The holiday season is my favorite time to be in Orlando. Seems like everyone has a special party, beautiful decorations, or an adapted show to help get the people into the Christmas spirit! For my family there are some must do’s each and every holiday season. We love seeing the Christmas parade at Magic Kingdom, enjoy resort hopping to look at all the decorations, and yes going to the Gaylord Palms Resort by Walt Disney World to experience ICE! For those of you who don’t know what ICE is, it is a yearly tradition at the Gaylord Palms where they bring in expert ice carvers from Harbin, China to carve some of the most beautiful pieces of art out of ice you have ever seen!
Here are some things you should know about this years ICE!
- This years theme is ICE! Featuring The Nutcracker
- Price of regular admission gets you access into the ICE! exhibit and slides down the ice slides in the exhibit
- Parkas are provided at no additional charge, however make sure to bring warm hats and gloves as the temperature in the area is a chilly 9 degrees
- New this year is a snow tubing area (Alpine Rush) as well as an ICE bar located inside the ICE! area
- Prices for ICE!, tubing, as well as the rest of the experiences here. Also discounts are available on that page as well!
- This experience can get crowded so I recommend looking into the front of the line access ticket to skip the long lines on busy days!
- There are also plenty other activities such as a tree lighting and two shows that are FREE!!!
- Parking is $18.00 a car so keep that in mind when budgeting for this activity as well!
I was fortunate enough to be invited to experience ICE! as well as a dress rehearsal of the stage show Luminescence, Alpine Rush Snow Tubing, and a surprise performance from the Orlando Ballet of The Nutcracker!!!
We started out our night with the Orlando Ballet who came to perform some of the numbers of The Nutcracker. This was a pleasant surprise and they did an amazing job. They performed a few pieces in front of us to showcase their amazing show that will be starting soon at the brand new Dr. Phillips Performance Art Center in downtown Orlando! I dont want to give too much away, but from the few pieces that we saw it is a must see this Christmas season! To learn more about the Orlando Ballet and to buy tickets, click here!
After the ballet, we watched the final dress rehearsal of the stage show Luminescence. This stage show is in it’s 10th year and mixes live singing, a great band, a synched light show using the tree and other hung lights, as well as high flying acrobat performances. This show is a favorite of ours and showcases some amazing Christmas music in a rock/pop concert. There is even a suspended drum kit that a drummer plays over 20 feet in the air!!! We have loved this show for a while and were glad to see it return this year!
After the show, we made our way into the Alpine Village and into the ICE! exhibit. This 9 degree environment showcases some amazing ice carving from the famous Harbin, China ice sculptors. As said before, the theme this year was The Nutcracker. Rooms filled with giant colored ice sculptures, giant ice slides, a brand new ICE! bar to enjoy an adult beverage and the return of my favorite room, the ice nativity with crystal clear ice sculptures of the nativity scene!
We then explored the gift shop that was full of The Nutcracker merchandise and other home decor to help get you ready for the season in your home. Also in the gift shop area was an area to purchase your photos, a place to buy snacks such as flavored popcorn, hot chocolate and flavored pretzels. There was also an area to meet Santa Clause and also a place to help decorate gingerbread with Gingy from Shrek. All of these areas were great for families to bond and have a great time together!
We also got a chance to preview the brand new Alpine Rush Snow Tubing area, which is located next to the ICE! exhibit. This area was a ton of fun for my family. Here you take a tube up to the top of the 8 different lanes and race your friends and family down to the bottom! Even though this area looks small, you would not know it when you are on the top of the hill. This area is a great addition to the Gaylord Palms and I know it will be a hit this holiday season! We went down the hill 4 times and wanted to go back for more but had to head home!
Overall this exhibit was amazing! We have been the last 3 years and we absolutely love it! For large families, the cost can add up quickly, but we also see the value in having everything you want to do this holiday season under one roof! Check the websites often for discount codes and ways to save a few bucks here and there per family member. At the end of the day, I say go but only do what you really want to see and do! That is why I love ICE! It gives you the ability to customize your trip to get exactly what you want!
Have you been to the Gaylord Palms at the holidays? Experienced ICE!? What did you think? Comment below to let me know what you and your family thought!