Florida Guide > Other Activities
ICE! in Florida :- A general overview
This article is the first in a series and should be read in conjunction with the others which give details of the actual scenes and how this amazing attraction is constructed.
If you are in Florida any time around Christmas then this is the place with a difference that you should visit. This attraction first opened in 2003 and we were lucky enough to be there at the time. They had numbered tickets and we were the 23rd and 24th people to go in. I can only say that the feeling you get is like the first time you come under the train station at the Magic Kingdom and see Cinderella’s Castle. You are taken aback by the skill and size of the displays and with the question everyone asks; how did they do that?
The areas coldest holiday attraction is hand carved from about 2 million pounds of ice. The attraction is produced exclusively for Gaylord Hotels, and is hand carved by teams of 40 artisans from Harbin, China. It is here that an annual ice festival draws curious onlookers to the capital city of Heilongjiang Province.
The Gaylord Palms hotel hosts this once a year in one of its large conference halls. The enormous structure used to house “ICE!” is now called “The Florida Fridge”. The average daily temperatures in Orlando at this time of the year are in the 70s, but inside the attraction the temperature is a very cool 9 F degrees. This is maintained by special equipment and insulation brought in each year and is the only construction like this in the U.S.
The attraction is normally open from mid November and closes normally around the first week of January. Inside the attraction guests explore larger-than-life, three-dimensional hand-carved ice monuments, sculptures and holiday scenes. It is recommended that you wear closed in shoes and long trousers for this attraction or you will not want to stay that long. Before you enter the organizers provide you with oversized winter coats to wear inside. After you have dressed in the warm clothing you pass through a series of plastic screens design to keep the cold in. Once through the last one you get your first view of this truly amazing display. Visitors are welcome to bring cameras and take photos but you should check what temperatures and conditions your camera will tolerate. I find that if I keep my camera tucked inside my overcoat, next to me, then I do not have problems with condensation during or after the event.
After your freezing walk through the fridge you'll be ready to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in the ICE! Cavern, a pre- and post-show area, where the ICE! experience try’s to tempt you to stay and spend some money. It is here that additional "Best of Florida Christmas" activities, such as family shows, atmosphere entertainment, special meals and visits with Santa take place.
ICE! is accessible on the Exhibit Hall level at Gaylord Palms, which is located at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee and will be open daily during this holiday season from November 19, 2005 through January 2, 2006. Tickets are $16.99 plus tax for adults (Mondays through Thursdays) and $19.99 plus tax (Fridays through Sundays). Children ages 4-12 are $7.99 plus tax any time. Special prices are also available for senior citizens.
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