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ICE! is back at the Gaylord Texan and The Grinch is here too

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

ICE! is a Gaylord Hotels tradition - inspired by the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China. At ICE!, you will find life-sized ice carvings, typically themed to a classic holiday movie. Every year since 2001 (minus a two-year hiatus in 2020 and 2021) all 5 Gaylord Hotels host ICE! and other festive activities during the Christmas season. The Gaylord Hotels are a perfect place to bring your whole family to enjoy some holiday fun and get in the Christmas spirit! This year the Gaylord Texan Hotel is featuring Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Fun Facts about ICE!

DLT! in front of the ICE! Gaylord Texan sign wearing a blue parka

- The exhibit is made out of real ice
- Expert artisans from Harbin, China, are flown in to create these astonishing displays
- 2 million pounds of ice are used to make the displays at each Gaylord Hotel
- Each ice sculpture begins from huge blocks of ice that the master carvers spend hours to form into beloved characters
- It is 9 degrees Fahrenheit in the ICE! area - you will get a blue parka, as seen above, to wear as you explore ICE!
- There are two-story-tall ice slides you can go down within the exhibit
- No matter the theme, every Gaylord Hotel's ICE! ends with a crystal-clear nativity scene

Our Experience

The Polar Express Round Trip ticket carved out of ice
The Polar Express ICE! Experience in 2022 at Gaylord Texan

Going into the ICE! exhibit, you quickly learn how cold 9 degrees Fahrenheit is. We wore medium-weight winter coats under our blue parkas, so our torsos were warm. However, the rest of our bodies were ill-prepared. Our fingers, toes, and faces quickly froze, and by the end of it all, I could not feel my feet or face. At one point, I was not sure if I was even smiling for the pictures anymore since I barely felt my face.😅

The Polar Express Train and the conductor in the back both made out of ice
The Polar Express ICE! Experience in 2022 at Gaylord Texan

As you peruse through the exhibit, it feels like you jumped onto the screen and are in the movie! The life-size sculptures are immaculate and incredibly detailed. The sculptors do a marvelous job of replicating the characters of the movie, making you feel like they are truly standing right next to you. As you flow through the rooms, the story fleshes out right in front of you, and you can feel the frustration brought on by The Grinch, who is trying to steal Christmas. As you go through the different scenes of the movie, you will eventually find an Ice Bar where you can pre-purchase tickets to enjoy a cocktail while in the exhibit.

Ice slides in the middle of the ICE! exhibit

After the Ice Bar is the room with the ice slides, as seen above! We went down each slide, and on my last go, I slipped and fell as I tried to position myself to go down. It was hilarious and only hurt for about 5 minutes. With that in mind, be careful when going down the ice slides!

The ice slides are typically positioned in the center of the exhibit, meaning there are still a couple more rooms full of beautiful, detailed ice sculptures from the movie. As mentioned before, the very last room before the end of the ICE! exhibit is an awe-inspiring nativity scene made out of crystal-clear ice, as seen below. This room is always so breathtaking!

Crystal Clear Nativity Scene carved out of ice

Every year at each Gaylord, the ice artisans do an exceptional job creating these ice sculptures, making them look realistic and allowing you to feel a part of the beloved holiday classic. They are incredible at their craft and truly make the experience one-of-a-kind! The displays are so good that you forget how cold it is and want to go again next year to see the subsequent theme.

Christmas at the Gaylord Texan

View of the atrium from the back of the hotel. You can see the main tree and 4 light blankets colored in green and red during the Shine Light Show

As you arrive at the Gaylord Texan at night, you will encounter a whimsical, dazzling forest of trees filled with holiday lights. As you enter the lobby, you are welcomed by subtle Christmas decorations in the entryway, check-in, and bar. However, as you approach the atrium, you enter a Texan Winter Wonderland with a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree with various LED lights in the middle with "light blankets" on the sides dangling from the ceiling, as seen above. These are used in unison to create the Shine Light Show nightly at 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm, and 9 pm.

Spot to take pictures with Santa at the Gaylord Texan

Towards the left of Texan Eats, you will find another giant Christmas tree in front of where you can take pictures with Santa Claus, as seen above. Behind that area, near the fitness center and indoor pool, there is a small riverwalk that mimics the one found in San Antonio, TX. On the other end, near Zeppole, the Italian Restaurant, there is another white shimmering Christmas tree made out of lights. Throughout the atrium, there is a lot of Christmas décor sprinkled around - perfect for pictures!

Christmas Fun at the Christmas Village

Santa's Snow Throw at the Christmas Village in the Gaylord Texan

- ICE! - Adult tickets start at $28.99
- Snow Flow Mountain (Snow Tubing) - $24.99 per person
- Ice Skating - $22.99 per person
- Christmas Carousel, partially seen below - $6.99 per ride or $14.99 for unlimited rides
- Snowball Build and Blast - $12.99 per bucket of snow

Left to right: Emporium, Texan Lodge, Ice Skating Barn, and Christmas Carousel

In Christmas Village, there is an Emporium, partially seen above, where you can buy holiday gifts and souvenirs. They also have a Hot Chocolate station, an Auntie Anne's, a Cinnabon, and a food and drinks bar at the Christmas Village (as seen above). These all come in handy when spending a day at the Gaylord Texan! We surely appreciated the hot chocolate station once we finished going through the ICE! exhibit.

Christmas Fun outside of the Christmas Village

Elf Workshop at the Gaylord Texan decorated with a giant paint brush and huge crayons

- Shine Light Show in the atrium (as mentioned before) - Complimentary
- Photos with Santa to the left of Texan Eats (as mentioned before) - Various Packages
- Gingerbread Decorating Corner under the Main Tree - the Gingerbread Family Kit is $29.99, the Gingerbread House Kit is $49.99, and the OREO® Ornament Cookie (8) Kit is $34.99
- Mrs. Claus' Christmas Traditions - $16.99 per person
- The Grinch's Wonderful Awful Idea Scavenger Hunt throughout the atrium of the hotel - $12.99 per booklet
- Cirque: Spirit of Christmas at the Glass Cactus - Select dates only - Adult tickets start at $44.99
- Elf Training Academy behind the Main Tree, as pictured above - 1 Project costs $19.99
- 3 Escape Rooms - Starting at $156 for a group of 4

Screenshot from website for Play and Save for Gaylord Texan

If you are considering multiple activities and experiences, check out the Gaylord Texan website for any packages or deals they may have going on to save you some money! They typically have a buy more and save deal, where you can bundle up some of the activities and get 20% off or 30% off, as seen above.

There are also various Winter / Christmas-themed Spa Treatments, Live Events, and Holiday Eats and Drinks that can be enjoyed at the Gaylord Texan.

Keep in mind that prices, packages, and deals change. The above amounts are for the Gaylord Texan and from the Gaylord Texan website as of early December and do not include taxes or processing fees. For additional information on the various holiday offerings and to purchase your tickets, visit the Gaylord Texan's website.

Do I have to stay at the Gaylord Hotel to partake?

DLT! on a sled in front of one of the holiday photo opportunities at the Gaylord Texan

You do not need an overnight stay at the Gaylord to partake in ICE! or any other Christmas spectacles they have going on. Each Gaylord Hotel contains parking lots and/or garages for you to park and typically charges a fee. At the Gaylord Texan Resort, you can self-park for $40 at the Convention Center Parking or $25 for off-site parking.

ICE! at the other Gaylord Hotels

DLT! in front of A Charlie Brown Christmas ICE! display at the Gaylord Palms in 2017
A Charlie Brown Christmas in 2017 at Gaylord Palms

The different themes at the other Gaylords during the 2023 Holiday Season include:

- Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, has A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee, has The Polar Express
- Gaylord Rockies Resort in Aurora, Colorado, has A Christmas Story
- Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland, has Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Have an "ICE" time!

The Grinch wearing a XMAS sweater and pointing at a sign that says Cindy Lou Who is not coming in his home

We hope you get the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the holiday season at the Gaylord Texan! Keep in mind that there are 5 Gaylord Hotels around the country, so you do not only have to visit the Gaylord Texan. Figure out where your closest Gaylord is and make a trip out of it - each ICE! experience will be astonishing, amazingly intricate, and worthwhile! Remember: it is 9 degrees Fahrenheit in there, so make sure to bundle up: bring gloves, a beanie, a scarf, thick socks, and boots!

Have you been to ICE! at a Gaylord Hotel? Make sure to let us know in the comments below - I would love to know which one you went to and what theme they had! If you have not gone, are they on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

Did you enjoy and find this blog post helpful?

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Illustration of the Dale, Let's Travel! Sticker
Illustration of the Dale, Let's Travel! Sticker

*This article is not sponsored by Gaylord Hotels, ICE!, Marriot Bonvoy, any of the other above-mentioned businesses, or their affiliates.*

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2 תגובות

Katelyn Amanda Belser
Katelyn Amanda Belser
19 בדצמ׳ 2022

This is incredible! I always want to visit the one in FL

19 בדצמ׳ 2022
בתשובה לפוסט של

Such a fun and unique experience! Don't forget to bundle up!

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