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Make New Christmas Memories at Gaylord National Hotel ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas

We were hosted by Gaylord National Resort with accommodations, tickets, and some meals to make this article possible. All opinions are our own.


It may sound like a headache, but I enjoy traveling before the holiday season. In past years we have gone on ski trips, visited Hersheypark and even Walt Disney World and there’s something about walking around a new place listening to Christmas music and looking at the lights. It gives us dedicated family time (usually at the end of a hectic run of sports and after school activities) and puts us in the mood to head home and soak up all the local holiday fun. This year we discovered a new holiday destination and we are so excited to share the details with you. It’s one you’re going to want to check out!


A few years ago a Jersey Family Fun writer visited the Gaylord National Resort for the ICE! display. I discovered the article recently and was intrigued – I didn’t even know where National Harbor Maryland was located! This year’s ICE! display features A Charlie Brown Christmas and with that, I knew I needed Gaylord National Resort to be my holiday vacation.

Make New Christmas Memories at Gaylord National Hotel ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas


Where IS National Harbor Maryland?

National Harbor Maryland is located on the Potomac, under 4 hours from my central New Jersey home. The area’s development began in the 1990s, and includes an MGM convention center, hotels, restaurants, shops, family activities and playgrounds, and the eye catching Capital Wheel. It’s walkable, family friendly and picturesque. We were really amazed by all it offered when we took some time to explore the area – when we could be pulled away from the stunning Gaylord National Resort.


That’s not an exaggeration! Gaylord National Resort offers so much that you may not feel you need to leave the grounds of the resort. ICE! might have brought us to the resort, but all the holiday offerings kept us there AND wanting to go back each Christmas season! We have more about the hotel and accommodations in our article coming soon but it is so visually stunning our photos can’t possibly explain its beauty.


ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas at National Harbor Resort

What exactly is Gaylord National Hotel ICE!?

ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor Maryland features ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas


Did you know in Ice City in Harbin, China hundreds of Chinese artisans create a lavish city made entirely out of ice? Ice City inspired the Gaylord Hotel chain to create their own ice cities at their resorts! Each year 5,000 blocks of ice weighing 2 million pounds are brought to the facility where 35 international artisans take 30 days to craft them into the beautiful ice sculptures that we see at ICE! They carve them all while inside the facility where the ice exhibit is housed.


Bundle up because ICE! at National Harbor Resort is 9° inside ICE! and despite the cold you won’t want to rush through! The ice displays are hand carved by artisans from China and include 2 MILLION pounds of ice. In 2018, the Gaylord National Resort’s ICE! theme is Charlie Brown and Friends and to me, that just means Christmas is here!


9 things to know about ICE! at National Harbor Resort

  • ICE! will run from November 16, 2018 – January 1, 2019
  • ICE! is located in a building on the Gaylord National Resort property – it’s 9 degrees inside!
  • Timed tickets can be purchased in advance or inside the resort. Use the code SNOW18 for $4 off!
  • Prices start at $24, combo tickets for the other Gaylord National attractions are also available.
  • Once you have your ticket, you’ll get to learn all about those skilled artisans by watching videos of their work.
  • Make sure you pay attention to the rules shown on a screen as you wait in line because there is no touching and NO licking the ice!
  • Even if you’re wearing snowpants, hats, gloves, thermals and your own coat, don’t miss out on the parka. It isn’t stylish and has no pockets but 9° is really cold! Plus, how can you get that classic ICE! photo if you’re not all dressed alike?
  • It takes about 30 – 45 minutes to tour ICE, unless of course you decide to take a few turns on the famous ice slides.
Gaylord National Hotel ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas ice slides

Photo Credit Gaylord National Hotel


Charlie Brown’s Christmas ICE! at National Harbor Resort

Inside ICE! you find the story of Charlie Brown’s Christmas, in large sculptures of beautiful colors. There are so many fun photo opportunities and so much detail to pay attention to. If you can bear the cold, I recommend walking through twice (don’t leave the building, but you can walk freely throughout start to finish). Phones may freeze (2 of our 3 did) so portable chargers are essential if you want to record the experience. The brave members of your group must do the ice slide! At the end of the display is a clear ice representation of the nativity. The beauty and artistry of ICE! left us at a loss for words except, “How do they do that?” and “That is so cool,” pun intended.

ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor Maryland features ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas


ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas Ticket information

ICE! opened Friday, November 16 and runs daily through January 1. If you don’t have the time to spend the night at the hotel no worries anyone can purchase tickets to ICE! 

Walk up visitors are always welcome, however ICE! is a very popular attraction and many days are expected to sell out so your best bet is to purchase tickets in advance.

  • Tickets start at$24 for children ages 3 to 11 during non-peak days
  • Gaylord National recommends online advance purchase parking for 3 hours to experience ICE! for $16. Overnight guests purchase parking at $30 for self park, or $49 valet.

Hours and additional information about ICE! can be found on the Christmas on the Potomac website.


Watch our video with highlights from ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas


For more photos from ICE! view our Facebook album.

Gaylord National Hotel ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas

Photo Credit Gaylord National Hotel

12 Things to Do After Visiting ICE! at National Harbor Resort

After returning your parka check out the activities at the Christmas Village. The hot chocolate is very welcome, and your little ones will love the train, carousel and ice skating among the other activities they can do after ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas. Activities are all available at additional costs.

  • Mrs. Claus’s Christmas Traditions story time with milk and cookies $12.99/person
  • Photos with Santa Claus, starting at $25.
  • Take a break and decorate a gingerbread family at the gingerbread decorating workshops. Kits start at $30.
  • Build a friend at the Build a Bear Workshop pop up inside the Christmas Village gift shop. Prices vary.
  • Snoopy Scavenger Hunt guide – Be sure you grab a Snoopy Scavenger Hunt guide. If you finish you get a fun prize! $9.99/booklet
  • Miniature Train Rides on the Potomac Express, $4.99/ride for ages 3-11
  • Ice Skating, $16.99 for skate rental and admission.
  • Pick up a fun ICE! souvenir or a new Christmas decoration at the Christmas Shoppe!

Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends

Once you’ve chilled with Charlie Brown and friends, it’s time to get some warm hugs (and warm food) from them too. Sunday morning we joined Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and Charlie Brown for omelets, pancakes, bacon and holiday fun! Seatings begin at 8 AM and go every 15 minutes until 11 AM at Pienza Restaurant in the atrium. After a quick picture with Snoopy in front of his doghouse, we were seated at our table and given the go ahead to go eat! While we ate (and ate some more), two hosts kept the guests entertained with Christmas carol sing a longs, dance contests and trivia. Of course the characters circulate around the room, and are available for as many photos as you’d like (Snoopy stays near the entrance though, and his photo is by purchase only). We enjoyed the selection of foods and there were no issues accommodating our son with a peanut allergy. No one rushed us and we left feeling very full! The Gaylord National Resort offers this character buffet breakfast on weekends and every day during Christmas week.

Breakfast with Charlie Brown and Friends at Gaylord National Resort

Free Daily Gaylord National Hotel Activities

A Christmas Wish Light Show

  • In the center of the atrium is a 55 foot suspended illuminated Christmas tree. By day, it looks like a spectacular stained-glass window. At night, it glows brilliantly and casts a festive mood throughout the atrium.

illuminated suspended Christmas tree at Gaylord National Hotel

  • Every evening the lights dim as snow falls inside and a laser light show accompanies a soundtrack of Christmas cheer. We watched from our indoor balcony, but it’s visible from the ground level too. Don’t miss the dancing fountain (but stand back so you don’t get sprayed!). Shows are nightly at 6pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9pm.

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped Atrium Show


  • The magic of Gaylord National doesn’t end with ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas, as you’ll see when the acrobats swing overhead as you walk through the atrium! Cirque Dreams Unwrapped is a Christmas inspired 25 minute show of amazing showmanship. The contortionist, acrobats, and musicians dazzle! The show is free, though general admission seats are limited. Priority seating can be purchased in advance which gets you close to the action. We had a lot of “how do they do that?” and “OUCH” reactions to the show; it’s certainly one my family will remember.

Cirque Dreams at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor Maryland


Check out our Facebook Album for more about our Charlie Brown & Friends Breakfast and Cirque Dreams Unwrapped.


As if all of that isn’t enough to make for a memorable holiday getaway there of course is more to enjoy at Gaylord National Resort! In the atrium near the Cirque stage you’ll find 8 trees decorated in the theme of different countries on the Christmas Tree Trail, and the lobby area is adorned with holiday decor also. If you head outside to National Harbor downtown (and you should), make sure to go at dusk/dark so you can see the tree lighting, fireworks and maybe even an outdoor movie. We were lucky to get a ride on the Capitol Wheel right as the fireworks began, that was a ferris wheel experience we certainly never had! There are multiple restaurants throughout the area and it’s all an easy walk from the Gaylord property.

ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor Maryland

We returned home from our getaway with Christmas carols playing in our heads and some great family memories. Our future travel plans are sure to include a stay at the Gaylord National Resort in a warmer season as well.


Thinking about heading to Gaylord National Resort in 2018?

Check out these Gaylord National Resort ICE! Charlie Brown Christmas overnight packages:

ICE! Is Nice Package starts at $219

  • One (1) night room accommodations
  • Tickets to experience ICE! with unlimited, priority admission
  • Early entry on Saturdays, Sundays and select dates as part of Extra Cool Hour

Christmas on the Potomac Package starts at $279

  • One (1) night room accommodations
  • Tickets to experience ICE! with unlimited, priority admission
  • Early entry on Saturdays, Sundays and select dates as part of Extra Cool Hour
  • $100 resort credit that can be used toward hotel dining and Relâche Spa
  • One (1) complimentary ICE! photo souvenir


Head to the Gaylord National Resort website for more information and to book your getaway!

For more about Gaylord National Resort check out our article coming soon.


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