When you do something once around the holidays, it’s a fun, special event. Twice, you have the beginning of something special. Three times, let’s call it a new tradition. But for us, we’ve gone to ICE at Gaylord Palms since 2010. We’ve only missed ONE YEAR since then. The themes have been:
- 2010: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
- 2011: Shrek (This is the one we missed)
- 2012: Merry Madagascar
- 2013: Frosty the Snowman
- 2014: The Nutcracker
- 2015: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (ICE so nice, we’ve seen it twice!)
And this year is our 6th year re-attending the event as it has grown and been updated! My children have been growing with it, looking forward to the icy fun each year. It’s never a qustion of if we should go, but hen we will go. And I am so thrilled with this year’s theme, because so many of us have grown up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas this time of year. It also reintroduces these classic characters to a younger generation. Although, if your kids are like mine, they already knew Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock and the other characters.
ICE is always majestic. The deep colors they get into the ice sculptures, along with the perfect attention to detail for the characters, it is just amazing.
Like previous years, you can get a “behind the scenes look” at how the sculptures are made in the FrostBite Factory. And in it’s third year is the ICE Bar, where you can “warm up” with an adult beverage.
When you step back out into regular hotel temperatures you can partake in other holiday activities, like sledding down their inside hill, decorating cookies, visiting Santa and (a repeat from last year) building a Build-a-Bear friend! This year both my sons built reindeers. I suggest saving up for this portion of the day, because the kids REALLY love building at Build-a-Bear. There are photo opps with the iconic ICE letters, the Charlie Brown Characters, a green screen that inputs you into ICE before you step into the 9 degree temperatures, and, of course, Santa himself.
This is also the second year they bring in Cirque Dreams Unwrapped. Last year they were completely mazing and this year they made it more kid-centric. I don’t know if they do this at the end of every show, but at the end of ours Santa ziplined in! The look on my youngest son’s face just made the whole night worth it! Anyways, the show has holiday flair mixed with amazing feats of showmanship! You will find them at the Emerald Bay Stage.
At -a-Glance, here is what you can expect when you go see ICE in 2016 at Gaylord Palms.
- ICE: You’ll see floor-to-ceiling ice sculptures depicting A Charlie Brown Christmas, along with four slippery Ice Slides and a Live Carving Station in the Action Frostbite Factory. The slides are just amazing. My kids slide down the longest ones, but they have toddler ICE slides too.
- On the Blocks: An exclusive adult-only ICE! bar, which is found in the ICE exhibit. We always have the kids with us, so we’ve never “partaken”, but it looks fun.
- Alpine Rush Snow Tubing: An 18’ 8-lane giant snow hill created with 1.5 million pounds of “real Florida snow”. I did this last year and had fun sliding down. This year my boys went down by themselves twice. They really love it, since it’s their only opportunity to sled in Florida!
- Gingerbread Decorating Corner: Alpine Village, the holiday attraction hub, will also feature the Gingerbread Decorating Corner presented by PEEPS ®, Snowy’s Snack Shack and holiday shopping galore.
- Build-a-Bear: There were so many characters to build! Reindeers, Grinch, Star Wars, Minions and more!
- Mr. & Mrs. Claus: The season’s hottest couple, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will also be a part of the festivities. Photos with Santa will take place in Santa’s Workshop located in Alpine Village and Mrs. Claus will be a part of the all-new Brunch with Mrs. Claus at the award-winning Villa de Flora. We visited Santa there and got a GREAT picture. He was VERY personable and funny!
- The Elf on the Shelf® Scavenger Hunt: Not a thrill seeker? How about an elf seeker? This new addition ignites the inner sleuth and takes guests on a journey throughout the holiday-clad hotel. Participants will follow clues and scan the hotel to spot the 10 scout elves who have landed at Gaylord Palms. By solving puzzles and finding all of the elves, guests will reveal the elves’ names so they can report back to Santa. All families that complete the scavenger hunt will win a special prize.
- Cirque Dreams Unwrapped: At the Emerald Bay Stage you can watch the world premiere of the all-new Cirque Dreams Unwrapped. Guests will be dazzled by an array of seasonal characters brought to life in a dreamscape of imaginative costumes and creativity, while stunning performances leave audiences on the edge of their seats. Audience participation may happen, I was called on stage along with four other attendees! 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. And every few days the show is “changed”, to ensure performers are at their peak performance for their acts!
FINAL SAY: Over all, this was another winning visit. There was a lot of “action” where the kids got to stay busy with sliding, sledding and building. I would highly recommend the 2016 ICE to my friends and family. Christmas at Gaylord Palms is open daily until January 1, 2017, including holidays. Packages are on sale today. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to ChristmasatGaylordPalms.com. Gaylord Palms Resort is located five minutes from the gates of Walt Disney World at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746.