ICE! at Gaylord Palms

I was pretty sure Little Jack Frost moved out of Florida because we’ve just left what I call “fummer” (fall + a heavy dose of summer). It may be winter on the meteorological calendar, but I haven’t believed it because it hasn’t yet feel like it… UNTIL…

Until a visit to ICE! featuring ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas At Gaylord Palms!

Twas the night Gaylord Palms

From the moment you arrive at Gaylord Palms you know you’re in for a holiday treat. The building is draped in gorgeous lights and the sights and sounds on every corner welcome you to the season.

Glorious Tree at Gaylord PalmsThe atrium in Gaylord Palms is spectacular year-round, but for the holidays it literally drips with lights (over 2 million of them!). Guests enjoy a feast of festiveness centered around their glorious 54-foot tree.

Cascading white lights seem like snow falling all around it and, with a dose of holiday magic, the atrium really does “snow” nightly, turning the atrium into one gigantic snow globe!

More holiday magic unfolds with Cirque Dreams UnWrapped.” This fantastical nightly performance (free to the public) blends artistry, acrobatics, gymnastics, theatrics and a whole lot of holiday fun. Because of the performers rotate, each night the show is different, showcasing various incredible skills and feats.

trio of ICE performers Cirque Dreams sm

 

All around the resort, guests can participate in the Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt. Kids (and big kids!) will delight seeing just where the mischievous little guy is perched. Get your “I Spy” skills working as you discover all of his spots.

The main attraction is ICE!

blocks of ice

Blocks of ice waiting to be carved into holiday creations. Frozen “diamonds in the rough.”

The first time I saw ICE! years ago, it almost didn’t seem real. Artisans carve towering blocks of ice into every imaginable shape. This year I was invited to be an “ice-pert” and enjoyed watching the spectacle progress from the day the team from Harbin China arrived through to the grand opening for the season.

The "blank canvas" blocks of ice are now ice slides and a tree with presents.

The blank canvas blocks of ice are now ice slides and a tree with presents.

For 2015, the theme is ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. The classic story unfolds room by room.

Guests will marvel at the incredible detail of each piece, from reindeer horns to a plate of milk and cookies for Santa.

Not only are there amazing sights at every turn, but ice slides and even an ice bar!

My 8-year-old is particularly fond of one of the add-on activities: Alpine Rush Snow Tubing, an eight lane tubing hill that’s covered in REAL SNOW! While I enjoyed going down a few times, he’s been down probably 75 times now (we keep coming back!).

There’s no shortage of holiday happenings at Gaylord Palms Resort for the holidays, and since the days leading up to Christmas are forecast for upper 80s, a trip to Gaylord Palms Resort will give you a chance to not only delight in some of the most magical holiday events of the season, but will give you a wintry chill too!

Disclosure: Our family was invited to preview ICE! featuring ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and received a night’s stay plus admission to holiday activities and food. All opinions are my own.

 

 

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Gaylord Palms ICE! Welcomes Gigi’s Cupcakes Founder

Gigi with Nutmeg Photo courtesy Gigi Butler

Gigi with Nutmeg
Photo courtesy Gigi Butler

Gigi’s Cupcakes founder and culinary creator, Gigi Butler, will be on hand for a special appearance at ICE! at Gaylord Palms on Monday, December 7, 2015 from 6– 8 p.m. Patrons can meet Gigi herself, and enjoy the festivities before or after visiting this years’ ICE! featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The first 50 people to enter will receive a complimentary Gigi’s Cupcakes Sugar Vanilla candle, and everyone attending will be entered to win a pink Kitchen-Aid mixer valued at $369.00. Patrons will also be able to purchase Gigi’s original gourmet cupcakes and enjoy Gigi’s holiday themed desserts including mini cupcakes and stuffed cookies from Gigi’s cupcakes of Orlando. Twenty percent of cupcake sales during the evening will be donated to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, the local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

2015-11-24 10.27.43“I am thrilled to join Gaylord Palms Christmas tradition,” said Gigi Butler. “Christmas is absolutely my favorite time of year and Gaylord Palms does such an incredible job with lights, decorations and music. It’s a privilege to be at ICE! because it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring families together to do something fun with their kids and celebrate the season.  I hope the community will come join us for this magical event.”

ICE! at Gaylord Palms featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is a walk-through holiday attraction that is kept at a chilly 9 degrees. Attendees will experience two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, four slides, six individual rooms depicting the story of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, the Frostbite Factory – a live carving zone and a full Nativity in stunning, crystal clear ice.

ICE! tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the box office.  For more information about the event, call 1-407-586-4423 or visit www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

Who says we can’t sustain a freeze in Florida?! Gaylord Palms defies that myth with a magical winter wonderland called ICE! November 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015.

ICE backgroundThe lavish holiday displays includes more than 2 million twinkling lights and acres of festive décor.

Our family loves going to ICE! Last year we marveled at the Frosty the Snowman theme. It reimagined a childhood Christmas favorite and we were in awe at how many scenes from a beloved show came to “life.” This year the theme is The Nutcracker, and I can’t wait to see all they have in store! How will they portray Clara and all her many friends? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

In addition to the wintery extravaganza, guests can enjoy heartwarming visits with Santa and NEW for 2014 are experiences such as Alpine Rush Snow Tubing, Milk & Cookies with Mrs. Claus, and other exclusive holiday events to get you in the spirit of the season!

Ticket prices are as follows*:

Online & Advance                                                Box Office
$28.99 Adults                                                       $29.99 Adults
$26.99 Seniors (ages 55+)                                  $28.99 Seniors (ages 55+)
$14.99 Children (ages 4 – 12)                             $16.99 Children (ages 4 – 12)

ICE collage Kelly GreenDeals and Offers

  • Florida Residents, use code FLR14 when you book to save $3 per ticket.
  • Charity Day** (for attendance only on 11/23/14) use code GKTW to get adult tickets for $18 and Children’s tickets (ages 4-12) for $8.99. ICE! and Snow Tubing Combo Ticket: adults, $35.95; children $25.94.
  • Marriott Rewards Members, use code MRICE14 when you book your tickets. Discount varies by date selected.
  • Cyber Monday Deal, Tickets valid for purchase Monday, Dec. 1 – Wednesday Dec. 3 ONLY; Adult   $19.00*; Senior (ages 55+)  $19.00*; Child (ages 4 – 12)  $9.00*
    Click this link for deal.

To purchase tickets, visit: ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com or call
(407) 586-4423

Tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day of the event.

*Tickets are subject to taxes and $2.00 facility fee per ticket. ICE! TICKET PAYMENT IS NON-REFUNDABLE. Children ages 3 and under are free.

**Prices exclusive of sales tax and processing fees. $5 from each adult ticket for 11/23 ONLY with the GKTW promo code will be donated to Give Kids The World Village.

Get in The Nutcracker mood
with these activities for kids/kids at heart/families/educators/homeschoolers:

Read about the three types of ice at ICE! (click here).

Read all about the ballet, The Nutcracker, from the San Fransisco Ballet (click here).

Become a puppeteer (click here).

Do your homework (click here).

Enjoy this free tune to get you in The Nutcracker mood (click here).

Get crafty (click here).

Get cooking some sugarplums (click here).

Spooktacular at SeaWorld… A Boo-tiful Thing

Last weekend we enjoyed the fall family fun that is SeaWorld Spooktacular! From trick-or-treating along the shore, to Halloween themed shows and entertainment, Spooktacular is a Boo-tiful thing to our family (and it’s included with park admission!). Spooktacular takes place weekends throughout the entire month of October, from 12 – 8 p.m.

Spooktacular Collage 2014The Sesame Street Countdown to Halloween show at the Seaport Theater, is a family fave. Human host Jamie interacts with the cutest monsters around for a not-scary-at-all musical good time. I especially love The Count (ahh ahh ahh!) and Transylvania 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5. It’s a play on the Big Band classic Pennsylvania 6-500. Kids of all ages will be singing along with Elmo, Telly Monster, Abby Cadabby and all their Sesame Street friends.

New this year is the Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch (added item, not included in admission). Enjoy a delicious menu of seasonal items while sitting at a reserved table that brings you up close to majestic killer whales and Halloween surprises — a family photo with a Halloween Spooktacular frame, a free cookie decorating kit and a trick-or-treat bag with goodies. Pass members, buy your tickets through the pass member portal for discount admission.

PumpkinGuts2014Every year we enjoy The Longshoremen doing their “Pumpkin Guts” routine. Set just outside the SeaFire Inn restaurant, the performance staring an amazing and talented comedic trio will have you busting a gut (pun intended) as they try to scoop out the pumpkin guts to carve them. Spoiler Alert: They don’t have much success at anything but making a MESS!

Down at Penelope’s Party Zone, kids can get creative at the Jo-Ann CraftZone or dance to the live DJ’s family-friendly tunes. Though my son HAS the Turtle Trek app at home, he enjoyed playing on the huge screen, while his little friend made a picture at the coloring desks. Walking down and up from the party zone, big AND little kids couldn’t help but stop and push the buttons that make water dance out in the bay. Every detail has been thought of, and guests will be amazed at how much they’re immersed into the sea-themed magic all around.

Make sure to have your child’s photo taken with the myriad under-water creatures who grace Spooktacular while you trick-or-treat or partake in the games and goodies available for purchase along the bay. Because there is such a wide variety of creatures, there are usually not very long lines. Insider tip: Parents can trick-or-treat, too! (We’re kind of partial to the Junior Mints and Lemonheads!)

Whether you’re there for the treats or entertainment, you’ll have a boo-tiful experience at SeaWorld Spooktacular. See you there this weekend! And the next. And EVERY weekend in October!

Ticket deal: For a limited time, parents can get 50% off an Annual Pass for kids 9 and under with the purchase of a full-paid Annual Pass.  For more details and to purchase, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando is Coming Soon

I love Halloween. I love dressing up. I love getting the house all “decked out” for a night of family-friendly fun. I’m not much into getting scared. For me, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is right up my alley, and is one of the most fun events of the year. It seems to get better and better all the time.

Starting October 4, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place from 12 to 8 p.m. October: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19 and 25-26.

spooktacular2013bNew this year is a Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch. In what’s being called “an immersive and memorable brunch experience,” families will enjoy a seasonal menu while being up close and personal with SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales. Plus, Halloween surprises are promised including a family photo with a Spooktacular frame, a free cookie decorating kit (something my 7-year-old loves!), and a trick-or-treat bag with goodies.

This year’s candy line-up in “Waves of Trick-or-Treat Fun” includes Tootsie Rolls, jelly beans, Airheads… just to name a few. The great fun is not only in getting to indulge in lots of yummy treats (aka “sometimes foods in our house, LOL), but stopping by all the themed characters and stop points. There is SO much to see.

Insider tip: Most guests enter the trick-or-treat line from the entrance closest to the
park entrance. To get in with less waiting, position yourself near the “other” end of
the trick-or-treat pathway, on the other side of the park… past the arcade, area
near the underwater viewing side of Shamu Stadium.

Make sure you check out Penelope’s Party Zone over in the Bayside area. There you’ll find craft stations, bubbles galore, fun music including a live DJ, and the most adorable sea-themed characters you can imagine!

Keep that dancing idea going into the night at an hour before closing. Princess Penelope and all her undersea friends can “get down” in the Village Square at the front of the park. It’s always a blast.

Admission to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is included with SeaWorld admission, whether you have a day pass, fun card, or annual pass!

Add-ons include: Sweet Treat Decorating, and the Dine with Shamu Spooktacular Brunch.

See you there. (I’ll be the one in costume!)

I Love A Parade!

Macys logoSeaWorld will celebrate 50 years with a float in one of my favorite holiday events: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, airing this Thursday, Nov. 28, on NBC at 9 a.m.

“The magicians of Macy’s Parade Studio have outdone themselves yet again with the awe-inspiring and entertaining design of the new SeaWorld float,” said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “With its diverse and majestic depictions of sea creatures transformed into larger-than-life form, the ‘A Sea of Surprises’ float is sure to inspire millions of children and adults to learn more about, appreciate and enjoy all forms of aquatic life.”

“We are thrilled to debut our SeaWorld ‘A Sea of Surprises’ float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a tribute to SeaWorld’s 50th celebration,” said Jim Atchison, President and CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Next year the parks will commemorate this milestone with a year-long celebration at the three SeaWorld parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio. We hope this festive float represents the fun, inspiration and surprises that guests will find during a visit to SeaWorld.”

2013 SeaWorld's A Sea of Surprises- Macy's Parade float concept sketchTo see what the float looks like completed, check out Kara Yorio‘s behind-the-scenes photo at Macy’s Parade Studio. You can also check out the “Baby Shamu” balloon featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1986 here.

Since I’ll actually be AT SeaWorld on Thanksgiving with my family, I’ll be setting my DVR to view the parade as soon as we’re home! It’ll be fun seeing the penguins splash their way down the streets of Manhattan.

Last Weekend For Spooktacular

A DOG fish at SeaWorld Spooktacular

It’s a RUFF life! LOL Fun Dogfish at SeaWorld Spooktacular

I can’t wait for tomorrow! We’ll be at SeaWorld Orlando for Spooktacular… the last weekend of the year!

New to this year is Penelope’s Party Zone. It’s a fun nighttime event that is included with admission each weekend evening. (It’s the reason I LOVE getting annual passes at SeaWorld… all this fun is part of it).

I’m especially excited to see Kristen Cumings, the JellyBelly® artist in residence who will be making a rockhopper penguin portrait during this final weekend. Her mural will be made with more than 10,000 JellyBelly jelly beans! Kids will be able to create their own Spooktacular Jelly Belly artwork, too! Sounds beautiful. (And delicious if I sneak a few… which I will!)

See you and all my silly and spooky fun friends this weekend!

Spooktacular 2013—Starfish “Star” Treatment

We’re huge Spooktacular fans. We usually attend every weekend its held (as you may have read here… or here!). Sometimes TWICE in one weekend. It’s that much fun!

Spooktacular2013

There you’ll see whimsical witches, jazzy jellyfish, exotic creatures from the deep and in the air, and friendly starfish galore! It may be called “Spook”tacular, but there’s nothing spooky about it. It’s lots of not-scary, no-spooking, just plain fun!

Brought back again this year is the very fun Super Starfish of the Day contest! To enter, when you get to the park, post a photo of your kids (or YOU) in costumes at SeaWorld Orlando by noon (weekends only) on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages using the  #SeaWorldSpooktacular hashtag. They announce the winner shortly after 12:15 p.m. on the various outlets. That lucky family then gets Quick Queue passes, all day dining passes for the day, complimentary cookie decorating session at Penelope’s Party Zone, reserved seating at shows, and a complimentary merchandise photo at any location in the park to always remember their Spooktacular day!

Spooktacular 2013 SeaWorldNew this year is the Spooktacular Dance Party.

Princess Penelope and her undersea friends (including a dancing Shamu in costume and Daisy Dolphin in HER finest!) dance to such favorites as Monster Mash and the popular dance party fave Gangham Style, LOL. My little man did NOT want to leave, even though he told us more than once he was “soooo tired.” Once he got to the party, though, he got a sudden second wind and was rocking out with the gang amid a cloud of bubbles and characters galore. The rockin’ fun kicks off at 7 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. (although the “soooo tired” kicked in for him FINALLY at 8, so we didn’t quite make last call. Ha!).

In the past my little guy had a different costume for every weekend. He’s a little older and this year we’re “saving” the big one for the final weekend and dressing in fall colors or Halloween-type clothing. That’s one of the cool things about trick-or-treating there… you don’t have to have a costume (and you don’t have to be a kid… or even HAVE a kid). Best yet, all this fun is included in regular admission. There are no extra fees to attend any of these events (although you can go to to Count von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast (with awesome photo opportunities with the characters) for an additional fee of $24 for adults and $14 for children (ages 2-9).

Starry Night, a Jelly Belly® creation by Kristen Cumings

Starry Night, a Jelly Belly® creation by Kristen Cumings

I’m especially excited to watch Jelly Belly® artist in residence Kristen Cumings as she creates a portrait of a rockhopper penguin from thousands of Jelly Belly jelly beans October 26-27 from 12–8 p.m. inside the craft zone (on the last weekend of Spooktacular) as a tribute to the opening of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins. During that time, kids can decorate a Jelly Bean Spooktacular mural as well!

Today we’ll head over there in time to trick or treat (again) and watch our favorite street performers The Longshoremen. (Showtime for Sunday, October 13 are 2:25 & 3:55.) They

What would SeaWorld Spooktacular be without some Pumpkin Guts!?

What would SeaWorld Spooktacular be without some Pumpkin Guts!?

perform Along the Shore and do the routine Pumpkin Guts this time of year. It’s one of our favorite parts of the season, as the guys truly crack us up. Check them out if you can, and have a great time on your next visit to SeaWorld Orlando! We’ll be the people sitting in front so close to the pumpkin guts that we have “real” guts on us! (Think of it as an orange SPLASH Zone!)

I Danced with a Snowman at SeaWorld

I’m thinking about the last few weeks and pondering which things specifically have brought me the most joy. I have to say, without a doubt, that our family has enjoyed our time at SeaWorld the most. It’s quality time together where we wonder at the miracle of life, are wowed at the beauty of nature and all of God’s creatures, and sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

As season pass holders we try to visit every weekend during December. There is so much to do and see that you can’t see it all in one trip! Yes I enjoy the “big” things (O Wondrous Night is glorious, Shamu Christmas Miracles is breathtaking, The Polar Express is a wild ride, and the Ice Skating show “Winter Wonderland on Ice” is top notch), but my favorite moments are the small, simple pleasures.

My son is particularly fond of the elves who play with children near the dolphin nursery on your way to the waterfront and Seafire Inn. All children are invited to participate in their shenanigans that vary throughout the day. I’m always a little sad, though, when I hear someone rushing their child past them when the child SO wants to play for a moment. (And isn’t that the reason for visiting a theme park?) Those who do participate, get lots of giggles, a few tee hees, and an occasional oh-gee-shucks. I thought it was hilarious when Flaky tried to tell my little guy about mistletoe kisses. He wasn’t having any of that nonsense!

He also laughed at the toy soldiers who march back and forth by Christmas Village. You never know if their going to follow you, encircle you, or try to swipe a sip of your hot chocolate. If you see them, try to march along. They don’t mind. It’s actually encouraged!

After the Sea of Trees lighting, it’s a great time to stroll by the water to see what holiday baubles and goodies are available in the village, but it’s also a good spot for character spotting (and photographing!). While my husband and son took off to buy an ornament, I saw the snowman at water’s edge, just watching all the children. Gallantly he accepted my request for a dance, and we swayed to holiday music for a bit. What Christmas is complete without a dance with a snowman?!

Sure there a lot of people enjoying the parks, too, but it doesn’t seem crowded. The lines are not excessive, the shows are spectacular, and all the “little touches” SeaWorld has added this year make it even more special for us.

Come on down for a leisurely day of holiday fun. You may go inside a snowglobe, or be snowed ON along the shore. And if you’re luck, you too might get to dance with a Frosty Friend.

 

Starting tonight SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration takes place nightly through Dec. 31!  Waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration. With everything from elves to Elmo, and Santa to Shamu, lifelong memories are made in a watery, wintery wonderland that only SeaWorld could create. Don’t miss out on the spectacular holiday shows, including: Winter Wonderland on Ice, Shamu Christmas – Miracles, Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, A Sesame Street Christmas, and the all-new “O Wondrous Night – the Greatest Story Never Told”, as well as the festive holiday décor and amazing Sea of Trees.

25 Days of Giveaways at SeaWorld

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is celebrating joy of giving by giving away prizes each day during their “25 Days of Giveaways”! A different prize will be awarded each day. Maybe you’ll win the Serengeti Safari ride with Jack Hanna! Or be lucky enough to win the day for 4 at Discovery Cove.

Other prizes include:

  • a set of Panama Jack beach bicycles
  • a home and garden makeover from Costa Farms
  • VIP tickets to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers home game
  • VIP tickets to a high-profile concert in San Diego (artist TBD)
  • and seats to the “Live On Letterman” concert series held in New York City.

The grand prize, to be awarded on Christmas Day, is $25000.

Good luck and don’t forget to enter daily!

To enter, participants must fill out the online entry form at www.seaworldpromotions.com, www.seaworld.com or www.buschgardens.com. There is a limit of one online entry per valid e-mail address per day. The consumer promotion officially begins December 1 at 9 a.m. EST and concludes December 25 at 5 p.m. EST.

SeaWorld is one of 10 parks owned by The Blackstone Group. Other parks include SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorldSan Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg.