This post was sponsored by the Gaylord National Hotel who provided us with accommodations at attraction tickets for ICE! at the Gaylord National Hotel during my family’s recent visit. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun that allows us to share with families information about family friendly National Harbor, MD hotels we think your family may enjoy for family vacations.
We know so many of you have expressed interest in attending ICE! at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor MD. For that reason we have put together this list of tips for when visiting.
Ten Tips for Visiting ICE! at the Gaylord National Hotel
- We were lucky and arrived around 2 pm on a Saturday but only had to wait about 15 minutes. However to attempt to avoid long lines arrive early in the day, an hour before closing or on non-peak days.
- Be sure to pile on the layers and carry a backpack. You can always remove a layer to put in the backpack if you get to warm. We had on two layers and the complimentary blue parka and were comfortable.
- Speaking of the blue parka they make us all look alike which can be a bit overwhelming trying to keep track of your family especially those of you with little ones. Bring a uniquely colored or designed hat to easily identify your family in the sea of blue.
- Photos are encouraged and welcomed. However some cameras may not react to the cold well and could run slow or not at all. I have a Canon DSLR camera and had no issues with that or my iphone camera. If you plan on using your iphone camera don’t forget the gloves that have the fingertips that work with it. You should have seen my poor husband trying to use his nose to switch from video to photo mode as we forgot those gloves at home.
- Also when it comes to photos when you first walk in for ICE you will be directed to a green screen to take a family photo to purchase at the end of the exhibit. Photo packages started around $20 or you could get a packaged like we did that came with 4-5 photos, a snow globe and a digital download for $45. It’s a little pricey but I’m a sucker for photos where we can all be in it. Throughout the attraction there are also ICE employees in maroon jackets who are willing to take a photo for you if you ask. The employees were all very helpful.
- The ice slide is the centerpiece of the attraction. Be prepared for your kids and even you to want to go down the slide a few times. Insider tip: Put the blue parka completely under your behind lean back a little and you will slide quicker without sticking to the ice. Also parents are not allowed to ride with their children. It’s one rider at a time per slide. There are 5 slides in the room including special smaller slides for children under 4 yrs old or 40 inches tall.
- Parking is available in a self parking lot for ICE, a valet or at multiple spots around National Harbor all within a short walk to ICE!
- There are 7-10 “rooms’ in the exhibit including the slide room, Nativity room, and scenes from Frosty the snowman. The exhibit is an at-your-own pace walk-through. (Please note no strollers are allowed but they do offer stroller parking.) We were able to get through in 45 minutes or so but we stopped to take it all in and spent a good amount of time at the slides and in the Frostbite Factory. I spoke to one family who did it in half an hour and another who says they were already inside an hour; their kids were having so much fun and didn’t want to leave.
- I have heard lots of people say it’s expensive and of course we all have different budgets. However be sure to look online for discounts on sites like Living Social or take advantage of one of the packages offered at the resort that include unlimited visits to ICE during your stay.
- Make sure to make some time to explore the resort and the National Harbor area. There are so many things to do in the resort. Grab a cup of hot chocolate when you leave ice and go on a scavenger hunt around the hotel (pick up the scavenger hunt at the dreamworks desk) Watch the free tree lighting, indoor snowfall and light show. Search for your favorite Dreamworks characters. You can also get photos with Santa or decorate a gingerbread house of family with Gingy from Shrek. These two experiences do require another fee. National Harbor itself has some unique shopping places including a peeps store and a build a bear, a carousel and a ferris wheel and a beautiful christmas tree.
Have you attended ICE what tips can you share with us?
To learn more about the ICE exhibit or the Gaylord National Hotel at our Making Christmas Memories at Gaylord National Hotel Series.