy Cove Gifts and Sundries. You can usually find some treats from the gingerbread house like gingerbread shingles or chocolate covered Oreos here.
Holiday Treat Menu
The menu for this sweet holiday offering changes slightly each year. For example, last year many Disney World 50th anniversary themed treats were for sale. You may also find Disney films or characters featured on some items and that changes. There are some menu items you can always expect to see. What doesn’t change is the delicious gingerbread cookies for sale each year. Disney gives this preview of the menu:
Brownie Christmas Trees
Gingerbread Cookie Bags
Milk Chocolate Pecan Fudge
Grand Floridian Combo Box with assorted favorite treats
No sugar added options
Gluten friendly options
Gingerbread house plant based and gluten free options
Disney is fantastic at accommodating dietary restrictions and allergies. The gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian sells different kinds of goodies and usually has plant based and gluten free options.
Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC is a Gluten Free, Vegan & Kosher Bakery located at Disney Springs. This bakery has provided allergy friendly treats for Disney World for over a decade. You may have eaten one of their little cupcake quads out of a Disney resort shop refrigerator section without even knowing it was from them.
Some years, the Grand Floridian gingerbread house has gingerbread men cookies from Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. There have also been years where Disney provided allergy friendly options for the Grand Floridian lobby holiday, treat kiosks. If getting a special treat like this is important to you it’s possible but try to go earlier if you can. Sometimes the allergy friendly treats sell out for the day.
What is the Grand Floridian gingerbread display made of?
The Grand Floridian Gingerbread house is actually edible! Every year the gingerbread shingles that adorn the roof of the structure are a fan favorite. It’s fun that you can buy a fresh one to eat!
Aside from gingerbread shingles and sheets there are also white chocolate candy canes, snowflakes and sugar poinsettias. There are also chocolate sculptures hand painted by the Grand Floridian Bakery team including Santa, nutcrackers, toy soldiers and snowmen. You may even see Pastry Chef de Cuisine Kristine Farmer who leads the team at the gingerbread house if you’re lucky. She’s been featured in Disney specials and is sometimes seen around the Grand Floridian.
Delicious construction: Can you watch the Grand Floridian gingerbread house be built?
If you’re at the Grand Floridian at the right time, you can see the gingerbread house being built.
You may spot construction workers, bakery or other cast members building this favorite seasonal dwelling. If you want to see the Grand Floridian gingerbread house under construction, you’ll also need to plan to visit the lobby during the day. This is not a 24 hour operation. Work takes place during the day.
A cast member shared this delicious tip. If you are around during the gingerbread house construction you might get a complimentary taste. Cast members sometimes hand out free samples as they are cutting gingerbread to fit the structure.
The Grand Floridian gingerbread house becomes another great place for snacks in addition to the Grand Floridian restaurants. If you find this interesting, there are many more fun Grand Floridian facts.
Can anyone visit the Grand Floridian?
In addition to all of this, the Grand also has a gorgeous Christmas tree in the lobby. It’s stories tall, lit with yellow lights, adorned with lightly colored velvet accents and themed to The Twelve Days of Christmas. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa also have their own decor. Victorian style accents carry through all of the resort’s smart holiday overlays.
With so much to look forward to, many will want to include a visit to this special hotel on their Disney World trip. You do not have to be staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to enjoy the beautiful Christmas display. Parking at the Grand Floridian is reserved for resort guests and those with dining reservations but it’s easy to take Disney transportation around to different resorts.
Each park and Disney Springs has bus transportation to all other resorts. The Grand Floridian restaurants are some of the most exquisite places to eat at Disney. You can make a full evening visit out of dining at the resort and taking in the holiday decorations.
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