ORLANDO – For those Central Floridians who love a blast of cold during the holidays, there’s some good news: ICE! is coming back to Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center.
As part of the Kissimmee resort’s Christmas at Gaylord Palms celebration, this year the resort will create another winter wonderland inside their Atrium. This year the theme is devoted to Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The majestic ice sculptures that ICE! is known for are being created by master artisans who have been flown in from Harbin, China. These artists will craft two million pounds of ice into creations loyal to the Dr. Seuss characters.
What Is Gaylord Palms’ ICE! Exhibit?
This is the first year ICE! has been hosted at Gaylord Palms since 2019. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exhibit was not held over the past two years, in part because the artists could not be flown into Orlando to create the ice sculptures during the pandemic lock downs.
Now those skilled Chinese artists are back, and so is ICE!. Tickets are now on sale for the exhibition that runs from Nov. 18, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2023.
ICE! has been a crowd favorite for years. Because temperatures inside the exhibit are kept at 24 degrees or lower, guests are given thick parkas to wear, and it’s recommended that everyone bring a hat and gloves as well.
As Gaylord Palms noted on its website, “You’ll see the story of the Grinch in larger-than-life sculptures and even plunge down slides made entirely of ice in this Gaylord Hotels original experience.”
What Has ICE! Been Like in the Past?
The ICE! show, traditionally held every year from November through January, is truly a unique event. Every fall, the resort flies in ice sculptors from China, who spend weeks carving huge blocks of ice into finely designed sculptures that capture holiday themes such as Santa Claus, reindeer and the North Pole.
Gaylord Palms sets up a special multi-room area where the temperature is kept below the freezing level, and guests who attend ICE! always get those thick parkas before they go inside. The rooms typically feel like its 20 degrees — or colder. Each year, the seasonal theme is a different.
In recent years, Gaylord Palms teamed up with Dreamworks Studios to feature popular characters from the Shrek movies in their ice sculptures, along with actors in costume portraying Shrek, Donkey, Princess Fiona, Puss In Boots, and other loved figures from the series.
Larry White, communications director for the Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau, has in the past noted that Gaylord Palms is a strong draw for tourists and business travelers, and events like ICE! help bring visitors to this region.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.