Move Over Mickey MouseDennis M. Blank
The New York Times

Orlando, Florida. In this city of palm trees and 80 degree weather, where 90 theme parks compete ferociously for the 20,000 tourists who arrive daily, the latest attraction might seem an unusual draw for late snowbirds fleeing the cold north; Ice.. Tons of it!

Move over Mickey Mouse, the ice sculptors have arrived in plenty of time for Christmas. for thirty-five days they’ve chiseled through two million pounds of ice to create a 20 000 sq ft winter wonderland.

The deep freeze extravaganza was created to promote a local resort hotel, which spent more than 1 million dollars to house it in an insulated tent in its convention centre. Air conditioners and blowers preserve the carvings at a cool nine degrees.

In one area, two life-size toy soldiers, carved from blocks of blue and red ice, guard the steps to a gigantic castle. In another, toys and animals fill Santa’s workshop with large candy canes gracing the doorway.

Visitors are given heavy parkas to wear as they wind their way through snow covered fields and ice carved fences, past a nativity scene of life-sized figures and animals shimmering under colored lights.

“My parents had sent me emails of Russian ice sculptures, so this is something that I wanted to see,” said Ken Chapman of River View, Florida. “The nativity scene was stunning, that was the prize of the whole thing.”


Grinch'report: Christmas
returned to Gaylord ICE! Event
Ruth Hill
Washington Times

Grinch may have stolen Christmas – but he’s brought it back to Gaylord National Resort on the Potomac.

That green guy of Dr. Seuss fame is celebrating Christmas on the Potomac through Jan. 9, and ICE!, featuring ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ in 5,000 blocks of sculpted and colored ice weighing more than 2 million pounds, is the resort's holiday centerpiece.

This year’s ICE! attraction is similar in artistry and color to the one that brought 200,000 visitors to its Maryland riverside location in 2009, Welcome to the North Pole, a fantasy visit to the North Pole complete with ICE crystal carousel, castle and slide.

The path into the attraction is lined with artifacts and memorabilia celebrating the art of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. It’s a lineup of lithographs, serigraphs and sculptures reproduced from Geisel’s original drawings and painting.

No worries about approaching the subzero environment at the end of the art. Staff hands out insulated jackets sized to fit toddlers to grandpa and everyone in between.

Upon entry into the icy diorama, the 1957 children’s classic tale comes to life. Thanks to 40 award-winning artisans from Harbin, China, you’ll walk through Grinch’s frozen lair; Christmas Eve in Who-ville; the Grinch stealing Christmas form the Who houses; and Mount Crumpit, where you can climb to the mountaintop and zip down ice slides right into Who-ville.

And what else does the resort have in store for the season? The list is long and includes nightly illuminations of the 60-foot glass Christmas tree hanging inside the resort’s atrium, indoor snowfalls and two million lights. Have your pick from events like musical dinner shows, breakfast with the Grinch; brunch with Santa, indoor ice skating and scavenger hunts. Indoor ice skating, rides on a miniature train and Christmas classic films on a giant screen at the resort’s indoor pool are in the array.

Before you go curl up with the original Grinch Christmas story – and visit the Christmas on the Potomac web site. It’s a good way to prepare the whole family for ICE! and the brightest season of the year on the Potomac.

The 2010 ICE! exhibit and all its attendant events are sure to accent the holidays for any age visitor who stops in for the fun. Be prepared to grow a bigger heart, just as Grinch did when he learned about the real meaning of Christmas.


An Ice Cold TreatLes Thomas,
Southern Living

Record cold hovers over Kissimmee, Florida this winter and thousands are glad.

Back for its third season, The Ice Kingdom creates a frozen winter wonderland at the resort from November 19th to January 2nd,. Artisans from Harbin, China start sculpting ice castles, bridges, polar bears and other figures in October.

They work in a huge enclosure chilled to 9 degrees that is nicknamed the Florida Fridge. Four-hundred pound blocks are trucked here from Cairo, Georgia, the closest supply for the crystal clear ice that is used in many of the sculptures.

While the temperature often climbs into the 80’s outside, visitors put on loaned parkas and step into a frozen fantasyland. They walk through a forest populated with Polar Bears and Penguins and see a life-sized Nativity and a sparkling Cathedral.

About 150,000 people visited the show last year, many local residents came just to enjoy a chilly blast of winter. They posed for photographs in front of snowbound sleighs and lined up to zoom down ice- slides. Ice sliding turned out to be so popular (some sliders were in their 80’s) that three inclines were built for this season.

If you visit The Ice Kingdom, be sure to take the loaner coat offered, you’ll need it. Most of all those who try to brave the chill make a shivering request for a parka after a few minutes.

These coats do more than keep you warm; their slippery material comes in handy - it helps you slide faster.



The Coolest Show on EarthTod Harlington
National Review

“The Ice Kingdom” opened this week in Nashville, having been long awaited by locals and tourists alike. The show involves a number of rooms of quite literally breathtaking ice sculptures.

The artisans who create this frosted masterpiece are the very best that China has to offer. Indeed, they are the same artists who create the more prominent works in the Harbin Ice Festival, where millions of tons of ice are turned into some of the largest sculptures on the face of the earth.

The statues, castles, animals and buildings are reproduced in such incredible detail that it can at times feel quite surreal. No wonder then that thousands of people are traveling for literally thousands of miles to view this event.

The carving is not all that The Ice Kingdom has to offer, there are huge ice slides which have children lining up to ride them time and again. I decided to try them myself, and was taken aback by how much fun these are, which might explain the adults waiting excitedly in line.

The rarity about this show is that it manages to show true creativity, artistic freedom and amazing exhibits while not forgetting family entertainment and the ability to be cinematic in budget and scale.

Nearly every show I’ve ever seen has to choose between the two audiences yet The Ice Kingdom seems to appeal to all comers, from kids to grandparents in a way which explains the huge popularity and growing demand it enjoys.


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