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Old 01-13-2013, 01:20 PM   #121
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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And so........we toured that gorgeous and stunning atrium. I think I read somewhere that there are 4 acres under glass here. Many of the rooms open on to the atrium, providing a spectacular view to guests. I have seriously added this property to my "I'm going to stay there someday" wish list. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

Apparently, Gaylord Palms was also rated as one of the top 7 hotels in the USA for holiday decorations. It was easy to see why!

So without further adieu, here are some photos from that incredible atrium. Be amazed (we sure were).













Still more pics to come, but my Photobucket is having a small fit . Up next (whether it be sooner or later, its hard to say......c'mon, Photobucket!) we meet the resident Gaylord gators, and admire that 54' Christmas tree.
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-13-2013, 03:18 PM   #122
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Alrighty.....Photobucket and I have reclaimed our friendship (at least temporarily!) so hopefully I can finish off the atrium photos that I wanted to share.

Ya'll remember that I said I have a thing for gators, right? So you can imagine how impressed I was to see that Gaylord Palms had a big ol' gator pond right in the middle of the atrium.



A joint venture with Gatorland, these gators apparently did something real nice to deserve the VIP treatment they have here. No other gators live in such wonderful surroundings, I assure you!





I also wanted to show you the fabulous Christmas tree that was the crown jewel of the atrium. At 54' in total height, it was a sight to be hold and the centrepiece of all the holiday decorating.



A large area around the tree was used during the holiday season for a selection of festive shows and performances. They started daily at noon and had no admission charge. If time had allowed, I would have loved to have stayed and watched a few, but alas.....we had other plans to attend to!



While we could easily have whittled away the day in this beautiful area, it was time for us to move on. Our timed entry for ICE!, the festive display of over 2 million pounds of ice carved into a whole host of fabulous sculptures, was soon upon us.......so it was off to Holiday Hall!



We would soon see if these three pasty Canadians had grown soft after a week in the balmy Florida sunshine. Temperatures inside ICE! were kept at a nippy 9 degrees Farenheit (that's a chilly -12 for us Canucks). Oye!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-13-2013, 03:28 PM   #123
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Arriving at Holiday Hall, we stopped for the obligatory corny photo in front of the large ICE! statue. Hard as I try, I just can't pass those up.



We had 15 minutes until our entry window opened up (they go in 1/2 hour intervals, based on the time you select when your tickets are purchased). So we strolled through the Christmas store adjacent to the ICE! entrance:



Virtually everything had been reduced by 40% or more, and they still had a HUGE amount of merchandise to choose from (clothing, stuffed Madagascar and Shrek characters, holiday treats and sweets, and every Christmas ornament and bobble you can imagine). We picked up some awesome Florida-themed Christmas ornaments to bring home (think gators dressed in Christmas wear, and snowmen made from sand instead of snow). What great memories they will make next year when the tree is trimmed!

With purchases in hand, our entry time to ICE! had opened! So we were off......join me in the next post for all the details.

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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-14-2013, 10:51 AM   #124
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Spent the morning reading your trip report as I am home with my teen son who had his appendix out on Friday...poor guy . I love your trip reports because we share alot of similarities...we are both canadians, both have one child...a son...and both are teens. And it seems we both have awesome hubbies too, I love my family . Your trip reports gave us lots of must-dos for our next trip...thanks for your trip reports...always a pleasure!
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:20 PM   #125
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What a finale! Wow!
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:54 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myramsy View Post
Spent the morning reading your trip report as I am home with my teen son who had his appendix out on Friday...poor guy . I love your trip reports because we share alot of similarities...we are both canadians, both have one child...a son...and both are teens. And it seems we both have awesome hubbies too, I love my family . Your trip reports gave us lots of must-dos for our next trip...thanks for your trip reports...always a pleasure!
Welcome, welcome! Sorry to hear about your boy .... that is one tough operation. I hope he is on the mend soon!!!

I am glad you are finding some ideas for your family in this report! Travelling with teens is always a challenge (but a fun one!) and sometimes requires a little different style than the norm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaBabe View Post
What a finale! Wow!
Hold onto your socks, LindaBabe....I am not done yet! More to come if I can ever get caught up at work and home . I need a vacation!!! lol
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-14-2013, 08:37 PM   #127
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I've been lurking on your TR and thoroughly enjoying it!!

Always love to see the other things that there are to do in Orlando, as it has become our favorite place to vacation as you can see!!

I'm wondering if Gaylord Palms does the Shrek breakfast all year long? We would love it!!:good vibes We are visiting end of May/beginning of June and have done mostly all of the Disney character meals, so this would be sooo much fun!! I'm going to do a little snooping on the internet and find out!!

Also, we would love to see the gators in the atrium. We've visited Gator land on at least 3 occasions and it was a lot of fun. Last year we had pouring rain and took refuge in where the albino gators were. That was fun!!

Looking forward to the "Ice" portion of your trip!
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:19 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaBaby View Post
I've been lurking on your TR and thoroughly enjoying it!!

Always love to see the other things that there are to do in Orlando, as it has become our favorite place to vacation as you can see!!

I'm wondering if Gaylord Palms does the Shrek breakfast all year long? We would love it!!:good vibes We are visiting end of May/beginning of June and have done mostly all of the Disney character meals, so this would be sooo much fun!! I'm going to do a little snooping on the internet and find out!!

Also, we would love to see the gators in the atrium. We've visited Gator land on at least 3 occasions and it was a lot of fun. Last year we had pouring rain and took refuge in where the albino gators were. That was fun!!

Looking forward to the "Ice" portion of your trip!
Welcome aboard! Glad to have you reading along!

The Shrek Feast is held every Saturday and Sunday, all year. Here's the link to the info (you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page):

http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord...ora/index.html

I am rather surprised its not advertised more than it is . I would never have even known about if if we hadn't stumbled upon the ICE! attraction while we were planning our trip. The food, like I mentioned before, was fabulous (as I type this eating my breakfast, I could go for a ogre waffle right now........mmmmmmmm! ).

Will post the ICE! update over my lunch hour today if all goes as planned......my Monday turned out to be a complete wash. Hoping for a less stressful (and more Disboardable) day today!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-15-2013, 09:16 AM   #129
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"DISBOARDABLE" Love it!!

Thanks for the link, I'm sure we can fit it in our schedule!!
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Most recent: Last minute trip Coronado Springs 8/27-8/31 with DSIL/DBIL 15th anniversary
Recent: HOJO'S DL 5/28-6/4
4/03 ASMO and Caribbean Beach Resort
4/05 HOJO's DL
4/07 Nick Hotel and WH
4-5/09 Nick Hotel and WH
6/10 WH
5-6/11 HOJO'S DL
6/12 Split stay: WH/AKV/Poly
5/29-6/12/13 WH 2 WEEKS!!


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Old 01-15-2013, 09:32 AM   #130
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The Gaylord Palms looks beautiful and the Shrek Fest looks awesome. I didn't know this even existed! My kids are big Shrek fans, I am going to have to put this on our to do list if it is offered year round. Thank you for sharing this experience

Thank you also for sharing your experience at T Rex. We have a reservation there because we didn't get to go there on our last trip and the theming looks amazing, however I am very concerned about the noise issue. I have read several reviews where people discussed this, and it may be an issue for us because I have a child with sensory and noise sensitivities. I am not sure what the best thing to do would be. It seems so popular and one of those must do type of meals to experience at least once. Decisions, decisions
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:26 AM   #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaBaby View Post
"DISBOARDABLE" Love it!!

Thanks for the link, I'm sure we can fit it in our schedule!!
I hope you have a great time!!! I love character meals......they are some of our fondest trip memories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Pirates2Princesses View Post
The Gaylord Palms looks beautiful and the Shrek Fest looks awesome. I didn't know this even existed! My kids are big Shrek fans, I am going to have to put this on our to do list if it is offered year round. Thank you for sharing this experience

Thank you also for sharing your experience at T Rex. We have a reservation there because we didn't get to go there on our last trip and the theming looks amazing, however I am very concerned about the noise issue. I have read several reviews where people discussed this, and it may be an issue for us because I have a child with sensory and noise sensitivities. I am not sure what the best thing to do would be. It seems so popular and one of those must do type of meals to experience at least once. Decisions, decisions
Could you call and ask if there is a "quieter" area that you could be seated? Definitely not in the ice cave, but maybe near the rear of the Aquarium room? I won't kid you.....its VERY loud, and VERY busy (maybe not so much as during the holiday season, but I'm guessing now that this venue is on the Disney Dining Plan, I am guessing their tables are consistently pretty full). I would not want an otherwise fun time to be marred by your wee one being uncomfortable in the atmosphere. I would definitely call to see if they could suggest a good table location based on your specific needs.
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-15-2013, 11:32 AM   #132
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At long last........my ICE! update!

Soooo……it was through the “door” of the house and into a large room where we began our tour of ICE! First things first, a short video clip on a HUGE suspended screen about the attraction (each year, Gaylord Palms flies in 40 artists from Harbin, China to create the sculptures in the exhibit. They take a full month to carve the 2 million pounds of ice, and the ice takes an additional 3 months to be frozen in advance of the artists’ arrival…so the process to get to opening day is a long one!). Following the “informational” portion of the video, there’s a condensed version of the movie that inspired this year’s exhibit, Merry Madagascar.



I will admit it. My son is far enough past the cartoon stage that I had never seen Merry Madagascar nor even the regular Madagascar before purchasing our ICE! tickets. So when we did, I purchased both DVD’s and had a ton of fun getting to know Gloria, Alex, Melman and Marty. And ya know, I’m glad I watched both movies, because it made the exhibit that much more enjoyable.

After the clip, we were shuffled along through the line up to receive our bright blue parkas. They had every size under the sun, from kids to very, very large. Here’s my cool dudes sporting their funky outerwear before they became….uh…..cold dudes :



I had brought along a supply of new stretch gloves for us to wear, which both of the fellows mocked (but grudgingly wore anyway….Mama spoke, and they listened!). They claimed to be hearty Canadians not requiring coats, let alone mitten. Yeah, sure. We’ll see about that. Note that long pants and closed toe footwear were mandatory before entering, so if ya’ll were wondering why we were decked out in pants for breakfast with Shrek on a day that it was supposed to be 34 degrees Celcius with the humidex, that would be why.

And then………….we descended into the frozen depths of Gaylord Palms. The temperature was billed to be a chilly -9 Farenheit (who am I kidding? That’s dang cold!) and it was every bit of that and maybe more. For my Canadian friends, that’s about -12 Celcius,. Not bad if you are acclimatized to the cold, but after a week in the sun (and in shorts) let’s just say it took our breath away. No wonder they call this attraction the “Florida Fridge”. Finally, it “felt” like Christmas!!!!!!!!!



We passed the sign that said you weren’t supposed to touch, sit on or lick any part of the exhibit. We were really kind of dismayed that people needed those specific reminders, particularly the last one. Ew.
With coats and mittens firmly affixed, we were off to tour the exhibit. It was every bit as magnificent as I hoped. The sculptures were incredible, and I wanted to take a picture of every single one (okay, maybe I did!! Lol, but I won’t post them all, don’t worry). Here are just some of the creations crafted by the hands of those amazing Chinese artisans:















More ICE! to come in the next post .
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-15-2013, 11:37 AM   #133
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There were different types of ice used for the exhibit. Some clear, some frosted, and some coloured in one of a dozen different hues. There were also a ton of lights used, creating a magical effect, making that ice simply sparkle.







Ever wonder what a waterfall would look like frozen? Well, wonder no more!



The only line-up we encountered was at the amazing ice slides. Each visitor had the chance to take a zip down the slides, and Jake was certainly not going to pass up that kind of experience. He grinned like a kid as he exited …. there is a little child inside all of us, no matter how “cool” we become.



By the time we reached the end of the exhibit, we were seriously cold enough that we could barely feel our fingers and noses. But those artists had saved the best for last, and we couldn’t rush by their grand finale……………the most beautiful and serene nativity you have ever seen, shining quietly in its clear ice beauty.



That, my friends, was worth the tour in itself.

With our “Shrekfast” now behind us, the Christmas Shoppe conquered, and ICE! toured in its entirety, believe it or not, we still had one more activity to look forward to before leaving Gaylord Palms.

Decorating cookies with Gingy the Gingerbread Man? Oh, yes we did!!! (that’s next!)

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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-15-2013, 11:39 AM   #134
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I had completely lost track of this thread! I'm finally caught up again.

Wonderful pics. ICE! looks like it was well worth the cost, and just seeing the atrium/lobby would be worth a trip over there for me. Love the pic of your "cool dudes"!

I've put your airboat tour company on my list of possibilities.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:04 PM   #135
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After turning in our bright blue coats and reclaiming the feeling to all of our fingers, we exited the ICE! attraction and headed to our final Gaylord activity……decorating cookies with the always-loveable GINGY!



Despite the absolute fun-ness of such an activity, this area of Holiday Hall was virtually deserted. It was like having a private cookie decorating party all to ourselves.



While we had pre-purchased a kit consisting of three stockings, the lady informed us that their stocking kits had been fully depleted for the season. So we had to take a snowflake kit instead. No worries, we were just thrilled to find somewhere that sold an option of 3. Do you know how many things in life are designed for families of 4?!?



The gingerbread house staff got us set to our task within moments of being seated at one of the decorating tables, and informed us that Gingy would be coming by to see our masterpieces very soon. With no time to spare, we rolled up our sleeves and got moving!



About mid-cookie, Gingy arrived for hugs and photos. He LOVED the boys jerseys and dashed around, pretending he was a basketball player. Then he started stalking around, doing his “cool dude” impression. With almost no one else in this exhibit, we had all of Gingy’s antics and attention to ourselves. Gingy signalled to the boys that he wanted a “cool” photo, so they all struck a pose:



A Gaylord photographer also came by and took professional pictures which you could view and purchase at a kiosk outside the gingerbread house, if you so desired.

Eventually bidding Gingy goodbye (not without a big kiss on the cheek before he left…..that Gingy is a real flirt), we returned to our cookie crafting.
All in all, this was great fun and a reasonable value at $15 for the kit of three ornaments. The one-on-one opportunity with Gingy was worth that cost in itself.



Leaving Gaylord Palms, we indulged in a late lunch at Olive Garden, then decided to take advantage of the glorious afternoon sunshine. We felt a round of mini golf in our future.

Coming up…….18 holes at Congo River in Kissimmee!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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