Gaylord Palms’ big holiday event is ICE! (yes, all caps with an exclamation point.) For many Floridians, this is as close as we get to winter. There are ice sculptures, snow-tubing, ice slides, and even an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus!
The ice slides are a must. They are so much fun! These are included with admission, so make sure you take advantage of it. When going down the slides, lift your feet to make yourself slide nearly on your back and make sure you just have the jacket provided to you underneath you – your normal clothing WILL slow you down.
Things you should know before visiting: It’s EXTREMELY cold at ICE! Even coming from up north, I never feel prepared when I walk into that 9 degree room (or in this case – 5 degree room.) Make sure you wear appropriate footwear (no sandals or flip flops!), a hat, gloves, and a scarf. The Gaylord Palms provides jackets as well, but they are a little worn and work best if you have your own warmer clothing on underneath.
Also, be aware that your smartphone is not designed for these temperatures. If you don’t keep your phone warm, it will freeze up about halfway through the experience. (LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!) It took about 45 minutes to an hour after leaving before I could get my phone to turn on. My phone kept flashing the low battery sign when I tried to turn it on before that. When it finally came on, it said I had 52% battery when I started the experience at 79%. They warn you ahead of time but I thought putting it between my gloved hands or in my pockets beneath all of the layers would be enough (it wasn’t.) Melissa put hers under her arm though and that seemed to work well.
Keep an eye on Groupon for ticket specials. ICE! is pricey (and understandably so – I’m sure the operating budget on the event is through the roof.) However, I’m a girl on a budget. While I enjoy going, I’m not sure I would go if I had to pay the full cost for the event. Sometimes you can find discount tickets online in various places such as Groupon or Living Social. Make sure to factor in parking when you’re making your budget for the event – it’s $20 to park at the hotel and there aren’t any free/cheap places to park within walking distance.
Feeling brave? Try their annual polar bear plunge event! Go through the exhibit in your bathing suit, enjoy some tasty drinks, and raise money for charity all at the same time! This event takes place once a year and is often announced last minute, so keep an eye on the hotel’s Facebook page or ticket sales page for further details throughout the winter holiday season.
ICE! takes place at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Kissimmee, Florida every November and December. The last day to enjoy the attraction for this year is January 3rd. For further information, check out the website and Christmas Calendar of Events.