I’ve visited the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville a few times for conferences in the past years, and I’ve always wanted to bring my children. This year, for Thanksgiving, we booked a four-day stay so that we could experience Nashville, and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Christmas events. It was the perfect location for our Thanksgiving getaway and we especially enjoyed their fantastic holiday events. This year’s festivities, A Country Christmas, is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” themed, and is a fantastic experience for a family. It runs from November 11, 2016 through January 1, 2017.
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Gaylord Opryland Hotel Christmas Events – A Country Christmas
Decorations at the Gaylord Opryland
Upon walking into the Gaylord Opryland, you are immediately greeted with gorgeous holiday decorations – from music note themed holiday lights in the Garden Conservatory atrium to beautiful hot air balloons in the Delta atrium. While the decorations are there all day, it’s really in the evening when they come alive. We just spent time each day walking through the various atriums and exploring.
In the evenings, the Delta fountain has a holiday-themed show. It runs for about 15 minutes or so, and features lights and water choreographed to music. It’s definitely worth seeing, so check out the schedule so that you can grab a seat and watch it.
ICE! at the Gaylord Opryland
ICE! is the featured event at A Country Christmas, and we took advantage of it on Thanksgiving day. It’s a separate ticketed event, and prices vary on value and peak days (Thanksgiving was a value day, while the rest of the holiday weekend was peak). ICE! is located in the Gaylord Opryland event center, just a short walk from the Magnolia section of the resort and the convention center. I pre-purchased my tickets before we arrived at the Gaylord, but they can also be purchased from the ticket desk or kiosks in the resort. ICE! is open to everyone – not just guests of the resort, and lots of locals visit during the holiday season.
After watching a quick video at ICE!, you’ll be handed a big blue poncho so that you can go through the 9 degree (F) exhibit. I recommend bringing along gloves if you can – it can be VERY cold.
We were so impressed with the beautiful ice characters that can be seen throughout the exhibit. The kids especially loved them. It’s so amazing to think that all of these amazing sculptures were made from blocks of ice. There’s also an ice slide area that’s lots of fun. I recommend sliding down on the blue poncho so that you don’t get stuck. The end of the exhibit features a gorgeous nativity scene that is absolutely stunning.
The ICE! exhibit that we saw in 2016 was “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” themed, while this year (2017) will be “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
Outside of ICE! is a few other separate ticketed activities – a snowball toss, 5 tubing lanes, and an ice skating rink. You can purchase combo tickets, or an all-day pass which includes a few indoor activities as well. We chose to add on the tubing, and while it wasn’t the same type of tubing that we get at the Northeast ski resorts, it was still a really fun time.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Events
A Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland also includes a show – How the Grinch Stole Christmas – which is playing at the Grand Ole Opry. Tickets are sold separately. There’s also a Breakfast with the Grinch event that seemed to be very popular. I’d recommend booking in advance, because there’s limited capacity. We didn’t experience either of these, however.
In 2017, the show will be Cirque Dreams Holidaze, rather than the Grinch. Like the Grinch show, it will play at the adjacent Grand Ole Opry house.
Other Christmas Events at the Gaylord Opryland
While the lights inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort are absolutely beautiful, there are also gorgeous lights outside. On our last night, we ventured outside the Magnolia area to check out the nativity scene on the lawn, and look at the resort’s exterior. There are also carriage rides that can be booked. Some of these were already sold out when I arrived, so it’s probably best to reserve those in advance (before your stay).
There’s so much to do beyond ICE!. From gingerbread house decorating, a small train ride, photos with Santa, a craft and gift show, and holiday-themed Delta cruises, you could easily stay busy within the resort for your entire vacation.
I put together this quick video to showcase some of what we saw on our trip:
Rooms at the Gaylord Opryland
Although I had booked our vacation package through Jetblue Getaways, I wanted to upgrade our hotel room to an atrium view. That was easy to do at the front desk. We arrived early during our stay, so we did have to wait a little while for our room to be ready. It was worth it, however, because we had a beautiful room overlooking the Delta Atrium. While the room was a standard hotel room, it was so nice to have the atrium view and the small balcony. It was a great place to savor my coffee while looking out at all of the beautiful holiday decorations in the Delta. If you can upgrade your room to get an Atrium view, I’d definitely recommend it.
You can learn more about the Gaylord Opryland on their website, and you can read more reviews here. For more information about the 2017 Christmas events, check out this link. Before visiting over the holiday season, I definitely recommend looking at the schedule and booking things in advance. We stayed over Thanksgiving, and one of the big Thanksgiving dinners was completely sold out. So, definitely take some time to make reservations before you leave.
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