Take A Peek Into “Christmas At The Gaylord” 2020

December not only marks the end of 2020, but also brings in one of the most wonderful times of the year, CHRISTMAS! Lights and trees have gone up around the metroplex a little earlier than usual this year to bring in some much needed holiday relief. Don't worry, we won't judge. We all deserve a little something extra in our stockings this time around and, although it won't fit conveniently above your fireplace, the Gaylord Texan brings us the gift of a much needed winter wonderland!

Earlier this year we learned that Covid restrictions had claimed yet another holiday favorite activity, the Gaylord Texan's ICE! exhibit. This news came as a blow to many families that have made a tradition of visiting the hotel annually. Luckily, a few months later we received news that the Gaylord would still be holding events and activities as part of their "Christmas at the Gaylord". This was definitely an exciting announcement, but what does this look like without the coveted ICE! exhibit and what did they use in its place? We decided to see for ourselves.

For those who have never been to the Gaylord Texan around Christmas, the interior and exterior of the hotel are literally adorned with over a million lights. Seeing the hotel illuminated at night is almost breathtaking. Each section of the hotel lobby has a unique color theme and accompanying decorations. Even if you don't have the finances to stay overnight, I would strongly suggest taking a stroll through the hotel anyway (something I wish we would have done the first few years that we attended).

Shortly after getting situated, my girls insisted that we go take a look at the Christmas Village events. A giant Christmas themed carousel, drink bar, Build-A-Bear station, snow tubing hills, and shops were strewn across the main entrance. My children made a beeline straight for the snow tubes. This led to us taking about six trips down the hills, alternating between single and double tubes. I will say that those stairs seem quite a bit taller lugging up those double tubes after about the third time through. That said, I would have done it a hundred more times just to watch the girls squeal in delight each time the tube plunged down the hill.

From there we wandered over to take a couple of turns on the Christmas carousel. Each horse had its own Christmas theme painted on it. I think we ended up deciding on a horse with a snowman and another with snow covered trees. The carousel was not very crowded so we got to enjoy a bit longer on the ride than we probably would have otherwise.

After we finished, we walked over to where we saw some families building snowmen. We watched as some small kids shoveled actual snow and formed it into snowmen that stood about three feet tall. They had scarves, hats, and other accessories to aid in their creations. We didn't get to linger there long though as my kids had become smitten with the skating rink nearby.

The Gaylord Texan has had this attraction before, but for some reason we never ventured onto the ice since it was outside. The rink was fairly crowded, so I was a little concerned since neither of my young girls had been ice skating before. It only took a lap or two before they had taken to the ice enough to try on their own. For younger or inexperienced kids, there were also chairs available that you could push across the ice for stability. We are definitely skating amateurs, so we took a few pretty good spills. However, a staff member was skating around the rink and was quick to help out anyone who had fallen or needed any attention. My youngest daughter later informed me that her occupational ambition in life is to now be one of these skating assistants.

After a short while of skating, it was finally time for us to see the "I Love Christmas Movies" exhibit that was chosen to replace ICE! this year. People who venture into the exhibit are able to walk through scenes from some of their favorite Christmas movies like Elf, The Polar Express, A Year Without Santa Clause, A Christmas Story, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. A guide tells you about the movies, offers some related trivia, and escorts you through the scenes. There are plenty of chances for photo ops along the way. Several of the scenes stood out more than others. The Polar Express had a snowy landscape passing by outside the windows as the smell of hot chocolate poured in with the corresponding song. My personal favorites were the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation scenes. We were able to plug in the Griswold's lights, see the squirrel cause the Christmas tree debacle, and watch as the overcooked turkey popped open to fill the room with smoke.

I would have liked it to be a bit more hands-on; however, I also understand that Covid protocols limit this option. Due to restricting the numbers of attendees for social distancing purposes, it can also seem a bit rushed. I would suggest getting an earlier booking in the day so that you can take a little more time enjoying the scenes instead of worrying about holding up the next group. The "I Love Christmas Movies" event showed promising potential for the years ahead if ICE! is unable to return and they can fine tune some of the typical inaugural concerns.

We caught a glimpse of the "Yuletide Bright" event, but did not get a chance to go through the exhibit. This event entails a short outdoor walk among large 3D Christmas figures illuminated by lights. The colorful lanterns and characters are sure to catch the attention of young and old folks alike. This was just one of the many events that we did not have the time to explore. Christmas at the Gaylord also offers a chance to throw real snowballs at moving targets, an Elf on the Shelf character breakfast, Christmas scavenger hunt, holiday themed escape rooms, gingerbread decorating, Christmas canvas painting, photos with Santa, and story time with Mrs. Claus.

While we hope to see the return of ICE! next year, we still had a blast rolling in the Christmas season a bit early at the Gaylord Texan. You can click here if you would like to learn more or are interested in purchasing tickets of your own. Also, if you use "LIVE", our exclusive coupon code, you are able to save up to 50% off the I Love Christmas exhibit and $5 off Yuletide Bright!