Good grief! The ICE! show at Gaylord National Resort featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas is only going to be around a few more days!
Each year, the Gaylord hosts this extravaganza in which 40 Chinese sculptors carve 1,000 tons of ice into characters from a chosen theme. Past years have featured the Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty and Madagascar.
This year, visitors are treated to iconic scenes from the classic Christmas special featuring characters from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip. Giant blocks of ice, dyed with simple food coloring, are carved into snapshots from the story, including Snoopy’s ostentatiously decorated doghouse, Lucy’s psychiatry business and the traditional Charlie Brown Christmas tree. A separate display, carved from clear, sparkling ice, depicts the Nativity.
Visitors, dressed in standard-issue blue parkas to protect themselves from the 9-degree temperatures inside the chamber, waited in lines to try the ice slides — two for adults and two for kids.
In previous years, the sculptures could be challenging to photograph due to the large number of visitors inside. This year, crowd control was proving a challenge. At 7 p.m., hundreds and hundreds of people were still waiting to get inside. Children whined and tempers flared. Experienced staff members commented they’d never had crowds like this before — one day visitors numbered 10,000.
Yet inside, it wasn’t crowded. There is often a bottleneck where visitors are obliged to have their picture taken. (Like the photo? It’s another $30.) But on this day, once we got past the ticket gate, there was no line for the photographer and only a few people were waiting for parkas. Some upbeat staff members inside tried to console visitors who had been waiting in the long line. If you have the flexibility, visit during the day or on a weekday. Not only are crowds smaller, ticket prices are lower as well.
Ticket prices vary based on age and day and time of visit. Packages are available, some including extras and/or overnight stays.
Although visitors’ time inside ICE! is not limited, you will eventually get cold, despite the parka. But Gaylord offers visitors more than just the ICE! display. If you have children, extra options include a carousel, gingerbread house decorating, a Build-a-Bear workshop, ice skating and more. Food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, hot cocoa, popcorn, cookies and more, are sold throughout the Gaylord complex.
A light show is held at various intervals each evening in the lobby, and this year Cirque du Soleil performs twice a day as well.
If your kids get restless after the frenzy of Christmas dies down, head out to Gaylord’s ICE! These delightful, one-of-a-kind sculptures are not be missed!
———————————————————–ICE! through Jan. 1, Gaylord National Harbor Resort & Conference Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD