Walt Disney World goes all out for the holidays. Santa greets guests inside the park, toy soldiers parade past Cinderella Castle and, somehow, even in Orlando, Florida, snow falls down on Main Street, U.S.A.
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And amid the towering Christmas trees and icicle lights is something even more special. At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, there’s a confectionary creation so big, it’s nothing short of a sweet tooth’s dream. Each winter, the Walt Disney World hotel builds a life-size gingerbread house in its lobby from completely edible ingredients, making for a hotel room everyone in Orlando would love to book.
The Grand Floridian’s sweet two-story cottage, which is celebrating its 19th year, uses gingerbread “shingle” pieces for its walls, rooms and roof, right down to the chimney. Exterior scales are created from solid white chocolate, window details are painted with colored cocoa butter, and the poinsettias that line the home are crafted out of sugar.
Standing 16 feet tall, the famed gingerbread house takes over two weeks for the resort’s pastry team to bake. It’s not just time that’s being used — over 1,000 pounds of honey and 17 gallons of egg whites go into the creation of the behemoth lobby highlight.
Fancy yourself a chocoholic? There are so many edible shingles lining this oversized take on a Christmas tradition that 700 pounds of chocolate, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, and 800 pounds of flour are required to make them all. It takes a team with a crane nearly a week for every piece to be put together within the Victorian-inspired hotel lobby.
Though taking a bite can seem tempting, there’s no concern for reacting like Hansel and Gretel. Guests are unable to enter Grand Floridian’s candy-coated house because it doubles as a bake shop selling gingerbread cookies, shingles, and at-home kits to peckish passersby. No matter if you nibble or not, there’s no chance you’ll leave unimpressed — especially if you spot the solid chocolate Santa perched out front.
The Grand Floridian’s annual tradition is just one of the many creative gingerbread creations throughout Disney World. From a cookie castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to the candy carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort and a replica of Disney’s Boardwalk, there’s plenty to be tempted with during the most wonderful time of the year.