My family first visited the Gaylord Palms and its ICE! event back in 2007. We loved it back then and I’ve been lucky enough to attend the last two ICE openings at a media sneak peek. This year was the first time I brought my littlest guy, now 3, to experience the fun. I wondered what he’d think of the extreme cold temperatures, but despite his initial resistance to wearing the puffy blue parkas the hotel provides for ICE visitors, he was excited to see everything!
As you enter the Gaylord Palms convention center, you are greeted by the “Holiday Halls” where ICE!, Snow, Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating, and the DreamWorks Experience are held. In addition to the free elements of the Gaylord Palms holidays, the special ticketed events include ICE! with over 16,000 square feet of 9-degree weather – quite the contrast to the 80 degree temperatures we are experiencing.
This year, ICE! is Shrek-themed with perfect representations of your favorite characters including Shrek, Fiona, Puss in Boots, Donkey and more. It is amazing how much the huge blocks of colored ice look like their animated counterparts. Also within the experience are the slides made entirely of ice, which my big kids (and my friend and I) loved sliding down! It’s such a fun way to experience winter in central Florida!
Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW is another play area with a separate admission. Inside there are more slides and playground equipment and 130 tons of freshly made snow. No parkas are needed in here, it’s around 50 degrees, but snowball fights abound as you play in a courtyard themed to the Valley of Peace from Kung Fu Panda. The whole family loved making snowballs and playing in the snow – without the shoveling and scraping ice off your cars!
New this year is Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating. This area was not open last night but will be now. There guests can purchase and decorated gingerbread houses, cookies or a tree ornament cookie and meet with Gingy himself!
The DreamWorks Animation 3D Theater Experience is also now open, where guests can walk the red carpet with Puss in Boots and enjoy gourmet theater food and beverages with Shrek and Princess Fiona before enjoying Puss In Boots on the big screen, in 3D!
Ticket prices vary by date and you can also look into a one or two-night DreamWorks Experience package to stay at the Gaylord Palms and get some amazing amenities, including interactive Character Meals, Meet & Greets and more. Check out pricing and more info at ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com Be sure to check in on foursquare for a special treat too – free hot chocolate! Those on twitter can follow the action using the #GPICE hashtag and you can upload your photos to the group flickr account too. Speaking of flickr, for more photos from me check out my Gaylord Palms ICE set on flickr. As you can see below, photographers are on hand to capture your family’s experiences and allow you to bring home memories to last a lifetime.
Some of the free events within the hotel include Luminescence, a musical journey into the spirit of Christmas, Christmas Wonders and Majestic Christmas Tree Lighting and Visits with Santa. I can’t wait to bring the family back again and check out all of these beautiful events in person.