Celebrating #DisneyHolidays: Build Your Own Gingerbread House

One of my family’s favorite ways to celebrate the Holidays at Walt Disney World is by taking a little time away from the parks to explore the resorts and their beautiful decorations.

We especially enjoy touring the five deluxe resorts that create unique holiday displays and sugar shacks that are made of edible ingredients. It is amazing to see the craftsmanship that goes into these creations!

Frozen Gingerbread Holiday Display Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort
Walt Disney World Resort guests can enjoy an all-new Gingerbread Holiday Ice Castle inspired by Disney’s “Frozen” this year on the 4th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. TheÊ17-foot-tall culinary concoction is adorned with favorite characters from the film including Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven, 1,500 gingerbread shingles, snowflakes and chocolate-covered trees. “Frozen”-themed merchandise, desserts and gingerbread treats also are available for purchase at the ice castle kiosk. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

A great way to bring a piece of the #DisneyHolidays to your home is by building a Gingerbread House of your own!

Gingerbread House Christmas at Walt Disney World BoardWalk Inn
Photo: Kelly Hicks

Just inside of the lobby of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is the location of a new gingerbread display inspired by the Jersey Shore. This new “Gingerbread Stand” is reminiscent of New Jersey Boardwalk concession stands with wreaths made of ice cream cones, plus Disney whimsy with Mickey and Minnie shaped gingerbread heads surrounding the marshmallow dotted marquee. 

Christmas at Walt Disney World BoardWalk Inn Gingerbread House
Photo: Kelly Hicks
Gingerbread House Christmas at Walt Disney World BoardWalk Inn
Photo: Kelly Hicks

At the Gingerbread Stand, you can purchase a kit to create your own house like a Disney Chef for $14.95, and John from BigFatPanda.com had a chance to create an adorable Gingerbread house with Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Pastry Chef Matt Avery.

httpv://youtu.be/ByFwiqGtW_E

I can’t thank John enough for filming this #DisneyHolidays video for us! Make sure you give his BigFatPanda.com YouTube channel a follow!

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Walt Disney World Decorations & Holiday Celebrations

Holiday cheer has begun to hit the Walt Disney World Resort, and we are so excited!!!

Here is quick rundown of some of the great Holiday parties, decorations, events, and more that you will be able to find at the Walt Disney World Resort!!!

Walt Disney World

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Select Nights November 8 – December 20, 2013

Walt Disney World
Santa

In case you aren’t familiar, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate ticket event that takes place on select nights at Magic Kingdom Park throughout November and December.

 

Parties give you an opportunity to celebrate with snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A., Disney characters in holiday attire, and very special entertainment offerings, including Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and Cinderella Castle Dream Lights. For the first time this year, the Celebrate the Magic! castle projection show and Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks will be enhanced with “Glow With The Show” ears – what an amazing sight this will be!

 

Also new for this year, attendees can experience Jingle Cruise, the first-ever holiday transformation of the Jungle Cruise attraction, which will feature seasonal decor, new holiday jokes and more. Party goers can also pick up a complimentary, event exclusive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card that features Donald’s nephews. And when it comes to character greeting opportunities, look for Merida’s Fairytale Garden to stay open for parties this year.

 

This year’s parties will take place from 7 p.m.-midnight on November 8, 11, 14, 15, 17, 21 and 22, and December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 20. Tickets (which are separate from a regular park ticket) are already on sale now and purchasing ahead of time can actually save you money. Click here to learn more!

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

November 8, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Marvel at millions of glittering lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music.  Share in an awe-inspiring seasonal treat for the entire family. Brilliant multi-colored bulbs wrap the buildings, changing hues and brightness throughout the show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.   As joyful music surrounds you, a sea of twinkling lights form twirling carousels of heavenly angels, toy soldiers, a spinning Earth, and even Santa and his trusty reindeer. It’s something you have to see to believe!

Holidays Around the World 

November 29 –December 30, 2013

Walt Disney World

Share in the sights and sounds of some of the world’s greatest holiday festivities during Holidays Around the World at Epcot. Amid joyful music and seasonal food favorites, time-honored traditions come alive as costumed performers share their country’s holiday heritage throughout World Showcase.

 

Although subject to change, holiday festivities may include:

  • American Adventure
    Meet Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, celebrate the traditions of Hanukkah and discover the spirit of Kwanzaa.
  • Canada
    Follow the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs on a musical tour as you explore seasonal customs of the Great White North.
  • China
    Watch the agile Monkey King weave his tall tale with twists and turns celebrating Chinese New Year.
  • France
    Discover the magic of Père Noël and the joy of the season through a Christmas letter from a child.
  • Germany
    Listen as Helga tells the story of the first Christmas tree and the tale of her first Nutcracker.
  • Italy
    Meet the kind-hearted witch La Befana who arrives on the eve of the Epiphany to grant gifts to good children.
  • Japan
    Hear the fascinating story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year.
  • Mexico
    Celebrate with Los Tres Reyes Magos, the Three Kings, as they tell of their journey to the Posada and traditions today.
  • Morocco
    Join Taarji, a Moroccan drummer, as he reflects on family traditions commemorating the holiday of Ramadan.
  • Norway
    Spend time with Sigrid and learn about Julenissen, the Christmas Gnome.
  • United Kingdom
    Share in the vivid stories of Father Christmas, dating back to 15th-century England.

Be sure to check the Times Guide for a complete list of appearances and performance times.

Candlelight Processional

November 29 – December 30, 2013

Each night, a celebrity narrator tells the biblical tale of a savior born to a virgin in Bethlehem. All the while, gorgeous choral pieces are woven into the narration as an orchestra and choir provide an inspirational backdrop with songs of hope and joy.

 

For the hearing impaired, an American Sign Language interpreter translates the legendary account, allowing Guests of all kinds the opportunity to enjoy the event.

 

This year, an exciting line-up of narrators—including a few all-new additions to the Candlelight Processional—are set to lend their voices to the storytelling, including:

  • Gary Sinise
    November 29 to December 1, 2013
  • Neil Patrick Harris
    December 2 to December 3, 2013
  • Ashley Judd – NEW! 
    December 4 to December 5
  • Whoopi Goldberg 
    December 6 to December 7, 2013
  • Sigourney Weaver – NEW!
    December 8 to December 10, 2013
  • Dennis Haysbert – NEW!
    December 11 to December 13, 2013
  • James Denton 
    December 14 to December 16, 2013
  • Edward James Olmos
    December 17 to December 19, 2013
  • Trace Adkins
    December 20 to December 22, 2013
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
    December 23 to December 25, 2013
  • Blair Underwood 
    December 26 to December 28, 2013
  • Amy Grant 
    December 29 to December 30, 2013

Show times take place 3 times during each day of the event at 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM, except on December 8, 2013, when show times take place at 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM only. Celebrity narrators, dates and other entertainment are subject to change without notice.

Festival of the Seasons

November 15 – December 29, 2013

Celebrate the holidays with live entertainment, photo opportunity and so much more!

 

The Downtown Disney area invites you to embrace the spirit of the season as you enjoy the twinkling lights, a grandiose tree and yuletide touches at every turn. Be sure to bring your little ones to see Santa Claus and then shop for unique gifts at the specialty shops.

Discover a variety of delightful diversions with plentiful holiday sights and sounds.

 

Joyous live entertainment includes:

  • Holiday carolers
  • Latin, jazz and pop performances of cherished holiday songs
  • Costumed stilt walkers and street performers
  • A lively holiday dance party with deejay

Visit with Santa
You can even visit with Santa, share holiday wish lists and enjoy a unique photo opportunity!

Jingle Jammin’ Jungle Parade

November 7, 2013 – January 2, 2014

 Walt Disney World

Ring in the season with some familiar faces in a wild, yet whimsical setting!

 

This music-filled celebration offers a seasonal twist to the popular Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. Enjoy a harmonious mix of holiday wonderment, colorful creatures and festive music as Mickey and his friends parade through the park.

Disney’s Contemporary Gingerbread House

November 14, 2013

While the Gingerbread house is always up, you are able to purchase gingerbread goodies of your own from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Gingerbread House

November 16, 2013

 Walt Disney World

Construction of the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is well under way, and once it its open you will be able to purchase gingerbread goodies from the house of your own from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm!

Walt Disney World Resorts

have these great decorations to come soon:

  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Gingerbread House
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort Gingerbread Carousel
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort Holiday Train and Village
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Christmas Tree
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Christmas Tree
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Christmas Tree

If you are looking for a really unique gift, you may want to kick off your holiday shopping at this weekend’s Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney November 8-10, 2013!

Festival of the Masters

We will be bringing you great information and photos of these great Holiday Celebrations at Walt Disney World! So make sure you follow our holiday adventures on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

 

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My Favorite Restaurants At Walt Disney World

We haven’t really focused much on food specifically and thought it was about time we explored this huge part of most guest’s Walt Disney World vacations. Dining in the parks and at the resorts ranges from Uncrustables to hot dogs, sandwiches and other typical park fare like burgers and fries to some of the finest dining in the world. Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite signature restaurants at WDW. If you have a Tables in Wonderland membership you are able to save 20% (with an automatic 18% gratuity added back in) at these restaurants. The other great feature of the TiW card is that it allows you complimentary valet parking at the Disney resorts with validation showing you used your Tables card on your dinner receipt.

5. Todd English’s Bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin) The restaurant sits on the lower level of the Dolphin at the bottom of the escalator. The decor reminds me of an upscale club or bar, but more subdued with subtle lighting and lots of blue accents. I’ve only been here once back in November of 2009, but the food was fabulous. My mom and my brother treated me to dinner for my 30th birthday, and it was amazing. The seafood seemed so fresh and the service was great. We started the night off with the zooberry (a twist on the blueberry martini). They were so fresh the perfect way to begin our meal. We shared the beet salad and the classico flatbread for appetizers. For an entree I had the teppan seared jumbo sea scallops, which were magnificent and perfectly cooked. The dessert was a lemon meringue pavlova and was complimentary for my birthday, which made it taste even better.

4. Flying Fish (Disney’s Boardwalk Inn) Situated on the Boardwalk, Flying Fish is decorated with whimsical fish flying through the air with parachutes. The resort’s atmosphere reflecting early 20th century seaside fun with rollercoasters and ferris wheels is carried through the restaurant as well. The first time I experienced the restaurant it was August of 2009, and more recently I returned in February of this year. So, the two times I’ve been here I ordered the same exact things for appetizer and entree and was so full that I didn’t get dessert. The cheese platter changes in the featured cheeses, but was great both times. I guess I really like the scallops in the Epcot Resort area because I have ordered the oak-grilled Maine diver scallops each time. Scallops aren’t even my favorite seafood, but I absolutely love them from here.

3. Citrico’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) Featuring a Mediterranean theme, Citrico’s is located on the second floor of the Grand Floridian between Mizner’s and Victoria & Albert’s. The decor and the menu reflect the influences of Italy and Greece and are both aesthetically and gastronomically pleasing. Of the restaurants on my top five list, this is the one I have been to the most, having been more than five times, and most recently in the beginning of March. Each time I have been the food has been absolutely fabulous. One of my favorite seasonal appetizers, which they didn’t have this last time, was the gateau of crab. This past time we had a nice cheese and cracker amuse bouche to start our palates on our dining adventure. I tried something new for my entree and was not the least bit disappointed. The Madeira-braised short ribs were so tender, they were falling apart. Wild mushroom ragout and trofie pasta accompany the short ribs along with a truffle creme fraiche. For dessert I did repeat one of my favorites in the seasonal berry gratin with a champagne – Grand Marnier sabayon. It was just as incredible as when I had first had it in November of 2010.

2. Jiko – The Cooking Place (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge) This is the restaurant I have honestly been craving the most above all others on property. I love the atmosphere here with the gorgeous blue ceiling, setting sunset and beautiful (fake) birds flying overhead. It is an eclectic menu and I like to try different things each time I go. The first time I went was in July of 2008, when I first stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I remember having the ostrich filet as an appetizer and the Kenyan coffee barbecue braised short ribs (another favorite of mine apparently). They were both so tender and falling apart in my mouth as I took each bite. On subsequent visits I have had the Taste of Africa bread and dipping sauce service, kalamata olive flatbread, duck and stonefruit salad, oak grilled filet mignon with mac and cheese, and seared barbarie duck breast. I can say that each of the three times I’ve been, the last time being in November of 2010, the service and the quality of the food have been nothing short of fantastic.

1. Victoria & Albert’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) Ah, la creme de la creme. Victoria & Albert’s is a 13 time AAA Five Diamond award winning restaurant. I’ve only been here once, and would love to go back if someone else is paying. This is not to say that the price isn’t worth it (I want to say it was about $475 for two with the wine pairing and gratuity included AFTER my Tables in Wonderland discount), it is. I’d just prefer to have someone else pay, and I’d like to do chef’s table next time. But I digress. This meal is easily within my top five, if not top three meals I’ve ever eaten. The service was beyond impeccable. Situated on the second floor of the Grand Floridian, Victoria & Albert’s is hidden behind large wooden doors with frosted windows. The decor is a refined elegance not to be found elsewhere at a Disney restaurant. It is one of only a few Five Diamond restaurants in the state of Florida. I went with my mom for my 29th birthday present in 2008 and it was an incredible dining experience. There were amuse bouche, palate cleansers, about seven courses, coffee, dessert, and the aforementioned wine pairing to go with each course. This is most definitely a culinary experience, not simply a meal. You need every bit of the three plus hours they warn you about when you book. One of my favorite aspects of the pre-arrival communications with the restaurant is the conversation about your allergies, likes and dislikes. This is so the restaurant can customize your menu to you so you are not being served something for hundreds of dollars that you do not enjoy. I don’t recall the specific menu items, as there were so many, but there wasn’t one I didn’t like. I’ve included a picture of the general menu for the evening. Each guest also receives a personalized copy of their menu to take home, which I am unable to locate at the moment.

 

Have you been to any of these restaurants? If so, what were your thoughts? Do you have any favorites?

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