The holidays are all about making memories together as a family. And one of our favorite family traditions is celebrating Christmas at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee.
From breakfast with Charlie Brown and Friends to gingerbread decorating, photos with Santa Claus, exploring the Alpine Village, ICE! and more- it is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season.
Here’s a look at some of the fun we had during our overnight stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort –
ICE! featuring Christmas Around the World
At nine degrees and more than two million pounds of ice hand-carved into larger than life sculptures, this year’s ICE! theme features scenes from Christmas around the world.
The ice sculptures are massive and incredible to see in person. The attention to details and the colors infused into the ice makes it pretty remarkable artwork.
While you’re touring the ICE sculptures, go for a slide down the ice slides (don’t worry about getting your clothes wet, you are wearing a parka!) and pause for great photo opps throughout the area. At the end of ICE! experience check out the Frostbite Factory with live ice carving demonstrations and the traditional Nativity created with crystal clear ice.
I’d recommend bringing gloves and maybe a hat along for the ICE! adventures. They’ll provide you a big, cozy blue parka to wear while you tour the ICE sculptures. Last year, I bundled up too much and got hot (and then I had to carry around my layers while we played in the Alpine Village).
Start Your Day with Charlie Brown and Friends
One of our favorite activities during the Christmas at Gaylord Palms festivities is the fantastic breakfast buffet at Villa de Flora – complete with Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy — and new this year, Linus (without his blanket)!
I’m not sure who was more excited – me or the kids. They were all so cute looking and visited us a few times during our breakfast.
Held inside the main atrium, the buffet has a huge variety of great eats, including a made-to-order omelet bar and even Snoopy-shaped pancakes. We ate so much at breakfast that we ended up having a late lunch and more morning time fun at ICE and the Alpine Village.
While the breakfast buffet takes place every day at Villa de Flora, Charlie Brown and Friends are only there on select dates. It is definitely a treat and the food is fantastic. It is a fun way to start your day before the Christmas festivities.
Prepare to Be Amazed with Cirque Dreams Unwrapped
While my girls truly love all of the Christmas festivities, the true highlight for them is seeing the Cirque Dreams Unwrapped show performed daily at the Emerald Bay Plaza Stage in the St. Augustine Atrium.
Acrobats, jugglers, dancing, trapeze artists and more — the show features a rotating variety of performers so each show is different. We saw some incredible acrobats and a rollerskating duo that was fantastic and a little terrifying too – I was so nervous someone was going to fall! Ha!
Check the schedule for performance times – we ended up being able to see the show twice during our stay! Once at night and then an afternoon performance the next day!
The Cirque Dreams Unwrapped show offers free seats on a first-come, first-serve basis, they also have guaranteed seating available for purchase too.
Visit the Alpine Village
In the Alpine Village, you’ll find a great Christmas Marketplace filled with holiday ornaments, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, tasty treats, gingerbread decorating stations (for an additional fee), and even Santa and Mrs. Claus. They have some beautiful Christmas decorations available for purchase, so don’t forget your wallet!
Also in the Alpine Village, you can try your luck at snowball throwing and snow tubing. This is probably where we spent the majority of our time at ICE! this year. My girls were nonstop on the snow tubes and squealing and cheering all the way down.
Explore the Christmas Tree Trail
New to this year’s Christmas at Gaylord Palms festivities is the Christmas Tree Trail featuring trees decorated to honor the culture and traditions of various countries. These trees are located inside the Everglades Atrium and should not be missed – they are beautiful! From Brazil, China, Italy, India, United Kingdom and more.
The trees share information about Christmas traditions in each of the countries and I’m not ashamed to admit that I learned new things during our time there too. It also inspired me with how to decorate my own tree at home. (Although, my doesn’t look nearly as beautiful as the Gaylord Palms!)
And while you are in the Everglades Atrium, be sure to stop in at the atrium’s cabin to see alligators, turtles, snakes and more on display. My girls love visiting there each time we visit the resort.
Book Your Stay and Ways to Save
Whether you decide to book an overnight package at the resort or visit for the day — there are some great savings for families.
Florida Residents can use promo code FLR17 to save $4 on ICE! tickets when purchased online in advance or save $3 on ICE! tickets purchased at the Box Office or over the phone. Tickets subject to tax and service fee. Valid Florida Resident ID required.
Marriott Reward Members can save 25% on ICE! tickets using the promo code MRICE17. Tickets are available online, via phone or at the Box Office. Tickets subject to tax and service fee. This discount is only available for visits Monday-Friday only, November 21, 2017 – December 15, 2017.
And if you’d like to make it an overnight getaway, (be sure to go see Snoopy for breakfast!), there are a variety of overnight packages available including accommodations and tickets to ICE!
This year’s event was magical and the perfect way for my family to start the holiday season. From our Santa visit to exploring ICE! and plenty of snow tubing, we left with some fantastic stories and memories to last us throughout the Christmas season and beyond.
Take time out to make great memories with your family at the Gaylord Palms Resort now through January 7, 2018. For more information, go to www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.
Do you have plans to visit Christmas at Gaylord Palms?
** My family and I were invited guests of the Gaylord Palms Resort. We received complimentary accommodations, admission to ICE! and complimentary breakfast. Thoughts and opinions here are my own. **