Geek in Orlando: Gaylord Palms ICE!

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Gaylord Palms ICE! Featuring Holidays Around the World!  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Gaylord Palms ICE! Featuring Christmas Around the World! Image: Dakster Sullivan

Florida isn’t known for its winter. In fact, I’m not entirely sure Florida believes in seasons. Gaylord Palms gives those visiting the area a taste of what winter would be like if Mother Nature would allow it. At a chilly 9 degrees, ICE! at Gaylord Palms is the coolest attraction in Florida.

For the past 15 years, Gaylord Palms has been bringing over 40 artists from Harbin, China and two million pounds of ice to the Central Florida area for their ICE! event.

New Traditions

This year’s theme is Christmas Around the World and represents cultures from countries big and small. If you can stand the cold, take some time to read the information next to each sculpture to see what the significance is. And after you’ve taken in all the culture, hit up the 2-story ice slides to engage in some chilly fun. Slider’s tip. Sit on your parka when you go down so you actually slide instead of squirm down. 

The Frostbite Factory is back with some additions including a replica of Santa’s sleigh for a cool family photo. Want everyone in the photo? No problem. When we were there they had plenty of employees around to help take pictures.

Carrying over the theme of Christmas Around the World, Cirque Dreams Unwrapped boasts three casts with members and acts from around the globe. Three casts mean three reasons to watch it more than once to see everything they have to offer (and it gives you a chance to marvel at the beautiful atrium Christmas tree and all it’s LED light glory). If you want to get a good seat, arrive early or see the box office about VIP seating options.

Old Favorites and Add-Ons

Snow tubing ($19.99) – Hit the slopes in an inner tube and get ready to scream. Small children can ride with a parent in one of the double tubes. This is a popular one so get their early or be prepared to wait.

Santa’s Snow Throw ($9.99 per person) – With a bucket of snowballs and target in sight try and see if you can knock the toys or elves off their shelf. Hit the special target and you may get some snow flurries.

Gingerbread Decorating Corner ($29.99 per kit) – This is a fun group activity and gets you in the spirit with a take-home treat.

Mrs. Claus’ Chrismas Traditions ($9.99 per person) – Join Mrs. Claus as she tells you some classic holiday stories and sing-a-long with some Christmas carols. It’s a 30-minute show with a “sweet” ending.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Scavenger Hunt ($9.99 per booklet) – Hey, you’ve already paid for parking, take in all the fun you can and go on a scavenger hunt around the hotel for some furry buddies. Once you complete your hunt, head back to the box office for a prize!

Safety and FAQs

  • Parking is $22 each entry (if you leave and go back you have to pay again).
  • Strollers are welcome and there’s plenty of room for moving around. I would bring a blanket or six for whoever may be riding (and something to protect their little ears as well).
  • Closed toed shoes are required.
  • Parkas are provided but you may want to bring along a jacket, some gloves, scarf, hat, and other winter wear you’d never need in Florida.
  • It’s not unusual for electronic devices to have a big drain on battery power, freeze up, or even power off. Don’t freak. Just take your device outside of ICE! and it will thaw out.
  • There’s no real good time to go to avoid the wait. Generally right when it opens is a safe bet but even that might not hold true this close to Christmas. Take along something to keep the anxious little ones busy while you wait for your experience to start.

ICE! has been one of my family’s traditions for more than five years now and this year it was nice to learn about the traditions of other families around the globe. If you are in the Orlando area make sure you check it out before it melts away on January 5th! Tickets start at $16.99 for children and $29.99 for adults (for a price break, order them online in advance). For more ticket information head over to ICE! at Gaylord Palms website.

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Disclaimer: GeekMom attended a PR event for this attraction. 

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