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ICE! At The Gaylord Palms
In the past we have spent two weeks in Orlando at the end of October or just into November. This last year however, not only did we have the luxury of three weeks but we also went later – not arriving until 15th November. This meant that for the first time we would be in Orlando while the ICE! Exhibition was being staged at the Gaylord Palme Hotel.
ICE! - as its name suggests is an attraction carved entirely from – ice, and is kept at a chilly 9 degrees (F)! This amazing spectacle is created from nearly 2 million pounds of ice and is one of the few places in the world where you can see the handiwork of the famous ice carvers of Harbin, China.
On arrival we presented our e-tickets and were shown into a large waiting area where soon we were able to watch a short introductory film which included information about the exhibition and the padded coats that we would be issued with prior to entering the main exhibit. After the film it was time to pick up our coats. These were long, blue and had zip & Velcro fastenings, with different coloured trim to differentiate between the sizes. Once robed up we were ready to enter the exhibit.
We entered through an ice tunnel and were greeted by a huge ‘welcome’ sign adorned with coloured fish, a sea-horse and seaweed – all of course made out of ice. Then we entered an outdoor scene which included a footbridge crossing a river on which swans were to be seen as well as giant rabbits made from clear ice. The next exhibit was based on candy (sweets) and featured a house made from a variety of coloured candy sticks imitating rock and lollipops. Then it was our turn to sit on Father Christmas’ knees – though this was a fourteen foot high, ice, version of him. At least the steps up to the old boy were carpeted and had a handrail beside them otherwise it might have been a daunting task to get onto his knee.
There were more stunning carvings including a nativity scene, Penguin Point which included a surfing Father Christmas and something that took us all back to our childhood; an ice slide. Well actually two slides side by side with Father Christmas and his reindeer overseeing the display. I had three goes as it wasn’t too busy and my wife had camera shakes on the first two (well that’s my excuse! ).
We could have gone round the exhibition again before exiting, but as we had booked a meal at the Villa De Flora restaurant we decided to forgo the second trip.
I had booked our tickets online at The Gaylord Palms website before leaving the UK and by doing so and booking mid-week saved a few dollars. Our tickets cost about $18 each and from memory we saved in the region of $3/$4 each. Plus, it being a Thursday when we visited, the number of visitors meant it was easy to spend as much time as you wanted and get any photos without holding others up. Also the tickets could be used at any time during the day / evening, whereas at weekends the tickets are timed at half-hourly intervals.
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