Tag Archives: ICE!

Bikinis in 9-Degree Weather? Oh My!

The Orlando Polar Bear Club (Yes, there is such a group!) braved the 9 degree weather inside the Gaylord Palms.  Sans parkas and opting for bikinis and swim trunks instead, the group of slightly extreme thrill-seekers made their way through the ICE! exhibit.


Photo from the Gaylord Palms.

So, why did these polar bears take a “plunge” down ice slides today? A portion of the ticket sales benefits the Children’s Miracle Network, so we think this is pretty cool! <— Yeah, you know you liked our pun!



Filed under Charity, Fun, Just Plain Weird, Seasonal

Orlando Weather – Looks like Snow and Ice!

So, starting tomorrow if you were to google “Orlando Weather” then you might be surprised by what you find… Snow and ice are in our forecast! Okay, not really…I totally made that up. However, if you really do want a break from our hot and sunny weather, take a trip to the Gaylord Palms where you can see real Snow and Ice.


From the ICE! website

Indoors you can explore an icy wonderland crafted by artisans from Harbin, China. Yep, you will have to don a parka (provided) to brave the 9 degree temperatures, but these ice sculptures are pretty darn impressive!

After you make your way through Ice, kids can go outside and play in the Snow: Complete with carnival-style games including a Frosty Ring Toss and Elf Bowling as well as a Kiddie Snow Tube Run…pretty cool! <—Ha, love my pun?

And, actually, there are lots of other seasonal things to do, like dining with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a Polar Bear Plunge (love it!), and Noche Latina where there will be a special Latino storyteller sharing seasonal stories from Puerto Rico and other Latino countries.

So, if you want a break from the Orlando weather… the Gaylord Palms is worth checking out!

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Filed under family, Fun, Seasonal, Tourist, Uniquely Florida

Top 5 “Special Events” in November

1) Winter Park Harvest Festival

November 20 – in Central Park in Winter Park
Come check out the first ever Harvest Festival to come to the heart of Winter Park. Learn about local farmers and coops, farm to table dinner, tips for growing your own food, and other slow food items of interest. The day will culminate with a special outdoor screening of the movie FRESH. (You can even “adopt a local farmer”… love it!)

Organizer John Rife, a Winter Park High School grad who also blogs at A Local Folkus, came up with the idea for an event that is one part feast, one part farmer’s market, and one part gardening seminar.  There’s even an option to attend a high-end “farm to table.” Yum! (Get your dinner tickets here…limited availability.)

John Rife teaches elementary and middle school students about grow boxes.

Rife said he has always had a “bleeding heart” about such slow food issues. (Yes, slow food is a newish term to contrast fast food.)  Rife even produced a documentary on the subject of “locavore” when he was working towards a Masters degree in Digital Media at the University of Florida.

2) Light Up UCF

November 12 – January 2 at the UCF Arena
This has evolved into one of the most exciting events of the season! This year’s theme is “50 Nights of Music, Lights, and Ice” and it is going to be fantastic!

At this 50 day-event, there’s a featured outdoor Holiday Film Festival, special light shows, rides including the Holiday Santa Train, and Orlando’s largest outdoor skating rink!  And, UCF keeps this economy and local families in mind, as many of the activities are free or at least very affordable.

And, for long-time Central Florida residents, if you haven’t been to UCF in a while, you are in for a treat!  Long gone are the days of a commuter school; the University of Central Florida‘s campus and student life area are fabulously college-campus like!  There’s a reason it is the largest university in the state and the third largest in the United States! Go Knights!

3. 9th Annual Concours d’Elegance

November 6 -7 in Winter Park
Love vintage and luxury cars? Exotic machines are your thing? Then this is the show to see! Fabulous!

According to their website, the Concours d’Elegance is “one of the most highly-regarded, judged exotic car shows in the United States” and welcomes “over 120 of the world’s most prestigious automobiles.”   It is one of our favorite car events to attend, especially since it is held on lovely Park Avenue in Winter Park! Here was our trip there last year:

4. 12th Annual Central Florida Jewish Film Fest

November 7 – 9 at the Enzian Theater
Billed as a cinematic celebration of Jewish life, culture, and history, this is the 12th annual festival.

Poster image for the Enzian's Jewish Film Festival.

Co-oresented by the JCC of Greater Orlando, you can buy passes for the entire festival, or single for specific movies.

Here’s the line up:

The Enzian Theater has goal of being more than simply a movie theater, but rather they try to create an entire movie experience, from their fine menu offerings (love the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches!) to their selection of wine and mixed drinks. You can dine while watching a movie, or by sitting amid lush trees, artsy sculptures and fountains of water while at Enzian’s outdoor Eden Bar.

5. ICE!

November 20 – January 2  at the Gaylord Palms
Direct from Harbin, China, some of the best ice sculptors in the world create a fabulous ice park, complete with 30 foot slides. (Don’t worry, parkas are provided for that 9 degree indoor-weather!)

From the ICE! website

The “ice” for ICE! is manufactured at an ice factory and is delivered over a three week time period. (Two trucks a day for 15 days!) And to get crystal clear ice takes a very special slow-freezing formula that allows the molecules to line up perfectly…in fact, this clear ice has been compared to Waterford Crystal! Then, Chinese artisans spend nearly a month indoors at the Gaylord Palms carving these winter wonder pieces. Kind of cool, no?

And while you are at the Gaylord Palms to see ICE!, you can also check out the live stage shows, holiday dining, early visits with Santa, and the Polar Bear Pursuit in the hotel’s 4.5 acre atrium. (Fun!) And this year, after you finish with ICE!, your children can go play in 40 tons of real SNOW! indoors at the hotel, too.

And how else is a Floridian going to see such cold weather without hopping on a plane?


Filed under General Info, November 2010, Top 5 Special Events, Uncategorized, Uniquely Florida

Merry Christmas-Florida Style

I just received an email from my good friend who lives in New York City, where it’s currently 25 degrees out (feels like 12 degrees with the wind chill).  Suddenly, I felt like I needed to take off my sweater. 69 degrees isn’t so cold is it? 

My friend’s email snarfily hinted that I must be sad that I never see a white Christmas and surely the “melting temperatures” couldn’t possibly bring on a Christmas feel.  [Note: “Hmmmm…” I think as I open my sliding glass doors to air out my house.]

With the exception of a few Christmases spent skiing in Colorado, I have never known a white Christmas, and so such is not necessary to bring sugar plums to dance in my head. All that is needed is a few seasonal mall decorations, holiday music, and Christmas lights hung with care. [Note: I could do without the blow up Santa sleighs and snowmen. I have yet to see one of those actually add to the decor.]

So, I started thinking back to my holiday memories, almost exclusive to Central Florida. We Floridians have a strange shared existence here in the Sunshine State. We proudly go fishing at night, string lights on palm trees and paint pictures of flamingos in Santa hats.  We ravage overly-decorated malls despite hearing horrid renditions of Christmas carols, we both love and despise Disney depending on our mood and reasoning, and we hide from the sun while giggling at our European tourists baking to a lobster red.  We encourage tolerance for all religions yet complain when it says “Push 1 for English.”  We hold heated discussions over monorails, Light Rails, Tim Tebow and Bobby Bowden. We Floridians are an odd bunch, no? 

But regardless of our varied beliefs, backgrounds, and collegiate affiliations, there are some wintertime happenings that fortunately unite us. Here are some of my Florida memories; perhaps you, too, have experienced some of them:

  • Tanning at New Smyrna Beach on Christmas Day [Note: This was before sun was bad for you.]
  • Driving behind Whole Foods in Winter Park to see the neighborhood filled with amazing Christmas lights
  • Drinking hot cocoa at Mickey’s Merry Christmas Party
  • Having orange wars in the front yard with nearly frozen fruit [Note: Ouch!]
  • Immediately trying out new Christmas gifts such as roller skates, bikes, etc. in the driveway dressed in shorts and a t-shirt
  • Listening to the gorgeous Bach Festival Choir while strolling among Tiffany stained glass windows
  • Freezing while sliding down an ice slide at ICE!
  • Watching the Tangerine Bowl (Citrus Bowl) Parade in its seasonal and collegiate spirit
  • Dressing in winter cap, scarf, and sweater to take a “seasonal” photo to send relatives…and then sweating!
  • Putting water into a ziplock and cleverly calling it melted snow [Note: Yeah, it was funnier when I was young.]
  • Donating to Toys-for-Tots while singing, “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay…”
  • Sticking reindeer antlers on my dogs…and then my cats
  • Laughing at rubber reindeer poop [Note: Still funny even now that I’m older.]
  • Pretending the soapy snow flakes drifting down at Celebration were real snow flakes
  • Listening to 24-7 Christmas music on 107.7
  • Sitting high up in a tree looking for a lighted nose and sleigh until my mom made me come in
  • Wondering how Santa was actually getting into my house since we had no chimney. [Note: I was very creative with my solutions, one of which included a very well-trained squirrel!]

What are some of your holiday memories? I hope you have some wonderful ones.  And, the Central Florida Top 5 wishes you and your family a fabulous holiday season. Please enjoy this video that highlights Christmas in Florida. [Note: I am sending it to my NY friend…ha!]


Filed under family, History, Only at a Theme Park, Seasonal, Uniquely Florida