With the flip of a switch, Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort tonight turned on its 2.3 million holiday lights and officially kicked off its 33rd annual A Country Christmas celebration.
A Country Christmas, presented by FUJIFILM INSTAX®, runs through Jan. 1, and includes a sleigh-full of over-the-top holiday experiences, from dazzling holiday shows and attractions to towering Christmas trees and enormous ornaments.
“It takes months to transform our 2,882-room resort and nine acres of indoor gardens into one of the most Christmassy destinations in the country,” said Gaylord Opryland Entertainment Director Amanda Taylor. “The effort is well-worth it when we get to see visitors young and old enjoying heartwarming holiday traditions and making memories with us.”
The resort’s signature holiday attraction—ICE!, presented by Pepsi—returns with a new theme that might just “go down in history.” This year, the beloved Christmas tale, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer comes to life like never before in 2 million pounds of colorful, larger-than-life ice sculptures. Kept at nine degrees Fahrenheit, the exhibit is hand-carved by 40 master artisans from Harbin, China, and includes favorite scenes with Rudolph and his friends, plus multi-story ice slides. For more chilly fun, guests can head outdoors and brave the resort’s extreme snow tubing hill covered in 1.5 million pounds of real snow or go on a yuletide glide on the 6,000-square-foot ice rink.
Audiences will find their hearts growing a few sizes along with The Grinch’s as Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical returns bigger, meaner and greener for its final year at the Grand Ole Opry House Nov. 18 through Dec. 25. Hailed by The New York Times as “100 times better than any bedside story,” this classic holiday musical will enchant adults and children alike. The show features the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” (written by Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss) from the original animated television special. Max the Dog narrates while the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the loveable Whos. All new for 2016 is Breakfast with the Grinch—an interactive dining experience with the star of the Broadway show—The Grinch himself!
Grand Ole Opry members Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers are bringing their trademark family harmonies to a holiday dinner show at Gaylord Opryland. After a feast prepared by the resort’s award-winning chefs, audiences will be dazzled by the incredible Grammy Award-winning trio. Known for major hits like “All The Gold In California,” “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer To You),” “Broken Lady” and “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love,” brothers Larry, Rudy and Steve will perform holiday classics and many of their career hits.
The resort also features The Elf on the Shelf® Scavenger Hunt. By finding all the scout elves hiding in the resort and solving the puzzles in the scavenger hunt booklet, families will reveal the elves’ names so they can receive their Christmas magic. Guests who help the scout elves will receive a special prize.
At the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, presented by Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas, guests can choose a delectable gingerbread kit and decorate to their hearts’ content.
New for 2016 is a memorable Build-A-Bear Workshop® experience that lets guests make their very own furry friend. Choose from an exciting array of animals and characters, including some from popular movies. Each furry friend comes to life at our signature stuffer and can be personalized with cozy winter clothing, accessories and more! Guests also can buy an exclusive light-up polar bear and a furry friend-sized parka, designed exclusively for Gaylord Hotels.
The Noerr Programs is the official Photos with Santa and ICE! photography provider for A Country Christmas and is proud to partner with the resort again this year to accept donations in support of Nashville’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
Guests can also enjoy carriage rides, a kids’ train and holiday cruise experiences on the resort’s Delta Riverboats and the General Jackson Showboat.
Fan-favorite Parade of Trees is back this year with some of the biggest names in country music and Nashville. This free, self-guided tour features spectacularly decorated trees placed throughout the resort. Each tree’s decorations and presents are up for grabs to the highest bidder—all to benefit favorite charities.
Other free activities include the Brightest Star Fountain Show, Treasures for the Holidays Craft Show and the Outdoor Nativity with an audio rendition of the biblical story.
A Country Christmas has been hailed as one of the “Ten Great Places to Catch Up with Santa” by USA Today; “The Most Christmassy Hotel in the Nation” by the Travel Channel’s “Extreme Christmas”; one of the top 10 places to spend Christmas in the world by Travel + Leisure; and a “Nashville Treasure” by Southern Living.
Tickets and packages are now available at ChristmasAtGaylordOpryland.com or 1-888-677-9872.