Where can you see a 60-foot glass Christmas tree … experience an indoorsnowfall…. gaze at two million dazzling lights ….or walk through scenes of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – created entirely of ice? It’s all part of the third-annual Christmas on the Potomac™celebration at Gaylord National Resort.This year’s event runs from Nov. 18, 2010 to Jan. 9, 2011.
Known as the Washington D.C. region’s “Capital of Christmas,” the resort garnered big recognition for its Christmas celebration last year, including being named: “Top 10 U.S. Hotels Decked Out for the Holidays”by Orbitz.com, “12 Most Festive Places to Find Holiday Spirit”by the American AutomobileAssociation, and “Top 100 Event” by the American Bus Association. Last year’s ICE!, Santa’s Winter Wonderland, drew some 185,000 visitors; this year’s event will be even bigger, attracting several hundred thousand visitors over the 50-day celebration.
Here’s what’s in store:
ICE! featuring “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” Gaylord’s signature winter holiday attraction, will warm all hearts …even a heart that’s two sizes too small. Bringing to life the 1957 Dr. Seuss holiday classic tale, ICE! features 10 colorful scenes straight out of the pages of the original storybook. Sculpted from TWO-MILLION pounds of ice, the indoor walk-through attraction brilliantly showcases how the “Whoville-hating” Grinch learns the true meaning of Christmas. Visitors go through the Grinch’s frozen world, see jaw-dropping ice sculptures and walk through larger-than-life scenes that re-create the original storyline. They can see the Grinch’s devoted companion, Max the dog, and also his favorite Who, named Cindy Lou. Little and big kids alike can even zip down two-story-tall slides made completely of ice!
ICE! visitors will also experience:
- “The Art of Seuss”– walk through a renowned, museum-quality exhibit that showcases artifacts and memorabilia celebrating the art of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. Officially sanctioned by the Dr. Seuss Foundation, this exhibit is the only one of its kind in existence. Showcasing lithographs, serigraphs and sculptures reproduced from Geisel’s original drawings and paintings, it has traveled the world since 1997 introducing generations young and old to the artistic legacy of Dr. Seuss. (ICE! ticket required)
- “From Harbin to WHO-ville” – learn about the making of ICE! and the Chinese artists themselves, the same artisans that build magnificent displays at the world-famous Harbin Ice Festival, who traveled to Gaylord National to create the magnificent works of art found inside ICE! (ICE! ticket required)
ICE! is open daily (hours vary), and is priced at $24-29/Adults, $13-18 for Children 4m $18-23 for Seniors (ages 62+), $21/Military Adults and $13/Military Children. Tickets should be purchased in advance (since many popular days sell out) and can be purchased online at www.wefrozethegrinch.com; via phone at 301-965-4000; at the Gaylord Concierge Desk (Hotel Lobby) or ICE! Box Office (inside attraction)
ICE! Family Photo – because everyone looks great dressed like a big blue Eskimo, your photo i ssnapped while you’re wearing the super-stylish ICE! parka (prices start at $14.99 per photo).
Merry’s Christmas Treasures –because no visit to ICE! would be complete without a souvenir or specialty item, there is a 4,000-square-foot shop connected to ICE! which offers an outstanding collection of holiday gifts, home décor, collectibles, ornaments and apparel.
Ice Skating – everything’s gone green at Gaylord National…even its indoor ice-skating rink. Practice your perfect figure eights on a rink comprised entirely of GREEN ice, its fun for beginners, figure skaters and everyone in between. Open daily. The price is $10 per person (Gaylord resort guests); $12 per person (non-resort guests) and includes skate rentals.
Meet the Grinch – you’ll meet the “Mean One” himself and get a photo keepsake. You’ll even get a big, hairy hug too! Prices start at $14.99* per photo. (Purchase required to meet Grinch.)
Mrs. Claus’ Crafts Corner* – unleash you inner artist and decorate a beautiful gingerbread house! Mrs. Claus will even be happy to provide her “creative input” on your masterpiece. Hours: Fridays – 5pm & 7pm | Saturdays & Sundays – 3pm, 5pm, 7pm. Price: Based on activity type
Breakfast with the Grinch – the Grinch himself will join guests at this very special family breakfast featuring a menu of “Who-ville” themed delights. All are invited to participate in this holiday feast, where anyone might be asked to help carve the roast beast! Guests will also enjoy watching the original 1966 “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” animated TV special on the National Pastime sports restaurant’s 40-foot-wide big screen. (Weekends and holidays, Nov. 20-Dec. 31, seating times between 8 and 10 am. ($24/Adult, $12 Child 4-12) $12. Purchase tickets online: www.christmasonthepotomac.com; via phone: (301) 965-4000; or at the Gaylord Concierge Desk (Hotel Lobby).
“A Christmas to Remember” Musical Dinner Show– savor a three-course dinner and enjoy the sights and sounds of entertainers performing traditional, contemporary and sacred songs of Christmas. This musical extravaganza thrills with dazzling costumes, amazing voices and energetic choreography. There are seatings at 5 and 7:30 p.m. in the Pienza Italian Market private dining room (Sundays through Thursdays, Nov. 28-Dec. 30; $58/Adult, $48/Child 4-12) $48; purchase tickets online: www.christmasonthepotomac.com, call 301-965-4000; or at the Gaylord Concierge Desk (Hotel Lobby).
Brunch with Santa –Santa is your host for this bountiful Brunch buffet; seatings from 11 am. to 1:30 pm. (Saturdays & Sundays, Nov. 20-Dec. 19; $36/Adult, $18/Child 4-12) ; purchase tickets online www.christmasonthepotomac.com; call 301-965-4000; or at the Gaylord Concierge Desk (Hotel Lobby).
Seuss Sculpture Garden– see five of the most beloved Dr. Seuss characters: The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, Sam I Am from Green Eggs and Ham, Yertle the Turtle and The Lorax, immortalized in bronze. The 4-6-foot statues are on display throughout our indoor atrium. Since 1997, this exhibit has traveled the world in tribute to the unique artistic and literary talents of Dr. Seuss.
Tree of Light – the centerpiece of Gaylord National’s celebration, the tree is made entirely of synthetic “candy” glass! This “must-see” is 60-feet tall, weighs 7,000 pounds and is suspended from the center of our atrium. By day, it looks like a spectacular stained-glass window. At night, it glows brilliantly and creates a festive mood.
Indoor Snowfall – It’s always 72 degrees in our atrium, but you won’t believe your eyes as it snows inside! A “must-see” during our Christmas celebration – a delightful indoor flurry occurs every night at 6:15pm & 9:15pm.
Santa Souvenir – get your photo taken with jolly ‘ole St. Nick to enjoy atop your mantle for years to come. Available: Nov. 18-Dec. 16 from 4pm-9:30pm (Monday-Friday) and 3pm-9:30pm (Saturday and Sunday) | Available:Dec. 17- 24 (extended hours) from 10am-9:30pm Daily. Prices start at $14.99 per photo. (Photo purchase required to meet Santa.)
Potomac Express Train –All aboard! Kids can take a ride under the Christmas tree aboard our miniature train. Available Hours: Nov. 18-Dec. 16 from 4pm-9:30pm (Monday-Friday) and 10am-9:30 pm (Saturday and Sunday) | Available:Dec. 17-Jan. 9 (extended hours): from 10am-9:30pm Daily. Price: $2 per ride; 3 rides for $5
Spectacular Décor – You’ll be mesmerized by our Christmas decorations, including more than two million lights that illuminate our soaring, glass atrium and outdoor garden areas. And, ICE! isn’t the only thing that’s gone “green” this year. As part of Gaylord National’s on-going commitment to the environment, all lights utilize energy efficient LED bulbs (Hotel Exterior, Atrium & Lobby)
Tree Lighting Show – Every night, our atrium comes to life with an extravaganza that heralds the arrival of nightfall. The delightful show features Christmas music, a light show, and a dancing fountain that shoots 60-feet high! Shows nightly at 6pm.
Northern Lights – Look up and be amazed by 50-150-foot light curtains hanging from the ceiling of our 20-story atrium. Choreographed to music, the lights appear to “dance” and change colors overhead just like the real Northern Lights. A sight to behold! Nightly between 5-10pm.
Brightest Star Fountain Show –Hear a heartwarming narration of the classic Christmas story and watch as choreographed water “dances” to the music. The show also features whimsical lighting. Nightly at 7pm, 8pm & 9pm.
Atrium Scavenger Hunt – in this fun scavenger hunt, participants look high and low, and everywhere in between, to find cleverly hidden Christmas items.
Dive-In Pool Movies (open to overnight resort guests only) – Watch Christmas classics on a giant screen while floating in our indoor pool Movies nightly at 6:30pm.
Nightly Live Musical Entertainment – Enjoy special holiday cocktails and live performances by local musicians. Nightly from 5pm-8pm. (Belvedere Lounge)
Seasonal Splash – catch these short 2-3 minute fountain shows throughout the day as the water “dances” to favorite holiday tunes. Showing daily, on the hour, from 11am to 5pm.
Seasonal Spa Treatments – The holidays are stressful, and everyone needs a little pampering this time of year. Visit Relâche Spa & Salon and melt the tensions away with a new seasonal treatment. Spa gift certificates also make great stocking stuffers. Call Relâche at 301-965-4400 for more information.
Holiday Milk & Cookies (for overnight resort guests only) – Why should only Santa get all the treats? Indulge in special homemade cookies and a cold glass of milk – delivered straight to your guest room from our pastry chef’s kitchen. Touch “In-Room-Dining” on your guest room phone to order. They’re the perfect sweet ending to the day!
Overnight Hotel Packages:
The Gaylord National is offering value packages for the Christmas Holidays which incorporate a visit to ICE!
The “Christmas Memories” Package provides for one night deluxe room accommodations, one ticket to ICE! and a Souvenir ICE! photo (one per room), daily self-parking and resort fee (a $40 value), for $99 per person, double occupancy (extra adult and child rates are available) The package is available for select dates between November 2010 through January 2011.
The “Grandparent Getaway” Package (because there isno better time than the holidays for grandparents to create lasting memories with their grandchildren), provides two nights deluxe room accommodations at Gaylord National Resort, one ticket to ICE! and a Souvenir ICE! photo (one photo per room), one ticket to Breakfast with The Grinch, daily self-parking and resort fee for $203 per person, double (with extra adult and child rates available).
Most activities and entertainment are open to BOTH resort guests and day visitors (except when indicated for “Resort Guests Only”).
For more information, to purchase tickets, or make dining reservations, visit www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com; call 301-965-4000; or visit the Concierge Desk in the hotel lobby.
Capital’s First Waterfront Resort
The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, which opened in April 2008, changes everything for families visiting Washington DC. It is a full-service, waterfront resort with every amenity, affording a true vacation respite after the hustle-bustle of visiting the capital’s attractions.
Set along the banks of the Potomac River, less than eight miles south of the nation’s capital, in National Harbor, Md., it is the centerpiece of a a new 300-acre waterfront destination with hotels, shops and restaurants and marina.
The Gaylord National Resort is the largest-combined hotel and convention center on the Eastern Seaboard, offering 2,000 guest rooms, including 110 lavish suites. It offers a world-class spa (Relache), junior-Olympic sized pool, fitness center, arcade and two billiard tables, a selection of restaurants, shops, even a nightclub, and is the centerpiece of National Harbor, a new waterfront destination with more hotels, shops and restaurants.
The Gaylord National is easily accessible to Washington D.C. – a hotel shuttle drops off at two locations, at Union Station and the Old Post Office, departing every hour; the NH-1 Metrobus, a public bus, less than a block from the hotel entrance, goes to the Branch Avenue Metro Station (Green Line) every 30 minutes, and the Alexandria-National Harbor Water Taxi, running every hour, goes to Alexandria (where there is a Metro), as well as to Mount Vernon and Georgetown. The hotel offers a self-parking garage for $10 (up to 3 hours).
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745, 301-965-2000, www.gaylordnational.com.
ICE! at Four Gaylord Resorts
All four Gaylord Resorts present a Christmas festival and spectacular ICE! event.
Best of Florida Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando: Nov. 20, 2010 – Jan. 2, 2011
“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…” Every day will be Christmas Eve at Gaylord Palms this holiday season, when the delightful story, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, comes to life at ICE! This chilly attraction, in the traditionally warm sunshine state, is sure to create a winter holiday experience like no other in Florida. And while ICE! is the main attraction during the Best of Florida Christmas Celebration, visitors will also be dazzled daily at Luminescence, a high-energy, high-spirited modern musical journey into Christmas. Guests can also enjoy music from yesterday and today while listening to a capella-style Christmas carols in the resort’s holiday-themed four and one half acre atrium. And, while visiting Gaylord Palms, families can enjoy a holiday brunch with Mrs. Claus at Villa de Flora, where surprise Santa visits are sure to delight children and adults of all ages. And it won’t be hard to keep the little ones occupied with a Hidden Holiday Treasure Hunt across Gaylord Palms’ 4.5 acre winter wonderland. (www.gaylordpalms.com/christmas)
Lone Star Christmas at Gaylord Texan Resort, Dallas: Nov. 12, 2010 – Jan. 3, 2011
An exciting gang of special guests will be arriving at Gaylord Texan this holiday season, as they celebrate their sixth annual ICE! attraction with a brand new theme featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas, and all of the beloved Peanuts characters by Charles Schulz. The story will come alive in classic Charlie Brown story scenes like rehearsal hall practice, Snoopy’s holiday-decorated house and Charlie Brown choosing the perfect Christmas tree. Outside of the frozen wonderland, guests will have an opportunity to enjoy breakfast with Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Texas-sized cowboy gingerbread cookies take the place of traditional houses in the Enchanted Gingerbread decorating program; and a 52-foot rotating Christmas tree will take center stage among 1.5 million lights and 12,000 ornaments in the holiday-decorated atrium. (www.wefrozecharliebrown.com)
A Country Christmas® at Gaylord Opryland Resort Nashville, Nov. 19, 2010 – Jan. 2, 2011
Celebrating its grand re-opening after Nashville floods forced the resort to close temporarily, Gaylord Opryland Resort will be non-stop excitement this holiday season. In its 27th year, Gaylord Opryland Resort’s A Country Christmas will feature a brand new theme to its ICE! event – Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town®—and will welcome other new events, as well as favorite traditions, to this year’s line-up, including the 9th season of the Radio City Rockettes® Christmas Spectacular show, Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Louise Mandrell’s ‘The Gift’ Christmas Dinner Show, and much more. In the tradition of Gaylord Opryland Resort, guests will enjoy Christmas shows aboard the General Jackson® Showboat or listen to a Rockabilly Christmas music show featuring the Christmas oldies of the 1950s. A Treasures for the Holidays craft show will be on–site, allowing guests to shop for hand-made novelty gifts. A Country Christmas will also offer Photos with Santa, holiday train rides for children, a gingerbread house decorating area, carriage rides and the Hall of Trees – a display of trees adorned with items available for purchase, such as autographed CDs, electronics, dinner vouchers, airline tickets and trips – all to benefit Middle Tennessee charities. (www.christmasatgaylordopryland.com)
–Karen Rubin, National Eclectic Travel Examiner
© 2010 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visithttp://foamcage.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin or www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate to see color photos. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com.