Entertainment Editor

The team of artisans who create the magic of ICE! at Gaylord Palms travel more than 6,000 miles from Harbin, China. 

To begin creating sculptures from “A Christmas Story,” the artisans were given photo books full of hundreds of still photos from the film.

The News-Gazette had the opportunity to talk to the team’s art director, Zhang Xu Hong. 

Osceola News-Gazette: How long have you been part of the ICE! team? 

Hong: I have been carving ice for 20 years, and have worked with Gaylord Hotels for six years.

ONG: How did you begin your career of sculpting ice? 

Hong: I wanted to explore this skill as a little boy after watching others carve in my hometown of Harbin, China. I have been carving for 20 years and love this work.

ONG: What is your favorite part about sculpting? 

Hong: This is my dream job. I love to create these beautiful displays for hundreds and thousands to enjoy.

ONG: Is it hard to work in a 9-degree climate all day? If so, how have you been adjusting? 

Hong: It is not bad for me. I am used to this from my hometown in China. We make sure we have proper clothing and shoes to experience this temperature. 

ONG: What do your family and friends say when you show them your finished product?

Hong: They do not always know the story of the ICE! show we create here in the U.S., but they can always appreciate the beauty of the finished sculpture. It makes them want to see the original movie or show to see how it became this attraction.