In case you are having a hard time reading the text, the article says:
I love Orlando theme parks. The best part of any Disney day comes at the end – the nightly fireworks and light show projected on Cinderella’s Castle. My favorite ride remains the Forbidden Journey through Harry Potter’s castle at Universal. Afterward, I like to grab a mug of Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. My holidays aren’t complete without strolling through ICE: the hand-carved frozen village at Gaylord Palms. For a romantic Orlando stay, I’d pick the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, a historic B&B. My fave hip, piano bar is the Bösendorfer Lounge tucked into the Grand Bohemian- sip and browse their eclectic art, best Italian is Christini’s Ristorante Italiano, and for healthy gluten-free: EthosVegan Kitchen in nearby Winter Park.
Back in the days before On Demand viewing or even VCR recorders, Christmas specials came on one of three national television stations once a year. We waited for Charlie Brown, the Grinch and Frosty almost as much as we waited for Santa. TV watching in December was really special.
So, I have fond memories of Frosty and my children do, too. Today, my grandchildren know him well because they grew up watching the video over and over.
I live in Florida and there is no chance that Frosty or snowmen making is going to happen around here. And, don’t even think about those big inflatable creatures!
However, lucky for me, I was invited to Florida’s Gaylord Palms and ICE : a frozen fantasy within the hotel’s convention center. Every year 40 Chinese artisans from Harbin, China are brought to Kissimmee (near Orlando) to create ice sculptures. They make an entire village and huge ice slides. I have visited the attraction each year for the past three years and each time I grow fonder. It’s just plain cool.
ICE is a temperature controlled spectacle for kids and grown-ups. The attraction provides visitors with parkas, but remember to bring your own hats and gloves. The frosty air hovers around 10 degrees.
The hotel is a fabulous place for a multi-generational weekend or in my case, a girlfriend getaway. My girlfriend and I sat out by the pool to warm up after our tour through the frozen world of ICE. We ended up staying for lunch.
When we had enough sun, we headed back inside for the fun of decorating a gingerbread house. At ICE, you get a pre-built house and a container with all sorts of candy adornments. Simply apply frosting as glue and create your own masterpiece. We sang along with a rendition of “Gingy Bells” as we worked. Gingy is one of my favorite characters from the Shrek movies. She pops into the gingerbread decorating area from time to time.
Before dinner we enjoyed the musical and light spectacular performed at Gaylord a few times each day. The presentation includes stunning acrobatic routines and a drummer who plays music while suspended over the stage. If you like Mannheim Steamroller type of music, you will love this show. Best of all, it’s free.
That evening, we holed up in our wonderful room and sipped wine. That’s just what girls do on a girlfriend getaway!
Next morning, we ate breakfast with Shrek and his pals and went on a scavenger hunt trying to locate all the hidden reindeer with the immense Gaylord Palms interior. Immense is an understatement; the giant indoor arena feels like a botanical garden on steroids. I’ve written before that the hotel atrium reminds me of a biosphere; a place one could live inside of for days and never miss the outdoors. There’s even a pool of alligators in the atrium.
Gaylord Palms also has a fabulous top of the line spa. I toured the facility and wanted to try the “Fire and Ice “facial but unfortunately ran out of time. Guess I’m just going to have to return again!
If you are looking for a holiday treat that you’ll talk about for years to come, visit Florida’s Frosty and ICE or better yet stay overnight and take in all that Gaylord Palms has to offer.
Disclosure: I attended an event for media sponsored by Gaylord Palms.
On January 6, 2011, Universal Studios Orlando announced the sale of their one millionth Butterbeer within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.You may recall I bought the drink when I visited in September, 2010, making mine one in a million.
I revisited Harry’s World (read about my first encounter here) with my two grandchildren the day before Thanksgiving.The streets of Hogsmeade were jammed, a three hour waiting line formed outside Olivander’s Wand Shoppe. We moved through a snaking, stop-start queue before finally entering Hogswart’s Castle for The Forbidden Journey. Despite wasting time in line, the ride gets my nod as the absolute best! I flew, I dove, felt hot breath, laughed, screamed and fought along with Harry. I returned three times that day.
The grandkids (ages 6 and 8) jumped onto a few amusements in Dr. Seuss Land, but none of us were overly thrilled with the opposite side of the theme park.
My family, however, delightedly quaffed mugs of tasty frozen Butterbeer on that very hot day. Wonderful stuff.