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This holiday season may not find the ICE! at Gaylord Palms, but that didn’t stop the Central Florida area resort from putting on an extraordinary event to celebrate the holidays this year. For 2020, Christmas at Gaylord Palms Orlando features their marquee event, I Love Christmas Movies.
This post has been updated to reflect their 2021 options. The special events and our experience from 2020 should not vary too much.
We were hosted by Gaylord Palms to experience their Christmas events. All opinions and reviews are my own (and they are glowing!)
We also stayed at Gaylord Palms for the holiday events and I’m pleased to say nothing has changed since our last review of the resort. You can read all about staying safely at Gaylord Palms Orlando, here.
The following is a review of Christmas at Gaylord Palms.
I Love Christmas Movies
I Love Christmas Movies is Gaylord Palms Marquee or Signature event. It is an interactive and immersive walkthrough space featuring five of the best known Christmas movies. You can walk through the sets of Elf, The Year Without a Santa Claus, A Christmas Story, The Polar Express, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Walking through the sets, a guide, or movie Production Assistant, tells you all about the sets and trivia about the movies. Each set has additional elements to bring you into a fully immersive experience. I won’t spoil all the surprises, but my favorite was taking on Clark Griswold’s roll in lighting up the house.
Because I truly do love Christmas movies, this was my favorite part of Christmas at Gaylord Palms.
Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf™
For 2021, a Gaylord Original experience featuring scenes from the hit movie Elf. For the first time this Christmas, journey into Buddy the Elf’s world to help save the holiday in this all-new Gaylord Hotels original experience. Team up with Mr. Narwhal and friends in the candy cane forest, stay ahead of the toy quota in the North Pole, prepare for Santa’s arrival at the iconic department store, and take part in an epic virtual snowball fight in Central Park. These are just a few of the 12 interactive, multi-sensory challenges you’ll need to complete to muster enough Christmas cheer to power the Kringle 3000 and Santa’s sleigh!
While I love Christmas Movies is not returning, I expect this will be a similar experience as the one above.
The Alpine Village is the winter wonderland that houses many of the attractions. Imagine that you’ve stepped into the North Pole or at the very least a Swiss mountain village. Classic Christmas music plays adding to that warm, nostalgic holiday feeling.
This area was my daughter’s favorite part of our visit. She enjoyed wandering around the village and listening to holiday music.
The first thing you’ll notice in the Alpine Village is the holiday shopping trinkets you can bring home. You’ll find tropical-themed ornaments, movie memorabilia from the I Love Christmas Movies event, Build a Bear, Auntie Annie’s Pretzels, and Cinnabon treats.
Gingerbread House Making
Inside one of the village, storefronts is a candy store/gingerbread factory. Here you can meet a lifesize gingerbread man as well as decorate a gingerbread house or other gingerbread treats.
We loved how sweetly decorated this area is. Be sure to check out the cookie recipes on the walls and see if you see anything “off” about them.
Elf Training Ornament Making
Across from the gingerbread is the Elf Training Academy, where you learn how to paint toys. An elf host talks to you about your elf training while you get to paint an ornament of your choice.
My son enjoyed taking the time to paint his train toy/ornament. I loved that he enjoyed this as he’s almost 17!
Storytime with Mrs. Claus
Another sweet activation in the Alpine Village is Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions. Here, Mrs. Claus will read you a story, sing carols, and play games with you all with the help of her friendly elf, Snowflake.
Overall review note – We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of entertainment put on by Gaylord Palms. Everything here in Alpine Village and beyond exceeded our expectations and is as good of entertainment you’d see anywhere in the theme parks.
Photos with Santa
What Christmas event would be complete if you didn’t get photos with Santa. Socially distant photo packages are available for additional purchase.
Across the way from Alpine Village is the Snow Factory. Here the temperature drops, so be sure to dress warmly. The Snow Factory is just that, a place where snow is made!
Snowball Build and Blast
In fact, you can help make more snow by playing in the Snowball Build and Blast. Real snow is sent down the conveyor belt and it’s up to you to build snowballs and pitch them into the factory tubes in order to make more snow.
This was a fun and engaging interactive experience. I loved watching the kids compete to rack up the most points. they took this challenge seriously! And I’m not kidding when I tell you it’s real snow. My hands were definitely iced after.
The Snow Flow Mountain is the piece de resistance at the Snow Factory. Line up, safely and socially distanced, of course, to take a tube ride down one of two mountains. Tickets to the Snow Flow Mountain allow you to slide all day.
Cirque Dreams Unwrapped Show
The Cirque Dreams Unwrapped show is an amazing stage show in the Atrium of Gaylord Palms. Acrobatic and musical performances wow the audience with balancing acts, athletic feats, and jaw-dropping stunts.
While we were able to watch the live entertainment from our atrium view room, it’s well worth the cost to see it from the stage. Additionally, you can’t always hear what is going on from the room as the atrium echos. It’s worth buying a ticket to see it up close.
For 2021, the Cirque show is the Spirit of Christmas. The acrobatics and entertainment are well worth checking out.
Christmas Lights Show
The #Lit Christmas Light Show is also in the Atrium. This show is complementary and happens twice nightly. Take in one from the stage and one from the room for a variety of perspectives. Both are great!
For 2021, the light show has been updated and brand new. Shine Light Show dazzles with thousands of dancing beautiful lights, synchronized to a high-energy, seasonal soundtrack. Animated light curtains glow with Christmas imagery around a centerpiece tree that magically transforms into a gleaming and glowing holiday spectacle.
The Greatest Story Stage Show
Hear the story of Mary, Joseph, and the birth of Jesus Christ through storytelling and songs. The six performers have incredible voices and tell a beautiful story with traditional Christmas carols.
This is another one of the live shows that should be seen from the stage rather than your atrium view room.
Feast with the Grinch Character Breakfast
The newly renovated Villa de Flora is home to the Grinch, Max, and friends while you have a breakfast buffet feast with added Seuss like touches.
while we didn’t have breakfast with the green man himself, we did enjoy the buffet. Breakfast buffets at Gaylord Palms never fail to impress. Plenty of fresh and delicious food to choose from.
The Grinch’s Scavenger Hunt
Perfect for the little ones to keep occupied, the Grinch’s Wonderful Awful Idea Scavenger hunt takes you throughout the resort to solve clues about what the Mean One is up to. These are always a fun way to get to know the resort and engage the kids.
The Grinch is not returning for 2021.
Christmas at Gaylord Palms Prices
Note that most of these events require a ticket. Most of the Christmas at Gaylord Palms events can be found here. If you plan to be in the Orlando area, buy individual tickets or bundle and save 20 to 40% depending on the bundle.
Additionally, you don’t have to stay at Gaylord Palms to enjoy the Christmas activities. If you are in Orlando’s theme parks for the holidays, go for the Platinum package to include parking.
To book a room for Christmas at Gaylord Palms, click one of the buttons below. Note that while Marriott does have packages that include the festive entertainment, it is only for the immersive Walk Through. You might do better booking through an atrium view room and buying one of the bundles mentioned above.
We had an amazing time experiencing the Christmas season at Gaylord Palms. We’d recommend it for anyone looking to get a little holiday cheer. It was the best time for the entire family.