If you’re trying to fit in all your Christmas activities this week, here’s one of our favorites, a visit to ICE! at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine! The amazing hotel, located in the Christmas Capital of Grapevine, host the event every year from November – the end of December, and it’s a must visit for us! Check out our pictures and tips for making your visit the very best!
The 2019 Theme is A Charlie Brown Christmas, and opens Nov. 15th. Check out some of our pictures and tips from previous years!
ICE! is ice sculptures carved by hand from over 200 million pounds of ice, stored in a huge tent and kept at 9 degrees! An annual tradition for us, we love the changing theme. 2018’s theme is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer from the classic children’s cartoon! In 2017, the theme was T’was the Night Before Christmas.
You can purchase your timed tickets at the window when you arrive, but ICE! does often sell at on buy days. It’s the same price to purchase online in advance. I prefer less busy days, which are also less expensive. They have 3 different dates, Value Days, General Admission Days and Peak Days.
Traditional dining times are also a good time to go, when the lines seem to be a little shorter.
Be sure to check Groupon, which often has offers to ICE!
Guest staying at the Gaylord receive special discounts and perks to Lone Star Christmas and ICE!, and it’s an incredible hotel!
Once you arrive, there are various displays as you enter, including a general warning not to lick the ice!
It’s 9 degrees inside, so you want to dress warmly! Don’t forget to bring gloves, a neck warmer and a hat!
You will be given a parka to wear over your clothes. While you can decline the parka, you won’t be allowed to do the ice slides without one.
The parka’s hoods have a tendency to not stay in place, so a hoodie or hat is really recommended!
The ICE! displays are amazing, and yes, it is COLD! Take a couple of precautions and protect your camera while inside. The extreme cold can cause the lens to crack. It was also quickly deplete your camera and phone battery, so be sure to have a good charge for those once in a lifetime pictures!
I REALLY suggest watching the cartoons just before your visit!
Rudolph was created by Robert L. May, who wrote the booklet Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in 1939 and was published by Montgomery Ward.
In 1949, Gene Autry recorded the song, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which remained one of the best selling records until the 1980’s.
The cartoon, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was released in 1964.
The ICE! sculptures tell the story of Rudolph through the cartoon, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The sculptures are amazing!
According to the story, Donner is Rudolph’s father. We also see Santa outside of his regular Santa-suit!
While the illustrators for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer drew Rudolph to look similar to a white-tailed deer, we all know that they do not live in at the North Pole. Caribou, or Reindeer, live in herds on the arctic tundra, in Asia, Europe, and in the U.S. as far south as Alaska and even Idaho! They are huge, with light fur and a fluffy white collar around their necks. Their noses are also big, with large nostrils to warm the cold air, and both males and females have antlers!
There are also interactive activities along the way, such as making Rudolph’s nose glow!
Storyboards explain the scenes, and tell the story. We are introduced to Hermey, the elf who doesn’t want to make toys, but be a dentist.
We had so much fun, and I loved all the photo ops!
Before you enter ICE!, you are asked if you want to purchase a drink at on the BLOCKS ice bar. If you’re visiting without kids, it’s really cool to stop and have a cold drink!
Hermey and Rudolph meet Yukon.
An incredible ice display of the Northern Lights. Click HERE for a list of the best locations in the U.S. to see the Northern Lights yourself!
Bumble the Snow Abominable Snow Monster makes his appearance, terrifying
Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon arrive at the Island of Misfit Toys.
You’re going to say “WOW!!” when you walk into the Island of Misfit Toys, which is also the ICE SLIDES! King Moonracer, the winged lion who rules the Island, watches from his throne!
It’s cold, but so much fun!
Another perk of going at a less busy time is shorter lines!
The climax of the cartoon is when Rudolph finds Bumble about the eat his parents! You can climb to the top of the mountain, via steps, or put your hand in Bumble’s mouth!
Of course, Bumble becomes a friend in the end!
Thanks to Hermey, who removes all his teeth!
And Santa ask Rudolph for his help guiding his sleigh, and the red-nosed reindeer truly has gone down in history!
There is also an incredible carving of the nativity, the last display before leaving ICE!
Once you take off your parka, there is a little concession area with hot chocolate and Aunt Annie’s Cinnamon Rolls, and a gift shop.
For an additional fee, you can also go tubing on the “snow” hills, or throw snowballs! There is also a Build a Bear Workshop!
In the Gaylord Hotel, there is still plenty to do in Lone Star Christmas! We listened to carolers.
Watch out for this guy! He may be tall but he will still sneak up on you!
The Gaylord is just amazing!
The miniature train display is my son’s favorite!
We love watching as it runs through the hills, valleys, bridges and more!
There are great photo ops, too!
And the shortest line ever to see Santa!
You can also build a Gingerbread House, and it alone is worth going to visit. Outside there is an ice skating rink. Each of the activities can be purchased on their own, or together in a package.
Know Before You Go
Parking was $15, and remember to take your parking ticket with you to pay before you leave in the automated meters. It is credit card only.
I bought a huge pack of hand warmers back in November, which we used on our skiing trip to New Mexico, plus to go camping, and anytime we need a little extra warmth. They gave us a little extra warmth in ICE! too!
Strollers are not allowed in ICE! Grab a baby carrier, and remember that it’s really cold, so bring plenty to keep them bundled up!
Use the restroom before you get in line! There is something about the cold that just makes me need to go, and you want to take your time once you get inside ICE!
We also filled up with a protein-rich snack right before going inside, which kept us a little warmer and energized while inside. Just as the cold can zap your phone battery of energy, so can it of your energy! The roasted nuts just outside smell amazing and are a great energy booster!
Allow plenty of time to walk around and see EVERYTHING!!!
Things To Do in Grapevine
Sea Life Aquarium is a fun aquarium with great keeper talks every hour in different areas of the aquarium, and a hands-on approach to learning more about the animals! Legoland Discovery Center is directly across from Sea Life, and offers combo tickets, as well. Click HERE to read more!
Grapevine Vintage Railroad offers the North Pole Express during late November and December, which takes children on a magical ride to meet Santa! They also offer train trips to the Fort Worth Stockyards and much more! Click HERE for more information.
Downtown Grapevine is known as the Christmas Capital of Texas and for good reason! All of Main Street is lit up in lights and music, the stores stay open late and it’s just a wonderful event! The lights and attractions, as well as parking, is FREE, and you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants! We love Big Fish, Esperanza’s and Napoli’s, to name just a few!
ICE! Lone Star Christmas at Gaylord Texan
1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine
Click HERE to visit their website.
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