This is a special Monday edition of Denise’s Corner, on the heels of my article with tips on enjoying Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Today, we'll leave Disney property – barely – and head to the Gaylord Palms Resort for their DreamWorks Experience!
My first visit to the Gaylord Palms Resort was in 2004, for an overnight visit with ICE! included. I was very impressed with the resort, which I’ve been to many times since.
ICE! is a yearly tradition for us, and this year the Gaylord Palms Resort stepped up their offerings with it’s new DreamWorks Experience. The DreamWorks Experience encompasses some of the activities that were already part of the resort (such as ICE! and last year’s addition, SNOW!), but also includes add-ons for overnight and day guests! And for those who enjoy the traditional Christmas shows in the atrium, you won’t be disappointed – those are back as well.
Some of the highlights of the DreamWorks Experience:
ICE! Featuring DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls – I’ve already posted an article with 150 photos of ICE! Shrek the Halls. ICE! is still the centerpiece of the Gaylord Palms holiday experience, it’s unlike anything else you’ll find here in the Orlando area. We enjoyed seeing the characters from "Shrek" carved out of ice, gliding down the ice slides, and meeting Shrek and Fiona – along with Puss in Boots, Gingy, Po, Alex and Julien – in the two evenings we spent at the resort.
Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW! – My ICE! article also includes some thoughts and photos of SNOW! SNOW! is geared more towards young children. If kids have never seen snow (or don't have access to it each year), they likely will have a blast! The SNOW! experience was not fully operational when we went – more snow was to be added, and mats were to be included for the slides. Walking into SNOW! felt like I was entering into a children's park during the winter. A statue of Po from "Kung Fu Panda" is at the entrance. Combo tickets for ICE! and SNOW! are available.
DreamWorks 3D Theater Experience – New for 2011, guests can purchase a ticket to see the film "Puss in Boots" in the seasonal 3D DreamWorks Theater. We had the opportunity to try this new offering out on opening night! Guests walk the red carpet, where they will be announced by the host and have their photo taken with Puss in Boots himself. He's my favorite DreamWorks character! The ticket price includes a soda from the Freestyle machine or a bottled water, as well as two food items. I chose the hot dog and homemade ice cream sandwich, Jeff had the hot dog and a toffee popcorn. The hot dogs were large and tasty, but my favorite item was the ice cream sandwich. It doesn't look big, but it was extremely filling! By the time we entered the concession area, we were already needing to get into the theater – I didn't have a chance to even look at our food but for a moment, but the ice cream sandwich tasted like vanilla ice cream between two yummy brownies. I saw other guests coming back with soda refills and an additional snack item later, and I did get another regular popcorn when I went back out as well. I don't know if that will normally be allowed. We also received two small souvenir Puss in Boots posters, and a souvenir photo with Puss in Boots (I think it is 4×6). The theater seats 198, but seems intimate compared with a standard theater. We really enjoyed this experience!
We have a video of our DreamWorks Theater Experience!
Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating – This wasn't yet open when we were there for the media night, but guests can purchase one of several different options (Gingerbread House Tree Ornament Kit, Gingerbread Cookie Family Kit, or a Gingerbread House Kit) to decorate. After designing your gingerbread creation, you get to meet Gingy!
The Gaylord Palms Resort offers The Christmassy DreamWorks Experience Package, which includes one or two nights at the Gaylord Palms Resort, a ShrekFeast Interactive Character Meal, ICE! Shrek the Halls, a DreamWorks Welcome Amenity and more! For prices and information on the packages and above DreamWorks activities, visit the Gaylord Palms website.
One note – as I mentioned in my ICE! article, there is quite a bit to do during your visit to Gaylord Palms that won't cost anything extra. After ICE! (and/or any other DreamWorks Experience activity), enjoy the Polar Bear Pursuit Scavenger Hunt, a show or two in the atrium, the Christmas Tree Lighting, and check out the alligators, turtles and more! Schedules are available at the resort.
We look forward to heading back to ICE! later in the season.