One must-see attraction during the holiday season are the impressive gingerbread houses at Disney World.
This year, there are seven displays in total and six of them can be seen for FREE because they are located at resorts instead of inside a park!
In today’s post, I’ll take you on a tour of each location, so you can decide which ones are worth visiting during your stay.
So grab a gingerbread cookie and let’s devour everything there is to know about the gingerbread houses at Disney World.
Epcot’s American Adventure pavilion
My tour today starts with a stop at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, which as three patriotic gingerbread houses for your viewing pleasure.
These displays are much smaller than the others, but phenomenally done and worth the visit if you have a ticket for Epcot or annual pass.
Two of the gingerbread houses honor iconic landmarks from Washington, DC: the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue.
The third display is a recreation of the pavilion itself with a few wintery additions, like a dog putting a letter into a “letters for Santa” mailbox and carolers on the balcony.
They’re a bit hard to photograph with just a phone as the displays are enclosed for protection. But you can see the details pretty clearly in person!
If you time your visit right, you can catch the Dickensian carolers performance, too.
Now let’s get into the remaining six displays, all of which are resorts and can be seen for free, as a ticket or annual pass is not needed to see them – nor do you need to be a guest.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Next, over at the Beach Club Resort is a breathtaking gingerbread carousel that actually moves!
The carousel is returning for its 22nd year in 2023 and is themed after DuckTales this year in honor of the DuckTales scavenger hunt at nearby Epcot that launched about a year ago.
Each horse is designed after a country from Epcot’s World Showcase, plus you’ll find some of the characters hanging out.
My favorite part are the shingles along the roof, which alternates different world flags and characters. So fun!
They’ve got holiday snacks and drinks for sale, as well, including German stollen bread and a hot chocolate flight.
Disney did not announce start and end dates for this display, but it was available when I visited on November 13, 2023. It is unknown when it will be taken down, but it’ll likely be somewhere around New Year’s.
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Brand new in 2023 is the gingerbread lighthouse at the Yacht Club resort, which is modeled after the real-life lighthouse nearby on Crescent Lake.
There’s also an adorable Christmas village display, complete with a working train. I loved perusing the village to spot all of the different characters and Mickey heads.
Like the other gingerbread house locations, there’s a pop up snack stand with lighthouse fudge being their signature treat for sale.
Disney did not provide details on how long this holiday display will be up, but it’s likely it will be up ’til sometime around New Year’s.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Moving on to the BoardWalk Inn, the gingerbread house here is modeled after the nearby BoardWalk Deli.
This display is smaller than the others, but the team definitely didn’t skimp on the details! You can look inside the deli, where you’ll see Mickey and Minnie Mouse making Christmas cookies.
Speaking of Christmas cookies, the pop-up shop here sells a Christmas Tree pop, a plant-based gingerbread shingle, a caramel corn cookie, and other tasty items.
In addition to the deli replica, there are twin Christmas trees set up next to the display and a giant Christmas tree with twinkling lights outside.
This year, the gingerbread display is available from November 17, 2023 through December 27, 2023.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
Next on this tour is Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House. Here, you can marvel at a life-sized giraffe and zebra, both made from gingerbread.
These cuties have become so popular that they’ve even been named – ginger-affe and Debra the zebra. How cute!
When I first heard about these two, I was expecting to see massive animals given that they were described as “life-sized,” but keep in mind that they are life-sized babies. Ginger-affe is still a whopping 7 feet tall, though!
I actually appreciated this because I could marvel at all of the details even though I’m on the short side.
Anyway, aside from the gingerbread displays, the Christmas tree at Jambo House is absolutely magnificent, as are the lobby decorations. Plus there are snacks and drinks for sale, including a ginger-affe gingerbread cookie!
While there, I recommend stepping outside to see if you can spot any real animals on the savannah. I was able to see a giraffe, zebra, and a swimming pelican!
Ginger-affe and Debra the Zebra will be hanging out in the Jambo House lobby from November 22, 2023 through December 31, 2023.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The Contemporary Resort’s holiday display is a massive 17 foot tall gingerbread castle, in honor of the iconic Cinderella Castle at nearby Magic Kingdom.
It’s located on the same floor as the monorail, behind Bayview Gifts and Fantasia gift shop.
This is the 12th year for this display, and each year the team adds a new 5-legged goat. The goat is a tribute to the 5-legged goat in the giant mural on the elevator housing, which was painted by none other than Mary Blair, a famous artist who worked at Disney.
As with the other resorts with a gingerbread display, you can also get snacks and drinks at the pop-up counter, such as a 5-legged goat cookie.
The gingerbread castle is on display from November 10, 2023 through January 6, 2024.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Arguably the most popular of the bunch is the Grand Floridian gingerbread house. It’s kind of like a kid’s playhouse, but adult-sized!
This massive, life-sized structure doubles as a pop-up shop that sells snacks and drinks from 9 AM to 9:30 PM daily.
Per a report from Disney, it takes the baking team more than 500 hours to make all of the gingerbread pieces and nearly the same amount of time to assemble it.
It features an 85 pound chocolate Santa, as well as poinsettias and snowflakes made from sugar, white chocolate candy canes, and other Christmas-y adornments.
In addition to the adorable gingerbread house, the decor at the Grand Floridian is so beautiful – especially the massive Christmas tree. Even without the gingerbread house, I’d recommend stopping by!
The Grand Floridian gingerbread house is on display from November 8, 2023 through January 1, 2024.
Tips for visiting the gingerbread houses at Disney World
Given how spread out all the displays are, I recommend breaking down your visits to coincide with when you’ll already be nearby.
Unless you live near Disney World and aren’t pressed for time to do other things, that is!
Here’s my suggested breakdown:
- Rope drop Animal Kingdom, then hop on a resort bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House around 12-1 PM. Afterwards, it’ll be time to park hop and you can catch a resort bus to your next park or head over to Disney Springs to see the Christmas Tree Trail.
- When visiting Magic Kingdom, carve out some time to do a monorail hop to the Contemporary Resort and Grand Floridian Resort and see the displays.
- When visiting Epcot, grab some lunch at Regal Eagle or a few of the nearby festival booths. Then, pop into the American Adventure building to see the gingerbread displays. Afterward, take a break from the crowds and exit through the International Gateway and walk over to the nearby resorts: BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club, and Yacht Club.
What’s your favorite holiday gingerbread display at Disney World?
The holidays are a magical time at Disney World, and the gingerbread house displays are a perfectly sweet addition to the festive atmosphere.
My favorite display this year is the carousel at the Beach Club Resort, followed by the BoardWalk Deli at the BoardWalk Inn.
I’m crossing my fingers that next year we’ll finally get a display at the Polynesian Village Resort. Perhaps a surfboard and palm trees or a life-sized Lilo & Stitch!
Overall, all of the displays are absolute works of art that must be seen to be believed. It also makes for a fun, leisurely activity for adults and kids alike, so I hope you’ll take time out of your Christmas vacation and check them out.
Have you seen these displays yet this year? Which one was your favorite? Let’s chat in the comments below.
About the author
Meg Frost is the creator of The Park Pixie, where she covers Disney World, Disney+, and Disney fandom.
She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and B.S. in Communication & American Studies from University of Miami in Florida.