We were invited to preview Gaylord Palms ICE! Featuring “A Christmas Story” just before it opened on November 16th, 2018. ICE! is one of my favorite activities of the holiday season each year. I’ve attended or covered the event almost every year since the second one in 2004. Through the years, so much has changed! When ICE! began, it really was just the walk-through and some caroling entertainment in the atrium. It was still wonderful, but now Christmas at Gaylord Palms is like a theme park full of offerings under an impressive glass roof. From ICE! to Cirque Dreams: Unwrapped, Snow Tubing and Santa’s Snow Throw – and new for 2018, the Elf on the Shelf Character Breakfast, this is the first year where we stayed overnight and I felt like I didn’t have time to experience it all. We do spend a lot of time photographing, but there is more than ever to see. I am not showing every activity, a few weren’t available during the preview and a couple we just didn’t do. You can find all activities and prices here. Parking is included in one of the passes.
Christmas at Gaylord Palms runs through January 6th, 2019 and features 2 million pounds of carved ice – this year is the first year for a live action film, the holiday classic, A Christmas Story. For uniqueness and detail, this is the best year ever. Read below for photos and video! And remember to bring your gloves, hat and heavy socks, it’s a chilly 9 degrees in the exhibit.
For years, Alpine Village in the Gaylord Palms convention center has been the hub of activity for most of the ICE! activities.
The centerpiece here is ICE!. Artisans from Harbin, China spent a month or more carving A Christmas Story.
Here is our video walk-through of ICE! and then keep reading!
The Department Store window is beautifully designed as well with the air rifle in the center.
Ralphie looks into the window.
Of course, the schoolyard scene with the frozen tongue on the flag pole is here. “I triple dog dare you!”.
The other main photo op is in the Fragile (or Fra-gee-lay!) scene when the leg lamp arrives. It is another fun photo!
Ralphie becomes a connoisseur of soap.
Ralphie with his C+ paper.
The scenes throughout really are so well done and tell the story of the film. I do recommend viewing the movie it if you haven’t before going to ICE! And next we’ll check out the newly redone ice slides for 2018.
The Santa scene in A Christmas Story couldn’t be a better fit for the ICE! slides. Santa and his elves are all here and want to make sure you make it down the slide.
The elves in the scene look very much like they do here.
Santa is ready to send you down the slide. 🙂 And the slides are curved this year and so much more fun that way!
Jeff goes down the slide.
The scene at the table is recreated here.
There are many classic scenes, and Ralphie here even has shattered glasses.
Of course, the pink bunny suit is a must for ICE!
And the final movie scene is dinner at the Chop Suey Palace restaurant on Christmas – complete with duck that’s smiling at him!
The nativity scene is a classic from year one, with crystal clear ice – surprisingly, it is the hardest ice to create.
I mentioned that there is so much more than ICE! Snow Tubing started a few years back after a couple of other attempts at snow here, and it became a hit. We don’t get snow here in central Florida (the couple of times we have it’s just a few flurries) and it’s nice to have tubing. There are a number of different ticket options, and they can include the snow tubing.
Santa’s Snow Throw is surprisingly fun, throwing actual snowballs at targets.
The Elf on the Shelf Character Breakfast is another winner for character breakfast experiences that have included Shrek and Peanuts in previous years.
The Naughty or Nice Escape Room was a lot of fun, and fairly quick at 30 minutes. David designs a lot of the entertainment here.
Sugary Sweet Storytime is new and another fun addition.
Cirque Dreams: Unwrapped does not cost extra on top of your ICE! ticket. It is shown multiple times per day in the atrium. You can pay for reserved seating though if you choose.
Here are a few photos of the show.
The skating section is one of my favorites.
The Dreams of Christmas light show in the atrium.
There is also a decent amount of unique merchandise created for ICE! Plus, Gaylord Palms offers some really fun other items, they’ve always had a terrific Christmas shop.
Thank you to Gaylord Palms for having us out! Christmas at Gaylord Palms can include as much as you want, whether it is just ICE! or a night or two over a weekend with a ticket for all the activities. Staying with an atrium view is optimum for me, we were given an overnight and it’s always lovely to see the Christmas tree and more from the room. As always, all views are mine and we’d attend ICE! and other activities at Gaylord Palms on our own if we weren’t covering it for the site.