Four amazing edible Christmas displays at Walt Disney World

At holiday time, the pastry kitchens in and around Walt Disney World must kick into overdrive, churning out all the holiday desserts served in the restaurants and bakeries at the resort.

But beyond the cookies and cakes, Walt Disney World’s ovens are filled with some important construction materials – hundreds and hundreds of house and roof tiles, all made out of gingerbread.

Here’s a look at four amazing edible Christmas displays on view right now at (or very near) the Walt Disney World Resort.

1. Gingerbread Tree, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

At first glance, you wouldn’t know this tree is edible, but it is made entirely out of gingerbread shingles.

Disney’s pastry chefs use amazing restraint on this tree, which is much more about precision than decoration. The result fits perfectly into the modern decor of the Contemporary and complements the Mary Blair mosaic mural the tree sits in front of.

More than 800 pounds of flour and 1,000 pounds of honey were used in making the gingerbread for this edible Christmas tree, which stands 17 feet tall.

When you visit the tree, you can buy a variety of edible items, including hand-painted white chocolate Christmas ornaments and your own tree building block – a gingerbread shingle.


2. Chocolate Santa, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

A sweet Santa sits under a Christmas tree in this display at the Swan hotel, as if he is taking a rest after delivering all the packages at his feet.

It took the Swan and Dolphin’s pastry staff more than 300 man hours to create this display, and everything here is edible – right down to the fondant covered presents and pulled-sugar candy canes.

The nice folks at the Swan and Dolphin even calculated the calories in their creation, all 2,956,818 of them.

3. Gingerbread house, Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort

This rustic cabin is not technically inside the Walt Disney World Resort, but it is very nearby, at Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort, which borders the Disney property.

It’s the most traditional Christmas display on our list, with 10 pounds of gumdrops and 50 lollipops adorning the roofline and windows, while 1,000 pieces of shredded wheat cereal form the roof.

Judging by the conspicuously missing gumdrops on some of the windowsills, we’re guessing a few wayward children have already been seduced by this gingerbread charmer.

4. Gingerbread house, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

This is the big one – a Victorian cottage, life-size, made entirely out of gingerbread and other edible materials.

The Grand Floridian’s gingerbread house is so big, it’s used as a sweet shop, selling gingerbread tiles, cookies and chocolates to Disney visitors each day. Delicate sugar poinsettias adorn the windows, which have hand-painted winter scenes featuring Disney characters.

It takes 600 pounds of powdered sugar to sweeten up this holiday treat.

Put your Paws Up for the holidays this year

While the rest of the world is trekking out to Rockefeller Center to see the tree or hanging around Times Square while waiting for the ball’s big drop, head the other way. “The Last Best Christmas Vacation” package from the Paws Up resort in Montana pulls together everything you’d want in a traditional winter holiday celebration … along with the luxurious touch that you’d expect at a remote, upscale and high-touch destination.

From December 22 – 29, 2009, you can hole up in one of the Paws Up villas, dash off on snowmobiles or push yourself along on cross-country skis, while the world continues its rush without dragging you along. As part of this six-day/five-night package, you’ll also be able to enjoy sleigh rides and an old-fashioned tree-trimming party. The basics are covered, too, such as breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, a half-day winter adventure, a decorated Christmas tree (and some egg nog, of course!), nightly ice skating and an open fire nearby. If you have some talent, take part in the Gingerbread house building contest … while wearing the Paws Up wrangler stockings you’ll be given.

Christmas Eve, of course, is when the magic will happen. A special menu will be put together in Pomp, the Paws Up restaurant, and the highlight of the party for the kids will be a special visit from Santa Claus.

So, put civilization behind you this December, and create a vacation experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Enjoy nature, and frolic in the snow … and eat, sleep and relax at a resort that will positively blow your mind.