We caught up with “Pumpkin King” Brian D. Sandahl, Senior Designer for Disney Entertainment Creative Development, and the whiz behind the annual Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house.
This is the tenth year a “freaky gingerbread house” has been the centerpiece on the table in the Haunted Mansion ballroom, says Brian.
Brian shared with us a quick color sketch that was used to inspire pastry chef Jean-Marc Viallet to create the edible overlays.
The foundation is wood and wired for animation, then the house goes to the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery for a 3-week layover to apply more than 500 lbs of gingerbread, ten yards of fondant and miles of frosting and oversized candies. Because the six-foot house stays on display through Christmas, the design is a blend of the holidays, inspired by Jack Skellington and the animated film, “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.”
“Imagine if Jack Skellington had landed on the Haunted Mansion and decorated it with his vision of Halloween and Christmas,” says Brian. “The two holidays collide with pumpkins, freaky presents, a dead Christmas tree and more.”
This year’s house is more pastel, done with light orange and purple. But the cuteness gives way to a “freaky twist” when the house opens to reveal evil teeth, red eyes that light up, a “happy cookie” that revolves to a “mean cookie.”
There is so much to see in the ballroom scene, says Brian, including that dead, 25-foot-tall Christmas tree. It takes several trips through the attraction to take it all in.
Work on the gingerbread house started at the end of 2010, with construction beginning in spring 2011. Opening day is September 16!
WOW I love riding Haunted Mansion Holiday during the first few days of it’s run. When the entire ballroom smells like gingerbread. So I’m craving gingerbread when I get off the ride! You should sell gingerbread skeletons at the ride’s exit. Haha!
It would be awesome if they would switch this between Florida and California every other year so us on the East Coast could get to visit Jack!
That’s awesome! I can’t wait to see the final product.
Why don’t they decorate the Haunted Mansion at Disney World? I got to see it at Disneyland once, and it was so cool! I sure wish they’d do it over on this side of the country too.
hi pam, i just want to say thank you for showing us a sneak peek of spooky scary gingerbread house this year. OMG i can’t wait to see it. happy 10th anniversary haunted mansion holiday i can’t believe it is been 10 years of screams and joy together at mansion holiday this new gingerbread house is it all in one from the past years?
That is so cool! I can’t wait to see how the Haunted mansion transforms:) this is my first year having a pass.
And cannot wait to see the creativity of the park on holidays.
I don’t know who is more excited my kids or I 😀
Wonderfully detailed sketch. I’m really excited for the Haunted Mansion and Ghost Galaxy at Disneyland. It’s enchanting.
That will be amazing! Are they doing anything special for the 10th anniversary?
Love it! Cannot wait to see the finished product and to smell it too. Always makes me want Gingerbread!
Going to Disney in early October, with three teen grand kids. Can’t wait to show them the transformation that takes place. This will be their first Oct. visit. Can’t Wait!
Oh i cant wait i love this time of year especially at Disneyland
I love Disneyland all year long!! And each hoilday is is the best at the parks. Cant wait to check it out soon
I’ve only been to The Magic Kingdom, what is the Ghost Galaxy?
They theme the Haunted Mansion after Nightmare Before Christmas?
How come none of that’s come to Walt Disney World?
During Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy launches riders into an uncharted and haunted section of the universe. Ghosts chase riders around Space Mountain as they speed through space. The drops and curves are even scarier with piercing screams and haunting music.
Haunted Mansion Holiday is so awesome! I love that the gingerbread house changes every year, and this one looks to be a lot of fun with the animation and details!
I rode Haunted Mansion Holiday at Tokyo Disneyland a few years ago, and their version was also great, but I don’t remember them doing a gingerbread house in the ballroom. Is that a Disneyland USA detail only?
We are so lucky to get all the great and clever Holiday attraction overlays at Disneyland! Haunted Mansion Holiday, Small World Holiday, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, Big Thunder Ranch Halloween and also Santa’s Christmas Cabin and live reindeer, I love them all!
When is the Private Haunted Mansion Holiday Party for at Disneyland? How do you get invited or is it a seperate admission for the Haunted Mansion Holiday Party? Please let me know the details as I heard about this since 2002 and have been wanting to go, but I am not able to find out anything, please help me!!
I agree with Julie.
Please bring Haunted Mansion Holiday to Walt Disney World.
We just learned about Disneyland two years ago. We had always vacationed at WDW. Imagine our surprise at the quality and amount of attractions at DL. Take all 4 parks in WDW and DL’s 2 parks has as many attractions without all the walking and transportation troubles. DL is so much easier and pleasant especially if you have kids. The Holiday lay overs at so many of the E-tickets is just another reason to vacation at DL. We still plan on going back to WDW but DL is now our yearly vacation spot while WDW is good for every 4-5 years. WDW just doesn’t get many new attractions let alone any holiday makeover of ones – sadly I doubt Nightmare Before Christmas will ever come to WDW.
Well, Timothy, keep writing letters to WDW, asking them to bring Nightmare and the other holiday overlays to WDW.
I am so excited to see Disneyland decorated for Halloween, this will be first time to the park during this holiday season. My husband and I will be taking our first trip without children. Disneyland was our first vacation when we were dating, we have been serveral times over the last 21 years, but we are both counting down the days until 9/24!!! I am hoping to find some Halloween items to bring home to add to my collection.
This is going to be sooo amazing!!! I’m a huge Nightmare before Christmas fan, so I can’t wait to see this!!! 🙂
I am so thankful that we have this holiday tradition. I feel like Florida gets all the exciting events…ABC preview weekend, Soap weekend, Star wars weekend, playhouse disney live conerts, a very merry Christmas party, celebration of Walt Disneys birthday….Only event California gets is the Halloween time trick or treat. I wish they would incorporate more events here! It is the original park!!!
I agree Melvin!