NASHVILLE, Tenn. Gaylord Opryland Resort invites guests to “freeze the day” this Christmas as the longtime holiday tradition, ICE!, returns to the annual A Country Christmas celebration Nov. 11, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023, after a two-year hiatus.
Using more than 2 million pounds – or 1,000 tons – of ice, the classic 1964 Christmas animated television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, will be brought to life by a team of 40 ice artisans who carve for thirty days to create the nearly 20,000-square-foot, frozen attraction.
Starting with more than 6,200 massive ice blocks – created by three different ice manufacturers because of the sheer amount needed – carvers will tally more than 12,000 manhours on the project. The artisans, using skills passed down from generation to generation, follow a 300-page design book to create the spectacle.
This year, ICE! will include 12 scenes from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, featuring classic characters including Clarice, Bumble. Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf, and of course Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer himself. Ice carvings range in size from details as tiny as a coin to soaring scenes more than 20 feet tall.
The environment will be kept frozen by a state-of-the-art chilling system which maintains the temperature at a frosty 9 degrees Fahrenheit. And while the 9-degree temperatures turn ICE! into one of the coldest spots in Nashville, guests experiencing the attraction will be provided Gaylord Opryland's signature blue parkas to keep them warm and toasty.
Colored ice (created by a chemist who mixes special food colorings to ensure sculptures maintain their bright colors the entire season), clear ice, and LED lights are all used to create the display, as the frozen fun follows Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as he guides Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve.
“We are thrilled to welcome guests back to experience ICE! and help them create even more holiday memories with their family and friends at Gaylord Opryland. Since debuting here in 2001, ICE! has always been our most popular attraction during A Country Christmas, and we're excited to welcome this Gaylord Hotels tradition back this year with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” said Tom Petrillo, General Manager and Managing Director of Gaylord Opryland Resort.
In addition to seeing characters from the classic television special, guests can also take rides down four two-story-tall ice slides and traverse through ice tunnels and arches. The ICE! experience concludes in a separate area dedicated to a beautiful Nativity scene, meticulously carved and shaped in a dramatic display of crystal-clear ice.
The talented carvers who create this arctic artwork will travel more than 6,413 miles from their homes in Harbin, China to Nashville, Tennessee. Known as “Ice City,” Harbin is no stranger to elaborate ice carvings – it's home to the world's largest annual ice and snow sculpting festival. At Gaylord Opryland, some of the same artisans who create the Harbin festival will carve 300-pound blocks of ice into the larger-than-life, whimsical scenes. Carvers will use chisels, chippers, tongs, handsaws, grinders and even chainsaws to bring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends to life. The artisans from Harbin have created ICE! for Gaylord Hotels for many years but haven't been able to travel to the United States the past two holiday seasons because of international travel restrictions.
There's Snow Much More!
While ICE! is the signature attraction for the 39th annual A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland, there are plenty more festive activities, events, attractions, and dazzling decorations throughout the 2,888-room property. The entire resort transforms into a holiday wonderland with more than 4 million lights, elaborately themed Christmas trees displayed throughout the property including a fully adorned 48-foot tree, 15,000 poinsettias,15 miles of green garland and 10 miles of hand-tied ribbon. Christmas shows and activities are presented in the atriums, while guests can also enjoy a variety of exciting experiences at Pinetop, an outdoor Appalachian-esque village.
Here's a rundown of the events, live entertainment, hands-on activities, holiday meals and exciting attractions taking place this holiday season at Gaylord Opryland:
Unique Holiday Dining Experiences
- The Oak Ridge Boys “Christmas in Tennessee” Dinner Show
GRAMMY® Award-winning, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry members, The Oak Ridge Boys, are back to spread holiday cheer with a 32 day-show residency at the resort. Keeping the musical tradition alive, the “Christmas in Tennessee” dinner show will feature a delicious holiday meal prepared by the resort's culinary team followed by the legendary band performing Christmas classics, new favorites, and timeless hits.
- Rudolph's Holly JollyTM Breakfast
Children and adults alike can look forward to a delicious breakfast and interactions with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other characters from the beloved holiday classic.
- General Jackson Showboat's Christmas Cruises
Guests can hop aboard Nashville's famous 300-foot paddlewheel riverboat for the Tennessee Christmas Lunch Cruise or the Music City Christmas Dinner Cruise while enjoying scenic views of the Cumberland River and Nashville Skyline. Guests can look forward to a delightful Southern meal and world-class live musical performances.
- Frosty's Pub
The resort's holiday eatery, Frosty's Pub, features over the top seasonal décor, festive dishes, and naughty or nice cocktails with a touch of cheer.
- Holiday Brunch
A celebratory Christmas Day Brunch will be offered at Gaylord Opryland Resort. Thanksgiving Day Brunch will be offered at the resort as well as Gaylord Springs Golf Links.
Outdoor Thrills at Pinetop
- Snowball Build & Blast
In this brand-new attraction, guests can take their best shot with real snowballs at interactive targets.
- Ice Skating
Enjoy a yuletide glide, day or night, on the resort's 9,000 square foot skating rink made with real ice. Guests can also hone-in on their skating skills with ice-skating lessons.
- Ice Skating Show
Experience an all-new, awe-inspiring live ice-skating show featuring champion skaters, big jumps, fast spins and mesmerizing throws and lifts. Guests can purchase tickets in advance for reserved seating.
- Ice Tubing
Guests looking for thrills can enjoy all the fun of sledding with the added speed of ice on a 15-foot high, four-lane ice tubing hill.
- Bumper Cars
Enjoy classic bumper car rides in the great outdoors. Get ready to slide and glide during this action-packed experience.
- Live Musical Performances
Guests can get into the holiday spirit while enjoying live holiday tunes performed on the Pinetop stage.
Even More Outdoor Excitement
- Annual Lighting Ceremony
On November 10, at 5:30pm, the public is invited to attend the 39th Annual Lighting Ceremony on the Magnolia Lawn with live performances, special surprises, and the flipping of the switch to turn on more than 4 million holiday lights and officially start A Country Christmas.
- Nightly Tree Lighting
Step outside of the resort to watch the resort's giant trees light up while Dicken's Carolers serenade guests with favorite Christmas carols.
- Carriage Rides
Experience a private fairytale horse-drawn carriage ride while marveling at the sparkling Christmas lights.
- Outdoor Nativity
Step outside of the resort to experience special lighting effects and an audio rendition of the beloved biblical story.
- Parade of Trees
Universal Music Group Nashville will again host Parade of Trees, featuring some of country music's biggest names and showcasing the artist's uniquely themed Christmas trees on display in the resort's garden atriums. While visiting the trees or viewing them online, guests will have the chance to donate to win “Once In a Lifetime VIP Experiences” donated by the artists, to benefit mental health services provided by charitable beneficiary First Responders Children's
Foundation, including a new collaboration with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals® for the local Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.
- Photos with Santa by DEI
Meet Jolly Old St. Nick in person and capture the amazing memory with a picture.
- Delta Riverboat Christmas Cruise
Hop aboard the resort's Delta riverboat for a festive-themed cruise down the winding quarter mile long Delta River.
- Gingerbread Decorating Corner
Decorate your dreamhouse or delicious cookie with a variety of sweet treats. Guest can also visit the Gingerbread Bakery for even more tasty treats.
- Build-A-Bear Workshop®
Guests can bring imagination to life and create their very own furry friend with personalized outfits, accessories, scents, and sounds.
- Reindeer GamesTM Scavenger Hunt featuring Rudolph and The Misfit Toys
Guests of all ages can embark on a riveting scavenger hunt to find the lost misfit toys around the resort.
- Christmas Fountain Shows
Watch in awe as the dancing fountains are synchronized to holiday music and bright lights.
For the holiday season, Relâche Spa at Gaylord Opryland is featuring Winter Wonderland massage, facial and pedicure treatments, highlighting the benefits of eucalyptus. The aromatic plant is known to be high in antioxidants, to promote relaxation and reduce pain
In addition to a full lineup of special events, attractions and activities during A Country Christmas, guests can enjoy many year-round amenities. The resort features three atriums spanning over nine acres full of plants, flowers, waterfalls, streams, and fish. Also inside the atriums, a delicious selection of dining options await, including authentic Italian cuisine at Ravello, gourmet steaks and an award-winning wine list at Old Hickory Steakhouse, Mexican fare and signature Margaritas at Solario Cantina, and and array of classic dishes, fresh sushi, and a variety of cockatils at Cascades American Cafe.
Even during the holiday season, guests can visit Gaylord Opryland's upscale aquatic adventure, SoundWaves, which fuses music and water to create a modern-day oasis featuring lazy and rapid rivers, a family mega-raft ride, four thrilling tube and body slides, a multi-level play structure and toddler water play area, a FlowRider® Double and an adults-only pool and bar. Additionally, the water attraction features an arcade with virtual reality games, a rock-climbing wall, game tables and more. The only guaranteed way to visit SoundWaves is by booking an exclusive holiday package including wristbands or the SoundWaves Experience Package. Seasonal specials and Tennessee resident package rates are available.