If Tampa Bay residents are looking for a a way to bring some cool fun into our Florida winter, look no farther than ICE at Gaylord Palms in Kissimee, Florida! Every year they do a spectacular theme of carved and colored ice displays, in the past showcasing ‘Twas the Night before Christmas and Shrek. This year it’s based on DreamWork’s Merry Madagascar!
You’ll see your favorite Bronx Zoo friends during their Christmas Eve escapade as they try to save Christmas after King Julian convinced Alex the Lion that the “Red Light Goblin” is coming to throw coal at Madagascar. Little does Alex the Lion know that it’s really Santa, as a carefully aimed coconut brings the sleigh crashing down and gives Santa amnesia. The result is that with a little magic dust, Marty, Alex, Melman, Gloria and the penguins save Christmas around the world by delivering the gifts.
These displays are just wonderful for children. We own the movie, so the kids were familiar with the story that was unfolding before them as we walked the ginormous ice carvings. I can’t even imagine what each of them must have weighed individually, 2 million pounds of ice total, though. And the ice sculptures are also colored – they are deeply hued and vibrant. It’s amazing that they can get this kind of quality infused into the ice.
In the middle of ICE there are are a few ice slides the kids can go down. There was even a smaller ice slide for toddlers, but of course my big boys wanted the taller slides. They went down twice and wanted to go a third, but my fingers were getting numb.
That brings to mind proper attire. It is NINE DEGREES in ICE. So don’t wear your Floridian clothes, you’ll want closed toe shoes and gloves, for sure. Long pants and long sleeves are suggested. Don’t be shy about wearing a coat, hat and scarf, you’ll appreciate it when you are walking around ICE. And ICE does supply a big puffy coat, which keeps your body perfectly warm.
At the end of ICE there is an amazing, natural colored ice carved nativity scene. It is breathtaking, with just the right lighting to make it twinkle. My oldest, who attends Catholic school, really loved seeing it.
The ICE experience, walking around in the 9 degree air, is around 30 minutes. Getting sized for your coat is an additional 5 – 10. Getting pictures ahead of time is probably another 5 – 15, depending on how many photo stops you make before entering ICE. Afterwards you may want to stop and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. And try to plan accordingly so that you are not stuck in a long line. I’ve been to ICE twice, once during a “work day” and this time during a media event. I can say if you plan it when most people are busy, you won’t get stuck on a long line. But the fact they are prepared for a long line …. scary! So if you go on a weekend, I might say expect a longer wait.
- For more information or to purchase your tickets online visit: Buy ICE Tickets Online.
- To purchase tickets by phone, call (407) 586-4423.
- Tickets prices start at $13.99 for children ages 4 – 12, $20.99 for seniors and $22.99 for adults during non-peak times. Children 3 and under are free.
- Florida residents can save $4 per ticket with promotion code FLR12