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ICE at Gaylord Palms Orlando

ICE, ICE BABY!! Yes, we finally made it out to the Gaylord Palms Hotel for the annual big ICE event!

Inside ICE OrlandoI guess our Icebar Orlando visit left us wanting even more freezing temperatures… This time we took our son Nicolas (22 months) so he could have his first winter-like experience. Even though it’s artificial cold, the effects of it are the same as the real thing, trust me. Runny nose, frozen fingers (after 15 minutes in 9 degree Fahrenheit I had to stop taking pictures because my hands simply couldn’t hold my camera any longer), cold feet – and a new appreciation for warm weather! It was quite a relief to step out of the ICE tent which made it hard to imagine that I lived through 24 winters with temperatures like this before moving to Florida… On top of that Florida’s weather has made me even more sensitive to cold temperatures. Today for example is a chilly day for me: high 79, low 61. Brrrr… I was wore boots this morning.

Anyway, here are my picture impressions of our excursion to ICE and some tips/advice. Hope you enjoy it :)

  • Take advantage of the Florida resident discount. It’s not much, but better than nothing
  • Inside, ask for a little coupon to save you an additional $2 for parking (which otherwise would be close to $17). On top of money you already paid for tickets I think it adds quite a bit to the total sum. In fact, while I understand that keeping the ice frozen and the work that goes into creating those sculptures (artists from China are working on them for an entire month!) costs a lot of money, I think that the event is a bit overpriced. Including parking and with the FL resident discount we paid about $65. Add some hot chocolates and maybe a little souvenir and you easily get up into the 100s. And we only had to pay for 2 adults. Since Nicolas is still so little he got in for free (children under 4 enter free).
  • If you have kids under 3 years old, I personally wouldn’t recommend a visit. Your kids most likely won’t really appreciate this Winter Wonderland experience. My son at least didn’t, he had a meltdown – no pun intended – when we stepped into the tent. It took him about 20 minutes to warm up (not literally – I know, right?) and enjoy staring at some of the ice sculptures (of course since he doesn’t watch TV or movies yet, he had no idea who that funny looking lion, zebra or penguin were). I am not sure what it was that ticked him off in the beginning, maybe the amount of jackets we stuffed him in, but he certainly did not like this experience for the most part… I spare you those pictures…
  • Remember to bring gloves!! How could I have overlooked this little detail?? My fingers were literally frozen. Yes, they do provide you with those fashionable (just kidding) parkas with hoods (thank goodness!), even for kids, but no gloves! And if you don’t want to buy a $30 pair of gloves in the gift shop or endure the cold, please BYOG (you know what I mean…)
  • Take your own pictures! If you don’t want to spend $35+ for a picture of you and your family after you walk out, please do yourself the favor and bring a camera with flash to take some decent pictures inside. There’s also an opportunity for a mall-like visit with Santa, but that was closer to $50 for some pictures. I don’t think so… (plus my son and his little friend hated Santa, but that must be a phase…)
  • Ice Slide at Gaylord PalmsLast but not least: based on web site pictures and hearsay I truly imagined ICE as a huge Winter Wonderland hall with ice and snow, kind of like a cheesy replica of a typical European Christmas market with warm drinks and food to purchase and some fun kids activities (like building snow men and sledding down a hill). Sure, there was an ice slide, which was certainly the highlight for any kid visiting, but ICE is really just a big tent that you walk through in about 20 minutes. You are told that you can stay as long as you want, but I doubt that any Florida resident could make it longer than an hour as much as I doubt that anyone visiting Florida from Minnesota or any other icy state would even want to visit ICE, but hey, they certainly could make it all day – my apologies in advance, I didn’t want to stereotype anyone here ;)
  • Click here for more the info

There is an event though that I think I will check out in hopes of finding some type of winter/snow experience here in Orlando. It’s only one day and FREE:

Children’s Christmas in the Park with Snow
December 15, 2012
One day only, enjoy snow and a chance to go sledding on the corner of 5th Avenue and Baker Street from 4:00 – 9:00 pm.
Location: Donnelly Park in Mount Dora
More Info: 352-735-7183
Cost: Free admission

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