Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A VCC Day Trip to Ice! at the Gaylord Palms Hotel

The Villages Convertible Club is all about getting out on back roads, driving with the top down to explore new and fun places.  There are always a variety of day trips and overnight trips to choose from as folks in TV (The Villages) don't like to sit around in their rocking chairs.  The trip this week was to the Ice! show at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Kissimmee, Florida, where a storyline display of ice sculptures are created each year by a staff of ice sculptors from Harbin, China.  This year's story is Frosty the Snowman.

Now you may be wondering how an ice sculpture show can be held in the middle of Florida where the outside temperatures are in the 80s this week?  Simple.  The hotel trucks in huge air conditioning units which cools the display area to a very chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit.  Brr!  When you purchase tickets you are told to wear long pants, shoes with covered toes, to bring gloves and a hat and to dress in layers.  After you enter the show area you are loaned a long parka and warned that your iPhone may not work inside with the cold, but that your digital cameras should.  And with that, we were off!
 All of the sculptures and decorations at the Ice! show are created from clear and dyed blocks of ice that started off as 10x20x42 inch blocks of ice, each weighing about 350 pounds.  It arrives at the hotel over a period of three weeks arriving in several truckloads.

Entering the display area through an igloo-style ice tunnel
The beginning of the story of Frosty the Snowman and how he came to life one day....

 Frosty melts away...
But he'll be back again someday....
 Some of Frosty's friends.  Exquisite carving skills.

AND there are ice slides for those of us who are still kids at heart!

 The middle section of the display is the area explaining how the ice is created, trucked in and then carved.
 One of the Chinese ice sculptors, making a set of leaves to place under the red rose currently resting atop the blue ice vase.

 And the final display is that of an exquisitely carved Nativity scene and the angel guarding the scene.
Once you leave the Ice! show you are free to wander the grounds and interior of the Gaylord Palm hotel (and of course the gift area immediately outside the exit of the Ice! show.)  Denny and I took advantage of that to look around and search for the tiny reindeer hidden in various areas as part of a giveaway scavenger hunt. There are eight restaurants/cafes/places to get a bite to eat inside and a lot to explore.  The interior is all under glass.

A stop on the way back home to pick fresh oranges and grapefruit right off the trees and Denny and I arrived home happily exhausted from all the walking and exploring.


  1. You know that you live in a land of plenty when you can truck snow to Florida. :) But the sculptures and all are quite lovely.

  2. Harbin, China is where my mother was born. She remembers the ice carvings from when she was a child.

    1. Bill--the artistry is amazing. Plus the fact that it is all done in below freezing temperatures.

  3. What a delightful place for heat bound Floridians. Did it make you homesick for Ohio or make you glad you could step out into the warm when through.?

    1. Patti--in 15 years I've not been homesick for gray skies and cold temperatures. And while I love to look at other peoples' photos of freshly fallen snow, I've no desire to be out driving in it or shoveling it. So while the Ice Show was fun, we were glad to drive home the back roads with the top down and the smell of orange blossoms in the air.