Visiting Gaylord Opryland in Nashville is rapidly changing into certainly one of my household’s favourite vacation traditions. With its magnificent glass atriums, lush landscaping that magically brings the outside in and countless actions and eating places, it is stunning any time of yr, however much more so through the holidays.
There are different Gaylord resorts in Kissimmee, Florida; Aurora, Colorado; Grapevine, Texas; and Nationwide Harbor, Maryland, and collectively they gentle up the vacation season with greater than 7 million Christmas lights (that is 295 miles of lights in case you stretch them out end-to-end), 110,000 ft of garland, 600 Christmas timber and 30,000 poinsettias.
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That is an entire lot of Christmas — however, wait, there’s extra.
In addition they create life-size, walk-through winter wonderlands utilizing 33,500 blocks of ice, therefore the identify of Gaylord’s flagship vacation occasion — Ice!
If you’re planning so as to add this to your lineup of vacation traditions, here is all the pieces it’s essential to know earlier than you ho, ho, go.
Every property’s Ice! occasion is exclusive
Gaylord Accommodations has 5 properties throughout the U.S. Each invitations visitors to expertise their very own immersive (and chilly!) walk-through shows themed to varied in style Christmas motion pictures. Whereas every show is completely different, all of them have one factor in frequent — they’re produced from 1000’s of blocks of ice coloured and carved by world-renowned consultants into vacation masterpieces that may delight visitors of all ages.
Throughout all 5 properties, knowledgeable carvers from Harbin, China, traveled to the U.S. to rework 10 million kilos of ice into whimsical and surprisingly practical vacation shows as much as 30 ft tall. The spotlight of the occasion for teenagers (and children at coronary heart like myself) is crusing down a frosty slide fabricated from ice. There’s even a shorter slide designed for teenagers too small (or frightened) for the full-size slides.
This yr’s Ice! themes embody:
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There are quite a lot of festive actions
The splendor of Ice! could also be what will get you thru Gaylord’s door, however the walk-through shows are hardly the one factor you are able to do whenever you go to a Gaylord Resort through the vacation season; there are sufficient actions to maintain your loved ones entertained for a full day or a complete weekend.
The choices fluctuate barely from property to property, however you will discover experiences like snow tubing, holiday-themed scavenger hunts, gingerbread adorning, ice skating, ice bumper vehicles, family-friendly escape rooms, horse-drawn sleigh rides, pictures with Santa, vacation character breakfasts and extra.
After two years of visiting, our favourite actions are the Ice! walk-through (clearly), ice skating (they’ve pushchairs that you should utilize for stability and to assist younger children), the scavenger hunt and the ice bumper vehicles.
Most actions require an advance ticket buy, however throughout my household’s current go to to Gaylord Opryland, we spent as a lot time strolling via the atriums and marveling on the dazzling decor and dozens of Christmas timber (which prices nothing in any respect) as we did constructing snowballs and sliding down the tubing hill.
Spoiler alert: Ice! is chilly. Very chilly. 9 levels Fahrenheit to be actual. The type of us at Gaylord will offer you one of many pretty blue parkas pictured above, however you will additionally wish to be sure you are sporting closed-toe footwear, pants and gloves so you may comfortably benefit from the expertise.
The jackets do have hoods, however you might also wish to carry a hat to carry in a few of that much-needed physique warmth. In case you have them, carry touchscreen-friendly gloves as a result of there are photograph alternatives round each nook and frozen fingers do not take the very best footage.
If you’re additionally planning on tubing or ice skating throughout your go to, you will be glad you packed your cold-weather gear, even when the temperatures exterior are hotter than they’re contained in the attraction. If you happen to occur to overlook a hat and gloves, you should buy them on the resort.
Construct in some downtime
This yr was our second time visiting Gaylord Opryland through the holidays and we realized a number of issues from our first go-round that influenced this yr’s itinerary. Each years, we stayed on the resort for 2 nights, however final yr we packed nearly each accessible second of time with the above-mentioned actions. When our youngest son was too exhausted to swim on the indoor water park and fell asleep in his stroller, I knew we had most likely tried to do an excessive amount of.
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It is also value mentioning that the sheer measurement of most Gaylord resorts means a number of journey time between your room and no matter enjoyable exercise you’re headed to, so it might probably begin to really feel such as you by no means cease to relaxation until you deliberately construct in some downtime.
This yr, we scheduled solely two to 3 actions per day. We left time in between to return to our resort room for a snack or, after visiting the Ice! walk-through, for snuggling in our beds to heat up. Even in case you aren’t staying in a single day and are solely visiting for the day, I’d suggest selecting just a few actions as an alternative of making an attempt to do all of it. A part of the enjoyable of being at a Gaylord resort is exploring the outlets, eateries and gardens that span the attractive glass atriums — you wish to go away loads of time for spontaneous wandering while you’re there.
If you’re staying on-site, I like to recommend taking an hour or so after you verify in to do a lap across the resort and get the lay of the land. It will assist ease the stress of making an attempt to make it to any actions with time-based tickets on the right time.
Resort visitors obtain additional perks
Apart from the plain perk of having the ability to earn and redeem your Marriott Bonvoy factors in any respect Gaylord properties, in a single day visitors obtain Ice!-specific perks, as properly. All in a single day visitors can make the most of the “Chill Cross” for front-of-line entry and shorter wait occasions when visiting Ice! This complimentary perk is included along with your keep, so that you need not do something further to put it to use, however you do nonetheless must buy a ticket for Ice!
In a single day visitors can even benefit from “Additional Cool Hour,” a profit that permits resort visitors to enter Ice! one hour earlier than it opens to day visitors. Fewer crowds means shorter traces and extra journeys down the ice slide.
The simplest strategy to acquire entry to the occasion throughout Additional Cool Hour is to make your room reservation earlier than you buy your Ice! tickets. While you buy your Ice! tickets, filter the ticket sort to “In a single day Company Solely” and select your most popular date and time. You must obtain a code in your pre-arrival affirmation e-mail that you may enter through the buy course of in case you select a time through the first hour of the day. Alternatively, you should buy a room and Ice! ticket package deal and you’ll obtain e-mail directions on the way to reserve a day and time to go to the attraction.
As a result of entry to Ice! is timed, it did not really feel overly crowded after we visited throughout regular working hours, however as we close to the vacations or in case you go to on a weekend, the Chill Cross and Additional Cool Hour might come in useful.
Ebook an atrium-view room
The distinctive glass atrium design is what makes staying in a Gaylord resort so particular. My household likes to get up within the morning and throw open the balcony doorways to take heed to the dashing waterfalls and see the decor. We often eat breakfast on the market, as properly. When the solar units within the night and the atrium darkens, the twinkling lights and glittering decor tackle a completely completely different — and magical — look.
Staying in an atrium-view room can price wherever from round $70 to $100 extra per evening than staying in an ordinary exterior-view room, however I used to be in a position to get it for no further price — and you’ll, too. As a Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite member, I’m eligible for a complimentary room improve after I keep at a Marriott Bonvoy property, based mostly on availability. You’ll be able to earn Gold Elite standing with 25 eligible stays per yr, however you may earn it a lot faster with a bank card that mechanically grants you Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite standing (you’ll have to enroll on-line or by calling your bank card’s customer support and giving them your Marriott Bonvoy quantity), like The Platinum Card® from American Categorical.
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I made a decision to roll the cube and booked an exterior-view room with the hopes of being upgraded to an atrium-view room. The improve usually cannot be assured till check-in, however I figured it could not damage to name previous to our arrival and have them make an observation on the reservation. I spoke with a pleasant customer support agent who made a notice on my account. I anticipated to have to attend till I checked in for the improve to be confirmed, however the subsequent time I opened the Marriott app, my room sort confirmed as being an atrium-view room.
I am not an enormous gambler, however this one paid off and I saved some money.
Ebook early and search for reductions
As I discussed earlier, some occasions have timed entry, together with Ice! and character breakfasts, so the sooner you buy your tickets, the higher likelihood you will have of getting the precise date and time you’re hoping for. That is particularly necessary in case you are visiting on or proper round a vacation or on weekends when the occasion is busier.
Reserving early additionally opens you as much as extra alternatives for reductions on Ice! and the opposite actions at Gaylord. This yr, Gaylord Palms ran an early chook particular in August for 35% off Ice! tickets and one other in September for 30% off. On Veterans Day, Gaylord Nationwide mentioned “thanks” to veterans and repair members with a code for 50% off Ice! tickets.
Related affords pop up all through the vacation season and the easiest way to search out these affords is to comply with the Gaylord resort you’re planning on visiting on Fb, Instagram and Twitter. If you’re staying in a single day, you can too verify the “Affords” web page for the placement you propose to go to to see what offers it’s selling. You will typically discover specials for Marriott Bonvoy members, AAA members, academics, seniors, first responders and extra. Groupon offers additionally pop up occasionally, like this one for 30% off Ice! tickets at Gaylord Palms.
With 5 resorts throughout the nation, there is a good likelihood you are not too removed from a Gaylord resort. Each has festive actions, decor, treats and drinks (scientifically, a sizzling toddy will help you heat up after you’ve got been within the chilly) to assist your loved ones create vacation recollections and traditions that may maintain you coming again to Gaylord yr after yr.