Upcycled Seasonal Gingerbread Displays Are Making a Buzz at Walt Disney World

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida. – Humans aren’t the only species to enjoy the life-size gingerbread houses that Walt Disney World offers for display during the holidays.

In the post-winter wonderland haze, among all the unwrapped presents, torn garlands and barren Douglas firs, the bees are still enjoying these seasonal sweet structures.

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“Ten years ago, during our annual cleaning of the gingerbread displays, we noticed that the bees were very attracted to the sugar on the displays after deconstruction,” said Barry Stockwell, planned works specialist at Disney with event decoration support in a Disney Parks Blog. “We decided to take the exhibit pieces to our Disney tree farm and lay them out in our field to give the bees a chance to harvest the sugar from the wooden structures.”

Disney officials say thousands of local bees are swarming the exhibit, just part of a larger effort by the company to help declining bee populations by providing gardens respectful of pollinators on all its property.

Disney’s Event Decorating Support Team and pastry chefs are deconstructing displays, recycling and composting the gingerbread so that only the sugary frothed icing remains on the wooden pieces, the official blog post says.

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These sugar-coated chunks are then taken to the tree farm at Walt Disney World Resort 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,” said Zak Gezon, head of animal conservation, science and environment at Disney, in the blog.

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