You have to see Disneyland's giant gingerbread house

At Disneyland, there's something exciting around literally every corner. You turn left and there's Captain Hook walking past you. You turn right and there's Tinker Bell, ready for her (and your) close-up. Or, this month, you turn into the Grand Californian Hotel, and there's a life-sized gingerbread house for you to explore. It's all part of the magic of Disneyland Christmas.

First Things First: You Can't Go Inside

Disneyland Christmas
Disneyland Christmas

But the thing is massive. Called the Grand Gingerbread House, it's 7 1/2 feet tall and took 25 people to make, including bakers, artists, carpenters and an electrician. (You can't really tell in the photo, but the house is illuminated from within and has a "working" fireplace in front.) The gingerbread house is made to look like Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, which is an arts-and-crafts-style compound that's equal parts rustic and chic.

It's composed of 600 pounds of gingerbread, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, and many pounds and gallons of less appetizing things like egg whites. There's also an entire pound—yes, an entire pound—of glitter on it. They're calling it Pixie Dust, but it's the same difference. I didn't see Tink anywhere near this giant cookie condo, anyway.

You Can, Though, Find The Hidden Mickeys

Disneyland Christmas
Disneyland Christmas

One of the fun things die-hards like to do at the parks is find hidden Mickeys, which are peppered around in unusual places. There's one on every ride: on Pirates of the Caribbean, it's made by three cannon ball holes on the first brick wall you see once you've entered the main room. See the one the Imagineers included in the peppermint bark rocks above?

Disneyland Christmas
Disneyland Christmas

On the gingerbread house, there are 25 hidden Mickeys, like the one in the ornaments on this tree. I didn't come close to finding them all, but finding hidden Mickeys isn't really top of my list at Disneyland. I also had other, more pressing matters to attend to in the Grand Californian—namely, the boozy milk and cookies shots.

You Heard Me Right: Milk & Cookies Shots

Disneyland Christmas
Disneyland Christmas

At the Holiday Cart next to the gingerbread house, there are lots of Disneyland Christmas sweets to be had: Mickey-shaped whoopie pies the size of your hand, Christmas tree krispy treats, snowman cake pops, gingerbread men... and chocolate chip cookies baked into the shape of shot glasses. You can fill them with milk, or, if you're over 21, you can fill them with Bailey's, Peppermint Schnapps or Rumchata. I went with Bailey's, because it seemed like the most "milk and cookies" choice. Also, I really like Bailey's. It did not disappoint.

So, Get Your Sleigh in Gear

Disneyland Christmas
Disneyland Christmas

Every time I'm in the parks, I try to make a stop at the Grand Californian. It's the nicest of Disneyland's hotels, but it's also just a really pleasant place to sit down and take a break. The lobby has oversized leather chairs, an enormous fireplace with rockers in front and a grand piano where pianists are usually playing a Disney tune. This time of year, it also has a three-story Christmas tree inside it. Singing cartoon birds, though? Maybe next year.

To see architects build a gingerbread city in London, check out the slide show below!