Christmas Destinations

ICE! Returns to Gaylord Texan with The Polar Express for Christmas 2022

After a two-year hiatus ICE! returns to Gaylord Texan with Polar Express making this one of the top Christmas destinations in Texas this holiday season.

by | September 16, 2022

Polar Express Train surrounded by Ice for holiday activity at Gaylord Texan resort in Grapevine, Texas for Christmas

After a two-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic, ICE! has finally returned to Gaylord Resorts. Their biggest holiday event features hundreds of intricate ice sculptures that transport you into some of your favorite Christmas movies. Each resort highlights a different Christmas story and if you’re staying at Gaylord Texan, or just want to visit the Texas resort, you’ll be transported right to the North Pole and beyond when you board The Polar Express. Between the Ice! holiday activity and the beautifully decorated resort itself, there’s no better way to experience a full-on winter wonderland right in the middle of Grapevine, Texas.

Kids snow tubing at ICE! display at Gaylord Texan for Christmas in Texas

What Makes ICE! Such A Special Holiday Activity?

As a family resort franchise, Gaylord Texan hosts plenty of seasonal events throughout the year. And while they always go all-out for Christmas, ICE! Continues to be one of their biggest draws. Every year — except 2020 and 2021 — artists all the way in China take two million pounds of ice and carve them into the most intricate and life-like sculptures, creating a walk-through art exhibit. They then paint them from top to bottom and carefully ship them out to the states, where they’re displayed in a chilled room to transport you into a magical holiday setting. Past themes at Gaylord Texan have included Charlie Brown, Nutcracker, and Frosty the Snowman. But considering that Grapevine is known for its vintage railroad, this year’s theme is especially fitting.

Couple testing interactive display at The Polar Express Ice! holiday activity at Gaylord Texan for Texas Christmas

The Polar Express Comes to Texas

If you grew up reading The Polar Express every holiday season, then you have to make it down to ICE! at Gaylord Texan. From mid-November to late-January, you can fully immerse yourself in the classic Chris Van Allburg children’s book. Feel like you’ve stepped right into the North Pole as soon as you walk in, and walk through a snow-covered town that’s all set up for Christmas. And you’ll find plenty of excited onlookers pointing upward as they await Santa’s arrival. And let’s not forget about the main attraction — the incredible life-sized steam train. Watch as it prepares for its journey, or walk right inside and sit down while the conductor looks on. Finally, Santa and his reindeer are right there at the end waiting to give out the first gifts of the night.

And if you’re coming without the kids, be sure to purchase an extra ticket for the on-site ice bar, On the Blocks. Along with this incredible show, you’ll also get two drink samples, music, mood lighting, and plenty of photo opportunities. It’s an excellent chance for couples and friends to top off their super festive experience.

Ice Christmas Tree and holiday decorations at Gaylord Texan in Texas

Gaylord Hotels are Fun All Year Round

Gaylord Hotels were initially opened in the early 2000s and bought by Marriott International in 2012. These resorts are known for their large size, attached convention centers, and wide range of on-site entertainment and activities. There are currently five different locations across the country – Texas, Florida, Washington DC, Tennessee, Colorado – and a planned sixth hotel coming to Chula Vista, California. But of all these resort hotels, each one themed around their home state, Gaylord Texan is one of the most popular. 

Here in Grapevine, families can enjoy everything from the Paradise Springs Water Park to the on-site Wildlife Rescue. Adults can enjoy live music or shows at The Glass Cactus and relax at the Relȃche Spa, all while the kids have fun at the craft studio and escape rooms. And with lots of Halloween and Christmas events from September to January, it’s the perfect place to be throughout the holiday season.

And for those still concerned about the pandemic, you can rest assured knowing they’re taking all the necessary measures to keep everyone safe. From frequent cleaning and contactless service to new food service protocols, you can enjoy the holiday season with total confidence this year.

Christmas Tree and holiday decor for Texas Xmas at Gaylord Texan

Celebrate A Texas X-Mas at Gaylord Texan

In addition to ICE!, there are plenty of other Christmas activities to help celebrate the holiday season. Gaylord Texan features Snow Tubing, Ice Skating, Gingerbread Decorating Classes, Photos with Santa, interactive snowball games, a Christmas Carousel, holiday themed escape rooms, and much more. Special holiday pop-up shops and larger-than-life Christmas decorations can also be found throughout the massive family resort.

ICE! At Gaylord Texan runs from November 11 to January 23. Tickets are on sale now and can only be pre-ordered online. We at the Elf Squad can’t wait to see this stunning attraction come back better than ever this year!

Photos courtesy Gaylord Resorts / Marriott