Oct 23, 2023
BETHESDA, Md. — As Gaylord Hotels prepares for the upcoming holiday season, more than 200 master ice artisans have arrived at the brand's five resorts across the country to begin carving massive ice sculptures that create expansive, walk-through Christmas attractions.
The five resorts - Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Md., Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn., Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., Gaylord Rockies Resort in Aurora, Colo. and Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas - will host the teams of artisans for four to five weeks as they create "ICE!" — an annual, signature Gaylord Hotels experience constructed completely from ice.
More than 10 million pounds of ice - or 5,000 tons - has been delivered to the resorts, and carvers will use tools of all shapes and sizes, including chainsaws, chisels, hand tools and grinders, to create attractions that retell the stories of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™ (Gaylord National), The Polar Express™ (Gaylord Opryland), A Charlie Brown Christmas (Gaylord Palms), A Christmas Story™ (Gaylord Rockies) and Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!™ (Gaylord Texan).
More than 33,000 blocks of colorful ice will be carved into characters and scenes from each classic tale. The spectrum of ice coloring, created by a chemist using a proprietary formula, is mixed to maintain its vivid hues the entire holiday season. Lighting designers help create dramatic show vignettes using spotlights, accent lighting, colorful projections and LED lights frozen into sculptures.
"ICE!" made its debut in 2001 at Gaylord Opryland Resort and has since expanded to all five Gaylord Hotels. An annual fan favorite, ICE! is the most popular attraction annually at each resort.
The team of carvers travels thousands of miles to each resort from Harbin, China. Known as "Ice City," Harbin is no stranger to elaborate ice carvings - it's home to the largest annual snow and ice sculpting festival in the world. Working as a team, carvers follow design books that outline every detail of each film's famous characters. Artisans have different specialties, including constructing multi-story ice walls and facades, to carving faces, hands, apparel and other intricate character features.
The temperature inside "ICE!" hovers at a chilly 9-degrees Fahrenheit, and guests are provided Gaylord Hotels' signature blue winter parkas at the entrance to help stay warm.
An "ICE!" highlight each year is the "slide room," featuring two-story slides made entirely from ice. Guests are invited to slide down the chilly hills, and there's even a slide designed just for smaller "ICE!" adventurers. Another favorite area in the attraction is the Carver's Showcase, a wintertime workshop where guests can watch a master ice carver create sculptures in-person.
"ICE!" concludes in an area dedicated to a Nativity scene, carved by artisans in stunning, crystal-clear ice and set beneath a dramatic, starry sky.
This year, guests will be able to experience these holiday classics at Gaylord Hotels:
Alongside "ICE!," guests are invited to enjoy a lineup of winter festivities and holiday-themed events. Throughout the festive season, each property's signature atrium transforms into a winter wonderland full of dazzling decorations, including millions of lights, hundreds of elaborately themed Christmas trees, thousands of ornaments and miles of garland.
Guests can enjoy dozens of immersive, holiday activities (activities vary based on the individual resort), including ice skating, visits with Santa, ice tubing, snowball throwing, holiday escape rooms, gingerbread house decorating, storytime and sing-alongs with Mrs. Claus, craft-making inside Santa's workshop, scavenger hunts, and more.
Live entertainment lights up the season, including amazing acrobatics and athletic feats in "Cirque: Spirit of Christmas," an original show, featured at select resorts, with high-flying stunts, an original musical score and heartwarming story about a child who rediscovers the meaning of Christmas.
During their visit, guests can enjoy a world of dining options at Gaylord Hotels' restaurants and themed pop-up bars, as well as gala dinner shows and fun-filled character dining experiences.
In addition to special event and attraction tickets, packages are available that bundle holiday activities and special guest room rates. Tickets must be purchased online, in advance.
For more information or to purchase tickets and make room reservations, guests may visit ChristmasAtGaylordHotels.com.###