Recently, my official family event reviewer (my four-year-old son) and I took a much needed mother-son adventure to travel to the Christmas Capital of the World, Grapevine, Texas for the opening of ICE! at the Gaylord Texan. (Oh, the things we do for prosperity!) Since it was our first experience, we thought we'd give you some tips on how you can have your best first experience at ICE! based on our lessons learned.
TIP #1: Bring Your Hats and Mittens with You to ICE!
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While they have jackets for you to wear to stay warm in the exhibit, there are no pockets and your little hands and ears are going to be very cold. However, take those Texas temps into consideration and dress in layers so you don't sweat on your way there.
TIP #2: Make Time to Enjoy Yourself.
We gave ourselves the afternoon to enjoy the whole experience to the Gaylord, so we took our time driving, talking about the holidays, the exhibit and everything else holiday at the Gaylord Texan. We spent around 3-4 hours for our excursion.
|Pulling up to the entrance to the Gaylord Texan you can see that they are all about the Christmas details...even before you past the gates. My son was already so excited at this point I wasn't sure he was going to be able to contain himself. |
TIP #3 : Par king may be an issue if you are bringing lots of little ones or the stroller.
If you follow the signs to "ICE Parking" you will be sent to the other side of the hotel to park. There is some Convention Center parking, but it's hard to score. My suggestion, which is what I didn't do, VALET if you can. It will cut your walking time in half. However, remember, your parking cost (a $17 value) is included with your ticket to ICE!
|Here we are with the "big blue jackets" and ready to enter the freezing temperatures of ICE! (FYI, the tent that houses the 2 million pounds of ice is kept at around 12-25 degrees, so get ready for the chill.)|
TIP #4: You can take photos at ICE!
However, your camera may react different to the temperatures so take that into consideration. But take into consideration, there are several people going through the exhibit as well and sometime trying to get that perfect picture can back up traffic. Note: if you don't want to deal with photos, you can have your photos taken and purchased at the end of the exhibit.
|The first room you get to includes this great welcome from the sponsors. |
|Can you believe these colors are made just using highly concentrated FOOD COLORING! |
|In the center of ICE!, you'll find an amazing ice slide just for the little ones. This was perfectly timed and so much fun for a photo moment! |
|While the exhibit has some fun and colorful scenes for the kids, I simply loved this Nativity scene. It was absolutely beautiful and certainly made you remember the reason for the season. |
|Once you've ended the ICE! part of the fun, you can take off your jacket and enjoy a perfect moment for hot chocolate and a sweet snack. We opted for two gingerbread cake balls and cocoa, but these Madagascar-themed chocolate rice crispy treats were a hot item. |
TIP #5: Allocate a little extra cash in the budget for this little pit stop.
Just think of it like that mandatory food stop you make at Six Flags. Don't think about the cost; just pay for it and take a little moment to appreciate your family and the holidays.
|While the exhibit was fun, the Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW Tubing was the ultimate experience for us. And best of all, we could do it together with family tubes (how else do you think I got this shot!) While this is a separate ticket than ICE! you cannot NOT do this. It's just too mean to do that and too much fun. And best of all, you get to do it like 10 times with your ticket so it's worth it. |
A trip to the Gaylord's Gingerbread House/Candy Store was a great way to end our adventure. We grabbed some fun holiday candy for the rest of our family and then ventured on our way home. ICE! was a great way to kick off the holidays!
|TIP #6: You Need a Little Muscle. While there is help to put you on the slide, you are in charge of carrying your tube to the top of the slide. The double tube was rather heavy and cumbersome to carry, so it's not for the faint of heart. When we switch to just having my son ride with a small tube, he could hold it, but it was a chore. Basically, there's not much to say here except be prepared and you might have to do some walking. |
ICE! featuring DreamWorks' Merry Madagascar at the Gaylord Texan
|TIP #7: Enjoy Yourself. It's Christmas! Of course there's a whole lot more to do at the Gaylord Texan during the holidays, so make sure you look at all the other fun activities like Gingerbread House Making and more! |
Now until Jan. 1, 2013 Sunday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. P
rices vary for peak and non-peak hours: Adults, $21.95 - $26.95, Seniors, $19.95 - $23.95, Children 3 and under, free Snowtubing, which includes 10 runs, is extra. Self-parking is included in your ticket.
Gaylord Texan Hotel 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, Texas 76051
I received one or more of the mentioned products for the sole purpose of this review. No other compensating was given and all opinions expressed are 100 percent my own. (Accordance with FTC's 16 CFR Part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.")