It’s probably safe to say that every family that celebrates Christmas has their own holiday traditions. It may be the certain things they do when decorating the tree. Or what they eat during their “traditional” Christmas dinner. Joe and I make it our business to drive around the neighborhood and look at peoples’ holiday decorations in late December.
People who live near a Gaylord Hotel may have had an annual tradition of stopping by to see the annual ICE! display.
ICE! is a winter wonderland featuring a self-guided, walk-through experience made almost entirely out of ice (literally tons of it). Each hotel’s experience will have a theme, usually of a well-loved Christmas-themed movie or TV show, such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Polar Express, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, etc. They tend to rotate from year to year. In 2018, the Gaylord Palms’ theme was A Christmas Story. That is, by far, my favorite Christmas movie on earth. And yep, we sure did go see it!
ICE! began in 2001 as an annual themed attraction at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. More Gaylord properties have participated as the years go on. The scenes are traditionally carved by a team of 40 artisans from Harbin, China (Harbin is best known for its annual International Ice and Snow Festival – each year more than 2,000 sculptors carve a 100-acre walk-through Ice Park from blocks of ice taken from the Songhua River). Here’s more info about how they do it.
There was no ICE! in 2020, of course, due to COVID. Things were looking up in 2021, but it would have been virtually impossible to fly the sculptors in from China that year, so the program was, again, cancelled.
But this year ICE! is BACK! Here’s the schedule:
- Gaylord Opryland (Nashville, TN): November 11, 2022–January 1, 2023
- Gaylord Texan (Grapevine, TX): November 11, 2022–January 1, 2023
- Gaylord Palms (Kissimmee, FL): November 18, 2022–January 1, 2023
- Gaylord Rockies (Aurora, CO): November 18, 2022–January 1, 2023
- Gaylord National (Oxon Hill, MD): November 25, 2022–December 31, 2022
As always, ICE! will feature larger-than-life ice installations at each designated resort, with a showcase created from more than 33,000 large blocks of ice weighing more than 5,000 tons. The displays are kept at a room temperature of 9 degrees and range from a few inches to more than 30 feet in height.
40 ice artisans (they don’t mention if they’re from Harbin this year) will spend 6 weeks building the showcases, which use different colored ice to make the scenes more realistic.
As always, each hotel will have a different theme:
- Gaylord Opryland: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Gaylord Texan: The Polar Express
- Gaylord Palms: How The Grinch Stole Christmas
- Gaylord Rockies: A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Gaylord National: A Christmas Story
If that wasn’t good enough, CIRQUE: Spirit of Christmas will be performed at three Gaylord properties (National, Palms and Rockies). Each live show will feature acrobats and high-flying stunts as it tells the story of a boy dismayed by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The show will run from 35 to 75 minutes, depending upon the location.
And finally, as is THEIR tradition, all of the Gaylord hotels will take on a festive holiday theme, including special events and decorations, as well as menu items at the property restaurants.
Tickets are on sale now and vary based on location and date.
Groupon has offered substantial discounts in the past, so it may behoove you to hold off and keep checking there. Other discounts for local versions of ICE! may also pop up (i.e. these were all the discounts available for ICE! at the Gaylord Palms in 2019).
Oh! Also, heads up that the Gaylords Hotels are in the midst of a giveaway called So. Much. Christmas. Here’s more info:
GIVEAWAY: We’re giving away fantastic #SoMuchChristmas prizes! TO ENTER: RT this & follow @gaylordhotels by Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. ET. See replies for prizes. No pur nec. 18+ Ends 5 pm ET 8/31. Rules: https://t.co/ta4Tcbzcox pic.twitter.com/VAzmWDR8xp
— Gaylord Hotels (@GaylordHotels) August 17, 2022
And here are the rules: Click here.
And may I be the first to say it….HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary