Thanks to Gaylord National Resort, my family and I got to experience the most spectacular and most fun-filled Christmas EVER! This post was sponsored by Gaylord National. All views and texts are mine.
As a traveler and family enthusiast, I always seek destinations that promise a dash of adventure and a sprinkle of holiday magic. Recently, my family and I had the joy of experiencing the Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor, Maryland, and what an unforgettable stay it was! Nestled near Washington D.C., this nearly 2,000-room, AAA-Four Diamond resort transforms into a true winter wonderland during its most celebrated event, “Christmas at Gaylord National“.
From November 19 to December 31, the resort is nothing short of a holiday dream with a towering 55-foot Christmas tree suspended in its 19-story atrium, indoor snowfall that dances like whimsical flurries, and a mesmerizing display of over 2 million twinkling lights.
ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™
During our recent family visit to the Gaylord National Resort, we had the extraordinary opportunity to immerse ourselves in the magical world of ICE!, featuring the timeless story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™.
This breathtaking attraction showcased more than 2 million pounds of vibrantly colored ice, meticulously sculpted into scenes straight out of the beloved 1964 animated classic. We wandered through 13 captivating scenes, each alive with our favorite characters – Clarice, Bumble, Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf, and, of course, Rudolph himself.
The experience was nothing short of spectacular. We slid down two-story-tall ice slides and navigated through ice tunnels, feeling the thrill of this frozen wonderland.
The highlight for many of us was the intricately carved Nativity scene, crafted from crystal-clear ice, and the Carver’s Showcase, which offered a fascinating glimpse into how these incredible sculptures are brought to life.
Braving the 9-degree chill of the attraction, we were equipped with parkas provided by ICE!, although we were glad we brought extra winter attire for added warmth.
Visiting the Gaylord National during the holiday season isn’t complete without exploring the incredible Christmas Village. Imagine stepping into a charming, Bavarian-style holiday hamlet buzzing with festive activities perfect for the whole family. This place was like a Christmas dream come to life!
First, we raced down icy slopes at Snow Flow Mountain – what a thrill! Then, we tested our aim at Snowball Build & Blast, which was a hit with our boys.
For those seeking a cozy, festive experience, imagine joining Mrs. Claus for a heartwarming sing-a-long storytime and some delicious milk and cookies at Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions. It’s the perfect setting to soak in the holiday spirit. And for the creative spirits out there, the Gingerbread Decorating Corner awaits, offering a chance to showcase your artistic skills with sweet treats.
Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the “Big Guy” – Santa himself – and capture unforgettable, festive photos. The kids will love creating their furry friends at the Build-A-Bear Workshop® too! Plus, dive into the augmented reality experience presented by bubly™, Wildlife Rescue, for a touch of modern magic.
Live Holiday Entertainment and Shows
Let me tell you about the epic live shows my family and I caught at this huge 19-story atrium. Trust me, these weren’t your typical holiday performances; they were next-level awesome and totally grabbed the attention of my teen boys (ages 18 and 16).
First off, the #LIT Light Show. Picture a towering 55-foot Christmas tree in the middle of a high-energy light show, synced to cool Christmas tunes, and yes – it even had indoor snow falling down. My boys thought it was like a live-action video game scene, with every light pulse and snowflake adding to the thrill.
Then, there was the Cirque: Spirit of Christmas show. Imagine performers pulling off stunts and acrobatics that looked straight out of an action movie. My boys were absolutely hooked, wondering if they were watching real-life superheroes.
And The Greatest Story Stage Show? It wasn’t just a regular musical but a storytelling spectacle with a mix of history and culture, engaging even for my video game and tech-savvy teens. These shows were more than just entertainment; they were memorable highlights of our holiday adventure, filled with magic and joy!
More Family-Friendly Holiday Fun
For extra holiday fun, you can skate under the stars on the resort’s natural ice outdoor trail at Winter Square – an actual winter wonderland experience. And for a bit of playful adventure, dive into the Reindeer Games™ Scavenger Hunt. Team up with family or friends, solve clues, and have a blast with Rudolph and the Misfit Toys. It’s all about making those festive moments unforgettable!
Let’s discuss the delicious festive food and drink we indulged in during our holiday celebration! The resort was a foodie’s winter wonderland, starting with an incredible 320-square-foot Gingerbread display. These weren’t just any gingerbread houses; they were colorful, fairytale-inspired creations from every season – and yes, totally worth seeing!
Now, onto the food. We feasted on an assortment of edible meals and treats found all over the resort. The newly renovated Old Hickory wowed us with a special menu of seasonal winter dishes. Then there’s Harbor Social, where you can have gourmet sliders, including an ICE! turkey slider featuring roasted turkey breast, gravy sauce, and cranberry mayo on a Hawaiian bread roll. And remember to check out their delicious holiday-themed cocktails while you’re there!
Overnight Stays and Packages
Want to fully immerse yourself in the holiday magic at Christmas at Gaylord National? Staying overnight is the way to go! When you book a room, you unlock a bunch of resort-only perks. Think about getting the Extra Cool Hour and Chill Pass – these special privileges give you early admission to ICE! and the Christmas Village, plus you get to skip the line at ICE! And that’s not all. If you stay overnight, you also get priority access to the resort’s restaurants, so no reservations are needed.
Now, let’s talk about the views. You can choose from 407 guest rooms and suites that offer a stunning overlook of the resort’s festive atrium and the dazzling Starlight Christmas Tree. Check out one of the eight Christmas Dreams Suites for an exceptional stay. They’re decked out with lights, stockings, a Christmas tree, and even a sweet holiday treat, making it feel like a cozy, festive home away from home. And to make things even sweeter, Gaylord National offers a variety of overnight packages for some extra savings. So, why not treat yourself and your loved ones to an unforgettable holiday experience?
Gaylord National Harbor Location + Nearby Attractions
Nestled in National Harbor, Maryland, there’s even more to explore beyond your holiday stay at the resort. This picturesque waterfront destination is a treasure trove of experiences, with over 40 restaurants, 160 shops (including the famed Tanger Outlets), and entertainment hotspots like MGM National Harbor and The Capital Wheel, a majestic 180-foot-tall observation wheel.
And the festivities don’t stop there! National Harbor lights up the sky with a dazzling fireworks display every Saturday from November 11 through December 30. Plus, there’s a magical nightly tree lighting show complete with snowfall every half hour from sunset until 9 p.m. It’s a perfect way to extend your holiday joy and make even more memories.
Interested in diving into this festive wonderland? For more details about the Gaylord National Resort, to book an overnight stay or room package, or even to plan a meeting or event, just head over to ChristmasAtGaylordNational.com or call them at 301-965-4000. It’s your gateway to a holiday experience you will remember!