We were fortunate to take part in a media preview for ICE! at Gaylord Palms this week – we also went back two days later for the showing of Puss in Boots in their new 3D Theater, and I'll review that experience – and more – in a new Denise's Corner column by Monday. I have nearly 150 photos to share from our ICE! experience!
Check out our full walk-through video of ICE!
I attended ICE! for the first time in 2004, the year after it debuted. It was already a well-known event by then, and extremely impressive! This was the 4th or 5th year I've been to ICE!, and I'm always amazed by the display. ICE! is kept at a very cold 9 degrees – we both wear double socks, mittens and I highly encourage a hat and scarf. I went through the exhibit in only 10 or 15 minutes in 2004, ICE! was a last minute gift and I wasn't prepared for the cold. During this media preview, we spent an hour inside, taking photos and enjoying the slides and atmosphere. ICE! isn't just colored ice, it's ice sculptures built over several months by 40 artisans from Harbin, China.
ICE! isn't the only experience here. Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW! is next door for an additional fee, the new DreamWorks 3D theater is a fun experience (also for an additional cost), and there are other add-ons that can be included. Even moreso, there is plenty you can do around the resort that won't cost an extra penny, and are a lot of fun for the entire family. I expect to pay for ICE! tickets later this season to enjoy everything (media night isn't fully set up as far as the additional shows, etc.). We have never seen the tree lighting, but we have enjoyed "Luminescence", a show that includes aerial choreography, as well as "Christmas Wonders". Between the live shows, the Polar Bear Pursuit (where you can look for stuffed polar bears) and seeing more of the resort – including the live gators – there is enough to do for hours if you choose. A cup of hot chocolate is included after ICE!, but a coffee shop is situated near the live entertainment if you plan to spend more time.
Every year, the theme for ICE! is different. In conjunction with the recent partnership with DreamWorks, the theme is "Shrek the Halls". Guests enter a huge "Holiday Hall" which branches off into several directions. The hall looks empty here, but it will be MUCH busier soon. Expect waits for ICE! upon arrival.
Everything is themed on a different level than in previous years, from the costumes to the exteriors and the gift shop. In our two evenings at the resort, we met all the available DreamWorks characters (including Gingy).
Parkas. You'll need one!
I have never seen the film Shrek the Halls, but it was easy to follow along. Each room includes signs that tell the story, and I'm a big fan of the Shrek characters (especially Puss in Boots!) Shrek, Fiona, Puss in Boots and all of the favorite Shrek characters appear from room to room. The ice sculptures are always amazing.