It's time for the holidays in Central Florida, and one of our favorite Christmas traditions is now in full swing! Gaylord Palms ICE! debuts today for 2012 in the theme of Merry Madagascar – 9 degrees of chilly fun, with 2 million pounds of ice and 2 ice slides. We also have a full walk-through video!
If you've never seen ICE! I recommend setting aside at least a few hours or more to experience it! We watched the film Merry Madagascar the night before going to the media preview of this year's ICE! display, and it really helped us understand each scene.
We will be going through again as guests this weekend, there were elements of the ICE! experience not yet open yesterday (including the Santa meet and greet, and the add-on Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating). Also, the holiday shows begin today – I can hear them from my room as I type this! I've attended Gaylord Palms ICE! – often as a regular guest – many years since 2004, and just love the overall experience. It's not just about ICE, there is so much more to see and do.
We watched a rehearsal for one of the shows yesterday, as the 54 foot-tall Gaylord Palms Christmas tree twinkled in the background. There are over 2 million lights throughout the resort!
Snowflake projections greeted us upon arrival:
Gaylord Palms supports Give Kids the World:
Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating was getting ready for today:
The entrance to ICE!
When Gaylord Hotels teamed up with DreamWorks to create The DreamWorks Experience at each resort, the quality of the surrounding areas around ICE! went up drastically. ICE! has always been an incredible experience (as have the shows), but the theming of the queue, of the store, of the activities surrounding ICE – all of those received a massive upgrade last year. I don't have photos of the merchandise yet because my camera was fogged up from ICE! yesterday, but there are a lot of fun character items – reasonably priced – in addition to traditional Christmas merchandise. And there are meet-and-greets with characters nearby!
The queue is beautifully themed this year.
Jeff is getting ready to put his winter coat on! Gaylord Palms provides warm coats – but I recommend gloves and a hat in addition. Closed-toe shoes are required, and I found the mesh sneakers I used to wear a little cold for my feet. The more bundled up you are, the longer you'll be able to stay in ICE!
I won't go over each scene – but the entrance sets up the story of Merry Madagascar, including Santa's crash. Characters throughout the scenes include King Julien, Mort, Gloria, and Alex the Lion.
There is a lot more color to the ice this year, as last year's Shrek the Halls included a lot of green and earthy colors.