LPWire: Giant Gingerbread Mansion A Monstrous Work of Art in Haunted Mansion Holiday

LPWire: Giant Gingerbread Mansion A Monstrous Work of Art in Haunted Mansion Holiday

Giant Gingerbread Mansion A Monstrous Work of Art in 'Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland® Park

One of the sweeter additions to the "Haunted Mansion" attraction's amazing transformation into "Haunted Mansion Holiday" at DISNEYLAND park last year was an eight-foot-tall "haunted gingerbread mansion" that formed a magnificent centerpiece in the spooky abode's famous ballroom scene. For the attraction's second season, October 4, 2002, through January 5, 2003, an all-new giant gingerbread house will again be created for this playful collision of Halloween and Christmas.

The handmade work of culinary art is one of many special elements that help bring the film Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas to reality within the world-famous DISNEYLAND park attraction.

In a well-intentioned attempt to celebrate the Christmas season, Jack Skellington from the film descends upon the "Haunted Mansion" to bring his vision of the holidays to life. A unique holiday overdressing of the Mansion takes place, complete with hilarious gags and playful twists.

Of a giant gingerbread house being created for the classic attraction, Pastry Chef Jean-Marc Viallet observed, "It's very exciting and out of the ordinary to mix culinary creations with a park attraction and make it part of the show."

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LaughingPlace.com photo of last year's gingerbread house as viewed from the Doombuggies

The step-by-step process to create a monstrous gingerbread house involves a great deal of planning and design. Derived from a concept and ideas developed by the DISNEYLAND Resort Entertainment Division, last year's gingerbread house began as part of the "narrative poem" written for the holiday attraction. This and a drawing were later used by the pastry kitchen's sculptor to create a styrofoam model and template.

Two weeks and 150 lbs. of gingerbread and icing later, the gingerbread mansion became a creation that presented a challenge, said Marion Edwards, senior manager of Food Concept Creative Development. "It was scary for all of us. We didn't know if we could pull it off," Edwards said. "We drew from the combined talents of Brian Tossell, the executive chef for the DISNEYLAND Resort Hotels who has extensive experience as a chef decorateur, and the Disneyland Hotel pastry team, and very soon we knew we had a hit."

With 15 pastry kitchen staff members working on the project, the decoration alone took a week to finish, from the candy-coated pillars on the front to the individual gingerbread shingles that would later be covered with icing.

Because of its size, the gingerbread mansion, which bore a wacky, stylized resemblance to the real "Haunted Mansion," was brought into the ballroom mostly whole, except for the top bell-shaped turret and a cake grasped by one of the house's "arms." Down the real Mansion's narrow halls and stairways, four of the Disneyland Hotel's pantry kitchen staff carried the huge confection to its place in the famous scene. "Everything fit in through the passageways by just half-an-inch," said Chef Viallet. The huge vanilla-scented creation, at eight feet wide, sat atop the banquet table in the haunted ballroom where a transparent "ghost of honor" blows out her birthday candles.

Because the fragile gingerbread house was fashioned from genuine food ingredients, it had a limited life that spanned only the three-month run of "Haunted Mansion Holiday," and was discarded at the season's conclusion. Working with the Resort's Entertainment experts, the culinary team is developing an all-new version of the eerie confection for this year's "Haunted Mansion Holiday," and the 2002 edition of the sugary house will again be prominently displayed in the ballroom.

The entire DISNEYLAND Resort becomes the “Merriest Place on Earth” November 8 through January 5, with a festive lineup of holiday entertainment. DISNEYLAND park will offer the “it’s a small world holiday” attraction, the "Minnie's Christmas Story" stage show, a New Orleans Square holiday celebration and a colorfully decorated 60-foot Christmas tree. Other highlights include “A Christmas Fantasy” parade and “Believe… In Holiday Magic" fireworks spectacular.

DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE™ park will also be decorated for the season and will feature “Disney’s Aladdin – Live On Stage,” a new musical based on the popular Walt Disney Pictures animated film, beginning December 9. In addition, "Disney's Electrical Parade," a procession of nearly a half-million twinkling lights, will be presented throughout much of the holidays.

The Resort's three hotels and DOWNTOWN DISNEY® District also will join in the Christmas spirit with twinkling lights, colorful décor, special entertainment and a host of holiday dining experiences.

--Posted September 10, 2002
Source: Disneyland Resort Release
Photo: LaughingPlace.com