12 Outrageous Gingerbread Displays (Slideshow)

1. Galt House Hotel (Louisville, KY)

What started as the quintessential holiday display in the Galt House Hotel Conservatory several years ago has become a signature part of the hotel's KaLightoscope Christmas, a Christmas village that features a kiddie train ride, Snow Fairy Princess castle, Santa's Sleigh Green Screen Experience, Ernie the Engineer, and nearly 30 entries from the hotel's annual Gingerbread House Contest. This year the life-size house has a new fence and Christmas cookie shrubs. Executive chef Brian Riddle and his team take seven days to construct the elaborate gingerbread display, which includes 1,000 pounds of gingerbread, 450 pounds of flour, and 2,000 eggs. It's pieced together with 2,000 pounds of royal icing and decorated with 800 pounds of handmade candy, lollipops, and 50 pounds of jelly beans.

Visit: The public can view the display from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays until Jan. 1 (closed Christmas Day).

Tickets: Adults: $14.99 (Monday to Thursday) and $18.99 (Friday to Sunday). Guests receive a free child's KaLightoscope Christmas Ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket.  

2. The Omni Grove Park Inn (Asheville, N.C.)

For 21 years, The Omni Grove Park Inn's gingerbread display has been comprised of entries from its annual National Gingerbread House Competition. This year's lobby display includes 150 entries from professionals, amateurs, adults, and children. Each entry is 2-feet-by-2-feet-by-2-feet and constructed completely of edible ingredients.

Tickets: Free, however there is a holiday parking charge of $10 per vehicle with 50 percent of the proceeds benefiting six local nonprofits.

Visit: The public can view the display from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily until Jan. 2, 2014. 

3. The White House Gingerbread House (Washington, D.C.)

Each year the first family selects a theme for their gingerbread house and this year's is "Gather Around." And that's just what lucky visitors to the White House are bound to do in the State Dining Room, which is home to the White House's famous gingerbread house. The White House pastry team created this year's 300-pound White House replica, which rests on a lawn of Springerle cookies. Neat features include a working North Lawn fountain, first family dogs Bo and Sunny sitting on the front steps, and lighting from within that gives the house a magical glow.

To learn more about touring information, click here.

4. Walt Disney World (Orlando, Fla.)

It's not surprising that one of the most magical places on Earth would have magnificent gingerbread displays. From hotel spaces to EPCOT, Walt Disney World is populated with gingerbread gems. There's the gingerbread and chocolate gazebo and Disney cast members creating gingerbread houses in the lobby at Disney's BoardWalk Inn; a gingerbread holiday tree at the Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney's Contemporary Resort; the 15th annual life-size gingerbread house complete with a bake shop selling gingerbread shingles at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; a life-size spinning gingerbread carousel at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts; and gingerbread Disney icons handcrafted by Disney pastry chefs at The Land Pavilion at EPCOT.

Visit: The public can view the hotel displays daily throughout the holiday season.

Tickets: Holiday displays are free with park admission.

5. Gingerbread Houses at the Four Seasons Las Vegas (Las Vegas)

Pastry chef Jean-Luc Daul creates a whimsical wonderland of gingerbread, royal icing, and candy, a radiant display that rivals The Strip's cornucopia of colors.

Visit: The public can view the gingerbread display throughout the holiday season.

6. S.S. Ginger Amelia at The Ritz-Carlton (Amelia Island, Fla.)

Forget gingerbread houses. The S.S. Ginger Amelia, a gingerbread pirate ship, docks annually at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia IslandThe 17-foot ship made with 3,000 eggs and 1,200 pounds of sugar is a nod to privateer Louis Aury who held the island captive for three days in 1817. The ship is helmed by chocolate pirates.

Visit: The public can view the pirate ship daily until Dec. 28.

Tickets: Free.

7. Gingerbread House at The Fairmont San Francisco (San Francisco)

According to representatives of the hotel, tt took the culinary team at The Fairmont San Francisco 1,100 hours to scale, mix, bake, construct, and decorate its nearly 2-ton, life-size gingerbread house. Its 7,500 gingerbread bricks are melded together with 1,600 pounds of royal icing and decorated with 724 pounds of candy. Guests can bring their four-legged friends to see the adjacent gingerbread dog house made with 90 pounds of gingerbread bricks and bone-shaped pieces and a model train that circumnavigates the display. A picket fence keeps most candy-pickers from poaching too many treats. While the hotel has celebrated the holidays since 1907, the gingerbread house tradition began in 2008. While the house can't get any taller because of the hotel's 23-foot lobby ceiling, executive chef Chad Blunston and his team continue to stretch the limits of imagination with a new interior that features Santa's Workshop on the first floor. 

Visit: The public can view the gingerbread house until Jan. 1, 2014.

Tickets: Free, but visitors can contribute a charity donation in a donation box.

8. Gingerbread Houses at Le Parker Meridien (New York City)

Each year, the atrium at Le Parker Meridien  is populated with a fantastic gingerbread display of iconic New York spots created by Big Apple pastry chefs and bakeries, with proceeds benefiting City Harvest. This year's theme is "Quintessential New York" and visitors can vote on their favorite creations by Baked Ideas, Butterfly Bakeshop, Cupcake Café, David Burke Kitchen, Fika, Le Monde, NORMA's, and Rolling Pin Productions.

Visit: Daily until Jan. 6, 2014.

Tickets: Free, but $1 per ticket to vote on your favorite and a chance to win a hotel stay.

9. Gingerbread House at Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, Conn.)

Executive pastry chef Lynn Mansel and her team at Mohegan Sun have crafted a 28-foot tall gingerbread house in The Shops concourse constructed with 20,000 pounds of royal icing and cookies. Visitors can walk through the life-size house and peek into its charming rooms filled with candy surprises, which are guarded by four 7-foot nutcracker soldiers.

Visit: The public can view the gingerbread display daily throughout the holiday season. 

Tickets: Free.

10. Gingerbread Village at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (Honolulu, Hawaii)

It took more than 950 hours, 100 sheets of gingerbread, 320 gallons of icing, 150 pounds of dark chocolate, and 50 pounds of white chocolate for the hotel's chef Ralf Bauer, his culinary team, and the engineering department to construct the gingerbread village inspired by Bauer's native Germany. For 10 years, the European mountainside village has been recreated in the hotel lobby. Spanning 28 feet and soaring 14.5 feet high, the display includes medieval churches, bell towers, train stations, a carousel, a skating rink, a castle, and the Alps, punctuated with iconic Hawaii landmarks such as Kawaiahao Mission Church, Moana Surfrider, and Aloha Tower. New additions this year include the Washington Monument, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, and London's Tower Bridge.

Visit: The public can view the gingerbread village daily until Jan. 2, 2014.

Tickets: Free.

11. Gingertown (Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tenn.)

For eight years, D.C.-area David M. Schwarz Architects and the design, building, and real estate communities have come together to create Gingertown. This year's theme is the World Games, a 5-foot-by-14-foot winter sports village coated in icing and decked out with jelly beans, candy canes, and gumdrops. Occupants of this year's Gingertown include Mt. Toblerone, Peeps Arena, Cool Whip Running Bobsled Track, Chex Republic, Charleston Chew Chew Train Station, Chunky Training Center, and a Red Hots Torch. After a public viewing in Washington, D.C. and Dallas, the creations are donated and displayed at local hospitals, health care facilities, and community organizations.

Visit: Washington, D.C.: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8. Dallas: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8. Nashville's is not on public display but instead donated immediately. 

Tickets: Free.

12. GingerBread Lane, New York Hall of Science (Queens, N.Y.)

It's taken nearly a year to craft, but Jon Lovitch's GingerBread Lane is a labor of sweet, sugary love. This year's display, Lovitch's 20th installation, is a contender for the Guinness World Record for largest gingerbread exhibit. Lovitch, the executive sous chef at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, has created a 300-square-foot village made of 500 pounds of gingerbread dough, 1,900 pounds of royal icing, and 400 pounds of candy. More than 150 houses, 65 trees, four cable cars, five train cars, and an underground subway station are under the watch of five 2-foot-high royal icing nutcrackers. The GingerBread Lane homes will be given away to the public on Jan. 12.

The museum is also hosting a GingerBread House Workshop Dec. 7 and 28 for those who want to try their hand at making a gingerbread house.

Visit: Open to museum visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday until Jan. 12, 2014 (closed Mondays and Christmas Day). 

Tickets: Free with museum admission (adult: $11, child: $8).