Disney Culinary Cast Deck the Halls with Gingerbread this Holiday Season

Michelle Senter

by , Communications Specialist, Walt Disney World Resort

Did you know December 12 is National Gingerbread House Day? Walt Disney World Resort is known for its incredible gingerbread house displays, so today is the perfect time to share an inside look at how our talented culinary cast sprinkle holiday magic (and powdered sugar snow) across our parks and resort hotels with these incredible culinary works of art.

Culinary Cast and Chip

From a 17-foot-tall EARidescent gingerbread Cinderella Castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to a life-sized spinning gingerbread carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, each gingerbread display is a masterpiece that welcomes guests into timeless Disney stories through the tiniest, most delicious details. They’re even more spectacular in person, so be sure to stop by and see these whimsical confectionery creations for yourselves – and while you’re at it, see if you can spot all the carefully placed Easter eggs and hidden Mickeys!

Some of my personal favorite holiday memories involve baking all sorts of festive treats with my family the night before a big family gathering, so I appreciate how much time and effort our pastry chefs put into gingerbread prep. Of course, our culinary teams start preparing their treats much earlier — the planning and design process for each display starts six months ahead of its big debut!

During the creation process, these cast members add their ideas, unique techniques and personal recipes into the mix to help bring these gingerbread builds to life in imaginative new ways, while still honoring the timeless tradition.

Chef and Mickey gingerbread cookie

“It’s a big team effort,” said Chef Heather Wall, a pastry chef at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. “We start in the summer with the concept development and as we go along, more cast members contribute. At the end, almost everyone on the team has a hand in helping it all come together.”

Spreading this kind of holiday cheer is already a tall order for the culinary teams, but their passion for what they do inspires them to go one step further and extend the magic they create to our cast members and the Central Florida community.

As soon as the life-sized gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa got its final fresh touches of royal icing and powdered sugar snow, the resort’s culinary team welcomed students from Wekiva High School for a special tour and sneak peek of the gingerbread display before it made its official debut to guests.

Students and gingerbread designs

“I love working with the students and seeing the future of pastry and culinary arts,” shared Chef Rheanna Schaffer, a pastry chef at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. “The students are so passionate and interested in learning as much as they can, so to be able to bring them to where I work and share my passion with them is just phenomenal.”

Gingerbread Mickey cookies decorated for Cast

Then, to help cast members get in the holiday spirit, our culinary cast whipped up exclusive #DisneyCastLife experiences, including a delightful tour of the gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and a very merry cookie decorating class at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.

Mickey gingerbread cookie decorating with cast

Check out this video to see the sweet time cast members had learning how to take a classic Mickey Gingerbread cookie and dress him up in his holiday best from our very own culinary experts:

It’s been such a treat to see how these holly jolly experiences help fill cast members’ and community members’ cups with holiday cheer. Thank you to our wonderful culinary cast members who pour passion into every detail of their creations. And if you haven’t had the chance to see the delectable gingerbread displays yet, I highly suggest you visit and make some joyful holiday memories of your own.

If you’re interested in creating incredible culinary magic like these treasured gingerbread displays, visit DisneyCareers.com to explore roles with Disney Culinary.