Off the Beaten Path
Join me on an adventure. Where will we go today?
Gaylord’s Opryland’s signature ICE attraction is impressive. This year features characters and nine scenes from THE POLAR EXPRESS™. It takes over six weeks to hand carve about 6,000 blocks of ice in the massive space. That translates to over two million pounds of ice. Chinese artisans, over 40, created this unique event. Pricing starts at $32 for adults and $23 for children. We paid closer to $50 per adult after all the taxes were added. Parking is a challenge. We parked at the shopping mall and walked a short distance across the parking lot. Several people hopped a free trolly between the venue and the mall. Mall parking is free. Closer to the venue, parking was $10. Everything is ADA accessible, and we saw several strollers and wheelchairs quickly traversing the attraction.
ICE opened on November 10th, 2023, and will run through January 1st, 2024. Friday and Saturday hours are 10 am to 10 pm. Sunday is 10 am to 8 pm, and the rest of the week is noon to 8 pm. The ticket is good for a one-time entry, but you can stay as long as you want to wander around. There is no on-site box office. We purchased our tickets on the sidewalk outside using a cell phone. Children three and under are free with a paid adult admission, and children 4 to 11 must have a paid adult. Fifteen-minute arrival times are scheduled to enter; however, you will wait a while once you enter the main door. Every guest is issued a blue parka, very welcome in the 9-degree temperature of the attraction. Tickets are non-refundable, but they will work with your exchange before the current schedule. You can buy optional ticket insurance. The nine scenes from The Polar Express include chairs with cushions for us to sit on the train, the Glacier Gulch scene, and pulling into the North Pole. The walk through the Toy Shop scene was amazing. The venue had two-story ice slides, but I skipped them as I was already chilled. Kids and adults enjoyed sliding. Crystal-clear ice, illuminated with white light, ended the self-guided walking tour. A larger-than-life nativity scene was in a separate area at the end.
My main recommendation is to wear a hat, gloves, and thick socks. The blue parka helped hold off the cold, but I am very cold-sensitive with a low body temperature. My trip was a short 25 minutes because I was chilled. I advise dressing warmer to stay longer. I will take my own advice next year. There are more available activities outside the Event in an area called Pinetop. Each activity has a different fee or can be bundled into a better deal. Some of the activities we saw included two outdoor ice skating, ice tubing down a ramp, a snowball-making and throwing activity, Gingerbread Decorating, and bumper cars. Food and drink trucks supplied hot chocolate and finger foods.