Brrr! Do you feel that chill in the air? It’s time to bundle up in those cozy winter coats, hats and scarves and slip on over to Central Florida’s coolest one-of-a-kind Christmas attraction: Ice! featuring DreamWorks Animation’s “Merry Madagascar” at the Gaylord Palms Resort. Celebrating its 10th year, Ice! is exhibiting more than 20,000 square feet of hand-carved ice sculptures made of two million pounds of ice — including four two-story ice slides.
Lions and Penguins and Ice! Oh, My!
Prepare to be mesmerized by the vibrant colors as you wander through the icy wonderland at your own pace. Relive the story of how Alex the Lion and his friends saved Christmas after Santa and his reindeer crash onto the island of Madagascar with this tribute to the DreamWorks Animation TV show Merry Madagascar.
Eleven vignettes showcase different scenes. Capture the charm of the “Florida Freezer” with characters such as Melman the Giraffe, the tallest sculpture, standing at 10 feet. Dare to disregard the pizzazz of the penguins. Enter a room featuring the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, St. Basil and the sphinx and plummet down one of four ice slides.
A team of 40 talented artisans traveled from Harbin, China, and worked for more than a month to slice and shave 6,000 blocks of colored and clear ice, each weighing approximately 400 pounds. To illuminate their craftsmanship, they froze more than 1,000 LED light tubes into the attraction.
Ice! is kept at a frigid nine degrees Fahrenheit (-13 degrees Celsius), so be sure to dress appropriately: Closed-toe shoes and long pants are required. Hooded winter coats are provided in a variety of sizes. Hats and gloves aren’t required, but are recommended and may be purchased on site at the gift shop if you forget to bring yours.
Video tour of this year’s Ice! attraction:
While visiting Ice! isn’t free, guests can experience with these special events free of charge:
Majestic Christmas Tree Lighting
Guests looking for a more traditional treat can enjoy Gaylord Palms’ tree-lighting ceremony, complete with singers, carols, lights and the star of the show, a massive 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree. It towers over the St. Augustine atrium.
Live Stage Shows
As part of the holiday lineup, Gaylord Palms offers live stage entertainment, including the spirited Luminescence Christmas show, throughout the Christmas season. Shows take place in the Emerald Bay Plaza.
Polar Bear Pursuit Scavenger Hunt
Guests can take a jaunt throughout the indoor atriums to spot cleverly hidden polar bears. Answers are entered online to be eligible to win a grand prize.
Guests can also participate in these additional charge activities:
ShrekFeast Interactive Character Breakfast
Kids will become an honorary Ogre and joining Shrek and friends for a fairytale feast. Tableside hugs and photos are included. This experience features a Magic Fountain bubbling over with delicious chocolate slime and Shrek-shaped waffles with syrup.
Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating
Hosted by Gingy, the most famous of all Gingerbread men, guests can choose from several different design options. After they’ve decorated to their heart’s content (don’t forget the gum drop buttons) they can meet Gingy.
Ice! is open daily through Jan. 1, 2013, including holidays. Ticket prices range from $13.99 to $29.99. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.
Gaylord Palms Resort is located five minutes from the gates of Walt Disney World at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, Fla. For more information, visit gaylordpalms.com or call 407-586-2000.
Ice! Photo Gallery: