As previously announced, gingerbread houses are returning to Walt Disney World for Christmas 2021, making appearances in resort hotels and Epcot. This post will take a look at opening dates, details, and food & drink menus for each, plus other potential additions to the lineup.
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 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. This will provide some specifics–at least when it comes to gingerbread houses…
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.” In other words, it was a physical distancing thing.
Physical distancing has now been gone for several months, so it would stand to reason that all of the edible displays are returning to Walt Disney World for Christmas 2021. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know whether that’s the case. There are still labor shortages and supply chain issues, and the simply reality that Walt Disney World is cutting corners where it can get away with it.
With that said, here’s the official schedule and details from 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.
- Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Dates: November 10, 2021 through January 1, 2022
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- This life-size spinning carousel is a holiday tradition at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The Little Mermaid is the theme with hand-painted holiday characters, handcrafted gingerbread shingles, and fondant snowflakes. And don’t forget to pop over to the Yacht Club lobby and see the adorable holiday village with a miniature train.
- Beach Club Carousel Dates: November 1, 2021 through January 2, 2022
Epcot – The American Adventure Rotunda
- The EPCOT pastry chefs have recreated the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and The American Adventure building in miniature edible versions.
- The American Adventure Gingerbread Display Dates: November 26 through December 30, 2021
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. (Most of the others go up much quicker–that’s by far the most elaborate.)
This leaves several question marks about resorts that normally have elaborate displays for Christmas, including:
Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Normally, there’s a Mary Blair style gingerbread display featuring Cinderella Castle and those characters (it was previously Frozen-inspired). There’s usually an adjacent booth for buying snacks and souvenirs that feature the gingerbread display.
Nothing in any of Walt Disney World’s official announcements thus far have suggested this is returning. Perhaps it conflicts with the construction occurring around the resort?
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – There have been several iterations of this display over the years, with it sometimes having an adjacent snack spot and sometimes not. Most recently, BoardWalk featured a “Showplace of the Shore” edible creation.
To our knowledge, this has never been highlighted by Walt Disney World as a ‘destination’ gingerbread display. It would thus make sense for it to not make the official announcement even if it’s happening.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – The absolute best place at Walt Disney World during the holidays is well worth a visit in the evening to see the resort at its festive best. We already know the normal decorations will return this year, as they icon tree and the antlers in all of the decorating were back last year.
The question mark is Humphrey the Bear’s gingerbread cabin, which debuted two years ago. 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.
Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but we think Humphrey the Bear’s gingerbread cabin will return for Christmas 2021. In Walt Disney World’s announcement and menus, one of the locations is Wilderness Lodge lobby. However, Disney did a simple version of this location even pre-gingerbread cabin, so that’s not definitive.
If the gingerbread cabin returns, it should be back by November 14, 2021. That’s the date that the lobby location starts serving snacks for the holidays. (Mid-November is also pretty consistent with the install-date for Wilderness Lodge’s Christmas decorations in recent years.)
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – Often overlooked by Walt Disney World fans, Yacht Club is an underrated holiday-time gem. One of the things we really missed last year was the Christmas village and train, which presumably would cause guests to congregate in the same way as an edible gingerbread display.
While you cannot eat the holiday town railroad diorama (without having some serious indigestion), it’s making the list because it’s of a similar scale and ambitiousness as the gingerbread displays. Perhaps we’ve overly optimistic, but we fully expect this to return for Christmas 2021. It doesn’t have a food booth or require constant staffing, so it shouldn’t be an issue labor-wise.
Ultimately, those are the biggest question marks for us when it comes to Christmas 2021 displays at Walt Disney World’s resort hotels. Even during the ‘temporary abnormal’ time last year when hotel occupancy was incredibly low, all of the icon trees and most other decorations were installed–even in locations where only the Disney Vacation Club side of the property was open.
The return of all or most gingerbread displays should crank the Christmas cheer up a notch, and make for a more festive and fun experience when touring the resorts. With Magic Kingdom not doing Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and some other entertainment still not happening, the hotels will be one of the more significant ways to enjoy the holiday season at Walt Disney World. We can’t wait!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of this Walt Disney World gingerbread house news? Excited to see these edible displays return for Christmas 2021? Think the various question marks will also make appearances, or remain on hiatus for another year due to shortages and/or cost cuts? 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!