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News and Views around Walt Disney World and the Gingerbread Hunt Continues:

News and Views around Walt Disney World and the Gingerbread Hunt Continues:

December 11, 2013

As promised last week, we are going to pick up the Gingerbread Hunt in Epcot and the Epcot area Disney resorts.  There are guests using the special Holiday topiaries here in the front of Epcot as photo backdrops.  I love the whole family posed in front of that mischievous Stitch topiary. Definitely card quality right? Here in Future World there is a new Gingerbread representation of many famous structures over in The Land pavilion, let’s go check it out.

I love the smells coming from Sunshine Seasons restaurant on the level below us as we enter the Land.  Make a turn to the right and follow the path around to the Garden Grill Restaurant entrance and you will see the Gingerbread display.  I see the Gingerbread Village, but last week when I was in here I missed it because the crowds were so thick.  There is a Gingerbread Castle with a snow-covered mountain behind it, and a train running around it.  This leads into an area with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, Disney Cruise Ship, Aulani Resort, and Trains that wander throughout making an interesting Gingerbread and train village. (There is no shop selling treats at this Gingerbread location.)

On to World Showcase: Working our way around via the Canada first route we find Gingerbread Ice Cream at L’Artisan des Glaces. Real Gingerbread cookies can be found in the American Adventure at the Sugar and Spice Bake Shop in Santa’s Village.  They are delicious! And they are served warm!

Other special Holiday Treats: In Canada you can purchase a bag of Pecan Maple Bark at the Beer Kiosk.  It is delicious!  When visiting the United Kingdom make sure you look for Hot Applejack Cider at the UK Beer Cart.  In France you can get a version of Buche de Noel in Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie.   It is not the traditional rolled version, but it is very good.  The lower layer is a moist chocolate cake, topped with a layer of chocolate mousse, and then a chocolate ganache topping. It is rich and decadent! In Japan is a serving of Chicken Teriyaki Karage at the Kabuki Café. American Adventure, which has the Gingerbread Men cookies also have fresh Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Apple Cider, Peppermint Bark and additional beverages at the Sugar and Spice Bake Shop. Italy you can try a Hot Chocolate with Café Espresso Liqueor at Buona Festa. Germany offers a quaint little mini-village of opportunities including a stand that sells traditional Hot Spiced wine, Stollen(at Sommerfest), Werther’s Hot Salted Caramel Drink are offered.  In China grab a Happy Face Fried Cake at Joy of Tea to enjoy while listening to the Monkey King spin his story.  Norway has Traditional Rice Cream at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe for you to try.  You made it to Mexico! Enjoy the Sweet Tamales in La Cantina de San Angel.

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Epcot Holidays Around the World Storytellers: (November 29-December 29, 2013) – this is a really fun part of the Holiday season at Epcot. Storytellers or performers from each country around World Showcase will share some of their holiday traditions. The Storytellers are excellent performers and I think you will enjoy hearing from all of them.  If you are going to be in Epcot, try not to miss this.

I promised last week to take you to the Epcot resort Gingerbread creations. I know, we are all tired from this marathon Epcot tour, but we are on a Gingerbread quest so let’s go.  We can take the boat from the International Gateway entrance to the resorts.

Let’s go to Beach Club, let’s go! Wow, it is a Gingerbread Carousel in the Lobby. This is actually the 13th Gingerbread Carousel the bakers have created.  The Yacht and Beach Club Bakery created this from 36 pounds of honey, 96 pounds of bread flour, 100 pints of eggs, 10 pounds of spices, 10 quarts of simple syrup, 150 pounds of icing, 50 pounds of dark chocolate, 50 pounds of modeling chocolate, 200 gum paste flowers along with “lots of enthusiasm, energy and talent, 2010 pieces of gingerbread, 11 hidden Mickey’s…can you see them? Including the “Fab Five”, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto”.  You can purchase Gingerbread houses or other treats normally sold at the gingerbread shop, in the Beach Club Marketplace.  Don’t miss the small train nearby running through a mountain made of rock candy and around a small holiday village in the lobby of the Yacht Club Resort.  Walt Disney was a huge fan of trains; I think he would like this one too.  While I was at the Beach Club the hotel was evacuated due to a fire alarm that was set off back stage between the two resorts. I was unable to get more information on what happened.  Cast members are trained well not to give out much information.

Just a short stroll away is Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and in the lobby we find a new Gingerbread creation: a Gingerbread House, “Sweet Treats”, which looks like it came off the real Boardwalk on the east coast. Pastry chefs constructed it with 674 Gingerbread shingles, 420 marshmallows (the marquee lights) and of course the wreathes are made out of saltwater taffy, 90 pounds of salt water taffy to be exact. They have unique to Boardwalk themed gingerbread cookies, some even look like cotton candy! They sell completed gingerbread houses for your family to enjoy.  The other Christmas decorations in the lobby and the fireplace all make it very welcoming and comfy. Really, it is beautiful in here.  Come rest your feet, sit in one of these big comfy chairs and enjoy a Boardwalk gingerbread cookie! Guess what you can put together with 96 pounds of flour, 36 pounds of honey, 50 pounds of dark chocolate, 100 pounds of confectioners’ sugar, 10 quarts of simple syrup, 100 pounds of icing? That is what Disney pastry chefs used to create the life-size Gingerbread Carousel at the Beach Club. The ponies are made of chocolate fondant. What an impressive piece of food art. What would you like to see Disney pastry chefs make out of gingerbread next year?

Magic Kingdom: That illusive Gingerbread miniature Independence Hall I was looking for at the Magic Kingdom was discovered, thanks to one of our readers! It is 3 feet tall and it can be seen inside the Liberty Tree Tavern.  Take a step inside the restaurant just to see the gingerbread creation even if you don’t plan on enjoying a meal there. Also last week I brought you early pictures of the Vultures that were added to the 7 Dwarfs Mine ride under construction, but didn’t know what their part in the story of the ride was.  Walt Disney World Blog came out a few days later and shared they were originally part of Snow White’s Scary Adventures so they thought they should have a place in this Snow White related ride. I love it! Disney Imagineers are the best! If you do go to the Magic Kingdom this week, be sure to go to as many Character meet and greets as possible because it is a Limited Time Magic that applies to everyone who goes. You will receive a special autograph card from every character this week that says “Secret Santa” on one side of the card, the autograph on the other side.  These make great collectables. Also in Magic Kingdom the Tomorrowland Dance Party has new stars: Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and Frozone!  Leaving Tomorrowland and walking into New Fantasyland we can see a lot of cosmetic work has been done on the surface of the new 7 Dwarfs Mine Ride.  It is after dark and tonight, no workers obvious on the mountain. By the way, Ariel says Hello.  The Cinderella Castle is so beautiful with the front dripping with white lights and the back is beautiful too.  Main Street is spectacular, I hope that you all get to see this. It is more than an hour before the parade but the street and sidewalk are already maxed out down Main Street, around the Castle, and on through Fronteirland.  People are very serious tonight about seeing this parade!

One of the advantages of visiting Walt Disney World during the busiest times is trying new food opportunities, as an example:  Tortuga Tavern is opening up with an “Island Dinner Buffet” just for the holidays. It will be open from December 21, 2013 through January 4, 2014. Reservations are available now for dinner times between 5PM and 9PM.  Cost of the buffet will be $35.99, adults, and $17.99, children, plus tax and tip. The restaurant will be serving sea-faring dishes like Ocean Harvest Chowder, Banana Leaf Baked Mahi as well as Rosemary Garlic Pork steamship, Cannon ball Meatballs, Barbosa’s Braised Beef, Captain Jack’s Chicken Breast with Lemon and Parsley, as well as a number of other side dishes, salads, and desserts.

Downtown Disney: In other news there are four Disney food trucks on the extreme end of the Downtown Disney West Side that are now open for business.  The menus contain several food items found in the Disney parks from around the world. For instance the World Showcase of Flavors has some items reminiscent of the recent Food and Wine festival including Grass-Fed Beef Sliders, Pierogies, and Lobster Roll.   The Superstar Catering truck sells Turkey Sausage and gold raisin meatballs, Lamb meatball flatbread sandwich, Spinach and Feta beef meatball sandwich and a child’s version of this same sandwich.  Namaste Café brings Slow-cooked Beef Short Ribs, and Butter Chicken, Tandoori Shrimp. The Fantasy Fare truck serves Croque Monsieur, Hand-dipped Corn Dog, and Glass Noodle Salad. They all see soft drinks and water and the World Showcase of Flavors truck also sells wine by the glass. Nearby The House of Blues quick service location construction is continuing. It is nice to have some quick service options on the West Side.  I am excited to try all of these as I have been down here many times for the movies and for Disney Quest and wanted good food that also didn’t take a long time to get.

Memory Maker photography package for MyMagic+ guests has begun. If you purchase this on the Disney website at least three days prior to photos being taken you can save a bundle in photo fees at the Walt Disney World resort.  Memory Maker has a $50. Off special right now bringing the package to $149.00. If you link everyone in your party to one Memory Maker account purchase, you will receive every PhotoPass photo, including attraction and dining photos, in a digital download that you can then share with your family and friends.

Don’t forget to watch the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade on December 25 at 10AM EST, 9am CLP on ABC.  The filming was already done for this parade so the remaining Christmas Tree and other decorations at the end of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom are now up for you to enjoy.

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.