We had a chance to preview ICE! yesterday, as the Gaylord Palms Resort was readying the final touches on their newest theme, The Nutcracker. Over 2 million pounds of ice has been artfully carved into a story, complete with the popular – and fun! – ice slides. Guests can also purchase combo tickets that includes Alpine Rush Snow Tubing. ICE! opens on November 15th, while snow tubing arrives on November 21st.
Banners announcing ICE! are draped above the convention center entrance.
We stopped for a few minutes to see the Christmas tree in the atrium, which is a few minutes walk away (and up the escalator) from the convention center. The 54-foot Christmas tree here is nothing short of spectacular, especially at night. Guests can enjoy the Christmas tree lighting and stage shows most evenings during ICE!, beginning on November 21st. I highly recommend making an evening of it, or stay a night or two.
I admit, I’ve not seen The Nutcracker in any form – ever (that I can remember). So we’ve got that on our Netflix list for this week before we enter ICE! again. It will nice to understand each room as we walk through them again.
This year, the main hall is designed like an Alpine Village. It was still being worked on as we entered, but the hall was barely recognizable from previous years – it was shaping up beautifully. This will be the last year for Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating, as Gaylord Palms has ended its partnership with Dreamworks. Shrekfeast will also be ending this year. We are glad to have enjoyed both multiple times.
Christmas trees are found in the convention center, which will start bustling with guests looking for winter fun beginning this weekend!
I took one photo of the Alpine Village, it wasn’t ready for full photography yet. I just wanted to give everyone an idea of what it will look like – very pretty.
Heading into ICE!, we noticed that new texture could be found on some of the sculpture. Until this year, all the sculpures were smooth. I am not sure what they did yet to create the look of this panda, but we will find out next week. The eyes are mesmerizing! The artisans are so talented, making beautiful works of art out of large blocks of ice.
We will have a much more complete look at ICE! next week when we visit, but here are some photos from the different rooms before we get to a new feature for this year.
The texture on the Mouse King is also extraordinary and adds realism.
On the Blocks Ice Bar is a new feature. Guests can pre-purchase a special drink, and enjoy it here in ICE!
Jeff poses behind the bar.
We are now heading toward the ice slides, which are always a favorite of ours!
The slides can be seen beyond this archway, decorated with ballet dancers in ice.
The feet of the dancers are sculpted to show their grace.
These slides are truly a lot of fun, make sure to have mittens! It does get cold in ICE!, 9 degrees. We always bundle up so we can stay longer – usually a hat, gloves and scarf will help keep us in there for an hour or so.
Jeff took his first ride down the slide for 2014!
We have a teaser video of ICE!. Next week it will be a full walk-through!
Dancers and other characters of The Nutcracker take on various poses.
The Frostbite Factory is back for a second year, where guests can watch artisans in action. This was a huge hit last year.
New for 2014 is this Gaylord Palms snowglobe, which is a great location for Christmas card photos!
Here is a look around this room, which will soon be a hub for guests to meet artisans and learn about their craft!
Looking through this frozen ornament is the Nativity Scene, which has been here from the first year.
The angel has been moved, so guests can enjoy it more fully – including through photos.
Crystal clear ice is used here, telling the story of Christmas through songs and detailed carvings. It is a yearly favorite, and a lovely way to end the exhibit each year.
For ICE! and Alpine Rush Snow Tubing ticketing information, along with resort packages and information about Christmas activities at Gaylord Palms this season, go to the official website!