October 19, 2011

The Freaky Gingerbread House in Haunted Mansion Holiday

Here’s a shot of the fabulous gingerbread confection that’s the centerpiece of the table in the ballroom in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park. It may look fancy, but there’s a dark side to all that sweetness and 500 pounds of gingerbread.

First Look at the Freaky Gingerbread House in Haunted Mansion Holiday
The six-foot-tall house is on display through Christmas, thus the “Jack Skellington Meets Santa Claus” theme. 
Disneyland Park Haunted Mansion Gingerbread House Sketch

Brian D. Sandahl, Senior Designer for Disney Entertainment Creative Development, shared a quick color sketch that was used to inspire pastry chef Jean-Marc Viallet to create the edible overlays.

The foundation is wood and wired for animation, then the house goes to the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery for a 3-week layover to apply more than 500 lbs of gingerbread, ten yards of fondant and miles of frosting and oversized candies. Because the six-foot house stays on display through Christmas, the design is a blend of the holidays, inspired by Jack Skellington and the animated film, “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“Imagine if Jack Skellington had landed on the Haunted Mansion and decorated it with his vision of Halloween and Christmas,” says Brian. “The two holidays collide with pumpkins, freaky presents, a dead Christmas tree and more.”

This year’s house is more pastel, done with light orange and purple. But the cuteness gives way to a “freaky twist” when the house opens to reveal evil teeth, red eyes that light up, a “happy cookie” that revolves to a “mean cookie.”

There is so much to see in the ballroom scene, says Brian, including that dead, 25-foot-tall Christmas tree. It takes several trips through the attraction to take it all in.

Work on the gingerbread house started at the end of 2010, with construction beginning in spring 2011. Opening day was September 16!

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