Ice at the Gaylord Texan 2012

This past weekend, @ChevyTexan and treated my family to a Sunday excursion to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful hotels in DFW, and we love making it a part of our holiday traditions. 

I’ve been almost every year since ICE opened (with the exception of 2011), and it never disappoints! So, when @ChevyTexan offered us a chance to not only experience Lone Star Christmas for its opening weekend, but have a brunch at the Boardwalk Cantina, how could I say no?? (And the fact that they gave me transportation for the weekend in a Chevy Malibu pretty much put icing on the cake!)
Typically this resort restaurant has a family style or a la carte menu, but for Sunday Brunch at the Riverwalk Cantina they go all out with a huge buffet; including complimentary Mimosas and Bellinis by the water. 

There’s a gourmet breakfast bar with a variety of foods including an omelet station. If you’re more for the lunch in brunch, you can head to the salsa, soup, and salad bar for starters. Then enjoy freshly made tamales, tacos, and fajitas, or more premium entrees like pork tenderloin, rack of lamb, and prime rib. . . And don’t get me started on the desserts!  


Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we decided to make the long walk over to ICE and work off some of the few hundred calories we’d just consumed. 

After years of standing in lines that last for hours, this weekend, we experienced a first . . .

We handed the attendant our tickets, walked straight through all the ropes…past the movie that’s normally the holding queue, and right to the booth where they hand us our parkas. For a family with an almost 2 year old, THIS was the way to go!

There was no attempting to entertain him while we walked 10 steps per minute. We didn’t have to fight a toddler tooth and nail to prevent him from running past all the crowd and into the exhibit. We just grabbed our parkas and walked straight on in!! 


This year’s theme is Dreamworks’ Merry Madagascar. Using almost 2 million pounds of ice, sculptures from China were flown in to create this amazing display based on the holiday TV special from 2009. 

Although the Little Man didn’t know who any of the characters were, he still had a blast since 
he’s currently into learning about animals. 

He’d run from character to character shouting “Zebra,” “Lion,” “Penguin”!

  . . . And that’s right, I said run! Again, just as easy as it was to move from the entrance into the attraction, there was even more room to move around inside. 

So much room, that when we got to the giant ice slide, we were able to ride it 3 times without having to wait in line! 

I honestly don’t think ICE has ever been this memorable! Mostly because it’s a completely different experience seeing the wonder through the eyes of a child, but also because it relieved Mommy from a lot of undue stress! 
My advice if you’re planning to head to the Gaylord Texan for ICE and you’re visiting with little ones: 
  • Buy your tickets in advance! Save yourself the hassle and time by not having to stand in the ticket line. 
  • Go on a Non-Peak day if possible. Check the calendar for the “white days” when tickets are almost $5 cheaper each and lines are likely to not be as long. This might mean you have to take a day off of work or plan in advance, but it will make your experience so much more enjoyable. 
  • If you have to go during a Peak time, go early or go late! Try to be the first in line or head during a time of day when others won’t be there. For example, during lunch or dinner time. With so many great restaurants at (and near) the Gaylord, plan to eat a brunch or early dinner and head to the line while others are eating. You might even try a Sunday night while others are winding down and getting ready to head back to work! 
  • Be prepared to leave your stroller at the door. For safety, they’re not allowed past the ticket person, so don’t count on it as a way to manage your child through the lines. 
  • Snap away!  There’s so much to see and look at while inside the attraction make sure to go camera crazy to capture that perfect photo. And don’t be surprised to see your cheeks get rosy quickly from the cold! 
  • Upcharges everywhere! With ticket prices at almost $27 per person, I always hate how much more they try and sell you once inside. Before being able to enter, they’ll take a family photo that you can buy at the end starting at $20. Then once you exit, there’s a dessert and coffee bar ($3 hot chocolate anyone?) with opportunities to take photos with a Madagascar character …for a fee. And once you’re past those temptations…a toy store! Be prepared to either make a compromise or cover your child’s eyes to avoid temptation of spending extra money! 
Now that you’re prepared for this adventure, all that’s left to do is buy your tickets! 

For a limited time, you can get 50% off your ticket by using the promo code ICECG

3 Responses to Ice at the Gaylord Texan 2012

  1. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely adorable pictures of the Little Man! I can tell he was having a wonderful time!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m so excited about the 50% discount. I’m going to take advantage of that!

  3. […] Gaylord Texan. I had it all planned out! We spent the afternoon with the boys and his parents at ICE walking through 9 degree temperatures. After a little sightseeing and photos, we went our separate […]