The Grand Floridian Gingerbread House is up and ready to greet guests every day from 10am to 10pm throughout the holiday season. Taking the monorail trip over to the Grand Floridian to see it is probably (definitely) the single most popular non-theme-park-related-holiday-thing-to-do at Walt Disney World.
You may remember that just a week ago, the Gingerbread House was a bit less gingerbread-y.
That’s better. The Gingerbread House is located in the corner of the main lobby. The Grand Floridian Cafe is behind it and check-in/concierge is not far away. From the Monorail, you’ll just need to walk in the building and take the stairs/elevator down to the first floor. From the bus stop/main entrance, just head inside and you’ll see it. I promise.
The recipe. “It takes 840 hours of labor to produce, cut and bake the 5,089 ‘shingles’ used to decorate the Gingerbread House.” That’s only 35 days. 17.500 days if you have a buddy! If you start now, you could build the same thing by Christmas!
You may remember that we know the gentleman in charge of overseeing the building of the Gingerbread House – Bill Clark. Name drop!
Let’s have a look around:
Of course, it wouldn’t be Walt Disney World if something wasn’t for sale at exorbitant prices, am I right? It just wouldn’t feel authentic.
Let’s try the “Gingerbread Shingle with Chocolate (2.8oz) – $7.50”
This is unequivocally terrible. Imagine cardboard with a hint of chalk – lined on one side with thin, crumbly dark chocolate – at $7.50 a slice. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone that actually enjoyed the Gingerbread served here. Can’t comment on most of the other stuff – can’t afford it.
Seeing the Gingerbread House (Getting to the Grand Floridian)
Transferring from Magic Kingdom on the Resort Monorail is the easiest way to get over to the Grand Floridian. If you’re looking for something to do after Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm on a Mickey’s Party night, you might consider taking the Resort Monorail around to the Contemporary, Polynesian, and/or Grand Floridian Resorts to check out the decorations. You can also very easily enjoy Holiday Wishes from any of those resorts or the boat dock at the Ticket and Transportation Center. Holiday Wishes is scheduled at 9:30pm, giving you plenty of time to check out the resorts and have dinner. We’ll check out the fireworks viewing location from the Grand Floridian Marina later. You can also hop on the Grand Floridian bus from any of the other theme parks or Downtown Disney. Keep in mind that it usually shares with the Contemporary and Polynesian and gets dropped off last. After you’re done, you can transfer back to Magic Kingdom on the monorail or bus and then hop on your resort bus there (assuming buses/monorail are operating). That’s why I like to visit on a Mickey’s Party night – you’re guaranteed that the Resort Monorail will be operating until 12:30am and Disney will be running buses to all resorts from Magic Kingdom until at least 1am. The Grand Floridian is the last monorail stop before Magic Kingdom.
Seeing A Movie
Like most of the other resorts, the Grand Floridian offers a nightly movie that begins at 7pm. You could check out the Gingerbread House and stay for the movie. They’re free to attend. In November, this is the movie schedule:
Sunday: Alice in Wonderland (animated)
Tuesday: The Lion King
Thursday: Mars Needs Moms
Friday: Cars 2
Saturday: Winnie the Pooh – 2011
Several new movies and some other classic choices. Mars Needs Moms is at your own risk. It’s usually not too crowded as you can see and you can pull up a chair and enjoy. A nice way to fill some time until Wishes/Holiday Wishes, assuming it’s not cold or raining.
Grand Floridian has several popular restaurants – Citricos and Narcoossee’s are both excellent, albeit expensive (and two table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan). 1900 Park Fare is a fun buffet featuring Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella (swoon). You’ll also find the “moderately priced” Grand Floridian Cafe. Those links will take you to the Disney website where you’ll find the menus on the right side of the page (with the exception of 1900 Park Fare).
Gasparilla Grill and Games
Since I’m poor and don’t have any friends, we’re headed to Gasparilla Grill, which is the Grand Floridian’s somewhat bizarre quick service/arcade hybrid. It’s sort of hard to find if you don’t know where you’re going. You’ll need to exit behind the Gingerbread House, walk outside, and then take a left and walk around the exterior of the Grand Floridian Cafe.
You’ll exit the Grand Floridian and arrive at the pool. Turn left.
Here we are.
This is it. Yes, all of it.
Menu. Note that the items pictured above are in addition to what’s listed underneath:
Out of order!
Those cookies are HUGE!
This wouldn’t be easywdw.com if there weren’t condiment bar pictures, am I right?
I guess since this is the Grand Floridian Cafe, they can trust people with crackers out in the open.
Tea and creamer.
Coffee and more soda.
No, I have no idea what this is either. Actually I do, since I took a picture of the sign. It’s the Tabbouleh Pita – with Bulgar Wheat Tabbouleh, Cucumber, Garbanzo Beans, and Cilantro Mint Raitha – $8.89. Okay, I still don’t know what it is. Why did I order it? Well, I usually ask whoever is working what they think the best item on the menu is, and then order that. But this person had no opinion on the matter, so I panicked, looked down at the pictures, and saw this. So I ordered it. It was actually good – better than it looks, probably. Refreshing with a pronounced cucumber taste and fresh pita. It would be a nice item to eat in the summer months when something hot doesn’t sound good. It comes with chips and choice of a mozzarella/tomato “salad” or cucumber salad. I went with the mozzarella. A classy option – we’re definitely at the Grand Floridian.
Now we really know we’re at the Grand Floridian – these picks held the pita together when it was served. That’s the Grand Floridian logo if it isn’t obvious.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t a pretty meal, as the pita broke before the first bite.
I say it’s an odd space because you have the small ordering area and most of the tables in front of us and then the arcade is directly to the right.
It’s very loud with only ten people in the entire place.
A “study” would tell you that “guests” spend more when things cost “points” rather than “money.” Not to mention “recharging your card” is more fun than sticking quarters in a machine. Well, maybe not. Obviously, the “Magical Value” is the best deal.
A few more games:
This last one looks like quite the doozy.
Grand Floridian at Night
Like most Disney resorts, the Grand Floridian is pretty at night. It’s certainly worth visiting at any time of year – the Gingerbread House is certainly a good excuse to finally get over there though.
Fireworks Viewing Locations at Grand Floridian
This is the view near the Grand Floridian Marina, which is right outside of Gasparilla Grill. It’s a perfectly decent viewing location if you don’t want to transfer to the Polynesian, which is a little bit better. That’s Magic Kingdom lit up with Castle Dream Lights in the distance.
It’s worth taking the time to travel over to the Grand Floridian to see the decorations at the Gingerbread House. Most of the other holiday decorations will be put up tonight (which is actually right now as I finish typing this). It’s a great way to spend an evening after the theme parks close if you don’t want to head over to a busy Downtown Disney or the BoardWalk. Add it to a “Holiday Monorail Tour” of the resorts for a particularly fun and festive evening. It’s also a great low key way to get away from Magic Kingdom in the afternoon.
Just skip the gingerbread.