For the fourth year in a row, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort opened the iconic Gingerbread House with a ceremony. This year, Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek was joined by two of the Mary Poppins penguins! This is the 19th year of the Gingerbread House, which is a favorite of guests – it takes 400 hours to bake the gingerbread and over 160 hours to construct and decorate the house. There are a nice variety of gingerbread and non-gingerbread items that can be purchased here through January 1st, including the Gingerbread Shingle (made from a classic Austrian recipe). A number of gluten-free items can also be found.
Here are photos from the morning!
We arrived at 9:00 a.m. The opening time each day will be 9:30 a.m. but the grand opening was bumped until 10:30 a.m. for the first day and we didn’t realize that until after we arrived. I took some photos ahead of the ceremony, and I will share more photos of the Gingerbread House later in the article as well. We also have photos from last week, while it was being readied for opening.
Here is a look at the video of the ceremony yesterday and then check out all the photos!
The characters as part of the display are always similar but they have evolved through the years. I believe these are all made of chocolate or at least molding.
The windows each year have characters above some of them. This is a 101 Dalmatians window. Well, one dalmatian anyway!
Mickey and Minnie are in a sled here. I believe this one – or a similar one – has been used before. I have been photographing the house for 10 or 11 years now, it is always fun to see what characters are on it.
Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Roo build a snowman.
Looking toward the back of Disney’s Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, balloons and a ribbon were set up. The house is created from 1050 pounds of honey, 140 pints of egg whites, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 700 pounds of chocolate, 800 pounds of flour, and 35 pounds of spices! It is a lifesize house, and Cast Members sell treats from inside it.
A closer look at the house.
By 10:30 a.m., the lobby was filled with guests waiting for the grand opening, and Chef Jeff Barnes from Disney’s Contemporary Resort also arrived for the ceremony. Check out his gingerbread display at the Contemporary – it is Cinderella themed this year! We will be posting about that too in the next couple of days.
The talented pastry team from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort waited for the ceremony to begin and posed for photos.
Marylouise Fitzgibbon, General Manager of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, talked a bit before the ribbon cutting.
She gave a little information about the house.
Chef Herbitschek then arrived with the penguins.
The penguins are on the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House pin (which was not yet for sale when we were there).
It took about half a minute for Chef Erich to arrive, duck under the ribbon and then cut it. He never wastes much time opening the house.
The penguins look on as he cuts the ribbon.
And the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House was open! The line grew fast as guests lined up to purchase treats.
Chef Herbitschek posed with the penguins.
The penguins look over the house.
And then they showed off the house!
Chef Herbitschek joined his team and Marylouise Fitzgibbon for photos.
Here are a couple of more photos of the team involved, I will add names as I find them out.
Pastry Chef Barnes joined Herbitschek for photos.
It became a who’s who of award-winning Disney pastry chefs once Pastry Chef Stefan Riemer arrived to check out the house.
Here is a look around Disney’s Grand Floridian Gingerbread House.
Santa delivers gifts as a deer rests on a bench.
Here is a close up on the deer.
Another deer in the display.
This one’s nose seems to glow.
Some of the pieces in the display village fit well to the theme of the resort. The White Rabbit Book Store is one, and there is a tea shop to the left of it (out of frame).
Looking up at the ceiling.
The final dusting happened about a week ago, where powdered sugar was sifted onto the house.
The large Santa here looks more lifelike than ever.
Santa up close.
Ornaments hang in the window.
Mickey holds a wreath in the window.
Elsa and Anna are back with Olaf in the window.
Grand Floridian Gingerbread House information.
There will be three pin signing events with Herbitscheck.
We didn’t have time to wait to purchase or photograph treats yesterday, but there were a few items in Sandy Cove Gifts. New this year is a penguin cookie. I will post more treats when I get back there soon.
If you visit Walt Disney World for the holidays, it is well worth a stop at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort to see the house (and purchase some treats!)
The opening of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Gingerbread House is always one of the highlights of the Christmas season!