We’re on day 2 of 25 Days of Gifts over here and we’re sharing our love of gifting experiences!
Our family is kind of minimalistic so, making memories and taking the boys on an trip or to see something new rather than adding another toy underneath our tree, is always at the top of our Christmas gifting list! Often, we don’t even wait for Christmas morning to bring them on a cool (pun TOTALLY intended here) adventure! Which makes tickets to Gaylord Palms ICE the perfect gift!
This year’s ICE theme blows the previous years’ themes out of the water, in my opinion! A Christmas Story is a favorite classic in our home (like most others’) and seeing that bunny costume made of hot pink ice was pretty hysterical and incredibly impressive! Filling the chilly event space, are frozen sculpted scenes made of over 2 millions pounds of ice, from the movie along with slides made of use ice blocks! (This year’s slides are even more awesome than usual with new curves and whirls!)
Outside of the ICE space, you’ll find other fun activities in the village, like a Santa’s Secret Service Decoder Ring, Gingerbread House Decorating, Story Time and Caroling with Mrs. Claus, Santa’s Snow Throw, Snow Tubing, Build-A-Bear, and the BEST frozen hot chocolate you’ll ever taste in your life! (*Additional cost for select activities)
Grab tickets to surprise your littles with a fun night out or pick up a pair online for an upcoming gift exchange party!
Even though we’ve been before, there were still a few things I wish we’d remembered and known before we visited ICE this year!
-Dress WARM, not just jeans and a sweater warm. I’m talking-layer your kids three times, wear leggings under your pants, bring your own parka from home, and DEFF pick up some of those dollar spot gloves and mittens for the littles! It’s 9 degrees inside the ICE area and you definitely want to be as warm as possible so you can take your time and enjoy your time in the exhibit instead of rushing through! This year is especially important because it’s the most detailed that ICE has ever gotten and the slides are top notch inside as well!
-Budget for additional activities. The older boys (4 and 6) haven’t been old or tall enough in the past to really get the most out of the extra things over in the Alpine Village so, this year as a guest of Orlando Moms Blog, we were able to enjoy ALL of the additional activities at a VIP pre-showing event and it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!! If we had spent the money, it would have been well worth it! Santa’s Snow Throw was hysterical and snow tubing was one of the funnest things that I’ve done as a duo with K, ever! He’s our little thrill seeker so, we tubed almost 10 times! Another amazing and super memorable experience is the gingerbread house decorating inside of the Alpine Village Sweet Shop! They have walls FILLED with jars of candy and toppings and characters in fun costumes to entertain during your decorating time!
-Arrive early. Trekking from the parking lot to the exhibit can sometimes take 10-15 minutes depending on the spot you choose, once you add the time to unload the littles, take off or put on jackets and layers, etc.! I recommend arriving at least 1 hour early to walk through the Tree Trail, play in the interactive North Pole Post Office, start your Decoder, and peek at all the fun things inside of Alpine Village before entering ICE!
-Build-A-Bear. We’re one of those families who happens to always have random gift cards laying around. Somehow, we usually seem to always have a Build-A-Bear gift card in our stash! Because Gaylord Palms ICE has a special edition bear (yes, he has the iconic blue GP parka), we were super bummed to realize we’d left our BAB gift card at home! So, remember…if you have a Build-A-Bear gift card hanging around-bring it! Another great idea is to ask grandparents, aunts, and uncles for a BAB gift card as your child’s Christmas gift to use during your experience while at Gaylord Palms ICE!
-Phones & Cameras. Orlando Moms Blog owner, Kristi Corley, told us before entering the exhibit that the temps take their toll on some iPhone cameras (only while you’re inside, whew!) but, I had to see it for myself to believe it and she was RIGHT! I lost service and had trouble using my iPhone inside of ICE while James’ Android has no issues! So, if you have an iPhone, bring your camera for photos instead! Otherwise, enjoy your experience and document through memory! haha!
-Photos & Packages. Before entering ICE, right after picking up your blue parka, you’ll be directed to stand in front of a green scree for a photo. Although, the attendant will be happy to take an additional photo for you in front of the screen (if they’re not jam packed), hold off! You’ll literally end up with a photo in front of a green backdrop with poor lighting! Instead, grab a hand from an attendant or another guest inside of the exhibit in front of this scene at the entrance! We came home with a printed copy of our family in front of the green screen (which was changed to a backdrop of Ralphie in his bunny costume) but, this one was actually our favorite! Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE having a printed copy with the green screen backdrop but, for anyone who wants to pass on paying for a photo package, the entrance scene is perfect for a family photo opp!