It’s a Disneyland Resort tradition, and “Pumpkin King” Brian D. Sandahl, Senior Designer for Disney Entertainment Creative Development, has a wild and wacky new design for this year’s gingerbread house, the holiday centerpiece on the table in the ballroom of the Haunted Mansion Holiday in Disneyland park.
Of course, it’s not just any holiday, but one inspired by Jack Skellington and the animated film, “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas,” so there are no reds and greens. So there’s a little bit of Halloween and a little bit of Christmas all rolled into one with orange berries, black pine garland, and garishly bright colors.
“Imagine if Jack Skellington had landed on the Haunted Mansion and decorated it with his vision of Halloween and Christmas,” says Brian.
Now in its 12th year in the Haunted Mansion, this year’s gingerbread house perches on a skinny mountain, and it’s tall and spindly, just like Jack. At nine feet, it’s one of the tallest, according to Brian.
“Jack’s house, candles eerily flickering in the windows, is perched atop a steep, snow-covered peak, with gingerbread steps to his door,” he explains. “Along the way, there are lighted pumpkins in the ‘snowy’ cliffs.”
Those snowy cliffs are covered with pounds and pounds of sweet fondant, a simple sugar-water-cream of tartar mixture that is pliable (and edible). Jack’s pet ghost dog Zero is also covered in fondant, with a small glowing nose that looks like a jack-o-lantern as he flies in circles around the top tower.
It’s these moving pieces and parts that Brian loves best. Along with a flying Zero, there’s a classic Christmas train – but this one is the “terror train” from the movie that travels on a “ghost track” around the gingerbread house, with an engine, a coal car, a flatbed car with an enormous cupcake with candles, and a caboose.
“You’ll see the train, but it will appear as a ghost train – you can see through it,” says Brian. “As the train travels its creepy course, the ‘ghost lady’ at the right end of the ballroom table blows out the candles on the cupcake.”
Brian gets the fun started, then adds animation and lighting with a talented technical team. Meanwhile, Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet and his bakers at the Disneyland Bakery are working on the exterior’s sweet touches with gingerbread, frosting, candies and fondant.
Opening day is September 14! We plan on several trips through the attraction to see all the holiday touches.
Read more about Halloween at the Disneyland Resort in the posts below:
Can’t wait to see this work of art in person. I have a friend coming down from Canada and HMH will be on our agenda many times over.
Is there any way that you, at the Disney Parks Blog, can give us a photographic recap of the previous 11 Disneyland ginger bread houses? I’m sure you have some amazing pics in your archive.
Pam, do you know the dates that the Haunted Mansion will be transformed to Haunted Mansion Holiday?
Last year’s gingerbread house was amazing! I can still smell the wonderful aroma in my memories! I hope to make it to this year’s festivities as well.
I’ve been going to the Haunted Mansion Holiday ever since it opened and I’ve always looked forward to what the Imagineers have in mind for the surprises and judging by what I’m looking at for the gingerbread house this year…I think this is going to be the best one yet! I’m so looking forward to Halloween Time at Disneyland!
Whats this? Why that looks so unique, inspired…
Gingerbread house is the only thing I like about the HMH. I prefer the original so much more.
That being said they do an amazing job on turning it into a very different ride. The Gingerbread house smells so good too.
I hope they slow the ride down at the ballroom scene so we can take a REAL good look at this – it sounds like the best one yet! : D
That sounds awesome! I love Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Thanks for the sneak peek.
I will be making my ninth trip to Disneyland this December, but it is my first time visiting during the holidays. I CANNOT wait to see Haunted Mansion Holiday! Thanks for the sneak peek, between this post and the Halloween merchandise preview I am having a hard time maintaining a presence of mind in summer, I am ready for fall now!
This year’s gingerbread house sounds eerily magical! I’ve only been able to experience Haunted Mansion Holiday once, but what fond memories I have of the overlay and the smell of delicious gingerbread in the ballroom scene. 🙂
That sounds great! Can’t wait to see completed photos!