From now until January 2, you can enjoy Christmas at Gaylord Palms – a special holiday celebration featuring a wide variety of new and original entertainment, shows, and activities. From immersive walk-through experiences to indoor sledding to beautiful performances, there are festive options for every taste, age range, and preference.
Recently Orlando Decoded was invited to a special media preview where we got to experience three of Gaylord Palm’s Christmas attractions – Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf (a multi-sensory, interactive experience), the Snow Bar (a beverage area offering holiday-themed cocktails and speciality drinks), and Cirque: Spirit of Christmas (a Gaylord Hotels exclusive show with amazing athletic acts and performance talent). What an awesome experience! THANK YOU, Gaylord Palms, for inviting us to your media preview!
Like I said previously, there are SO MANY Christmas and holiday-themed activities happening at the Gaylord Palms – but first let’s take a closer look at the three attractions we were able to experience during the preview.
Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf
In a collaboration with Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment, guests can enter the world of Buddy the Elf in this all-new, immersive, walk-through experience. Traveling through iconic scenes from the beloved movie, you’ll encounter a combination of themed environments, special effects, larger than life photo opportunities and engaging interactive activities. Your ultimate mission: fill the Clausometer with enough holiday spirit to power the Kringle 3000 and save Christmas!
Candy Cane Forest
Enter the attraction through the famed Candy Cane Forest, where you’ll find Mr. Narwhal leaping a whopping 13 feet out of his Arctic sea!
Of course, Leon the Snowman is ready to greet and welcome you to Buddy’s world. Using real-time animation and projection mapping, it feels like he’s really talking to your group!
Continuing deeper into the North Pole, you’ll find Santa’s Workshop – complete with elf workbenches and toys in progress!
Of course, after the toys are made they need to be inspected! Use the consoles to virtually monitor the toy assembly line. Be sure to remove any defective toys before they drop into Santa’s bag!
Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen
Your last stop in the North Pole will be Mrs. Claus’ sweet-smelling kitchen!
In this scene, your goal is to virtually design and bake customized Christmas cookies! Use the virtual consoles in the middle of the room to get started!
This was actually my favorite interactive activity. In addition to the tasks on the touchscreen, you had to use physical “ingredients” to make your cookie batter. The little boxes were so cute!
After mixing your dough, choosing your cookie’s shape and decorating it accordingly, send it to the oven for the final finish!
Okay, we’ve greeted various North Pole creatures, made some presents, and baked delicious cookies. It’s time to head to New York!
Of course, our first stop in the city is the department store to await Santa’s arrival – and it looks like Buddy has already been hard at work!
This room is incredibly detailed with paper chain garland, Lite Brite “Welcome Santa” signage, a gift wrapping station, and the New York/train model as a festive centerpiece. If you’re feeling musical, try your hand at a working, giant floor piano.
And who can forget the giant dance scene in the mail room? If you ever wanted to jump into the fun, now’s your chance! Stand on the designated spaces to join the party!
In the final scene, we explore Central Park with its famous bridges and gorgeous snowfall. As you challenge elves to a virtual snowball fight (using plastic balls or a snowball gun), you’ll finish filling the Clausometer and power the Kringle 3000 for its Christmas Eve flight! Good work, everyone!
What a unique way to experience this classic holiday favorite! I really enjoyed the theming details and interactive nature of this awesome attraction!
Snow Factory (And the Snow Bar)
Floridians, now’s your chance! Sled down Snow Flow Mountain, play with real snowballs at the Build & Blast, and enjoy all sorts of cold-weather fun in the Snow Factory! Also in this area, you can find the Snow Bar – which was our next stop during the media preview.
At the festive Snow Bar, you can find a variety of tasty, holiday-themed cocktails and drinks! Nicole Cortes Rodriguez, Gaylord Palms’ chief mixologist and all around cocktail genius, explained the flavor profiles and ingredients of each of these handcrafted beverages. While I cannot drink for health reasons, some of my fellow attendees tried the refreshments and had nothing but good things to say!
It’s worth noting that, according to the menu, the stated prices already include tax and gratuity – adding a layer of value and convenience to these cocktail purchases!
Cirque: Spirit of Christmas
In this original Gaylord Hotels production, we experience the story of Noel – a child saddened by the never-ending busyness of the holiday season. Searching for the true meaning of Christmas, Noel is visited by energetic and graceful spirits.
During the preview, we got to watch a dress rehearsal of one of the aerial silk scenes. Wow! What a breathtaking performance!
Like any Cirque show, the story will be told through a variety of athletic-based acts, stunts, and dramatic feats – accompanied by gorgeous musical selections. Cirque: Spirit of Christmas also includes trapeze performers, an artist using hula hoops and more!
Hot Tip: Paid tickets are required for guaranteed seating, but there’s always a possibility of standby room! If you have the time – hop into the standby line, and take a chance! If there’s space available (no guarantees!), you might get to see the show for free!
Other Christmas Happenings at the Gaylord Palms
There really are an unbelievable amount of holiday happenings at this year’s Christmas at the Gaylord Palms. While there are simply too many to discuss in this short paragraph, some highlights include walking a festive Christmas Tree Trail, enjoying classic holiday tales at Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions, celebrating The Greatest Story, or creating your own sweet treats at the Gingerbread Decorating Corner. For more information about Christmas at Gaylord Palms, visit their website or follow them on Instagram and Twitter!