From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Freeze the Day – ICE! Is Back!

By Lani Gering

I am so happy that ICE! is back at the Gaylord after a two year hiatus and runs through New Year’s Eve. One of my favorite things to do is to sip on a holiday beverage or two at the Belvedere Lobby Bar and take in the tree lighting and laser light show before donning the blue parkas and trekking through the fantastic ice maze.  We missed this year’s media preview event so I haven’t taken my ride down the ice slide or ice tubed yet either so….that is on the calendar in the next couple of weeks.

I don’t usually like to use press release information but since I couldn’t attend the preview, their PR people provided me with all of the info I needed so I am passing it on:

Using more than 2 million pounds – or 1,000 tons – of ice, the amusing holiday classic, ‘A Christmas Story™’ will be brought to life in ice sculpture form by a team of 40 world-class ice artisans from Harbin, China. This is the first time A Christmas Story has been featured at ICE! during the resort’s holiday celebration.

This year, guests will experience over 10 scenes from the hilarious family tale in magnificent hand-carved sculptures made of ice. Featured scenes include the old man’s major award, Aunt Clara’s pink nightmare and the ultimate triple dog dare at the school’s flagpole and more!

Starting with more than 6,000 massive ice blocks, the carvers work approximately six weeks – more than 12,000 man-hours – to create the nearly 17,000 square foot frozen attraction. The artisans, using skills passed down from generation to generation, follow a 300-page design book to create the ice spectacle.

The specially designed ICE! tent will be kept at a frosty 9 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure optimum temperature for the ice sculptures to stay intact. And while the 9-degree temperatures turn ICE! into one of the coldest spots in the capital region, guests experiencing the attraction will be provided Gaylord National’s signature blue parkas to keep them warm and toasty.

In addition to the amazing ice sculptures from the fan-favorite Christmas movie, guests can also take rides down the two-story-tall ice slides and traverse through ice tunnels and arches. The ICE! experience concludes in a separate area dedicated to the Nativity scene, meticulously carved, and shaped in a dramatic display of crystal-clear ice.

While ICE! is the signature attraction for the 2022 Christmas at Gaylord National celebration, there are plenty more festive activities, events, attractions, and dazzling decorations throughout the massive 19-story hotel. The entire resort transforms into a holiday wonderland with more than 2 million lights, 160 elaborately themed Christmas trees, more than 10,000 ornaments, and miles of garland. Christmas shows are presented in the garden Atrium, while parts of the convention center transform into Christmas Village, a bustling, holiday hamlet with Bavarian-style village storefronts, family-friendly activities, characters, and a giant Christmas store.

Here’s a rundown of some of the events, live entertainment, hands-on activities and exciting attractions taking place this holiday season at Gaylord National:

A Gaylord Hotels original production, “Cirque: Spirit of Christmas” is a Broadway-style show featuring high-flying stunts, acrobatic feats, elaborate staging and a dramatic musical score. Returning after its successful debut in 2021, this Cirque-style show centers on Noel, a child dismayed by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Throughout the 30-minute atrium show, Noel is visited in dreamlike chapters by trapeze artists, acrobats, aerial silk performers and others who help rekindle the Christmas spirit.

The birth and life of Jesus Christ has been called “the greatest story ever told.” Guests can experience it through the eyes of six international storytellers in “The Greatest Story,” a musical stage show and multicultural celebration of everlasting faith, hope and love.

A snowy play space awaits guests in the Snow Factory, along with ice tubing and snowball throwing. After climbing Snow Flow Mountain, guests hop in inner-tubes and speed down atop real ice. (Admission allows unlimited ice tubing rides on the date specified on the ticket). After the need for speed is satisfied, guests can head over to Snowball Build & Blast. Conveyor belts deliver tubs of real snow to guests who race to make snowballs and toss them at targets.

Visitors will enjoy a perfect day or evening under the stars while taking a yuletide glide on our outdoor ice-skating rink made with real ice. Visitors can also experience the thrill of bumper cars – sliding, spinning, and bumping into family and friends!

Brand new for 2022, our free Shine Light Show dazzles with thousands of dancing lights, synchronized to a high-energy, seasonal soundtrack. Animated light curtains glow with Christmas imagery around a centerpiece tree that magically transforms into a gleaming and glowing holiday spectacle.

To learn more about the events or book an overnight stay, room package, meeting, or event, please visit or call 301-965-4000.

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