A Look Through Our Eyes – 2018 Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas

Those that get annoyed by the fact that Christmas songs are infiltrating their radios in November obviously haven’t stepped foot into the Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas. Their festivities kicked off this past weekend and it is impossible not to get into the holiday spirit, regardless of what month it is. While I have visited ICE! and the Gaylord Texan before, I had never stayed the night there. This year I rounded up the family and decided to get the whole Lone Star Christmas experience.

The hotel atmosphere was immediately welcoming as we stepped out of the abnormally cold weather and were greeted by a warm fire in the waiting area. Like all things in the Gaylord Texan, our rooms were Texas themed. The room was spacious with a double sink and separate bathroom. Our favorite feature, by far, was the balcony view of the hotel. Our room overlooked Mission Plaza, the large courtyard area adorned with lights and Christmas paraphernalia.

We decided to grab something to eat before we went to visit ICE! as it was getting late. Seeing as the college football games were on, we went to Texan Station to grab some food. The sports bar had televisions everywhere you looked. The food also did not disappoint. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich with chips and slaw. I unfortunately have to adhere to a gluten free diet, so finding good food when eating out at a random restaurant isn’t normally a pleasant thing to do. However, a large majority of food options there (and in the other eating establishments at the hotel) included gluten free options. This dining experience marked one of the rare occasions that I was able to get a sandwich that wasn’t dry or felt overpowered by thick, gluten free bread. I would definitely recommend it to those in my situation. I also had some hot wings. Surprisingly, they actually seemed to have an Asian flavor to them rather than the typical buffalo sauce. There was not much left on our plates when we headed out.

Full of food and good spirits, we left to go see this year’s ICE! exhibit. The 2018 theme is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. For those unfamiliar with ICE!, it is a large, walk-through attraction that has the story of Rudolph recreated by giant ice sculptures. The hotel flies in 40 ice carvers from China each year to work on the exhibit a month in advance.

Carolers were singing in the hallway as we made our way to the entrance. There was even a duo of elves doing magic to entertain children outside. Throughout our time walking around we also saw a hula-hoop competition and a juggling elf that our daughters absolutely loved. We finally donned our blue parkas and headed in after we had finished playing around in the staging area.

The colors and magnitude of the ice sculptures this year were unreal. The detail in each scene was amazing. There was one area where you could light up Rudolph’s nose with the touch of a button and another with a two-story ice slide that we went on more times than I like to admit.

For adults in attendance, there is a special portion of ICE! where you can visit the “coolest” bar in DFW. On The Blocks Ice Bar offers drinks to those that are up to the unique experience. The chilled drinks are served at a bar and tables completely comprised of ice.

My favorite part of the showcase this year is the giant sculpture of Bumble being subdued by Hermey and Cornelius. This impressive life-sized sculpture features a bridge to walk through the scene in order to gain a better appreciation of the work. The magnitude and array of colors make it difficult to believe that you are surrounded by carved ice.

The ICE! exhibit was expanded this year to allow more walking room and it is easy to feel the difference in comfort levels due to this. The walk concludes with a giant nativity spread and towering angel. I could have spent hours studying the exhibit, but I did not want to take home frostbitten extremities as an unwanted souvenir.

We thawed out a bit in the gift shop and then made our way to the snow tubing area. Twelve large lanes of snow awaited us. My daughter’s screams of fear quickly turned into joy as she insisted that we go down again (and again). I am not sure how many trips that we made but it was easily enough to wear a guy out.

The night concluded with my girls watching The Grinch in bed as my wife and I enjoyed the balcony ambience. Live music from an artist on an acoustic guitar played while I enjoyed the twinkling lights of the Plaza. This relaxing moment was definitely one that I will remember for quite some time to come.

In the morning we had brunch with Rudolph and his friends. My daughters loved getting to meet the characters that awaited them. While the reindeer were not taking photos, they could be seen playing various games with each other. Bumble, the abominable snowman, stopped to take gaze hungrily at my plate and then proceed to sniff it. Luckily, I was able to make it back to my table with all of my food intact. The spread included bacon, sliders, eggs, fruit, omelets, sausage, and pastries. It is very hard to choose a favorite among the bacon, omelet, and sausage but I do know that I indulged in enough overeating to last me well through dinnertime.

We stopped for a few photo ops on our way to check out and head back to reality. I am extremely glad that we took the opportunity to get the full experience this year. Even so, we still did not have enough time to take it all in. The Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas also has a brand new Christmas carousel, ice-skating, Santa pictures, cookies with Mrs. Claus, holiday escape rooms, a scavenger hunt, and gingerbread decorating experience. I will be sure to be back next year.

Since Hallmark is already airing Christmas movies you might as well kick the season off a little early yourself. We have comprised a list of tips for you below. If you would like to learn more about the experience or purchase tickets you can do so by heading on over to their website here. Also, if you act quickly you can use our exclusive iliveindallas discount code located here!

***ICE! Tips***

  1. Wear multiple layers of clothing (including socks) and bring gloves. The supplied parkas are nice, but they are not enough to really be comfortable.
  2. Bring a bag with the extra clothing items. You do not want to be pouring down sweat while waiting in long lines during peak days. I have done this and it is not pleasant.
  3. Go early in the season. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more likely you will be stuck in large crowds.
  4. Sit on your parka and lay flat on the ice slides. A failure to do this will result in an extremely slow decent down chute.
  5. Explore the hotel. Even if you are on a budget the walk around the building is enough to keep you entertained for hours.