The popular ICE! exhibit has returned to Gaylord Palms, the mega-resort just outside Walt Disney World's gates (along Osceola, one of the streets that bisects WDW). You've probably heard of ICE before. It uses two million pounds of ice blocks, some colored with food coloring, to carve into oversized ice sculptures. They bring in professional ice artists from Harbin, China each year to do it, and every year the entire thing is brand new, and always different.
Until a few years ago, the event specialized in oversized lollipops, fanciful trains, forests scenes with ice animals, polar bears, and so on. Last year, the event got a corporate sponsor, and Shrek was the theme. This year's theme is Madagascar (you know, the animated movies with a lion, zebra, giraffe, etc?) I haven't seen any of those movies, but my kids have, so it's definitely a known property. And no, there is no Circus Afro on display in ICE!
What you will find is a number of scenes of the zoo animals interacting with Santa, since they crashed his sled, but you'll get more details about the storyline in the preshow movie. You won't need the details to enjoy all that ice, though, and admire the artistry.
There are slides made of ice that you (and your kids) can actually slide down. These are always fun, though it seems like this time they are less slippery (or less steep?) and it's harder to get going.
If you come, remember that the warehouse where they do the display is kept at nine degrees Fahrenheit, more than twenty degrees below freezing! You'll get a rental jacket, but by golly you will want long pants and closed shoes. And don't forget mittens or gloves! Lastly, expect to pay $16 (after tax) for the parking at Gaylord Palms.
ICE is open now until January 1, including the holidays. Gaylord Palms also stages a number of other Christmas events, like cookie decorating with Gingy (from Shrek), a Shrek character dinner. See their website for more details and ticket sales. Disclosure: my family and I were invited to a press viewing of ICE with complimentary admission.
Enjoy the photo tour below. And keep an eye out for the one critter that looks (to my eyes) just like a Furby!
Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.