Gaylord Palms ICE! is one of our holiday traditions each year. Even before we were invited to the media previews, we enjoyed this festive attraction and all that goes with it in the form of shows, decorations and the tree lighting ceremony. We never recommend just going through the exhibit and then going home – there is so much more to do, much of it at no extra cost.
We spent 2 nights at the Gaylord Palms Resort, and we also posted an article about the various activities that can be enjoyed here during the holiday season!
Alpine Rush Snow Tubing is new this year, as is Santa’s Workshop! Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating is a favorite of ours, but this will be the last year for it.
A pretty horse display sits in the convention center hallway.
This year, the ICE! hall features an Alpine theme – I think it is the best it has ever looked. Guests can either buy tickets for ICE!, for Alpine Snow Tubing, or a combo ticket for both. Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating is also here. ICE! is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
On the wall nearby, guests can find out about the restaurants at Gaylord Palms.
Our visit was near the beginning of the run of ICE! It will get busier as the season progresses.
Team members at Gaylord Palms were ready to give us our parkas. While parkas are handed out for use, we highly recommend bundling up with gloves, a hat, scarf, and anything else to keep you warm. It is 9 degrees (or sometimes a couple of degrees less), and you want to be as warm as possible to enjoy the exhibit for as long as you’d like to. Boots aren’t necessary, I’ve always walked through with sneakers. Guests do have to wear closed toe shoes.
Brrrr is right!
Rules are posted about not touching, licking, or sitting on ice.
We actually know very little about “The Nutcracker”, even though I have family members who see the ballet every year. We had hoped to see a movie I rented before heading to ICE!, but didn’t get to it in time. Even without knowledge of the story (unlike “Frosty the Snowman” from last year), we really enjoyed seeing all the carvings – it is art that won’t be here for long. So much talent goes into these, with 2 million pounds of ice carved by artisans from Harbin, China.
Before reading our article with over 60 photos, here is our full walk-through video of ICE!
New this year is texture on some of the carvings, like this panda bear.
There are 9 different colors of dyed ice, plus crystal clear ice (which we will see at the end).
A train with many different colors of ice.
Peppermint candy in ice.
The Nutracker comes to life in Gaylord Palms ICE!
Two lightpoles and a wreath carved in ice.
Here are some photos from Gaylord Palms ICE! featuring The Nutcracker, with more information below.
The Mouse King has more texture than I’ve ever seen in the ice here. He really looks phenomenal.
Look at his long toenails!
The On the Blocks Ice Bar is new this year. It isn’t always open, but the price is $15.95 and includes 2 different drinks. This bar is for guests 21 and over (bring your ID!), and includes a sampling of Johnny Appleseed sweet, intense and gluten-free cider poured through an ice luge, and a “BlockBuster” drink served in an ICE! souvenir glass. We enjoyed stopping here.
Johnny Appleseed is poured through the ice luge and into our cups.
My drink was called “The Nutcracker” and was Bailey’s based.
There is a seat near this sign “I Froze My Blocks Off”, but you probably won’t want to sit on the ice for long. There are standing tables too.
We are heading into the ice slide room, which is a favorite of ours.
Ice slides can be seen beyond the ballerinas.
The slides are for anyone who wants to try it. Guests sit on their parkas and slide down the ice.
Jeff shows how it is done.
The journey continues.
Characters from The Nutcracker.
A returning guest favorite is the Frostbite Factory, where artisans from Harbin, China show how they create ICE!
A giant snowglobe makes for a fantastic photo opportunity!
There is quite a bit of information about how ICE! is created, which really shows how much work is put into the attraction before it even opens.
Soldiers are part of the Frostbite Factory again.
An artisan shows how ice is carved. It is really incredible that 36 artisans can carve through 2 million pounds of ice!
Two squirrels carved in ice.
An orange carved in ice, including the textured exterior.
The artisans in action here are actually creating a display, including this bear.
An artisan looks very focused on his work.
This circle shares details about the exhibit.
The last room has been here since the first year, the Nativity scene as seen through a large ornament made of ice.
This nativity scene is made completely of crystal clear ice, which suprisingly is the hardest to make. It takes 3 days to freeze 45 gallons of water for each 400 pound block of ice. The results are exquisite. This is a favorite room for many, one of reflection.
This angel is in a different spot this year, for guests to take photos with or of.
It can be hard to get this sign, as the camera lens fogs up for at least 10 minutes upon leaving. If you want photos inside the Alpine Village, take them before entering ICE! or wait a bit afterwards.
New this year is Market Square. I’ve always enjoyed picking up a souvenir at Gaylord Palms ICE!, but the store has more of an upscale feel this year.
Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating begins at $14.95 for a gingerbread cookie kit (3 cookies) as guests enjoy making cookies with Gingy. We include this in our article about activities at the Gaylord Palms Resort! This is the last year for Gingy’s Decorating.
Here is our video with Gingy this year!
Alpine Village Market Square includes ICE! merchandise; snacks; Elf on the Shelf items and a lot of merchandise themed toward the Nutcracker.
I don’t know the story of Elf on the Shelf, but there are so many items with him on it!
One thing that I really appreciate is that ICE! supports local businesses. Last year, Gigi’s Cupcakes begain selling at the exhibit. This year, Mrs. Bee’s Gourmet Popcorn from Winter Park (and now Artegon Marketplace) is here too. While their Winter Park store features 62 different types of popcorn, there are fewer here – but I highly recommend the peppermint with chocolate. Such a great combination!
Mrs. Bee’s also sells delicious fudge.
This is the Peppermint Chocolate Drizzle. Addictive!
Gigi’s Cupcakes is also back with holiday themed cupcakes.
I recommend making this a half-day experience. Head to ICE! in the afternoon, and check the showtimes and Christmas tree lighting for your visit. There are a few days where shows are not available.
Our favorite show is Luminescence! It combines a rock beat with Christmas music and aerial acts – just phenomenal.
For pricing and discount information, go to the official website. The last day for ICE! is January 4th, 2015.