Ice in the Sunshine State? Christmas in Florida Predicted to be 9 Degrees

Kissimmee, FL (PRWEB) November 7, 2005 — Just in time for the holidays, a cold spell has hit Orlando, bringing an ice storm to the Sunshine State!

Fortunately, the 9-degree weather will be isolated above Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, host to “ICE!”, a holiday attraction hand-carved from nearly two million pounds of ice.

The wildly popular family experience gives guests an opportunity to visit a whimsical winter wonderland of interactive environments and larger-than-life, three-dimensional ice monuments and sculptures.

The attraction, which is presented by Coca-Cola and Albertson’s, will run Nov. 19-Jan. 2. The spectacle combines fantastic frozen creations, thrilling ice slides, dramatic lighting and special effects. “ICE!” is the highlight of the resort’s “Best of Florida Christmas” celebration, which features holiday activities for the entire family.

The enormous structure used to house “ICE!” — dubbed “The Florida Fridge” – is cooled to a chilly 9 degrees. To stay comfortable inside the attraction, visitors are given oversized winter coats to wear.

“Not only is the artistry amazing, but the brisk environment inside the attraction creates a winter holiday experience like no other in the Sunshine State — rosy cheeks and all!” said John Caparella, general manager of Gaylord Palms. “Visitors to ICE! find that they ‘connect’ on an emotional level as well.”

This year, “ICE!” will feature several new or revised scenes, including a heartwarming Victorian holiday scene, Santa’s Toyland, and a majestic Church in the Woods. In response to guest feedback, some elements will return for an “encore,” including a breathtaking life-size nativity carved completely of crystal-clear ice. A guest favorite — three fantastic ice slides — will return amid a towering Christmas Castle.

The attraction is carved by teams of 40 artisans from Harbin, China. The talented team spends nearly an entire month in Kissimmee creating this one-of-a-kind attraction. Harbin is best known for its annual walk-through Ice Park and the International Ice and Snow Festival. Each year more than 2,000 sculptors carve a 100-acre walk-through Ice Park from blocks of ice taken from the Songhua River.

Produced exclusively for Gaylord Hotels, the artisans’ work appeared for the first time in the United States in 2001, when a similar attraction debuted at Gaylord Opryland® Resort’s “A Country Christmas” celebration in Nashville. The project expanded in 2003 to include “ICE!” at Gaylord Palms. This year, “ICE!” will also be a feature of “Lone Star Christmas” at Gaylord Texan® Resort in Grapevine, Texas, located in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Since its inception, this unique attraction has garnered national recognition from USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Southern Living magazine, and Travel + Leisure magazine.

Attraction Details
“ICE!” is separated into ten breathtaking handcrafted ICE environments:
• Frozen Florida: where guests are welcomed into this unbelievable world of “ICE!,” complete with arctic alligators and frosty flamingos… donning earmuffs!
• Victorian Fantasy: a tribute to one family’s Christmas in this heartwarming vision of yesteryear.
• Santa’s Toyland: a fanciful “machine-age” toyshop bathed in amazing colored ice, where the elves are hard at work carving toys and placing them on enchanted conveyor belts to load up Santa’s sleigh. Bright flashing lights and colorful candy decorations adorn the whimsical contraptions, all under Santa’s watchful eye.
• Demonstration Station: Nestled within Toyland is an area for guests to see the ice carving process firsthand. Here, Chinese artisans demonstrate their skill and craftsmanship for passersby.
• Santa Photo Opportunity: Who’s cooler than Santa? The Big Fella is here – in all his hand-carved glory – a perfect spot for holiday photos!
• “ICE!” Forest: home to playful polar bears and pirouetting penguins – and the amazing ice bridge! The “ICE!” Forest is a tranquil and contemplative environment, featuring a running waterfall, twinkling stars behind a painted dusk sky, and a winding footpath.
• Church in the Woods: After crossing the bridge, visitors encounter a rustic church façade. Light streams through ice stained “glass” windows, creating a colorful aura.
• The Nativity: the awesome sparkling crystal-clear life-sized replica. This is the signature scene of the show, one of the world’s most beautiful and inspirational renditions of the Nativity.
• The Christmas Castle: Toy soldiers stand guard at this interactive scene where kids (and kids-at-heart) can climb up the towering spires, and race down the slippery slides. A favorite!
• Santa and Flamingo: one last photo op before returning to the Florida sun!

After their visit, guests can exit the “Florida Fridge” and enter into the post-show area, where the “ICE!” experience continues. To warm guests’ “noses and toeses,” ICE! visitors receive a complimentary cup of hot cocoa. Guests can also enjoy additional “Best of Florida Christmas” activities, such as family shows, atmosphere entertainment, special meals and visits with Santa Claus.

“ICE!” tickets for adults are $16.99 plus tax (Mondays through Thursdays) and $19.99 plus tax (Fridays through Sundays). Tickets for children ages 4-12 are $7.99 plus tax (Monday through Sunday). Special prices also are available for senior citizens.

“ICE!” will be open daily during the holiday season and will be accessible from the convention center of Gaylord Palms Resort, which is located five minutes from Walt Disney World, at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee. Special holiday packages are available, beginning at $219 plus tax per night for a two-night package, including “ICE!” tickets, daily breakfast and priority entrance into the “ICE!” attraction. For more information or reservations, call (407) 586-4423. More information can also be found at www.gaylordpalms.com/ice.

About Gaylord Palms
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center has gained the attention of the meeting and convention industry by providing world-class convention and leisure-focused amenities – all in one place. The award-winning Gaylord Palms is a Gaylord Hotels-branded property owned by Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.gaylordpalms.com or www.gaylordentertainment.com.

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