Gingerbread houses and displays are already going up at Walt Disney World for Christmas 2023, with new and returning larger-than-life displays in the resort hotels. This post shares details, plus likely opening dates and last year’s food & drink menus for each.
If you’ve never seen the various ‘edible creations’ and other displays during the holiday season at Walt Disney World, we would strongly encourage you to make time for them. Our Self-Guided Yuletide Tour of Walt Disney World is a great place to start, and makes for a fun Christmas experience on your day outside the parks. It’s also great for getting a taste of the higher end resorts if you’re staying at Pop Century or the All-Stars.
Unsurprisingly, a frequent question among Walt Disney World guests this time of year is When Do Decorations Go Up at Walt Disney World?, which we answer in that post. Specifically, many people wonder when their hotel will be decorated—or when the resorts they want to visit will be ready to go.
Unfortunately, with today’s announcement about which gingerbread houses will return, Walt Disney World hasn’t released debut dates for the gingerbread houses. However, we do have data from the last couple of years (and precedent from long before) that should help narrow down a window for those visiting Walt Disney World early in the Christmas 2023 season.
With that in mind, let’s cover the official details about the larger-than-life gingerbread displays for Christmas 2023 at Walt Disney World…
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Lobby
This stunning life-size storybook gingerbread house with “cinnamon clouds” puffing from the chimney is beautifully decorated with white chocolate candy canes, edible snowflakes, and sugar poinsettias. Treats for sale include house-made Gingerbread Houses and Gingerbread Ornaments.
The culinary team at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa starts mixing the fragrant dough for its life-size gingerbread house in May ahead of a two-month curing process. Individual shapes, from shingles to Mickey cookies, are baked and decorated throughout the summer and then stored for “construction” in November. The house itself takes three days to build.
Last year, the Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House officially debuted on November 9. The year before that, it was ready to roll on November 10. In 2019, it was done by November 9 (I don’t know if that’s the date if officially opened–just when we saw it in finished form). Suffice to say, there’s a strong chance that the Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House opens by or before November 11, 2023 when the holiday season officially starts at Walt Disney World.
Some of the goodies that were available for sale last year from Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort:
Freshly baked, homemade items, such as Gingerbread Mickeys and Shingles, Stollen Bread, Brownie Christmas Tree, and Chocolate Peppermint Bark
House-made Gingerbread Ornaments and Gingerbread Houses
New items like the Gingerbread Latte Whoopie Pie and Hot Cocoa Bombs
Assorted Gingerbread Cookie Bags, Marshmallow Pops, and Caramel Pecan Fudge Bar
Gluten-friendly, plant-based, and no sugar added treats
Grand Floridian Combo Box featuring assorted fan favorite treats, including the Chocolate Mickey Ornament, exclusive to the Combo Box
(Now that he 50th is over, here’s hoping that the color scheme changes back to the classic red and green colors!)
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The Contemporary’s gingerbread display is confirmed as returning, and will once again likely take the form of the Mary Blair-inspired castle. That has featured characters from Cinderella or Frozen in previous years, and our expectation is that’ll continue.
Last year was probably an outlier due to the 50th Anniversary, as Imagineers created a special overlay complete with 11 hidden 5-legged goats. It opened on November 11 last year (which was also the display’s 11th Anniversary). In prior years, it’s opened between (roughly) November 1 and November 6. Our guess is that it arrives early again in 2023.
Don’t sleep on this from a food and beverage perspective, as the Contemporary Resort’s culinary team usually does a great job. Here’s what was available last year:
50th Anniversary Gingerbread Castle Brick (New)
Family Tradition Cookie Box
Chocolate Peppermint Cookie
Gluten-friendly 5-Legged Goat Sugar Cookie (New)
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Holiday Bar (New)
Hot Cocoa Bombs (New)
Frozen drinks with optional alcohol floaters
Our favorite is the Chocolate Peppermint Cookie. That flies under the radar, but has been a time-tested tradition at Contemporary Resort for a long time–maybe decades.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Over in the lobby of Disney’s Beach Club Resort, the classic carousel will be returning for Christmas 2023. I believe it went up November 1 last year; if so, that would be the same date as last year. If it follows that pattern, expect construction to start on this before Halloween.
Since 1999, this resort has been home to the life-sized carousel that actually spins. This carousel and its horses are created with chocolate, sugar, and fondant along with hand-painted characters and hand-crafted gingerbread shingles and snowflakes decorating the display.
Some of the goodies available for sale from last year’s Gingerbread Carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort included:
Across Crescent Lake, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn the gingerbread display will also be returning for Christmas 2023. This one usually arrives later–it opened on November 17 last year. (I’m not sure about prior years–my photos are all over the place.)
This gingerbread creation is a miniature, edible version of everyone’s favorite new spot along shore: BoardWalk Deli! In the past this has been multiple venues from the promenade, and we assume that’ll be true again this year. (If not, probably a good thing this one is debuting after Jersey Week!)
Sweet treats available at last year’s Gingerbread Miniature BoardWalk included:
Animal Kingdom Lodge continues its new tradition of life-sized gingerbread displays. While Walt Disney World hasn’t confirmed what this will be for Christmas 2023, it was a baby giraffe and zebra last year. The year before that, it was just the giraffe. If the precedent of a new critter each Christmas continues, perhaps we’ll get a third animal this year? I think I speak for everyone in saying a three-toed sloth on the Christmas tree would be the perfect addition, and a great synergy play for the upcoming Zootopia film in Tree of Life!
This is another one that’s arrived late the last couple of years. Last year, the duo debuted on November 23; the year before that, the giraffe was a surprise addition in early December. With Animal Kingdom Lodge being more out of the way and not as big for food & beverage sales, it’s likely the trend of later-arriving displays will continue this Christmas.
NEW – Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Walt Disney World announced that Yacht Club Resort will debut an all-new gingerbread display for Christmas 2023, teasing the addition alongside the other resorts that’ll have returning gingerbread displays or houses. No details have been provided as to when this will debut or what it’ll be.
Once again missing from this list is Humphrey the Bear’s gingerbread cabin at Wilderness Lodge, which debuted in 2019 and hasn’t returned in the two years since other displays started reappearing. It’s possible this would’ve been a one-and-done regardless, but we doubt that. It was a pretty big hit with guests, and made for a popular snack spot at Wilderness Lodge. Of course, we’re biased towards all things Wilderness Lodge (it’s the best place at Walt Disney World during the holiday season!) but we’d really love to see this return.
In our experience, the gingerbread displays at the resorts are built or installed over the course of several days, and reach finished form a few days before their official start date.
For example, construction on the Grand Floridian gingerbread house has started immediately after Halloween in recent years and taken about a week to be built. It’s also often been the case that the Contemporary Resort’s Mary Blair/Cinderella display is up several days before its grand opening, and is usually one of the first to appear.
Ultimately, the return of most gingerbread displays and appearance of a couple new ones post-reopening should crank the Christmas cheer up a notch, and make for a more festive and fun experience when touring the resorts. We can’t wait!
What do you think of this Walt Disney World gingerbread house news? Excited to see more of these edible displays for Christmas 2023? Hoping the Humphrey Bear Gingerbread Log Cabin at Wilderness Lodge will also make a surprise return? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!