Grand Floridian Resort’s gingerbread house has officially opened, and will operate daily throughout the Christmas 2021 season. This post shares photos of the iconic gingerbread house at Walt Disney World’s flagship hotel, all decked out for the 50th Anniversary festivities.
A visit to the Grand Floridian is a quintessential holiday-time experience, and it’s one of a few must-do stops on our Free Self-Guided Walt Disney World Yuletide Resort Tour. That’s what we recommend doing in the morning before attending Disney Very Merriest After Hours (if you opt to do that upcharge) or perhaps just on your non-parks day. It’s one of our favorite things to do at Walt Disney World, and we make a point of doing it annually–along with separate visits to many of the hotels.
As with the other monorail loop resorts, it’s also easy to visit the Grand Floridian the same day you do Magic Kingdom. Whether it be before heading into the park, strolling over on the walking path for a midday break, or after the park closes (our favorite option), it’s worth the detour thanks to its elegant Victorian decor, grandiose icon tree, and the glorious gingerbread house…
You might recall that last year, Christmas trees and most normal decorations were installed at Walt Disney World hotels, but not the gingerbread houses or any other edible displays. Per Walt Disney World, the rationale was that all holiday offerings that “draw big crowds will be on hiatus” due to physical distancing.
Physical distancing has now been gone for several months, and the edible creations are starting to return! Already, the Little Mermaid-inspired carousel is back at Beach Club, and next up is the gingerbread house at Grand Floridian. This is typically the preeminent resort offering during the Christmas season, and for good reason–it’s truly awesome.
In case you missed it (and judging by the lack of crowds, most of you did!), last year Grand Floridian actually received new Christmas ornaments and decor with a “12 Days of Christmas” motif that was a really nice refresh. It’s every bit as timeless and classy as the prior decor package, but with significant fewer birdcages. Since Christmas is, at its core, a holiday about caging birds, there are thankfully still a few of those in the tree.
That received almost zero fanfare, but was a nice improvement. Grand Floridian’s Victorian decor was refined and elegant prior to the refresh, but arguably a bit tired and (unintentionally) dated. Holiday Services has quietly been refreshing Christmas decoration packages around Walt Disney World for the last few years, and it’ll be interesting to see what gets plussed this year. Given that it’s also Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, we’re betting on a decent amount of changes to the resort decor packages.
Speaking of which, Grand Floridian’s gingerbread house has received some nice enhancements for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, with a lot of gold trim, EARidescent flourishes, and other details to give it a special twist for the World’s Most Magical Celebration. Let’s take a look…
For planning purposes, this gingerbread house is on display 24/7, but the shop with treats available for purchase is only open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily from now through January 1, 2022.
Those are also the hours when Grand Floridian’s lobby are busiest. This is always the most popular resort at Walt Disney World during the Christmas season (to the point that we’d caution against staying in the main building), and that’s already shaping up to be true again for 2021. If you want photos like mine in this post, going late at night is a must.
Another thing to know is that Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa does not allow visitors arriving by car without Advance Dining Reservations. This actually is not really a new rule nor is it unique to the Grand Floridian. Walt Disney World has tightened up its parking policies over the last couple of years and this is really just unofficial practice becoming official policy.
However, this only applies to guests arriving by car. If you’re traveling by bus, monorail, boat, etc., you’re perfectly fine. Again, we’d strongly recommend taking the walking path from Magic Kingdom to Grand Floridian that opened around this time last year. It’s not long and is a very pleasant walk in the evening.
Not that it was ever in doubt, the Grand Floridian is once again a must-visit resort during the holiday season at Walt Disney World with the return of the gingerbread house. We really missed seeing this last year, and even though it was nice to take advantage of low occupancy and no crowds in the lobby, we’re incredibly glad it’s back–even if that means the hotel is once again packed with people.
While it’s fun to buy something from the gingerbread house itself, we far prefer going “after hours” when the crowds have subsided. (Then again, I personally prefer the desserts from Gasparilla Island Grill, which is open later.) While Grand Floridian isn’t our #1 resort at Walt Disney World for Christmas–a distinction that goes to Wilderness Lodge by a pretty wide margin–it’s definitely in the top 5!
What do you think of the gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa? Like the tweaked look for the World’s Most Magical Celebration? Excited to see the edible displays return for Christmas 2021? 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!