ICE! at Gaylord Hotels: 2016 Events and Themes
While we’re all watching the heat of Rio de Janeiro and the Summer Olympics, the folks at Gaylord Hotels have ice on the brain. Three million pounds of it to be exact.
Gaylord Hotels recently announced themes for Christmas and ICE! 2016, and it’s shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. If you’re not in the know, ICE! is the signature holiday attraction at Gaylord Hotels. Each Gaylord Hotel location features more than two million pounds of ice hand-carved by master ice artisans from Harbin, China. Colorful sculptures, crystal clear nativity scenes and multi-story ice slides are just a few examples of all that ICE! has to offer in an indoor walk-through attraction.
“It takes months to transform our spectacular resorts in Nashville, Dallas, Orlando and Washington, D.C. into magical holiday settings,” said Mike Stengel, senior vice president of Gaylord Hotels. “Lights are already going up outside, and we have more than 8 million pounds of colorful ice blocks on order to create our most beloved holiday tradition – ICE!”
While three of the Gaylord Hotels are featuring classic Christmas stories with beloved characters, the Gaylord National has chosen to showcase holiday traditions from around the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and many more. The National will also offer a Breakfast with Charlie Brown and Friends holiday meal. Guests can interact with Peanuts characters while enjoying a delicious meal.
Presented by Pepsi, the ICE! experience is kept at a frosty nine degrees (and that is a very accurate number). Visit each resort’s holiday website (linked below) for a full line-up of events taking place at that particular location.
ICE! 2016 Themes:
After experiencing the ICE! Exhibit, guests can warm up with heart-warming family entertainment that ranges from live shows, Santa visits, holiday kids’ trains and character breakfast.
Events do vary by location, but all four resorts will feature The Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt. By finding all of the scout elves hiding in the resort and solving the puzzles in the scavenger hunt booklet, families will reveal the elves’ names so they can get their Christmas magic. Guests who help the scout elves will receive a special prize.
At the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, guests can choose a gingerbread kit to decorate as well as visit with a life-sized gingerbread man for hugs and photo ops.
New for 2016 at Gaylord Hotels is an exclusive Build-A-Bear Workshop experience that lets guests make their own furry winter friend – a cuddly plush polar bear that was designed for Gaylord Hotels.
ICE! opens on Saturday, November 19 and runs through January 1 (excluding some days, so be sure to check schedules). Tickets start at $29 for adults and $21 for kids under age 12 during non-peak days. Prices are $36 for adults and $29 for children during peak days. Kids three and younger are free. Military and group ticket pricing are also available.
You do not have to be an overnight guest of a Gaylord Hotel in order to experience the ICE! exhibit and many of the other events.
For more information on ICE! 2016, including tickets, hours and hotel packages, please visit ChristmasAtGaylordHotels.com.
I’m a big fan of ICE!, and Gaylord Hotels in general (the Gaylord National is my “home” hotel), so I’m hoping to get in a visit this year. I can’t wait to see holiday traditions interpreted in pounds and pounds of icy wonder at the Gaylord National. How about you? Which ICE! exhibit are you planning to visit?
You might be interested in:
Visit Nashville's Opryland ICE! Exhibit
Each winter, Nashville, Tennessee hosts a whimsical wonderland at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. ICE! features three-dimensional ice monuments and colorful ice sculptures, many of which are more than 25 feet in length. The show is held from mid-November through the first week of January, and the theme this year is "A Christmas Story." You can experience Christmas Story scenes such as The Old Man’s Major Award, Aunt Clara’s pink nightmare, and the ultimate triple dog dare at the school’s flagpole. All scenes are hand-carved from 2 million pounds of ice.
ICE! runs November 8, 2019, through January 1, 2020, and has varied hours.
The attraction has garnered national recognition from USA Today, The New York Times, Southern Living magazine, and Travel + Leisure magazine, to name a few.
The ICE! Sculptures
ICE! provides an unusual and exciting addition to Gaylord Opryland's A Country Christmas. The Convention Center transforms into a self-contained, 40,000-square-foot refrigerated space filled with ice sculptures, displays, and even some live entertainment.
This exhibit is kept at a chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit, blending amazing frozen creations with thrilling ice slides, all enhanced by dramatic lighting and special effects. The resulting handiwork includes beloved holiday figures such as Santa and Mrs. Claus, frolicking snowmen, and heavenly angels—many of which weigh more than two tons.
To stay comfortable, guests are issued complimentary warm parkas with hoods. Guests can also exit the cold exhibition into the retail and refreshment area for a warm treat and shop for gifts and souvenirs.
The Story of ICE!
The exhibit is the creation of 35 dedicated artisans from Harbin, China, who spend nearly an entire month in Nashville creating this one-of-a-kind attraction. In order to supply the raw materials to the craftsmen, a local factory churns out 36 truckloads of ice over a three-week span.
To build the ICE! attraction requires three different types of ice. Clear "crystal" ice is the most complex, requiring 45 gallons of water to be frozen over a period of three days for a single 400-pound ice block. White ice has a cloudy, flaky appearance, much like snow, and is created by quickly freezing the water to prevent the molecules from aligning. Lastly, colored ice is used to provide artistic highlights to the ice sculptures and comes in nine different colors via the addition of food coloring.
There is a reason that ice artists are brought in from China to create this magical display. Ice Lantern Festivals have their roots in traditions of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties of Imperial China and began with the custom of lighting ice lanterns as a way to guide hunters in the overcast winter nights. They made the lanterns by freezing water in wooden buckets, which formed an ice block once overturned and a candle was set inside the block of ice. In modern-day Harbin, China ice festivals with impressive sculptures have become a winter mainstay.
Exhibits at ICE!
Upon entering, guests meet the welcome wagon ICE! style, with a snowman country band, complete with a Grand Ole Opry barn facade in vibrant color.
Past the barn, a giant, full-color wreath portal transports guests back in time to an old-fashioned country home carved out of ice. The scene captures Christmas Eve, complete with a gingerbread ice porch and a Victorian ice family giddy with Christmas spirit. Mom and Dad steal a kiss under the mistletoe, the family dog sleeps by the fireplace where stockings hang, and a child looks upon the scene in amazement. In the center of it all is the family tree, built from green ice with glowing electric candles.
Beyond the house, guests come upon a horse-drawn carriage and frozen driver, where they can climb aboard, and have their photo taken on a frozen sleigh ride. Next is the fantasy world of the Christmas Castle, with toy soldiers standing guard and candy cane turrets. Guests can partake of the three different paths at the popular two-story ice slides.
Leaving the castle courtyard through a long, illuminated tunnel, visitors will find Santa's Toyland. Elves are hard at work carving toys and placing them on enchanted conveyor belts to load up Santa's sleigh. Bright flashing lights and colorful candy decorations adorn the whimsical contraptions, all under Santa's watchful eye. Guests can pose for photos on a special stage beside the ice Santa himself.
Following Santa's Toyland is The Winter Forest, featuring a running waterfall, twinkling stars behind a painted dusk sky, and a winding footpath. To be discovered among the trees are realistic woodland creatures populating the ice forest. A bench is provided for guests to sit and capture a snapshot in front of the waterfall and pond.
Guests exit the forest through a frozen tree canopy to a Country Church environment. Here, a monumental sculpture of the Herald Angel is set against a rustic church. Light streams through the ice, stained-glass windows surrounding the angel with a miraculous aura.
Upon leaving the church, guests round the corner to discover the signature scene of ICE!: The Nativity. Each year is a marvel as the crystal manger completes the experience with one of the world's most beautiful and inspirational renditions of the Nativity.
Thanks for letting us know!
I am pumped!! I love visiting Gaylord Opryland's A Country Christmas celebration and one of the biggest reasons is ICE!. And the hotel just unveiled the theme for this year's exhibit and it's awesome. You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer . . .
From Gaylord Opryland:
The resort’s signature holiday attraction—ICE!, presented by Pepsi—returns with a new theme that might just “go down in history.” This year, the beloved Christmas tale, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer comes to life like never before in 2 million pounds of colorful, larger-than-life ice sculptures. Kept at nine degrees Fahrenheit, the exhibit is hand-carved by 40 master artisans from Harbin, China, and will include favorite scenes with Rudolph and his friends, plus multi-story ice slides.
In additional news from Gaylord Opryland, the resort is pleased t announce the return of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical to the Grand Ole Opry House November 18 through December 25. But brand new for 2016 is Breakfast with the Grinch—an interactive dining experience with the star of the Broadway show—the Grinch himself!
And this is exciting! Grand Ole Opry members Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers are bringing their trademark family harmonies to a holiday dinner show at Gaylord Opryland. The food at this show is always festive and delicious and the Gatlin Brothers will be making your day merry and bright! Known for major hits like "All The Gold In California," "Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer To You)," "Broken Lady" and "I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love," brothers Larry, Rudy and Steve will perform holiday classics and many of their career hits.
A Country Christmas has been hailed as one of the “Ten Great Places to Catch up with Santa” by USA Today; “The Most Christmassy Hotel in the Nation” by the Travel Channel’s “Extreme Christmas;” one of the top 10 places to spend Christmas in the world by Travel + Leisure; and a “Nashville treasure” by Southern Living.
Tickets and vacation packages are now available at ChristmasAtGaylordOpryland.com or by calling 1-888-677-9872.
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Show opryland 2016 ice
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