Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ICE in Orlando, Florida

ICE! like you've never seen it - Two million pounds of it - is transformed into every imaginable Christmas icon as the star attraction at the Gaylord Palms, in Orlando Florida, during the Christmas season, beginning in November and and continuing throughout December.

The shaped, cut, illuminated and often colored ice takes over a large portion of the Gaylord Palms exhibition center as you walk through the chilly 9 degrees environment in the winter parkas provided by the Gaylord Palms.

(Although the parkas are provided, close toed shoes are a must and warm jackets, sweaters and gloves/mittens are highly recommended so you can enjoy the experience.) To give you an idea of the size and scope of the attraction, it boasts 1,500 fluorescent tubing lights frozen within the ice and uses three different types of ice: clear "glass-like" crystal ice; white "snow-pack-like" ice and colored ice.

The entire ICE attraction is carved by a team of 40 artisans from Harbin, China. If you are lucky, you will be able to see one of the artisans working on a sculpture during your tour. Harbin is best known for its annual Ice Park and International Ice Festival.

The tour of Ice begins with a very short five minute video that explains how the ICE show came to America and how it is assembled each year; what it takes to make these intricate creations and what it takes to preserve them in Florida's temperate climate.
Back to the actual tour, besides the opportunity to have their photo with a 10-foot tall ice sculpture Santa Claus, complete with red suit made of ice, the highlight for kids will be the slides made of ice. That's right, for youngsters, or the young at heart; ice has been crafted into a large ice slide. There is no sled required; you just glide down sitting on your parka. You can spend as much time as you want on the slides, but the 9 degree temperature will catch up to you very quickly.
Finally, the most dramatic and powerful ice sculpture is the crystal-clear life sized replica of the Nativity scene, which depicts the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger.

Here I am with my Mom. This was one of her Christmas presents this year...

We had a great time...and it was COLD!!

Here's Mom and Sara in the igloo...with the fisherman.

Sara going down the side!!

The pictures of the Nativity don't do it justice - it was breathtaking!

We all had a great time - be sure to wear gloves...they will provide a parka if you need one...but no gloves!

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