Recycled seasonal gingerbread displays are all the buzz at Walt Disney World

Local bees collect sugar from recycled gingerbread displays

Thousands of local bees swarm to the sugar-coated display, which is only part of a larger effort made by the company to help declining bee populations. (Walt Disney World)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Humans aren’t the only species that enjoy the life-sized gingerbread houses Walt Disney World sets out for display over the holidays.

In the post-winter wonderland haze, among all the unwrapped gifts, torn down tinsel and barren Douglas firs, bees are still benefitting from those seasonal, sugary structures.

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“Ten years ago, when performing our annual gingerbread display cleaning, we noticed bees were very attracted to the sugar on the displays after deconstruction,” Barry Stockwell, Disney’s planned work specialist with event decorating support said in a Disney parks blog. “We decided to bring the display pieces to our Disney tree farm and lay them out in our field to give the bees a chance to collect the sugar on the wooden structures.”

According to Disney officials, thousands of local bees swarm to the display, which is only part of a larger effort made by the company to help declining bee populations by providing pollinator-friendly gardens across its property.

Disney’s event decorating support team and pastry chefs deconstruct the displays, recycling and composting the gingerbread so that only the sugary icing lathered on wooden pieces is left, the official blog shows.

These sugar-coated pieces are then taken to the Walt Disney World Resort tree farm for the bees to find.

“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 in the blog.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.