Is it possible to see snow and ice in 85 degree weather? It is if you are visiting the Gaylord Palms Resort in Florida! The Gaylord Hotels have created a Christmas experience full of ice, snow, gingerbread decorating, and DreamWorks characters. It was a perfect way for my family to get geared up for the holidays.
ICE! was our first stop at the DreamWorks Experience. For the last month, 40 artisans have been creating sculptures from ice. My entire family was in awe as we wandered around the different ice sculptures that were carved from two million pounds of ice. You will recognize the characters from the movie, Shrek, including Donkey, Princess Fiona, the Three Blind Mice, Puss in Boots, and Shrek himself. The colorful sculptures are so intricately detailed that it is hard to believe that they are carved from ice.
About halfway through the exhibit, sit five slides of various sizes carved from ice. When we were there, only three of the slides were available so there was a little line but it constantly moved. After three rides down the slides, the kids decided that they were too cold and were ready to go.
The exhibit ends with one of the most beautiful Nativity scenes I have ever seen made from crystal clear ice. It took my breath away. Even my son exclaimed how beautiful it was when we rounded the corner and saw it. You have an option to purchase your souvenir photo at the exit of ICE! This is the only place that you can purchase your ICE! photograph.
Being the good Floridians that we are, my family doesn’t own very many items that can constitute as winter clothing. Luckily, before heading into ICE! You can pick up a bright blue parka. There are a number of sizes for both children and adults. Long pants and closed-toed shoes are required for your visit and I highly recommend hats and gloves. ICE! is kept at 9 degrees Fahrenheit so it is COLD!
Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW
My children have only seen snow a handful of times so our visit to Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW was a treat, especially since much of our holiday travel will be spent in the warm South!
While we waited in line, we watched the pre-show, a Kung Fu Panda movie shown on a large screen. The show kept them quiet and content while we waited for our scheduled time.
Kung Fu Panda’s Po took us into the snow area where everyone jumped in to play right away. There are several play structures and lots of open area to make snowmen and snow angels. Grab a mat and slide down the 64-foot pagoda slide or visit my son’s favorite spot and throw snowballs at Tai Lung!
Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW has 130 tons of snow that is made every day. It is cleaned up between each session and maintained throughout the visits as well. Just like snow that falls outside, it gets icy in some spots so wear sturdy shoes and watch your step. You will want your jacket because the room is kept at 55 degrees, but after a few minutes of running around it does warm up.
We were allotted one hour to play in the snow and although we thought that wouldn’t be long enough, we tired quickly. My family stuck it out until the end of our session, but many other visitors had already left. Po will come back and dance a little in one of the pagodas as walk you out when your snow session is over.
Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating
Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating was one of our favorite parts of the DreamWorks Experience. Well, it was one of our favorites once my daughter got over her fear of Gingy and finally climbed out from under the table!
Projects range in size and price. There is a gingerbread cookie family, a large gingerbread house, and a gingerbread house ornament. Each project comes with icing and candies with which to decorate. Prices start at $19.99. After running around in the ice and snow, gingerbread decorating was a great way to calm down and take a break. Each of the projects is large enough that you can decorate one together as a family.
DreamWorks 3D Theater Experience
We lined up with our movie tickets in hand and headed into the Puss in Boots movie “premier,” complete with a walk down the red carpet and a picture with Puss in Boots. Included with each ticket, we got to choose two snack items and a drink. Choose from candy, popcorn, hot dogs and more. If you can time your movie showing around lunch or dinner, this is a great way to save money during your visit.
Experience it for yourself
This season the DreamWorks Experience at Gaylord Palms is open until January 2, 2012. There are a number of packages available to suite your family’s needs. The one-night package begins at $149 per person for the first two occupants and the two-night package starts at $199 per person. You can add occupants for an additional fee and children ages 3 and under are free. I recommend staying in the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort but if you have plans to visit Orlando and are already booked at another hotel, you can purchase tickets to visit for the day.
If you aren’t going to be near the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee (near Orlando), a DreamWorks Experience is being offered at each of the other Gaylord Hotels: Gaylord National (15 minutes south of Washington D.C. in National Harbor Maryland), Gaylord Opryland (in Nashville, Tennessee), and the Gaylord Texan (in the heart of Texas in Grapevine).
We had such a great time celebrating the beginning of the holiday season at the Gaylord Palms that we plan to make a trip to the DreamWorks Experience an annual visit.
Jennifer Close loves to explore and take new adventures with her family down the street, across the country and around the world. She writes about her adventures on her family travel blog, Two Kids and a Map, and writes about exploring Pensacola at Pensacola with Kids.
A Note from The Travel Mama: As a representative for Travel Mamas, the author was invited to experience the DreamWorks Experience as part of a complimentary media visit.