Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house turns 20

Each fall, the haunted mansion at Disneyland Park gets a makeover that lasts from Halloween until the holiday season, thanks to Jack Skellington and his pals from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”, and the centerpiece is the Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house.

Photos courtesy of Disneyland Resort (Photo credit David Nguyen)

The amusement overlay that began in 2001 is celebrating its 20th season this year, and as many fans know, its centerpiece is the edible work of art in the Mansion Great Room: The Gingerbread House. Haunted Mansion Holiday.

It’s hard to believe now, but when Haunted Mansion Holiday first premiered, the creative team weren’t sure how guests would react to the new (albeit temporary) residents of one of the attractions. the most emblematic of the park.

“I’m a huge fan of ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’, but I think we can all agree that it’s a different animated film for Disney, so I was a little worried about how the crowd might take it. “said Tim Wollweber, senior Disneyland graphic designer. designer (and artistic director of the gingerbread house).

But, on October 3, 2001 (opening day of the overlay), Wollweber described the thrill of watching a huge crowd enthusiastically rush to the mansion gates – and the rest is history.

Haunted Mansion Vacation

Over the years, the Haunted Mansion Holiday Gingerbread House has grown into a lore within lore, with each house adopting a unique theme and design based on elements from the film, or in the case of the 2019 house, celebrating the 50e anniversary of the mansion itself. Thus, for the 20e– anniversary design, explained Wollweber, it was inspired by the previous 19 houses.

“The way I think about it is if I’m Jack, how would I go about building this house?” Said Wollweber. “Jack is in Halloweentown, he’s been doing this for 20 years, and he’s going to take a trip down memory lane, but when you’re in Halloweentown, the memory trail literally ends in a cemetery where all the monuments are. memorials, so if you’re going to end up there, you’ve got a shovel, and you’re going to dig up the past.

Suddenly, what Jack (and Wollweber) “unearthed” for the 20e The Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread houses are parts of all the old houses that were sewn together Dr. Finkelstein style in a “Franken House”. Additionally, Wollweber notes, all of the character’s eyes on this year’s house are double ex – the Roman numeral for 20, but also perhaps as a memorial for 2020 when there were no celebrations of disneyland vacation.

As guests walk through the Mansion’s Great Hall, they’ll notice these nods to Haunted Mansion Holiday’s previous gingerbread houses:

Haunted Mansion Holiday Gingerbread house Concept Art
Concept art courtesy of Disneyland Resort
  • 2001 – The monster house
  • 2002 – Current house
  • 2003 – Giant Oogie Boogie House
  • 2004 – Zero’s dog house
  • 2005 – House of Giant Man-Eating Crowns
  • 2006 – Monster Infested House
  • 2007 – Jack-in-the-Box House
  • 2008 – Giant gingerbread coffin house
  • 2009 – Scary house
  • 2010 – Sandy Claws Pop-Up House
  • 2011 – Imitate the monster house
  • 2012 – Jack Skellington’s house
  • 2013 – 13 days of Christmas house
  • 2014 – Gingerbread Zombie House
  • 2015 – House of gingerbread cards
  • 2016 – Sewn patchwork house
  • 2017 – Oogie Boogie Insect Infested House
  • 2018 – Gingerbread Gingerbread House
  • 2019 – Haunted Mansion 50 years of haunted house
  • 2021 – Franken House in gingerbread

According to Wollweber, one of his favorites was the 2019 house commemorating the 50e haunted mansion anniversary.

“That year I was able to bring some of our favorite ghosts into the gingerbread world and understand what they would look like if they were Halloweentown ghosts,” he says. “It was really fun translating them in this style.”

Haunted Mansion Holiday 2019 gingerbread house

Built by the Disneyland baking team, this year’s 20th anniversary house was created from 140 pounds of fondant, 120 pounds of frosting and frosting, 75 pounds of icing sugar, 30 pounds of gingerbread and 3 gallons of egg whites. It’s also the largest house they’ve ever built, measuring 13 feet tall, naturally (or supernaturally, as the case may be).

The bigger than ever Franken-House isn’t the only new addition to the Haunted Mansion Holiday this year, as it looks like Jack has added something to the mansion hearse as well.

“There is a tradition from the Victorian era that when someone ‘shuffles this deadly coil’, their family […] lay a commemorative wreath in front of their house, so that’s what we’re going to do, ”says Wollweber. “[Outside the mansion] there is a mourning wreath of poinsettias and the phrase on it says Memento Mori, which means: “Remember you too will die”, but it’s a little dark for Jack during the holidays, so he changed it en Memento Merry – ‘Remember to be happy’ – because that’s why we’re here. It’s been 20 seasons and Jack is here to remember everything.

Disneyland visitors can experience Haunted Mansion Vacation until January 9, 2022.

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