2007 Gaylord Palms ICE!

The ICE! Welcome sign features ice fish with earmuffs.
All the fish have earmuffs in this welcoming ICE! sign at the Palms.
Just before Christmas 2007, I was able to visit the ICE! display at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL (near Orlando). The Gaylord Hotels bring in teams of carvers each year from Harbin, China to carve extensive and elaborate ice displays for the holidays.

(secrets blog entries mentioning this gallery: 1//4/08, 1/7/08, and 1/10/08)

Igloo entrance: Each of the Gaylord displays feature a cool igloo entryway this year.

Poinsettia: Vivid red ice is used to create huge poinsettias that flank the entrance.

Vividly colored fish: Pieces of different colored ice are skillfully combined for fantastic effect. Props like the earmuffs are used regularly around the display.

Welcoming fish: In the igloo, visitors are met by frozen fish.

Rabbits: One of the first scenes is a winter wonderland. Delicately carved rabbits sit amongst lighted trees.

Polar bears: Life-sized polar bears fit the winter theme.

Deer: The deer stand peacefully near the gazebo despite the nearby bears.

More bears: Animal figures exhibit a variety of poses rather than stiff profiles

The Harbin carvers use a lot of colored ice and build large structures that visitors can walk through and that offer many photo opportunities. One room even features long slides for the kids (and adults acting like kids).

Gazebo: The walk-through gazebo offers a nice vantage point for nearby sculptures.

Junction station: A large train scene includes many photo opportunities. This train station includes working lights frozen into the ice.

Sundae and cupcake: Massive oversized desserts might become the stuff of kids’ dreams!

Ice cream cone: Large enough to cause a colossal brain-freeze...

Visitors are issued long parkas for the subzero temperatures. The other Gaylord hotels, the Gaylord Texan (Grapevine, TX) and the Gaylord Opryland (Nashville) also feature similar displays. Make sure to check out the video at the bottom of the page.

Gingerbread house: A massive and colorful gingerbread house is the centerpiece of the Candy Land room.

Railing: The metal safety railing is actually frozen into the ice.

Candy Land room spiral: Even the walls feature whimsical and colorful designs

Peppermint: Giant, colorful candies decorate the edges of the room, perhaps tempting visitors to take a quick lick

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Arched exit: A large, colored snowflake decorates the exit from the candy room.

Travelocity Gnome: The familiar figure was embedded in one of the walls, much like in a recent Travelocity commercial involving an ice hotel.

Mary and Joseph: The figures in the Nativity scene are well carved and the display includes changing lighting and a narrated audio track.

Joseph: Each ICE! display includes a complete Nativity scene. Here, Joseph stands over the infant Jesus (the halo is clear plastic).

Baby Jesus: The Nativity scenes at each display are unusual in that they don’t include any colored ice.

Shepherd and sheep: Adjacent to the main Nativity scene are smaller related scenes.

Large Angel: This angel stands near the Nativity scene, as if keeping watch over the infant king.

Wiseman: Some of the most impressive carvings at the displays are the Wisemen, with their elaborate costumes and gifts for Jesus.

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Penguin line-up: In the slide room, called Penguin Pointe, cartoon-style penguins are everywhere.

More penguins: The colorful birds reflect the playful attitude of the slide room.

Skating rink: Equally out of place in Florida is the “outdoor” ice rink set up under a tent. After you see the ICE!, you can skate on some.

Santa waves goodbye: Santa’s North Pole is the last stop at ICE! this year.

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