Florida might be known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches and streets lined with Palm Trees, but once a year it’s all about ICE!
Now, in its 15th season, ICE at the Gaylord Palms has become a quintessential yearly must-do for locals and families abroad. The Gaylord Palms is like a have-it-all complete vacation destination with its themed restaurants, luxurious spa treatments and one of the best pool areas in all of Orlando with its slides and a huge poolside movie screen, but when ICE takes hold from November 21st to January 7th the entire grounds of the Gaylord Palms goes up another level.
This year they have instituted the theme Christmas Around The World. In their gorgeous Everglades area there’s a Christmas Tree Trail featuring nine different countries with each one representing a country like Japan, India, Italy and of course the USA. However, if you want to be completely wowed by a Christmas Tree than make your way to their main atrium. Its centerpiece is a huge six-story tree over Emerald Plaza surrounded by curtains of hanging lights. During ICE you can see those lights and that Christmas Tree come to life in a dazzling light show of sight and sound called Joyful.
Right below the tree is a whimsical stage for the Cirque Dreams Show Unwrapped, which in its third year can only be seen here at the Gaylord Palms. Unwrapped is a family-friendly Show that’s both hilarious with their violin playing frontman and death defying with their high bar routines and a roller skating act that will leave you cringed on the edge of your seat. Alongside the three interchanging groups of Cirque Dreams Unwrapped will be different concerts and events during their Sounds of the Season.
Before entering the actual ice tour, you are given a nice layered jacket to counter the 9 degree temperature that maintains and keeps it from melting. ICE itself is created by two million pounds of ice shaped, worked over and even colored by artisans from Harbin, China. You can even see them working live as you walk through ICE at the Frostbite Factory. They took the theme of Christmas Around The World into an indelible moment preserved in ice. Countries around the world were represented as characters in their own cultural attire and each person was holding the next person’s hand. This was such a touching display of unity that really stole your heart. There were also ice sculptures that you could crawl through and interact with for remarkable photo opportunities. In the middle of this frozen land there were five two-story ice slides, one being a smaller one for the kids. After racing down the slides a few times you moved into the grand finale, a crystal-clear ice scene of the Nativity. It is so moving and mesmerizing.
As you dropped off your jacket, you then entered another world in the Alpine Village. It has a beautiful gift shop with all the Christmas and holiday decorations you could want, a Build-a-Bear Workshop, plus food and drinks like Hot Chocolate and Coffee, Krispie Kreme Donuts, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Frozen Slushy’s and more. There’s a North Pole Post Office just outside where you can write a letter to Santa and crank them away. The Alpine Village has some special little houses as well. One is of course for Santa himself where you can purchase some professional photos for an additional price and another is a cozy room where you can have milk and cookies during a 30-minute Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions Show.
Yet, even that isn’t all that’s offered. There is a Gingerbread Decorating Corner with Mr. & Mrs Gingy where you can make wonderful gingerbread houses. Walking around, you might also get to meet the characters from the Peanuts Show, which you can also have an amazing breakfast with. Charlie Brown and the Gang each have their own signature dish in this breakfast buffet which you can feast on in the Gaylord Palms Villa de Flora Restaurant. Thankfully you can work off all that food with an epic snowball fight at Santa’s Snow Throw. You are given a bucket of snow balls and you get to test your aim at hitting many spinning targets.
The Alpine Village and ICE would not be complete though without it’s now famous eight lanes of Snow Tubing. You can either zip and spin your way down as a single rider racing others or go down on a double tube with your young ones. The Snow Tubing becomes Cosmic Snow Tubing at night with club style Led lights and a mixing of your favorite holiday tunes.
It’s easy to see why there’s so much hype over this event every year and this one is the best one yet. You can either experience Christmas Around The World from wherever you are or you can experience it with pure enjoyment at Gaylord Palms ICE! #Cagp17