We freeze ourselves while trying to board the Polar Express, but it’s all worth it to see those sculpted Tom Hanks figures! And we get to check out the shows at ‘Christmas at Gaylord Palms’, including a HASHTAG LIT Christmas Tree Lighting! Be sure to like and subscribe for more Orlando fun!
Disclosure: Gaylord Palms hosted us for this event, but these opinions are our own!
My family and I have been visiting Gaylord Palms ICE! as part of our holiday traditions since 2007, before I even wrote about it in Zannaland. It has really become one of the things my children most look forward to, and they ask every Fall – “when does ICE! start?” (Part of the perks of being Orlando locals; our holiday traditions are just a little bit bigger and over the top than many places.)
Over the years, we’ve seen the displays and offerings change and grow – ice skating outside, ice skating inside, snowball fights, snow tubing, enchanting circus performers, characters, and differing Christmas themes in ice. In all those years, none has been so magical, to me personally, than this year’s theme – A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Growing up in the 1980’s, I have very specific and very wonderful memories of Christmastime. Christmas is always exactly 2 weeks after my birthday, so the whole month of December has forever been overwhelmingly magical to me. I remember the weeks leading up to Christmas were filled with Christmas specials: Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” the Rankin Bass productions of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” and of course, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
I can see myself clearly, sitting on the floor close to the T.V. in my festive Christmas nightgown, while the lights on the Christmas tree twinkled behind me and the scent of pine and the cookies my mother was baking wafted around me…watching those shows, commercials and all, once a year. At the risk of sounding even more ancient than I already do, this was before a time of cable and satellite television, before 300 channels and DVR’s and Netflix and Roku and Apple TV, or even Blockbuster and VCR’s at this point. So waiting all year to see these shows and making sure you didn’t miss them was a big thing. It became a part of the season, a part of the traditions, a part of the magic.
So to walk in to Gaylord Palms at 9 degrees (a very common temperature feel growing up outside of Boston), and see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” larger than life, right before my eyes, was pretty special for me. The detail was absolutely mind-boggling. Every character, every color, every detail from the television special was carved in perfection. Add to that the music and audio clips from the show, and it was truly a wonderland for anyone who’s grown up with the show, or the Peanuts in general. They were my grandmother’s favorite, and she loved Snoopy, so the Peanuts Gang were always a big part of family visits to her house. I left the ICE! display and wanted to go right back in and see it all again, so I could be little 8 year-old excited-for-Christmas-me once more. If anyone is a fan of the Christmas special or Charles Schulz’s work in general, you must go, you will not be disappointed. The night we were there, Charles Schulz’s son, Craig Schulz, was on hand and seemed to be enjoying himself as well. I can only imagine the memories he must have of these characters.
More to see at Gaylord Palms
Also a part of Christmas at Gaylord Palms is a tree lighting display, A Christmas Wish Light Show, which is the most impressive display yet. Returning for the second year is Cirque Dreams, an impressive show of acrobatic artisans performing in the lobby stage nightly. Alpine Snow Tubing also makes a come-back in the ICE! area, where you can tube down snow-covered slides, as well as other fun activities like photos with Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus, a Build-a-Bear Workshop, and much more. ICE! runs this year through January 1, a perfect treat for winter break from school or work. The property itself is so beautiful, it’s like another world when you are inside and my kids ask me all the time when we can stay there next!
Thank you to Gaylord Palms for inviting my family and I to experience the magic of Christmas at Gaylord Palms and see ICE! and the other entertainment offerings first hand. My opinions, as you can see, are my own. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Continuing the grand tradition of millions of pounds of ice sculpted by artisans and formed into amazing displays for all to see, this year Gaylord Palms Resort returned to a classic Christmas story, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.This was actually one of my favorite Gaylord Palms ICE! displays in years past, so I was happy to see it return to Gaylord Palms in an updated form.
For those unaware, ICE! is an indoor winter wonderland featuring:
- Walk-through holiday attraction, kept at a chilly 9 degrees
- Two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures
- Four ice slides
- Six individual rooms depicting the story of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
- The Frostbite Factory — a live carving zone
- Final room is a breath-taking Nativity scene carved from crystal clear ice
In addition to the sculpted ICE! displays, there is Alpine Rush Snow Tubing in a separately ticketed area, for unlimited rides down snow-covered slides on tubes.
Both of the above ticketed events are part of the larger Gaylord Palms Christmas, including free events like an all-new show:
Cirque Dreams UnWrapped
Be dazzled by an array of seasonal characters brought to life in a dreamscape of imaginative costumes and creativity, while stunning feats of showmanship are unwrapped, performed on stage and in the air. Broadway director and Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg is bringing the famed entertainment brand to Orlando for the first time in the company’s 22 years with this exclusive show. The entire family can enjoy this uniquely inspired 25-minute Christmas dream presented with the Broadway style and inventive theatrics for which Cirque Dreams is renowned.
This show was captivating and fun for the whole family, a wonderful addition to the beautiful decorations in the grand atrium – which also features SNOW this year after the Cirque Dreams shows.
You can find out more about the events and activities at Gaylord Palms on their site, and purchase tickets to ICE! and other events. Staying at the Gaylord Palms is always a magical experience, I find myself just not wanting to leave the resort because there is so much to see and do and experience. The holidays amplify that feeling, so if you haven’t booked your stay, go ahead and make plans now for this year or next!
Disclosure: I was invited to experience ICE! with my family by Gaylord Palms. My opinions and thoughts are my own.
After my recent visit a little further north of the hot Florida sun, the cooler weather got me thinking about the holiday season, so I was thrilled when this announcement about the Gaylord Palms ICE! theme and other Christmas events came through. This year, ICE! will feature The Nutcracker, one of my favorite holiday tales and one with a personal connection – my mother (a former professional ballerina) played the Sugar Plum Fairy for the Boston Ballet many years ago and it’s always been a family tradition to watch or experience The Nutcracker somehow each year. I think The Nutcracker is a perfect theme for the amazing ice sculptures featured at Gaylord Palms and can’t wait to see it in person. I’ll have to bring my mom too! This year they’ve also added Alpine Snow Tubing to the ICE! festivities. Can’t wait!
Here is more about ICE! and the other Christmas offerings at Gaylord Palms, which is beautiful year-round, but even more so during the holidays:
Dreams of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King will come to life in a full-on frozen wonderland this winter during Christmas at Gaylord Palms. On Nov. 15 scenes from everyone’s favorite ballet, the Nutcracker, will be reimagined in nearly 2 million pounds of hand-carved vibrant ice sculptures. ICE! will feature four slippery ice slides and live carving stations inside of the Artisans in Action Frostbite Factory.
New in 2014
That’s not the only exciting happening during this year’s annual Christmas at Gaylord Palms. Guests can now experience the rush – Alpine Rush Snow Tubing – an 18’ 8-lane giant snow hill created with 1.5 million pounds of real Florida snow. Children and adults of all ages will frolic with delight as they speed down these snow covered hills.
The Christmas Experience
Christmas at Gaylord Palms is a mystical experience that boasts the true nature of the season all under a glass enclosed atrium. Lush gardens sprinkled with poinsettias, grand holiday displays and more than 2 million twinkling lights. Don’t forget the famous 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree; character dining and meet and greets; delectable holiday dining; Cookies with Mrs. Claus and awe-inspiring live entertainment that crowds have grown to love including the rhythmic Luminescence show.
With so much to see and do, the best way to experience Christmas at Gaylord Palms is to spend the night with us. Packages are now on sale at ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.
ICE! is open daily from Nov. 15, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015, including holidays. The Christmas experience begins Nov. 21, 2014. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com. There are many specials, Florida resident deals and more to choose from!
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.
One of my favorite parts of living in Orlando are the wonderful holiday events and happenings. Gaylord Palms is an absolutely gorgeous resort and it becomes a sparkling jewel for the holidays. My family and I love making ICE! an annual tradition, where over 2 million pounds of ice are carved by skilled Chinese artisans, with a new theme for each holiday season. This year, it’s “Merry Madagascar” and all of your favorites are there; King Julien, Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman, and of course, MORT! There are SO many amazing things to see at ICE!, I think I took over 100 photos. However, rather than show you everything, I want to share my top 5 scenes, and hopefully entice you to get over to Gaylord Palms and see the rest in person!
My Top 5 Favorite Scenes at Gaylord Palms ICE! – Merry Madagascar
5. Frozen Coconuts!
4. Sparkly Penguins!
3. Pink Eiffel Tower and pastel St. Basil’s!
2. Super Slides!
1. Frozen Waterfall!
But there is much more to the holidays at Gaylord Palms than just ICE! Within the ICE! area, there are also special character greeting photo ops and Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating, as well as a huge selection of holiday and themed merchandise and a cafe serving holiday treats. In addition, the main atrium lobby has breathtaking Christmas decorations and a nightly Christmas show called Luminescence – featuring The Edge Effect, and the Polar Bear Pursuit Scavenger Hunt. Below is a gallery of some more highlights from Gaylord Palms holiday happenings – click any photo to view as a slideshow:
You can see the rest of my photos on my ICE! 2012 flickr set.
The best way to see all of the wonderful holiday offerings is of course, to stay right at the Gaylord Palms. Guests seeking a complete Christmas experience can purchase special “Christmassy DreamWorks Experience” packages starting at $189.99 per room, per night (for a three night stay)! Packages include unlimited visits to ICE! and a number of other activities, including a ShrekFeast Interactive Character Meal, and more!
ICE! is open daily from Nov. 10, 2012 through Jan. 1, 2013, including holidays. Ticket prices for children start at $9.99, and adult ticket prices start at $18.99. Florida Residents — Save an extra $4 per ticket. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.christmasatgaylordpalms.
Disclosure: I was provided tickets to attend a media preview of ICE! but my thoughts and opinions are my own.
I always love any chance I get to hang out at the Gaylord Palms Resort – it is like another little self-contained world. Actually, there isn’t anything little about Gaylord Palms. From the moment you walk in the lobby, the space is awe-inspiring and the attention to detail and theming just gorgeous. I think I could spend all day just wandering around and exploring the Florida-themed sections of the hotel (and they realize this and offer kids scavenger hunts as a result!). The rooms and dining are just as fabulous, making it a place a family or couple could truly escape and never leave the grounds for a mini-vacation.
Gaylord Palms knows how to entertain families as well. They have two holiday packages coming up, one for Halloween featuring Shrek and Kung Fu Panda – who wouldn’t want to trick-or-treat around 4.5 acres of hotel gardens?! Of course, their amazing Christmas experiences such as ICE!, decorations, shows and more! The official information follows – I can’t recommend the Gaylord Palms Resort enough, it’s just beautiful!
Gaylord Palms Resort invites guests to come out and experience Halloween a little early this year during Scared Shrekless Family Fun, an interactive experience featuring beloved characters from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s Madagascar franchise and this summer’s hit film Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, along with friends from the Shrek and Kung Fu Panda franchises.
Package guests can dress up in their most spooktacular costumes; trick-or-treat around the resort’s 4.5 acres of gardens; participate in a kids’costume contest with prizes; make ooey, gooey Swamp Sludge; dive into fun at the Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin’ Pool Party and much more ghoulish fun!
Scared Shrekless Family Fun at Gaylord Palms offers families a safe and weather controlled environment to celebrate the Halloween holiday. Overnight packages begin at $179 and are available on October 13 and October 27. For more information visit www.DreamWorksExperienceatGaylordPalms.com or call 407-586-2000.
ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar
Celebrating its 10th year, ICE! is back and features an all-new awe-inspiring tribute to the unforgettable DreamWorks’ Animation TV classic Merry Madagascar. Guests can relive the story of how Alex the Lion and his friends saved Christmas after Santa and his reindeer crash onto the island of Madagascar.
Thrill-seekers can take a trip down one of four, two-story ice slides. With more than 20,000 square feet of exciting hand-carved sculptures made of 2 million pounds of ice, the frosty 9-degree bliss of ICE! is Florida’s favorite frigid Christmas tradition. A team of 40 talented artisans from Harbin, China, spend more than a month in Kissimmee creating this one-of-a-kind attraction.
While visiting Gaylord Palms to take in the excitement of ICE!, guests can also amplify their Christmas experience with one of these special events available FREE of charge:
- Majestic Christmas Tree Lighting — Guests looking for a more traditional treat can enjoy Gaylord Palms’ famous tree-lighting ceremony, complete with singers, carols, lights and the star of the show, a massive 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree! It towers over the St. Augustine atrium, waiting for the special moment to light up and cast holiday cheer on guests.
- LIVE Stage Shows — As part of the holiday lineup, Gaylord Palms offers live stage entertainment, including the spirited Luminescence Christmas show, throughout the Christmas season. Shows take place in the Emerald Bay Plaza, and guests are welcome to attend, free of charge!
- Polar Bear Pursuit Scavenger Hunt — Guests can take a joyful jaunt throughout the indoor atriums to spot cleverly hidden polar bears. Answers are entered online to be eligible to win a grand prize.
The festivities don’t stop there! Guests can also participate in a few of their favorite things (additional charges apply):
- ShrekFeast Interactive Character Breakfast — Kids will love becoming an honorary Ogre and joining Shrek and friends for a fairytale feast fit for a king. Tableside hugs and photos included! This experience features a Magic Fountain bubbling over with delicious chocolate potions and Shrek-shaped waffles with syrup.
- Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating — This fun, sticky, interactive decorating tradition just got a whole lot sweeter! Hosted by Gingy, the most famous of all Gingerbread men, you can choose from several different design options. After you’ve decorated to your heart’s content (don’t forget the gum drop buttons!), make your way to meet Gingy for a heartwarming hug that you can capture with your own camera.
The best way to benefit from all that Gaylord Palms has to offer is to book a room and become immersed in the splendor of Christmas. Guests seeking to jingle all the way into their holiday hoopla can purchase special “Christmassy DreamWorks Experience” packages starting at $189 per room per night!
Specially designed with all of the activities above, packages include tickets to ICE! and the exciting adventures of DreamWorks Animation’s latest feature film, in theaters November 21st, Rise of the Guardians Scavenger Hunt, in which the whole family will search throughout Gaylord Palms’ spectacular indoor atriums and enter their answers online to win a grand prize. Enthusiasts can then meet the whole DreamWorks gang with a “Character Passport” that allows them to stroll through Shrek’s beloved swamp for a face-to-face encounter with the green ogre himself; explore the island of Madagascar; discover China’s ancient Valley of Peace where Po, the Kung Fu Panda, has become a true kung fu master; and greet Gingy in a giant gingerbread house.
A DreamWorks welcome amenity package, character wake-up calls and a family photo are also included in overnight packages for guests to commemorate their unforgettable visit. Additionally, they can enjoy special holiday menus at the expansive dining outlets and attractive holiday merchandise at the myriad specialty shops.
ICE! is open daily from Nov. 10, 2012 through Jan. 1, 2013, including holidays. Ticket prices range from $13.99 to $29.99. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.
Gaylord Palms Resort is located five minutes from the gates of Walt Disney World at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. For more information, visit www.gaylordpalms.com or call 407-586-2000.
Be sure to “Like” Gaylord Palms on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information and promotions!
This morning we learned that the 2012 season of Gaylord Palms Resort’s ICE! will feature Alex, Marty, Gloria and the whole gang with a Merry Madagascar theme. Alex the Lion and King Julien were on hand last year with the Kung Fu Panda themed ICE!, for character greetings. Now in addition to Alex and Julien, there is a Mort and Gloria and penguins characters as well. Mort is simply adorable and my favorite, so I was excited to see him there.
ICE! is an amazing display of sculpted ice along with some play areas as well. Gaylord Palms will present ICE! from November 10, 2012 – January 1, 2013 and will be themed after the Dreamworks Animation holiday special Merry Madagascar. An interactive world of colorful ice sculptures and four two-story ice slides carved entirely from two million pounds of ice. It is truly breath-taking (and don’t worry, winter parkas are provided!).
Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating will be back this year as well, where you can choose from two different options to create a gingerbread cookie family or a complete gingerbread house – don’t forget the gumdrop buttons! Gingy will be on-hand for photos after you finish your edible creations.
Gaylord Palms also offers amazing holiday decor throughout the sprawling Florida-themed resort. Holiday lights, trees and entertainment as well as scavenger hunts offer plenty to keep you in the Christmas spirit.
ICE! tickets start at $22.99 for adults and $13.99 for children – you can call 407-586-2000 or head to ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com for more information. There are also special packages starting at $189 per night, where you can enjoy the beautifully renovated rooms and Cypress Springs Water Park within the resort grounds.
I can’t wait to Move It, Move It! in November!
Oh, and as a special treat – Gaylord Palms brought in Vanilla Ice to sing his hit “Ice Ice Baby” for this fun announcement. Vanilla Ice is back and better than ever! Check out the video of his performance below:
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.