Christmas has always been a favorite time of year for me. The pageantry, the decorations, even the shopping and of course the presents. It was amazing as a kid, seeing all the wonder of Christmas and feeling that magic, to mostly spending time with family. As an adult, it was even better, seeing it through the eyes of my children, and feeling that magic all over again. These days, as my kids are older, Christmas is about finding that magic again. Yes, that means nostalgia, and that’s where Gaylord Palms comes in. This year, their huge Christmas program brings the wonder of the holidays to life with huge pageantry, amazing lights and of course Santa. There’s the up close love of Mrs. Claus and her cookies and holiday traditions, the artful excitement of Cirque Dreams, and who couldn’t forget going snow tubing, something that really doesn’t happen in Florida. But above all else, there’s ICE. ICE at Gaylord Palms is a holiday tradition that brings favorite Christmas stories to life. This year, it brings the classic, Charlie Brown Christmas to life like you’ve never seen it.
ICE at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee is always one of the highlights of the Christmas season. The exhibit features almost 2 million pounds of colored and sculpted ice. The hotel brings in ice sculptors from China to bring the characters to life. This year, the Charles Schulz classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas is brought to life with more larger than life sculptures than before.
The exhibit features just about every single memorable scene from the show, including one of the defining scenes, where Linus tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about.
Video-That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown!
In addition to bringing Charlie Brown to life, there are several interactive elements, including tunnels, and yes…even an Ice slide!
The key to the slide is to get the parka under your butt! Once you sit down, if you get the parka under you and lift your feet slightly, you can get going at a pretty fast speed.
While it is amazing to look at, and a very cool Christmas tradition, it is also very cold! Gaylord Palms keeps the exhibit at a balmy 9 degrees Fahrenheit. They do provide Parkas, but they are not very thick, at least not thick enough for us. Hats and gloves are highly recommended, especially if you’re not used to the cold temperatures.
If you want to get a little warmer, or at least a feel a little fuzzier, there is also the On the Blocks ice bar located right inside the ICE exhibit. The bar offers a great place to get a drink, and is an additional charge. Unfortunately, it’s not very good to warm up in.
Want to check out more Charlie Brown Christmas? Of course you do!
Video-ICE! at Gaylord Palms Full Walkthrough featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas!
The exhibit has been a family tradition of ours for about five years now. While the hotel changes up the theme every year, there’s one thing that they always do, and that’s the ICE Nativity.
If you celebrate for the “real” reason of Christmas or not, the huge Nativity is breathtaking. The rest of the exhibit uses colored water for the statues, but the nativity uses clear water to bring the story of the Nativity to life.
Remember we said that the hotel brings in ice carvers from China? They’re still there! The Frostbite Factory has an ice carver from Harbin China actually working on a piece of the display. It shows the hard work that goes into the exhibit and the artistry behind each piece.
ICE is just one small aspect of Christmas at Gaylord Palms. There is also snow tubing, snowball tossing, Santa, Mrs. Claus and cookies, a huge Cirque show, tree lighting, character breakfast and MUCH MORE. Honestly, the only way to experience the full Christmas at Gaylord Palms experience is to stay onsite. On top of the Christmas activities, there’s also a ton do in the hotel, especially with the new waterpark. There are also pieces all over the hotel that bring the beauty of Florida to life in a massive atrium that covers just about the entire hotel.
Christmas at Gaylord Palms lasts until January 1st, 2017.