GAYLORD NATIONAL CELEBRATES THE HOLIDAYS WITH 2 MILLION POUNDS OF ICE Beloved Tale ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Told Through Intricately Carved Ice Sculptures
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. (July 25, 2023) —ICE! the annual holiday tradition at Gaylord Hotels, returns to Gaylord National Resort Nov. 19 through Dec. 31, 2023. Using more than two million pounds - or 1,000 tons of ice, the classic 1964 Christmas animated television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, will be brought to life by a team of 40 ice artisans to create the nearly 20,000-square-foot, frozen attraction.
This year, ICE! will include 12 scenes from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, featuring classic characters including Clarice, Bumble, Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf, and of course, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer himself.
Starting with more than 6,000 massive ice blocks, the carvers work approximately six weeks - more than 12,000 man-hours - to create the nearly 20,000-square-foot, frozen attraction. The artisans, using skills passed down through generations, follow a 300-page design book to create the ice spectacle. Ice carvings range in size from details as tiny as a coin to soaring scenes more than 30 feet tall. The environment will be kept frozen by a state-of-the-art chilling system that maintains the attraction’s temperature at 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Guests will sport a signature blue parka to stay warm.
The carvers will travel nearly 6,500 miles from their homes in Harbin, China, to National Harbor, MD to create this masterpiece. Known as “Ice City,” Harbin is home to the world’s largest annual ice and snow sculpting festival in the world. At Gaylord National, some of the same artisans who create the Harbin festival will carve 300-pound blocks of ice into the larger-than-life, whimsical scenes. Carvers will use chisels, chippers, tongs, handsaws, grinders and even chainsaws to bring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to life.
“ICE! is a holiday-tradition for the Washington, D.C. area which warms the hearts of children of all ages,” said Dan McKeon, area general manager of Gaylord National Resort. “We are overjoyed to have the beloved classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as this year’s ICE! theme.”
In addition to seeing characters from the classic television special, guests can take rides down the two-story-tall ice slides and traverse through ice tunnels and arches. Returning this year by popular demand, guests can also see how the talented artisans create these larger-than-life ice sculptures in the Carver’s Showcase live demonstration, included in their visit to ICE!.
The ICE! experience concludes in a separate area dedicated to the Nativity scene, meticulously carved, and shaped in a dramatic display of crystal-clear ice.
While ICE! is the signature attraction for the 2023 Christmas at Gaylord National celebration, there are plenty more festive activities, events, attractions, and dazzling decorations throughout the massive 19-story hotel. The entire resort transforms into a holiday wonderland with more than 2 million lights, 160 elaborately themed Christmas trees, more than 10,000 ornaments, and miles of garland. Christmas shows are presented in the garden Atrium, while parts of the convention center transform into a Christmas Village, a bustling, holiday hamlet with Bavarian-style village storefronts, family-friendly activities, characters, and a giant Christmas store.
Here is a rundown of other events, live entertainment, hands-on activities, and exciting attractions taking place this holiday season at the resort.
Cirque: Spirit of Christmas. This Gaylord Hotels original production is a Broadway-style show featuring high-flying stunts, acrobatic feats, elaborate staging, and a dramatic musical score. The Greatest Story Stage Show. This musical stage show and multicultural celebration tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ through the eyes of six international storytellers. · Snow Flow Mountain. Guests hop in inner-tubes and speed down slopes made of real ice in this fast-paced experience. · Snowball Build & Blast. Guests can test their speed and accuracy as they make snowballs and toss them at targets. · Ice Skating. Visitors will enjoy a perfect day or evening under the stars while taking a yuletide glide on our outdoor ice-skating trail made with real ice. #Lit Light Show. Our garden Atrium and Starlight Christmas Tree come to life with thousands of dancing lights, synchronized to a high-energy, seasonal soundtrack, choreographed with animated light curtains. Starlight Christmas Tree. This 55 ft suspended Christmas tree that magically transforms into a gleaming and glowing holiday spectacle. · Photos With Santa. Mailing a letter to the North Pole is great, but nothing can beat a personal visit with Santa Claus. Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions. The jolliest hostess of all celebrates the season with a sing-along, story time and Santa’s favorite snack – milk and cookies.
Gingerbread Decorating Corner. Guests can let their Christmas creativity run wild and achieve confection perfection with edible art, and enjoy a sweet meet-and-greet with Nutmeg the Gingerbread Man. Guests can also enjoy the Reindeer Games™ Scavenger Hunt featuring Rudolph and the Misfit Toys, Build-A-Bear Workshop®, Wildlife Rescue – an augmented reality experience presented by bubly™, and holiday dining at the newly renovated Old Hickory Steakhouse.
The best way to experience everything at Gaylord National’s Christmas celebration is with an overnight stay with special perks only available to overnight guests.
All overnight guests will enjoy perks including:
“Chill Pass” privileges to ICE!, offering front-of-line access and shorter wait times. “Chill Pass” is free for eligible guests. Attraction tickets are required and sold separately, in advance. An invitation to “Extra Cool Hour,” which provides early-entry into ICE! and Mistletoe Village one hour before it opens for day guests. “Extra Cool Hour” is free for eligible guests. Attraction tickets are required and sold separately, in advance. Priority access to the resorts’ restaurants and bars and exclusive access on popular dates during the holiday season.
Family and friends can start planning their holiday travel now with special savings on overnight packages including:
HOLIDAY PACKAGES: Premium ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer™ Package - Overnight accommodations - Up to four tickets to ICE! and Snow flow Mountain ice tubing - One Reindeer Games™ Scavenger Hunt featuring Rudolph and the Misfit Toys Scavenger Hunt booklet - $50 nightly food and beverage credit - Self-parking for one vehicle - Resort Fee that includes a welcome cocktail, daily yoga, and more
Available Sunday through Thursday from 11/19-12/19. Prices start at $581 which is a savings of 20% versus buying these items separately.
ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer™ Package: - Overnight accommodations - Single-entry ICE! tickets (one per person, per stay)
Available on select dates only. Prices starting at $309
Also, back by popular demand, Gaylord National will be offering the Christmas Dreams Suites. This cozy home away from home comes complete with lights, stockings, a Christmas tree, and even a sweet holiday treat! Guests can enjoy the resort’s famous Atrium light show from the comfort of their balcony. The Christmas Dreams Suite also includes complimentary valet parking. Prices start at $799 and there is limited availability.
Guests are encouraged to book their experiences early, as advance online reservations are required for all ticketed events. Tickets are limited to many of the experiences. For tickets, more information, or to book an overnight stay, guests may visit ChristmasatGaylordNational.com.