‘ICE!’ IS BACK! GAYLORD TEXAN’S ARCTIC HOLIDAY TRADITION RETURNS AFTER TWO-YEAR HIATUS
Holiday Classic The Polar Express™ Told Through Ice Sculptures
Gaylord Texan Resort invites guests to “freeze the day” this Christmas as the hotel’s longtime holiday tradition, ICE!, returns Nov. 11, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023 after a two-year hiatus.
Using more than 2 million pounds – or 1,000 tons – of ice, the holiday classic movie, The Polar Express, will be brought to life by a team of 40 ice artisans who work for approximately six weeks to create the nearly 17,000-square-foot, frozen attraction.
Starting with more than 6,700 massive ice blocks – created by three different ice manufacturers because of the sheer amount needed – carvers will tally more than 12,000 man-hours on the project. The artisans, using skills passed down from generation to generation, following a 300-page design book to create the spectacle. Ice carvings range in size from details as tiny as a coin to soaring scenes more than 30 feet tall.
The environment will be kept frozen by a state-of-the-art chilling system that maintains the temperature at a frosty 9 degrees Fahrenheit. And while the 9-degree temperatures turn ICE! into one of the coldest spots in Texas, guests experiencing the attraction will be provided Gaylord Texan’s signature blue parkas to keep them warm.
Colored ice (created by a chemist who mixes special food colorings to ensure sculptures maintain their bright colors the entire season), clear ice and LED lights are all used to create the display. Although this will be Gaylord Texan’s 15th time to present ICE!, this is the first time that The Polar Express™” has been featured at ICE! during the resort’s holiday celebration.
“We can’t wait for our guests to once again experience the magic and wonder of ICE! during this year’s Lone Star Christmas celebration,” said Chuck Pacioni, general manager of Gaylord Texan Resort. “Since debuting here in 2005, ICE! has always been a one-of-a-kind attraction for our guests, and we’re excited to welcome this Gaylord Hotels tradition back this year with The Polar Express™ and all the beloved characters from the classic holiday movie.”
Inside of the ICE! attraction, guests can also take rides down two-story-tall ice slides, traverse through ice tunnels and arches, and visit Carver’s Showcase to see live sculpting demonstrations. The ICE! experience concludes in a separate area dedicated to an awe-inspiring Nativity scene, meticulously carved and shaped in a dramatic display of crystal-clear ice.
The talented carvers that create this arctic artwork will travel more than 7,000 miles from their homes in Harbin, China, to Grapevine, Texas. Known as “Ice City,” Harbin is no stranger to elaborate ice carvings – it’s home to the world’s largest annual ice and snow sculpting festival in the world. At Gaylord Texan, some of the same artisans who create the Harbin festival will carve 300-pound blocks of ice into the larger-than-life, whimsical scenes. Carvers will use chisels, chippers, tongs, handsaws, grinders and even chainsaws to bring The Polar Express™ scenes and characters to life. The artisans from Harbin
have created ICE! for Gaylord Hotels for many years but haven’t been able to travel to the United States the past two holiday seasons because of international travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic.
There’s Snow Much More!
While ICE! is the signature attraction for the 2022 Christmas at Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas celebration, there are plenty more festive activities, events, attractions and dazzling decorations throughout the 125-acre resort. The entire resort
transforms into a holiday wonderland with more than 2 million lights, elaborately themed Christmas trees all throughout the
garden atrium and convention center, more than 15,000 ornaments, and miles of garland. Christmas shows and
activities are presented in the atrium, while parts of the convention center transform into Christmas Village, a bustling,
holiday hamlet with village storefronts.
Here’s a rundown of the events, live entertainment, hands-on activities, holiday meals, exciting attractions and notable news taking place this holiday season at Gaylord Texan:
Shows and Live Entertainment Highlight the Holidays
Get in the Christmas spirit at “Cirque: Winter Wonderland”. This action-packed fusion of theatre and cirque features high-flying stunts, acrobatic feats, jaw-dropping juggling, stunning contortion, and so much more.
The resort’s atrium comes alive each night and dazzles with thousands of dancing lights on a towering Christmas tree, synchronized to a high-energy soundtrack during the #LIT Light Show.
This wonder of holiday magic and light conjures cozy feelings of Christmas with a sparkling array of larger-than-life décor and immersive state-of-the-art light elements. Guests will be wowed by an amazing wonderland of one-of-a-kind photo ops and memory-making moments melding modern technology with good ol’ fashioned holiday tradition.
Tons of Fun at Interactive Attractions
Guests test their winter weather wits as they race against the clock inside the three exciting Escape Rooms. Families and friends can choose from “School’s Out! Holiday Breakout”, “It’s Showtime!”, or “The Holiday Heist”.
- Race Down Snow Tubing Hill
Calling all thrill-seekers! Grab a tube and zoom down the two-story, eight-lane Snow Tubing hill covered in real snow.
At Santa’s Snow Throw, guests can grab their very own bucket of real snowballs and take aim at interactive targets created by Santa’s Elves.
Enjoy a festive perfect day or evening at our 6,000-square-foot ice skating rink made with real ice.
Get in the holiday spirit by taking a spin on this timeless, family-friendly ride. Enjoy endless fun with an unlimited ride ticket!
Guests can make sure their Christmas shopping is complete at the Emporium in the Village. This festive store features wall-to-wall holiday gifts, collectibles, toys, plush, home décor, apparel, ornaments, branded merchandise and more.
Hands-On Fun This Holiday Season
Guests learn the secrets of being a part of “Team Santa” at the Elf Workshop. Santa’s top toymakers share the secrets of becoming one of St. Nick’s helpers as they create a special keepsake gift or craft to take home for someone special.
In the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, guests let their Christmas creativity run wild while they adorn gingerbread treats. After they’ve reached confection perfection with their edible art, they can enjoy a sweet meet-and-greet and photograph with Nutmeg the Gingerbread Man.
In Christmas Village, guests can experience Build-A-Bear Workshop®. Guests make their own furry friend, take part in the iconic Heart Ceremony, and personalize them with seasonal outfits, accessories, sounds and scents.
More Décor Than Ever Before! Overnight Stays Sweeten the Holidays
It’s beginning to look A LOT like Christmas! In all, there will be more than 2 million holiday lights sparkling at Gaylord Texan. More than 100 Christmas trees – with more than 15,000 ornaments – will be on display, including the centerpiece 54-foot-tall tree in the main atrium featuring a light show.
There’s never a better time than the holidays for guests to book a room with an upgraded atrium view. With balconies that overlook acres of Christmas décor, guests can immerse themselves in the festive surroundings.
There’s More in Store with Charlie Brown and Friends™!
Your favorite Charlie Brown character and friends will be featured in two more holiday events at Gaylord Texan – a character dining experience and a family scavenger hunt.
- Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends™ is a one-of-a-kind dining experience including a delicious breakfast to enjoy with friends and family. Afterward, take photos with your favorite members of the Peanuts gang like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy!
- Merry Snoopy Scavenger Hunt
Search high and low to help Snoopy deck his house out for the Dog House Decorating Competition in this fun scavenger hunt. Complete the quest to win a souvenir.
A Round of Applause for Santa
- St. Nick Takes ‘Santa’ Stage
Guests can chat with the jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus, to make sure they’ve secured a spot on his prestigious Nice List. Santa will meet guests from Nov. 11 through Dec. 24, before he heads back to the North Pole for his gift-giving journey. Presented by DEI.
Enjoy Resort Amenities, Book Packages That Are Sure to Please
Also being unwrapped this year: new Christmas at Gaylord Texan packages that include special room rates and admission to select events. Guests are encouraged to book their experiences early, as advance online reservations are required for all ticketed events. Admission is limited to many of the holiday experiences and showtimes. For tickets, more information, or to book an overnight stay, guests may visit ChristmasAtGaylordTexan.com.