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Have you Heard the Buzz? Bees Help Walt Disney World Recycle the Holiday Gingerbread Displays

The life-sized gingerbread displays are a treasured favorite each holiday season here at Walt Disney World Resort, but have you ever wondered what happens to the gingerbread displays once the holiday season is over? The answer is bees!


Bees Help Walt Disney World Recycle the Holiday Gingerbread Displays

As the season ends and festive décor come down, cast members who had a hand in these beautiful confectionery creations bid a bittersweet farewell to these treats for now until it’s time to start the planning process all over again around summertime later this year.


But what happens to a 17-foot-tall gingerbread Cinderella Castle after it’s disassembled?


Bees Help Walt Disney World Recycle the Holiday Gingerbread Displays

First, the culinary team disassemble the giant gingerbread cookie structures.

“Each year, we remove all edible items and place them in food waste bins that are then sent for composting,” said Chef Kristine Farmer, a pastry chef at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.


The next step in the process involves an un-bee-lievable discovery cast members made about a decade ago that has since led to a sweet tradition during the annual gingerbread display recycling process.


Bees Help Walt Disney World Recycle the Holiday Gingerbread Displays

Once cast members have cleared the displays of the gingerbread pieces, the wooden frames that hold the structures together are carefully taken apart and whisked away to Walt Disney World's tree farm.


That’s where the bees buzz in to help! Local bees feed off the frosting left on the frames as a sweet treat courtesy of our culinary teams — the perfect energy boost to fuel up on before they fly off to other pollinator pursuits that lead to honey making.


Bees Help Walt Disney World Recycle the Holiday Gingerbread Displays

After these busy bees buzz off on their way, the wooden structures are hot washed clean to remove any remaining sugar and then put into storage to reuse during the next holiday season.


Bees Help Walt Disney World Recycle the Holiday Gingerbread Displays

This story gets even sweeter! The bees that visit the gingerbread displays come from right here in Central Florida.


“Honey bees can typically travel up to about two miles to search for nectar and pollen, and in this case sugar.” Zak Gezon, Conservation Manager for Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment said.


Keeping the bees well fed helps local farmers produce honey to harvest and sell to markets or even contribute to honey blends that are sold wholesale to large companies to use in delicious culinary creations, including, you guessed it, gingerbread.


Keep a lookout for these bees flying across property collecting nectar, sugar and pollinating the flowers around our parks and resorts. They might just “bee” responsible for some of the delicious ingredients found in your favorite Disney dishes and desserts!


Bees Help Walt Disney World Recycle the Holiday Gingerbread Displays

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