Review: A Walk Through Christmas at the Gaylord Texan 2021

Christmas at the Gaylord Texan is an annual tradition for many, including my own family. The lights, music, activities, and overall atmosphere easily usher in the Christmas spirit. The pandemic has caused things to change a bit over the past few years, unfortunately canceling the beloved ICE! exhibit due to the ice sculptors' travel restrictions from China.

Last year, the Gaylord Texan replaced the event with the I Love Christmas Movies walkthrough. Attendees walked through some of their favorite scenes from Christmas movies. Overall, it was an interesting experience but generally failed to live up to the normal standards set by Christmas at the Gaylord. Some of the largest complaints were the long lines, rapidly being ushered through the scenes, and an overall lack of interaction to make prices worth it. Luckily, the Gaylord has addressed these issues this year and created an amazing experience that families are sure to love!

Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf easily eclipses last year's event and restores magic to Christmas at the Gaylord Texan. Cue lines were extremely well managed and the exhibit is self-paced! There are countless selfie opportunities for those that enjoy Elf and a huge array of interactive activities.

As you enter, a cast member explains that The Kringle 3000 isn't functioning and needs Christmas spirit to help Santa. The journey starts in the North Pole where visitors will get to assemble toys and take out their frustration by playing some whack-a-jack with Buddy's favorite toy. Several touchscreen games allow visitors to create new toys and to remove toys that aren't up to the elves' standards.

In the next room of Santa's workshop, you will get to create some cookies to help spread cheer (because let's face it, cookies make everything better). The smell of cookies fills the room as ingredients flash across touchscreen tables. Placing the correct ingredients in a bowl unlocks a screen where they have to be mixed and then cut into shapes. Once a topping is chosen, your cookie is transferred to the "oven" at the front of the room where it is displayed for all to see.

The next stop is New York City at Gimbels department store. Decorated according to the movie, fans are able to sit upon Santa's throne and gaze upon Buddy's paper art. Then, press as many elevator buttons as you'd like to find yourself in the mailroom of the Empire State Building. Buddy has already worked up the crowd, so now its your turn to dance to the music. Cameras transfer your beautiful dance moves into video images of your adoring coworkers.

Finally, visitors will venture into Central Park where they will partake in a snowball fight with the elves. You can use cannons or a bucket of snowballs (ping pong balls) to throw at your adversaries on the screen where they are virtually transferred into real snowball projectiles. There is also a section where touchscreens are present to play classic Christmas songs in hopes of finally raising the Clausometer to the necessary levels for flight!

The Christmas Village outside of the exhibit offers its usual beloved attractions. Eight lanes of snow covered hills offer a fun snow tubing experience to those that need a little bit of a white Christmas experience. Snow (bubbles) are also emitted in intervals to allow the feeling of snow falling in the village. Other favorites include the Christmas carousel, indoor ice skating, and building a snowman out of real snow!

Outdoors, Merry & Light awaits visitors that can't get enough of Christmas lights. Beautiful lights offer plenty of wonder and opportunities for those with an artistic eye to take some amazing photos/selfies. To top it all off, Mrs. Claus awaits at the end to visit and take photos.

Of course, the Gaylord Texan is breathtaking on its own, especially with the added Christmas decorations. Throw in a holiday escape room, character breakfast with the iconic members of the Peanuts cartoons, decorating gingerbread cookies, a holiday scavenger hunt, and a Christmas themed painting session, your family is sure to make timeless Christmas memories that they will be talking about for years! Luckily, ILID has an exclusive 50% off coupon for those wanting to attend Christmas at the Gaylord Texan. Simply use the code "LIVE" when checking out to receive this discount on selected dates and see why we are so excited about this year's events!