2 mllion pounds of ice. Over 2 million twinkling lights! Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is a winter wonderland during the Christmas season, with the centerpiece ICE! attraction just one part of an incredible day – or, even better – an incredible stay.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
My first visit to the Gaylord Palms Resort was in 2004, just a year after ICE! debuted. I have been in many beautiful resorts, but the atrium just took my breath away! I was there on an overnight visit that included ICE!, and I had so much fun exploring the resort. That giddiness has never waned – there is a plethora to see all under one roof, including live alligators, indoor gardens and lush waterfalls. The atrium smell reminds me of spa aromatherapy, and I could recognize it with my eyes closed.
During the Christmas season, there is even more to see and do! Last year, Gaylord and DreamWorks teamed up to bring characters and activities to the Gaylord Palms Resort (and to other Gaylord Resorts around the country). In addition to ICE! and the holiday shows, guests can enjoy meet-and-greets with characters including Shrek, Princess Fiona, Po and Gingy. My favorite DreamWorks character is Puss in Boots, we met him at ICE! last year, and at the ShrekFeast Interactive Character Meal (which is included in Christmassy Dreamworks Experience Packages, or can be purchased separately).
Meeting Gingy at Gaylord Palms ICE!, 2011
This year's ICE! exhibit is themed to Merry Madagascar (Shrek the Halls was the theme in 2011, which you can see our extensive photo report and video). Two million pounds of ice are carved by artisans from Harban, China. It is impressive, beautiful and fun – with two ice slides for guests to enjoy! I don't think I could ever get tired of sliding on the ice! And guests who stay on the Christmassy DreamWorks Experience Package can go to ICE! as often as they'd like during their stay, with front-of-the-line access. That is a great perk for anyone who enjoys ICE! as much as I do!
Denise on ICE! Slide, 2011
Denise with Puss in Boots in Ice, ICE! Shrek the Halls 2011
Nativity in Crystal Clear Ice, ICE! 2011
Meeting Shrek and Fiona, ICE! 2011
I recommend a winter hat and gloves for ICE!. Closed-toe shoes are required. The more warm you are inside the exhibit, the longer your experience can be! Gaylord Palms provides long, hooded winter coats.
There are several shows that occur nearly ever day at Gaylord Palms through the holiday season. All dates and show times are listed on the Gaylord Palms website, I recommend checking that out when planning your visit!
Family Traditions is a traditional take on the holiday season, where you can sing along with favorite Christmas classics, performed live!
Luminescence Rehearsal, 2011
Luminescence might be my favorite show, with not only live music, but also aerial choreography.
If contemporary holiday music is more to your liking, then you will enjoy Christmas Wonders!
The Majestic Holiday Tree Lighting takes place on many nights between November 10th and January 1st with singers, carols, and lights.
Children can also meet Santa Claus, and everyone can enjoy the Scavenger Hunt themed to Rise of the Guardians. For those on Christmassy DreamWorks Experience Packages, there are extra perks including DreamWorks character wake-up calls (I love getting called by Donkey!) and a family photo.
Meeting Shrek and Fiona at Shrekfeast
Meeting Puss-in-Boots at Shrekfeast
Shrek Waffle at Shrekfeast
Christmassy DreamWorks Experience Packages start at $209 per night for the first 2 guests on a 2 night package, and $189 per night for the first 2 guests on a 3 night package. Tax, resort fee and parking are additional. Each extra adult or child over 3 years old is $49 plus tax extra per night, and an atrium upgrade is $40 per night.
Looking Down on Atrium from Elevator, Gaylord Palms
Alligator at Gaylord Palms
Grunts (Baby Alligators) at Gaylord Palms
The Gaylord Palms Resort went through extensive refurbishments last year, and looks better than ever! There are two new pools, with the Cypress Springs Water Park that has 4 water slides and a large screen for watching family-friendly movies. Nearby is the elegant South Beach adult-only swimming pool lined with palm trees.
South Beach Pool, Gaylord Palms
Cypress Springs Water Park, Gaylord Palms
Outdoor Movies at Gaylord Palms Resort
Don't miss Christmas at Gaylord Palms this year! It is truly a unique experience that you won't find anywhere else in Florida. We will have full 2012 coverage to share soon!