Entertainment Editor

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Gaylord Palms. Though we are still a few weeks away from the grand opening of this year’s ICE! attraction, the convention center is quite the construction site as the artisans — who travel more than 6,000 miles from Harbin, China, to create 2 million pounds of intricate ice sculptures — prepare for Gaylord Palms’ big Christmas debut, with hundreds of pallets of multi-colored ice blocks, forklifts, chainsaws, chizzles, hard hats and more.

Once construction is complete and ICE! is open for the season, guests will have the opportunity to feel the coldest temperature they’ll probably ever feel in Florida — as the walk-through, ice sculpture attraction is kept at a chilly 9 degrees. 

“We are so excited about this season,” said Gaylord Palms Director of Public Relations & Marketing Chris Brumbaugh. “I know last year we said, ‘How could we do more Christmas?’ but we always will find a way.” 

Gaylord Palms welcomed media last week for a special preview of this year’s display, which is themed to the classic film “A Christmas Story.” This is the first time in history that the theme takes after a live-action film. 

But this isn’t the only “first” of ICE! this year. Also for the first time ever, the (returning) slide room will feature curved slides for guests of all ages. 

“It’s going to be incredible,” Brumbaugh added.

Outside of the ICE! attraction, guests can enjoy the Alpine Village— a place where families of all ages can continue to experience the joys of Christmas. 

Alpine Village features photo opportunities with Santa, fun with Mrs. Claus, a Gingerbread Decorating Corner, eight lanes of snow tubing, interactive snowball games, plus seasonal food and beverage options and holiday retail location like the Alpine Village Sweet Shop, which will be the home of the new show “Sugary Sweet Storytime.” The show will transport guests into the world of The Nutcracker, led by the Sugarplum Fairy. All guests can even enjoy some of her sweet, sparkly (And pink!) Sugarplum Hot Chocolate. Note: This special show is a pajama party, open to both hotel guests and the general public.

As escape rooms continue to trend their way across the nation, one will pop up right here at Gaylord Palms this Christmas season. The “Naughty or Nice” escape room will put guests on Santa’s naughty list, and they’ll have to make their way off of it in 30 minutes or less — or they will receive coal for Christmas. 

The Secret Santa Scavenger Hunt is expected to be another favorite this year, as guests enlist in Santa’s Secret Service to decode secret messages to find hidden clues throughout the resort’s atrium. 

“We’re really proud of this, and we’re really excited to see how our children react to it,” said Niko Nickolaou, director of special events. 

Christmas at Gaylord Palms is open daily from Nov. 16, 2018, through Jan. 6, 2019, including holidays. 

ICE! is a family-friendly event, held in the convention center at Gaylord Palms Resort. Because of the display’s low temperature, winter clothes — including long sleeve shirts, long pants and closed-toe shoes — are encouraged. Heavy coats are given upon entry, included in admission. Admission to ICE! and the resort’s other activities can be purchased in advance online at GaylordPalms.com

You can stay connected with all of the resort happenings by following @GaylordPalms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.