Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort
Article and Photos by: Kelsey Walters
After this dumpster fire of a year, many people are looking to the holidays to instill some joy back into 2020 as we close it out. Many have begun celebrating earlier than ever (I’ve even spotted some Christmas trees up before Halloween!) and are on the hunt for some seasonal fun. As usual, the Gaylord Palms resort in Orlando is serving up holiday excitement in dazzling fashion.
Like everything this year, the holidays look a little different, but that doesn’t stop the fun! Unlike years past, Gaylord Palms will not be offering the popular “ICE! at Gaylord Palms” festivities packed with spectacular holiday themed ice sculptures in freezing cold temps. The ice artists travel each year from China and are unable to travel this year (thanks, 2020).
New Holiday Events at Gaylord Palms
Never ones to disappoint, the resort is featuring a new immersive experience for the first time this year, “I Love Christmas Movies.” While this yuletide tour offers entertainment for the entire family, it is especially beloved by Christmas movie fanatics.
Featuring 13 scenes from five holiday classic films, the approximately 30-minute tour has you play the role of extras on the films’ “hot sets” as they get ready to say “ACTION!” and film the scene. The movies include:
- Elf (2003)
- The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
- A Christmas Story (1983)
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
- The Polar Express (2004)
The selection of films from various generations ensures everyone will spot a scene from a movie classic they know and love. You’ll get ready for your close up and stroll onto set, meeting your mark, and the scene plays out before your eyes complete with sound snippets from the movies. Tour groups are limited, with a pairing of two small (socially distanced) parties or one larger group, depending on the size of your family. The tour is also full of fun trivia from each film.
We started off with one of Avery’s favorites, visiting Buddy the Elf at the North Pole workshop as the elves settled in to fill Etch A Sketches. Then it was out into the “frozen” tundra as a giant narwhal burst through the ice and wished him good luck finding his dad, and through the Candy Cane Forest where we landed in the New York City store, Gimbel’s, and found a giant teddy bear perched atop Santa’s “throne of lies.”
“The Year Without a Santa Claus” brings you right down Santa Claus Lane just as the snow begins to fall, and you come face-to-face with the Snow Miser and Heat Miser themselves! Photos and videos are welcome throughout the tour. You are free take as many as you’d like as you pose next to one of the most iconic movie props in history, the infamous leg lamp from “A Christmas Story,” dine on the overcooked, smoking Christmas turkey or climb aboard the Polar Express as you are whisked away to the North Pole. One lucky “Clark” from each group even gets to plug in the lights on the Griswold family house (before they blow a fuse a few seconds later, of course!)
What’s Included at Christmas at Gaylord Palms
While the new tour is the centerpiece of the Gaylord Palms holiday celebration, there is still plenty more to do during your visit to the resort’s Alpine Village. Decorate gingerbread cookies in the Alpine Sweet Shop, enroll in Elf Training Academy or meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.
What sets this Christmas spectacular apart is the Snow Factory. In this chilly wonderland, you can slip and slide down Snow Flow Mountain or try your hand at Snowball Build and Blast. Avery spent most of her time on the snowy dance floor getting down to her favorite Christmas songs. Kids can pump their own snow onto the dancefloor with special foot pedals to keep the flurries going.
If you time your visit to Gaylord accordingly, the resort’s atrium is filled with millions of dazzling lights for evening light shows, plus other theatrical seasonal performances and events. There are also acres of festive decorations and upscale dining options on-site, plus snacks, drinks and a bar available in the Alpine Village.
Additional fees apply for activities, but packages are available to bundle and save if you plan to experience it all. If you can’t make it out of town to see real snow this year, let Gaylord Palms do it for you and have a holly, jolly Christmas right here in Florida!
*Masks are required in all indoor areas and tickets must be purchased online in advance, no box office on-site. Tickets are limited to minimize crowds and may sell out.
CHRISTMAS AT GAYLORD PALMS
I Love Christmas Movies:
Open daily through January 3, 2021
From $28.99/adult and $14.99/child (4 – 11)
Bundle packages start at $71.13/adult and $59.09/child
Additional $26 parking fee applies
GAYLORD PALMS RESORT