Complete Guide to Christmas at the Gaylord Palms Orlando (2021)


The Gaylord Palms is one of our favorite hotels in the Orlando area. This resort features more than 1,500 rooms and suites that surround over 4.5 acres of glass-covered, indoor atriums that are separated into four different themes.  

With it’s location just outside the Walt Disney World Resort, guests can at the front gate of each of the four Disney theme parks in approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Additionally, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and all the restaurants & attractions along International Drive are just a short 15 to 20 minute ride up Interstate 4.

The rooms are fantastic and there is so much to do from the massive Cypress Springs Water Park (with several water slides, a multi-story water play area and “FlowRider” surf wave machine), seeing live alligators being fed, going on a scavenger hunt or just visiting the Relache Spa for a massage.

Since the Gaylord Palms is convention hotel, there is approximately 400,000 square feet of event space that is used for business conventions, trade shows, weddings and parties, large meetings and other annual events. 

In addition to all that is offered at the Gaylord Palms, the resort hotels a number of seasonal events including Easter Eggstravganza, Pirate & Princess Weekends, SummerFest and Goblins & Giggles Getaway Weekend but the most popular event is Christmas at the Gaylord Palms

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

Christmas at the Gaylord Palms – What’s New for 2021

Typically every year beginning in mid-November and extending to early January, the Gaylord Palms hotel in Kissimmee (Orlando), Florida hosts “Christmas at the Gaylord Palms” which includes a variety of free and premium (paid) events in the convention center area as well as within it’s massive indoor atrium. 

For the year 2021, this amazing spectacle runs from November 19, 2021 to January 2, 2022 and the scheduled events are as follows.  

Endless Summer Tip:  Upgrade to an Emerald Bay Atrium View room when booking your reservation.  The extra cost is worth it as you can watch Cirque: Spirit of Christmas, the Greatest Story and Shine Light Show, right from your balcony.

Unfortunately due to very high demand during our stay in December 2021, we were only able to get a 3rd floor room that faced the St. Augustine Atrium.  It still was a good view but we were not able to see the stage as we did during our 2020 visit.

Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf (TM)

New for 2021, Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf is a multi-sensory experience there “Buddy the Elf” teams ups with Mr. Narwhal and his friends to save Christmas.  There are a number of interactive challenges that will need to be completed to complete your mission.

This 25-minute experience costs $29.99 for adults and $16.99 for children ages 4 to 11.

Cirque: Spirit of Christmas

Another new experience for 2021, Cirque: Spirit of Christmas an acrobatic Christmas themed show that is free to hotel guests and visitors.  This amazing show is held in the main atrium adjacent to Emerald Bay and runs several times per day.

The hotel is now charging to view this show which differs from prior years.  Prices for seating are from $19.99 per adult and $13.99 for children ages 4 to 11.   Tickets must be purchased in advance and only for one single time slot.

It should be noted that the 1:00 PM shows that are held on November 19, 26, 29-30 and December 1 -3, 6-10, 13-17, 24 and 31st have free “Stand by Seating” but premium, elite and preferred seating is available for an additional charge.

The Greatest Story Stage Show

Similar to what was held in 2020, The Greatest Story is a musical stage show which is a “multicultural celebration of the Christ story”.  Held in the main atrium adjacent to Emerald Bay this show, the free show runs several times per day.

Like Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, is limited and on a first come first serve basis so guests may want to purchase guaranteed seating.  Prices for guaranteed seating costs $12.99 per person (adult or child).  Tickets must be purchased in advance and only for one single time slot.

Shine Light Show

All new for 2021, Shine Light Show is shown in the main (St. Augustine) atrium which all that guests will need to do is look up to enjoy.  Shine is a Christmas themed light and music show that is free to hotel guests and visitors.   

This amazing show runs throughout the evenings at the Gaylord Palms.

Snow Flow Mountain

Go sliding down one of six multi-level ice slides on an inflatable tube at Snow Flow Mountain.  There is a speed racing slide and a “ice coaster” plummet slide to choose from. 

Snow Flow Mountain is a 30-minute premium experience that costs $21.99 per person.  Advance purchase is required and there are time slots throughout the course of the day.

This experience is limited to guests 42 inches and over for the 16 foot slide, 40 inches and over for a solo ride on the 12 foot slide, or between 36 and 40 inches to ride the double tube on the 12 foot slide.

Snowball Build and Blast

Snowball Build and Blast is another premium experience where guests can are part of an assembly line of snowball making, then tossing the balls at targets that help keep the lights on.  Advance purchase is required and the cost is $11.99 per bucket of snowballs.

Naughty or Nice Escape Room

The Naughty or Nice Escape Room is another new experience for 2021 for this year’s Christmas at the Gaylord Palms.  Guests will need to solve a number of puzzles to remove their names from Santa’s Naughty List (that was put on this list by Jack Frost).

Since this all new 45-minute experience is in high demand, we did not get to visit it during our stay in December 2021 as all the times were completely sold out.  However, it’s definitely on our list for next year.

The cost of this escape room is $99.99 for one to four people and goes up to $249.99 for a group of 10.  As of early December, only a few spots remain so book your experience now.

Other premium and free experiences offered for Christmas at the Gaylord Palms include:

  • Secret Santa Scavenger Hunt (new for 2021)
  • Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions
  • Gingerbread Decorating
  • Sugary Sweet Storytime
  • Elf Training Academy
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Photos with Santa
  • Acres of Festive Decorations
  • Christmas Tree Trail
  • Adventure Kids: Wonders of Winter
  • Wildlife Rescue – An Augmented Reality Experience presented by bubly(TM)
  • Journey of Los Tres Reyes Magos

As previously mentioned, there is no longer an on-site box office so tickets must be purchased on-line.  There are a variety of savings by purchasing bundled packages.

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

The 2020 Version of Christmas at the Gaylord Palms

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the tourism industry in the central Florida area, holiday experiences hosted by local area theme parks and resort hotels have been adjusted for not only limited visitors, but also for safety reasons.

For 2020, Christmas at the Gaylord Palms ran from November 13, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

Due to the pandemic, the Gaylord Palms has modified its annual holiday events & experiences with the most significant change being the cancellation of the popular ICE! at the Gaylord Palms experience.  However, there is still a full array over experiences were offered for the 2020 holiday season.

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped is a 25-minute Christmas theme Broadway style and acrobatic show that is free to hotel guests and visitors.  This amazing show is held in the main atrium adjacent to Emerald Bay. Since seating is limited and on a first come first serve basis, guests may want to purchase guaranteed seating.  

The Greatest Story

The Greatest Story is a six-storyteller musical stage show which is a “multicultural celebration of the Christ story”.  Also held in the main atrium adjacent to Emerald Bay this show, the free show runs three times a day.

Like Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, is limited and on a first come first serve basis so guests may want to purchase guaranteed seating.  Prices for guaranteed seating costs $12.99 per person (adult or child).  Tickets must be purchased in advance and only for one single time slot.

#Lit Light Show

#Lit Light Show is located in the main (St. Augustine) atrium which all that guests will need to do is look up to enjoy.  #Lit is a Christmas themed light and music show that is free to hotel guests and visitors.   

I Love Christmas Movies

The I Love Christmas Movies is new for 2020 and is being called an “Immersive Pop-Up Experience”.  This premium walk through experience lasts about 20 to 25 minutes and features life-sized scenes from 13 different Christmas movies including:

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • The Polar Express
  • A Christmas Story
  • ELF
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus

Snow Flow Mountain

Go sliding down one of six multi-level ice slides on an inflatable tube at Snow Flow Mountain.  There is a speed racing slide and a “ice coaster” plummet slide to choose from. 

Snowball Build and Blast

Snowball Build and Blast is another premium experience where guests can are part of an assembly line of snowball making, then tossing the balls at targets that help keep the lights on.

Other premium experiences that were offered for the 2020 Christmas at the Gaylord Palms included:

  • The Grinch’s Wonderful Awful Idea Scavenger Hunt
  • Feast with the Grinch
  • Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions
  • Gingerbread Decorating
  • Sugary Sweet Storytime
  • Elf Training Academy
  • Photos with Santa

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

Our Hotel Tour and Review for the Gaylord Palms Orlando

As we indicated earlier, The Gaylord Palms is one of our favorite hotels in the Orlando area.  Some of of the things we like include the extensive amount of amenities, fantastic location just out side of Walt Disney World, it’s unique design and features, excellent service across all areas the hotel, the spacious rooms and all the unique events & experiences including Christmas at the Gaylord Palms.

For a full hotel tour and review, click here to see our detailed blog post from our most recent visit in the summer of 2020.

While not an inexpensive hotel, you get everything from a magnificent property, world-class amenities and exceptional service.

As indicated on our hotel tour and review, rate the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center a 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars and would highly recommend it for your next trip to Orlando.

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

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