12.14.2016

christmas magic with ICE at gaylord palms orlando

When I was in college and living in Orlando, my friends and I always made sure to visit ICE at Gaylord Palms. If you've never been before, let me fill you in on why it's so incredible. For one, it's Florida -- which means we're ready for another 82 degree Christmas. However, inside of ICE, it's a chilly 9 degrees! Us Floridians get to layer -- including one of the signature blue, warm parkas that Gaylord Palms hands out to guests. It gives that real winter experience. There are also two million pounds of hand carved ice sculptures, with a theme that changes every year. When you get to see these ice sculptures up close, it's just absolutely breathtaking. My college days are (long) over and we no longer reside in Orlando, but I knew ICE had to be one of those familial traditions because as magical as it is to us, it's going to be infinitely more magical to see through the eyes of our children. We left Carmen with my parents this year due to her being so little and the chilly temperatures inside of ICE, but Ethan was so excited to attend ICE this year.

This year's theme was A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is one of Ethan's favorite parts of Christmas. He loves Charlie Brown, he loves Snoopy, he loves the entire Peanuts gang and their Christmas adventures and movie and books (and dinnerware and collectibles -- he has them all).

We attended ICE on Thanksgiving weekend, on a Saturday night. It was busy, but I have to high-five Gaylord Palms on their efficiency. The lines are wrapped enough from room to room that you're always moving (and little ones don't get too impatient). The line moved rather quickly and after only a short, painless wait, it was time to enter the exhibit!

While you cannot touch the ice sculptures, there are FOUR ice slides that children and adults alike can slide down as many times as they wish. Ethan was still a little unsure about the slides this year, but I know next year this will be his favorite part of the exhibit! In addition to the ice slides, there are a few more interactive parts of the ICE exhibit, including many photo ops and a crawl-through Snoopy's doghouse!

From room to room, you get to venture into a new chapter of A Charlie Brown Christmas and see all of your favorite characters. The soundtrack to the film plays overhead, and in some rooms you get to hear the characters acting out the scene that is displayed in front of you in the ice.

We also had the cool opportunity to see a demonstration done by one of the ice sculpture artists at the Frostbite Factory.

Once you've taken in the display (you can walk through as many times as you would like!), you can exit, ditch your parka and purchase some hot cocoa to warm up. The entire lobby is decorated like a winter wonderland, filled with trees and lights and a Build-A-Bear factory and a gift shop that looks real enough to truly be the North Pole. Although ICE is the event you came for, the Christmas experience begins the moment you step foot into the Gaylord Palms lobby.

ICE runs through January 1st and tickets can still be purchased online. If you're making the trip, check out their packages for snow tubing and other special events!

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