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Florida Guide > Other Activities

Christmas at Gaylord Palms

Friends of ours went to the Gaylord Palms at Christmas and were really impressed.

Apparently the festivities are on there for about six weeks ending early in the New Year. When you enter you see this fantastic 54-foot Christmas tree and here the activities for all ages begin. This is a walk-through attraction hand-carved from nearly two million pounds of ice! There are over 1500 fluorescent and fiber optic lights frozen within the ice, this creates a great holiday feeling.

More than 18, 000 total square feet of space is covered by the attraction which is also known as the ' Florida Fridge. ' It is believed to be the first of its kind in North America.

The attraction is carved by a team of 40 artisans from Harbin, China. The talented artisans spend more than a month in Kissimmee creating this one-of-a-kind attraction. Harbin is best known for its annual International Ice and Snow Festival, where more than 2, 000 sculptors annually carve a 100-acre walk-through Ice Park from ice taken from the Songhua River.

This was its sixth season and its theme was ' Santa' s Arctic Blast, ' featuring several scenes that star ' Jolly Cold Saint Nicholas' himself. One such scene is an oversized ' Santa' s knee' photo opportunity; everyone was in a line waiting anxiously to be photographed.

You go through a wonderland of larger-than-life, three-dimensional hand-carved ice monuments and sculptures, including some frozen creations, slippery ice slides, and holiday scenes. My friend’s children loved the slides, these showed Santa’s Christmas Eve flight complete with reindeers.

Apparently you do not have to worry about getting cold as visitors are given oversized parkas to stay warm inside the attraction. However be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and long trousers/jeans. The temperature inside is kept at 9 degrees.

My friends themselves really enjoyed the life-size Nativity carved completely of crystal-clear ice. They said there was dramatic lighting and a stirring narrative track which really made you think about the true meaning of Christmas.

All the family joined in the Hidden Holiday Gnome Hunt, a family hunt throughout the atriums of Gaylord Palms to spot cleverly hidden gnomes.

At Santa visits, you can see Jolly Old St. Nick himself. Some children who were shy just sent him their wish list by email.

There is live stage entertainment on selected dates but there was not any on the day they visited.

As a special surprise for the children my friends had made reservations for a Holiday brunch with Mrs. Claus at Villa de Flora. They said it was the perfect end to their visit.

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Page added on: 17 January 2009
Viewed 3849 times since 17 January 2009.

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