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Gaylord Palms announces ‘The Polar Express’ as Ice! theme for 2019

by Brittani Tuttle

This holiday season, guests visiting Gaylord Palms Resort will get a chill from the magic of Christmas as the holiday film “The Polar Express” is featured inside Ice!, the resort’s annual winter experience.

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During Christmas at Gaylord Palms, the resort will celebrate the season with festive décor, holiday activities and shows, and of course, showcase their ice sculpture exhibit.

polar express

As guests enter Ice!, they will set out on a magical adventure to the North Pole, all while learning about true friendship, bravery and the spirit of Christmas. “The Polar Express” will come to life in a world made of more than two million pounds of ice, hand-carved into sculptures and interactive features that recreate iconic scenes from the film.

“We can’t wait to debut ‘The Polar Express’ as this larger-than-life attraction,” said Johann Krieger, general manager for Gaylord Palms Resort. “Christmas is a truly magical time here at Gaylord Palms, and this film embodies the magic and wonder of the season. We know guests of all ages will love experiencing Ice! this year to feel that holiday joy.”

The Ice! experience is crafted by artisans from Harbin, China, home of the world’s largest ice and snow sculpture festival, who traveled more than 6,000 miles to hand-carve colorful ice to create these larger-than-life sculptures. This year, guests will find over ten scenes from “The Polar Express,” along with the event’s two-story ice slides and the popular Frostbite Factory live ice carving showcase. Ice! concludes with a separate area dedicated to a traditional Nativity created with crystal-clear ice.

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New for this year is the Elf Training Academy at Alpine Village, where guests can become honorary gift maker elves and create the perfect gift for a loved one – all under the guidance of the elf supervisor.

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Also new for this year will be a brand-new light show in the St. Augustine atrium. The new show will feature a brand-new musical score accompanied by millions of choreographed lights around the resort’s six-story Christmas tree.

The Sounds of the Season Concert Series will return to the atrium and fill it with joyous sounds of the season. VoicePlay is among those acts returning, and other performers will be announced later this season. All performances will include concert patron-exclusive admission to the Ice! attraction.

The resort will also present the Three Kings Festival, a commemoration of the extended holiday season celebrated by many Christians in Latin America and Spain to honor the Three Wise Men and their journey to visit baby Jesus as told in the Gospel of Matthew. Some of the activities during the festival include a musical show “The Journey of Los Tres Reyes Magos,” as well as special food and drink offerings. The Three Kings Festival will run from Dec. 27 – Jan. 5.

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped will take “holiday thrills” to a new level in a 25-minute experience featuring acrobatics, theatrics and imagination. The show features new acts and performers each year to bring a new take to the show, through the guidance and imagination of Broadway director and Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg.

Inside the resort’s Everglades atrium will be the Christmas Tree Trail, a display of nine Christmas trees that Sparkle the Elf, Santa’s chief Christmas Tree Decorator, has personally prepared. Each tree will represent one of Sparkle’s favorite things about Christmas, as well as a tree that will honor Gaylord Palms.

The Secret Santa Scavenger Hunt will enlist guests in Santa’s Secret Service as they use their own decoder ring to decipher clues hidden throughout the resort’s atrium. Those who find all the clues and break the code will earn a Santa’s Secret Service badge.

In the Naughty or Nice Escape Room, Jack Frost has moved the names of the “Nice” Gaylord Palms guests onto the Naughty side of Santa’s list! guests will have to work together to follow clues and solve puzzles to secure their spot on the “Nice” list and avoid a stocking full of coal.

The interactive Reindeer Express Post Office will return this year, inviting guests to write down their top Christmas wishes on a postcard before entering this facility to send their list off to Santa.

The Alpine Village will be the central hub for all the holiday happenings at the resort. In addition to Ice!, the village is also home to attractions and shows, Photos with Santa, seasonal food and beverage offerings, and holiday retail locations.

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The Gingerbread Decorating Corner will return in a new home this year, inside the Alpine Village Sweet Shop. Guests can choose a gingerbread house or themed cookie kit to create and take home. The Alpine Village Sweet Shop will also offer additional treats for purchase. Cinnamon and Nutmeg, the resort’s resident gingerbread characters, will also be available there for hugs and holiday photos.

sugary sweet storytime

Each night, the Alpine Village Sweet Shop will present Sugary Sweet Storytime, telling the story of “The Nutcracker” in an interactive show led by the Sugarplum Fairy. The experience also includes a super sweet cup of Sugarplum Hot Chocolate in a souvenir mug. Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions will lead guests in a half-hour interactive show filled with sing-a-longs and holiday stories, along with a finale of warm cookies and milk.

Santa’s Snow Throw will put real snow in guests’ hands as they show off their pitching skills, tossing the snowballs at interactive targets created by Santa’s elves. 

Snow tubing will send guests flying down an eight-lane tubing hill covered in real snow. The all-ages attraction will offer both single and double tubes to accommodate kids and their parents.


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One-night packages to experience Ice! at Gaylord Palms start at $224 plus tax, resort fee and parking. The packages include Ice! tickets for two, with the option to add more, plus a souvenir family photo. Overnight guests can also schedule a visit to Ice! during the daily hotel guest-exclusive Extra Cool Hour from 9-10 a.m.

To learn more, or to book your stay, visit ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.

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1 comment

Linda Hermann July 31, 2019 - 6:13 pm

Dates that the ice show is open ?

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