With 2 million twinkling lights, 15,000 ornaments, a 54-foot-tall rotating Christmas tree and an “ICE!” exhibit carved from 2 million pounds of ice and featuring Frosty the Snowman, the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center is again offering a holiday extravaganza.
“The number 2 is big this year,” Gaylord Texan spokeswoman Martha Neibling said. “We have 2 million twinkling lights, 2 million pounds of carved ice, 2,000 pounds of glitter, two 25-foot-tall soldiers and 12 two-story tall snow tubing hills made of 2 million pounds of snow.”
On Nov. 13, the resort will officially open its Lone Star Christmas attraction, which runs though Jan. 3.
Visitors can see Frosty and his friends on their quest to the North Pole in a colorfully frozen retelling of this original Christmas classic created in the 14,000-square-foot exhibit.
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The spectacle includes an 8-foot-tall gingerbread house and gingerbread decorating, Santa’s workshop, cookies and milk with Mrs. Claus, 350 lit trees, 2,300 decorated wreaths, 5,600 feet of garland, 2,500 poinsettias; toy soldier stilt walkers and, of course, a 25-foot-tall Santa Claus.
New is a live ice sculpting zone where master ice carvers create sculptures as visitors watch. Guests can bundle up in complimentary parkas and enter the wonderland kept at 9 degrees to enjoy the frosty scenes and special bonus rooms, including the Nativity.
Forty master ice artisans traveled to the Gaylord Texan from Harbin, China, to spend 30 days hand-carving the life-size characters and scenes from 7,200 blocks of ice.
“They follow an artist’s rendering, but they are so good they hardly have to study it,” Neibling said. “They’re like a piano player who hears music and then can play it. They just know.”
Lucy Shih, who serves as interpreter, said that being chosen for the ice team is prestigious, a craft that is handed down for generations.
“It’s almost their whole life,” she said.
Among this year’s group is a newcomer, Yuan Xia, the only woman carver.
The 47-year-old mother of one, who was working on the Nativity on Tuesday, said through Shih that she was a painter in Harbin when a friend got her interested in carving six years ago.
She is enjoying her first trip to the United States, especially because “people are so friendly here.”
Asked why she was chosen, Xia said shyly, “I practice a lot.”