As a New England girl living in Florida I am always looking for activities to help get me in the Christmas spirit. For me Christmas at 80 degrees still isn’t really Christmas and I have lived here for 30 years! One of the events we have attended in years past is ICE! at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL. We went a few years ago and had a ball and we plan to go again this year because they have added SNOW! I am so excited!! (I tried to locate my pictures from our visit to ICE! and they aren’t on my computer so now I know we need to go back).
Here is some great information about all of the Christmas Festivities taking place at the Gaylord Palms.
The “coolest “ Christmas celebration south of the North Pole is coming to Central Florida’s Gaylord Palms Resort, where temperatures will be hovering around nine degrees and guests will be invited to experience SNOW! and ICE!
That’s right. Forty tons of real snow will fill the all-new SNOW! A North Pole Carnival attraction, where young and old can make snowmen and snow sculptures, take aim at a snowball target range, build igloos and have their own personal snow day. And, once again ICE!, a dazzling winter wonderland hand-carved from more than two million pounds of ice returns for its eighth year at “The Best of Florida Christmas Celebration” from November 20 through January 2, 2011. Gaylord Palms Resort makes it easy, and fun, to celebrate the holidays in one of the world’s most exciting family vacation destinations, with unique Christmas packages starting at just $199!
- “Christmas Memories” captures that special time together with family or friends. The one-night package includes accommodations, tickets to ICE!, souvenir photo, self-parking and resort fees.
- “The Best of Florida Christmas” package where guests can enjoy a complete Florida holiday vacation, from beginning to end! This “Best Of” package offers accommodations, unlimited admission to ICE! with priority entry, tickets to SNOW!, A North Pole Carnival, souvenir photo, self-parking and resort fees.
- The Grandparent Getaway holiday package, which includes accommodations, tickets to ICE!, souvenir photo, and a special lunch or brunch dining experience with Mrs. Claus starts at just $459, including resort fees and self-parking, for a two-night stay.
While staying at the Gaylord Palms Resort, guests can enjoy every detail of the Best of Florida Christmas offerings from ICE! to SNOW! and the myriad of shows and holiday entertainment.
The theme for this year’s ICE! attraction is based on the beloved Christmas poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The iconic holiday sonnet is captured in intricate hand-carved ice, including “stockings hung by the chimney,” father in his sleeping “cap” and, of course, a sleigh with eight flying reindeer. Not a single ice-carved Christmas trapping is missed as visitors arrive in the Grand Hall where they can walk up an ice stairway to the second floor and, then, take a slippery slide down one of the attraction’s four two-story ice slides.
A favorite holiday tradition is the attraction’s signature scene, a life-size Nativity carved completely of crystal-clear ice. Dramatic lighting and a stirring narrative track give guests an opportunity to pause and reflect on the story behind the season.
The massive wintry landscape of ICE! is carved by hand during a month-long visit by skilled artisans from Harbin, China, a city known for its annual International Ice and Snow Festival. Although the attraction is kept at a frigid nine degrees, visitors stay warm in the oversized winter parkas handed out before entry.
SNOW! offers all the fun of a winter carnival in 40-tons of real snow! Included is a snowball target range, Kiddie Snow Tube Run, Coke Bottle Toss and Flip a Penguin. Food areas, with snow-themed holiday treats, will offer everything from snowberries, snow cones, cotton candy and roasted chestnuts.
According to Senior Vice President and General Manager Johann Krieger, temperatures within the new SNOW! attraction can range from 35 to 60 degrees, comfortable enough for visitors, and of course Santa, who is available to visit with children at “A Visit to Santa Claus,” conveniently located nearby.
“The Best of Florida Christmas Celebration” encompasses virtually every square inch of the 63-acre resort which is decked out in lights and holiday trimmings inside and out. The massive 4.5-acre indoor atrium is aglow with thousands of lights, trees, poinsettias, wreaths, bows, and garlands, and serves as a backdrop for dazzling holiday events.
Of special note is “Luminescence,” a musical stage show that fills the atrium with sound, light and high-tech aerial choreography with performers flying through the 18-story, glass-enclosed space.
“Family Traditions,” an a capella choir, performs traditional carols for visitors in the Emerald Bay Plaza. “Christmas Wonders” a stage review also offers festive holiday tunes, topped off with the lighting of the Majestic Christmas Tree. Shows take place throughout the day and evening all through the holiday season.
Children of all ages will enjoy “The Polar Bear Pursuit,” a scavenger hunt for holiday trinkets and treasures. Grand prize is a Gaylord Palms VIP Getaway.
On weekends throughout the holiday season, visitors will have an opportunity to join Mrs. Claus for a Holiday Lunch on Saturday or Holiday Brunch on Sunday at the award-winning Villa de Flora restaurant, where Santa is often a surprise guest.
As a salute to Florida’s vibrant Latin community, Gaylord Palms continues its annual tradition – Noche Latina at ICE! This after-hours exclusive opportunity will be held on Friday, December 3.
For those seeking a little more adventure, the Orlando Polar Bear Club will take the plunge on Saturday, December 4, running through ICE! in nothing but a bathing suit.
Tickets to the ICE! attraction range from $9.99 to $25.99 depending on the type of ticket and day of the week. Entry to SNOW!, a North Pole Carnival, is $7.49 Monday – Thursday and $9.99 Friday – Sunday with the purchase of an ICE! ticket. Discounted tickets are available online at www.gaylordpalms.com/christmas.
For reservations and further information call 407-586-2000 or visit www.gaylordpalms.com/christmas. Resort package pricing is based on availability, subject to change and exclusive of taxes and assessment fees. The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is located at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee, FL.