Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee is without a doubt one of my favorite resorts in the Orlando area. Any time of the year, you can escape the hustle and bustle of the theme park world into the gorgeous resort and grounds. With its beautiful atrium lobby and different native Florida-themed areas, it is just beautiful. Add to that all of the wonderful holiday offerings, and Gaylord Palms is a must-visit at this time of the year. Of course its most famous holiday attraction is ICE! – an annual tradition showcasing art in ice with a different theme each year. This year has been my favorite so far – Frosty the Snowman – the perfect match for the holidays!
Join Frosty and his friends at this year’s ICE! in a colorfully frozen retelling of the original holiday classic. Slide down four different two-story ice slides, and then witness the all-new Artisans in Action before enjoying hot cocoa and capturing holiday memories with a keepsake photograph with Santa, or building gingerbread houses with Gingy!
New this year, ICE! shows us a peek into just what it takes to create these amazing sculptures. Seeing the transformation from ice block to work of art was one of my favorite parts of ICE! this year. Visit the live ice-carving zone during all hours the ICE! attraction is open. The Frostbite Factory features an artisan carving a square block of ice into one of three sculptures from the attraction: a Christmas train, a teddy bear and some traditional Chinese dragons. Guests are also given the option to make reservations for a VIP tour in which a translator is present with the artisan to answer specific questions.
Four different artisans will rotate hour shifts in the carving room. They’ll be handling maintenance items for the attraction as well. Two construction team members are also present in the room, preparing ice for carving and cleaning to ensure a safe environment for guests as the artisan works.
During the 44-day run, 60 percent of the attraction will be replaced.
1.5 truckloads of ice (176, 300-pound blocks of ice, or 26.4 tons) will be used for the carving room.
The 12 vignettes of ICE! are created using a special “recipe” of ice that arrives in approximately 36 truckloads over a three-week period (two trucks a day for 15 days). Large blocks of ice are delivered on pallets via refrigerated tractor-trailers, and then moved into place by forklift.
Three different types of ice comprise the ICE! attraction: clear, “crystal” ice; white ice; and colored ice.
14 different colors (including clear) are used to create 10 scenes of ICE!
At 9 degrees cold, ordinary water freezes quickly, adhering one piece to another and forming a solid bond. After slicing a piece of ice from a larger block, an artisan sprinkles the surface to be bonded with “snow.” He carefully pours water onto the piece and then lifts it into position.
The tallest sculpture (21 feet to the top!) is the moon on top of one of the slides.
Don’t miss all the Christmas activities and spectacular live entertainment – including the spirited Luminescence show – that Gaylord Palms has to offer. Always a fan-favorite, the famous 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree comes to life in a magnificent tree-lighting ceremony on the Emerald Plaza stage in the St. Augustine atrium. Dripping with poinsettias, lavish holiday displays and millions of twinkling lights, the resort is sure to warm up your stay.
Luminescence is so well-done, it offers something for everyone from dancing acrobats to holiday singers to rocking guitarists and drummers. It definitely puts you in the holiday spirit and is a must-see show. I definitely want to head back to Gaylord Palms to see all the festivities again before the season is done!
ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman is open daily from Nov. 23, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014, including holidays. To purchase tickets and to see a full schedule of activities and events, go to www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.