I had the pleasure of attending the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center's preview of ICE! earlier this week.
Now in its fifth season, ICE! is a unique winter experience in sunny Florida. It is advertised as Orlando's "Coolest" holiday attraction. When they say cool, they really mean cold - as in 9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each year Gaylord Palms invites artists from Harbin, China to hand-carve nearly two million pounds of ice into larger-than-life, three-dimensional ice monuments and sculptures.
Here I am before entering ICE!
Groups of approximately 25 people enter ICE! at 10 minute increments. You first enter the "preshow" area where you watch 2 short videos featuring Santa Claus and Old Man Winter . The videos show the artists at work, how different types of ice are made for the show, and other useful information about the ICE! experience.
After the videos, you are given a long hooded winter parka and have your picture taken (which can later be purchased for $12.95 at the exit). The resort recommends you dress appropriately; closed toe shoes and long pants are required. The parka was great but I am also glad I brought along my scarf and gloves.
As a Floridian, I had never experienced ICE! until this visit.
When I first entered the display, it really WOWed me. The first room, Winter Wonderland was my favorite of all!
As I moved further into the display it definitely got much colder! Remember the 9 degrees temperature I mentioned in the beginning?
This year's ICE! features several new or revised scenes, including a walk-through igloo and a towering gingerbread candy house, meticulously hand-craved from enormous blocks of colored ice.
It was so easy to get caught up in all the sculptures and details that at one point when I entered the Candy Land area, I was uncertain which way to go and thought I was at the end. Try not to let all the required Fire Safety EXIT signs confuse you.
This year the ICE! castle and slides, have been re-designed to reflect a South Pole theme with a colony of colorful penguins.
The slide I picked which was the intermediate one. I have my pride about not taking the beginners - kid's slide. So much for my pride as I had to be helped up because of the ice at the end of the slide.
The signature scene is a breathtaking life-size Nativity carved completely from crystal-clear ice with dramatic lighting and narration.
The North Pole Conclusion
A Central Florida attraction just would not be complete unless you exit through a gift shop. But I must say the ICE! House Gift Shop has an amazing collection of holiday items as well a hats and gloves.
I think ICE! is worth the price and I'm glad I finally experienced it. I recommend it for both Central Florida locals and visitors as a unique holiday experience!
You can make a real afternoon or evening of it if you include the ice skating, shows in the hotel lobby and tree lighting. The overall experience is well worth the trip and cost. It is a unique experience that you can only have at Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.
Our host, Old Man Winter
Charity partner, Give Kids The World Village's will receive a donation for every ICE! ticket sold. Gaylord Palms will make a minimum donation of $10,000.
Visit the outdoor Ice Skating Rink and your skate rentals are included in the price of admission which starts at $7.99 when combined with a ticket to ICE!.
Be sure to pick up an Old Man Winter's Guide to Having an ICE! Day for a list of all the free holiday festivities! I did not see the Christmas Traditions musical stage show, its only offered on selected dates.
I did see Luminescence, A Christmas Fantasy show which is part rock and roll, part holiday tale, and part aerial exhibit.
Luminescence - A Christmas Fantasy -- the drummer plays several songs above the stage and moves around to different drums while up there.
Luminescence-A Christmas Fantasy
And don't miss The Icicles, an a capella quartet that performs in the ICE! pre-show area.
More photos from inside ICE!
ICE is the featured holiday event at Gaylord Palms and runs November 19 - January 3. Adult tickets range from $16.99 - $21.99 and children 4-12 $9.99.
Gaylord Palm's Resort and Convention Center is located at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee.
The previous post in this blog was Princess Giselle leads the Parade at Disney's MGM Studios.
The next post in this blog is Building The Magic - Curl by Sammy Duvall at Pleasure Island.