Where can you meet the world-famous DreamWorks characters …. see a 60-foot-tall glass Christmas tree … experience an indoor snowfall…. gaze at two million dazzling lights ….or walk through an icy wonderland? It’s all part of the fifth-annual Christmas on the Potomac celebration, taking place through Jan. 6, 2013, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just south of Washington, D.C.
Set along the banks of the Potomac River in National Harbor, Maryland, less than eight miles south of the US Capitol, the Gaylord National is a 300-acre waterfront resort destination. Gaylord National is the largest-combined hotel and convention center on the Eastern Seaboard, offering 2,000 guest rooms, including 110 lavish suites; more than 470,000 square feet of convention, meeting and exhibit space; acclaimed restaurants; Relâche™ Spa; Pose Ultra Lounge; indoor pool, selection of restaurants, and a soaring 19-story, glass-covered atrium with an entire village set inside. It is a true family getaway resort which still affords easy access to Washington DC’s many attractions.
And the Gaylord National Resort offers one of the best places to be for the holidays. It’s annual “Christmas on the Potomac” festival has earned the resort the title,, “Capital of Christmas.”
Here are some of the amazing events and activities that have brought the resort such deserved renown:
ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls©: Hand-carved from TWO-MILLION pounds of colorful ice (kept at a frigid 9 degrees), this indoor frozen attraction returns with a delightful new theme: ICE! featuring DreamWorks Shrek the Halls. Donning special coats to keep warm in the frigid cold as you walk through ICE!, you experience the heartwarming story of the “Shrek The Halls” animated, holiday TV special featuring Shrek, Fiona and Donkey and Gingy, as they celebrate Christmas in their own special way. The story follows Shrek as he tries to plan the “perfect Christmas” for Fiona and the kids, only to have plans disrupted by chaos and commotion. But, in the end, Shrek learns the true meaning of the holiday. You walk through amazing, life-sized scenes carved entirely of ice, and you can even slide down incredible two-story-tall ice slides. The ICE! Pavilion is located just across the street from the hotel (open daily through Jan 6; hours vary. To purchase tickets, visit www.christmasonthepotomac.com, call 301-965-4000 or visit the ICE! Pavilion for walkup/stand-by availability.)
ShrekFeast: Join Shrek, Princess Fiona and Puss in Boots in the Hotel Lower Atrium for a fairytale feast including Shrek-shaped waffles and a Magic Fountain bubbling over with chocolate potions. Solve riddles and puzzles to become an honorary Ogre or Ogress ($39.50/Adults; $26.50/Children (4-12); Kids 3 and under FREE; Available Select Dates and Times, Breakfast served 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Lunch served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To purchase tickets: Visit www.christmasonthepotomac.com, call 301-965-4000 or visit the DreamWorks Desk in the hotel lobby for walk-up/stand-by availability.
DreamWorks Character Meet & Greet (with Scavenger Hunt): At the ICE Pavilion, spend some up-close-and-personal time with your favorite DreamWorks characters. Get a big ogre hug from Shrek; show Po your best Kung Fu moves; let Puss in Boots purr his way into your heart, and take silly pictures with Alex the Lion in Madagascar! Then, the whole family will have fun exploring our spectacular indoor atrium on an interactive scavenger hunt inspired by the new DreamWorks’ movie: The Rise of the Guardians. ($35 per person, ages 4+, include scavenger hunt (Children must be accompanied by an adult; one free adult per one paid child. $35 each additional adult; free for kids ages 3 and under with one paid adult admission)
Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating: This fun, sticky, decorating tradition is now a whole lot sweeter! Hosted by Gingy (from the Shrek movies), this fun activity lets guests choose from four unique gingerbread shapes: a delectable Gingerbread Family, Tree, Train or Gingerbread House. After they’ve decorated their creation – don’t forget the gum drop buttons! – guests will meet Gingy himself for a heart-warming hug and photo. (Daily, Hotel Lower Atrium; prices from $29.95).
Brunch with Santa: Enjoy a fabulous brunch buffet– so big it won’t all fit in Santa’s sleigh! Kids can tell Santa what they want for Christmas, and each family will receive one group photo with Santa. (Pienza Restaurant, Dec. 9, 16, 23; 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. $55/Adults, $27.50 (4-12). To Book/Purchase: Visit www.christmasonthepotomac.com, call 301-965-4000 or visit Pienza for walk-up/stand-by availability. (Advance booking strongly encouraged.)
Santa Souvenir Photo: Tell Santa what you want for Christmas and get a special keepsake photo. (Pienza Patio, Hotel Lower Atrium; Photo packages start at $20 (photo purchase required to meet Santa; offered Monday-Friday, Noon-9 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m.-9 p.m.)
Potomac Express Train Rides: All aboard! Kids can take a ride on our winter themed miniature train. (Hotel Lower Atrium, $2/ride, daily).
Indoor Snowfall – Now Snowing TWICE Nightly!It’s always 72 degrees in our atrium, but you won’t believe your eyes as it snows inside! A “must-see” during the Gaylord National’s Christmas celebration – a delightful indoor flurry occurs twice every night during the Tree Lighting Show and Brightest Star Fountain Show. This free event takes place in the Hotel Lower Atrium nightly at 6:30 and 8 pm.
Spectacular Holiday Decorations: You will be mesmerized by the National’s holiday decorations, which include two million twinkling lights and a 60-foot-tall glass Christmas tree ,illuminated nightly starting at 6:30 pm. Hanging at the center of the Atrium is the Tree of Light. This jaw-dropping Christmas tree is made of synthetic “candy” glass, weighs 7,000 pounds and is a one-of-a-kind work of art. By day, it resembles a spectacular piece of stained-glass art. At night, special lighting effects make it glow brilliantly. Throughout the Atrium, you can look up to see the Northern Lights, made up of more than 50 magnificent light curtains each measuring more than 100 feet long. Choreographed to music, the lights appear to “dance” and change colors just like the real Northern Lights. As part of Gaylord National’s on-going commitment to the environment, all lights utilize energy efficient LED bulbs.
Nightly Tree Lighting Show: Every evening at 6:30 pm, the Hotel Lower Atrium comes to life with a Tree Lighting Show featuring music, a lightshow, and a dancing fountain that shoots 60-feet high. And, best of all, you won’t believe your eyes as it snows inside!
Brightest Star Fountain Show: Hear a heartwarming narration of the classic Christmas story as choreographed water “dances” to holiday music, each night at 9 pm.
Live Musical Entertainment at Belvedere Lobby Bar: Sip a holiday cocktail or enjoy a small snack while enjoying live performances by local musicians.
Seasonal Spa Treatments at Reláche Spa: Celebrate the holidays and pamper yourself with very merry spa treatments for men and women. No matter your choice, these treatments are pure bliss. Spa gift certificates also make great stocking stuffers.
The “Christmassy DreamWorks Experience” Hotel Package
• Two or three nights deluxe room accommodations
• Souvenir family photo (one per room) with a DreamWorks character
• Tickets to ICE! with front of the line access (bypassing the general admission line)
• DreamWorks Character Meet & Greet
• Family Scavenger Hunt – Search throughout our spectacular indoor gardens on this fun, interactive scavenger hunt. Follow the clues, look high and low – and everywhere in between – to solve the puzzle.
• Exclusive: DreamWorks® Character Wake-Up Calls – How does an ogre say “good morning?” Guests can find out when they wake up to a special greeting via their guest room phone. Each night before bedtime, they will select a wake-up call from the DreamWorks character of their choice to begin the morning in a fun way.
• Exclusive: DreamWorks® Welcome Amenity – The fun begins from the moment our guests arrive! Guests will receive an extra-special gift to commemorate their visit when they check in. (Limit one per guest room.)
• Two-Night Package starts at $219* per night (based on two occupants per room)
• Three-Night Package starts at $199* per night (based on two occupants per room)
• Extra adult or child (ages 4+): $49 plus tax
• Baby (ages 3 and under): Free
The “Christmas On the Potomac” Hotel Package
• One night deluxe room accommodations
• Tickets to ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls
• Souvenir ICE! Photo (one per room)
• Package starts at $249 per night (based on two occupants per room)
• Each extra adult (ages 13 and older): $29.99 plus tax
• Each extra child (ages 4-12): $22.99 plus tax
• Baby (ages 3 and under): Free
For more information, to purchase tickets, or make dining reservations, visit www.christmasonthepotomac.com, call 301-965-4000; or visit the DreamWorks Desk in the hotel lobby.
Over the past five years since opening, the 2,000-room Gaylord National Resort has become known as the Washington D.C. region’s “Capital of Christmas.” Not only do its holiday events attract more than 250,000 visitors annually, it has also garnered recognition by being named:
• “Top 10 U.S. Hotels Decked Out for the Holidays” by Orbitz Travel (Orbitz.com)
• “12 Most Festive Places to Find Holiday Spirit” by the American Automobile Association (AAA)
• “Top 100 North American Events” by the American Bus Association (ABA) for 2010, 2011, 2012
The Gaylord National Resort gives you a resort experience outside the bustle of the Capital, but the resort makes it easy to get into the city for sightseeing, and to Alexandria across the Potomac.
• National Harbor-Washington D.C. Shuttle – Round-trip service from Union Station and the Old Post Office, departing every 90 minutes.
• Alexandria-National Harbor Water Taxi – Running every hour (www.potomacriverboatco.com)
• NH-1 Metrobus – Round-trip, direct connection bus route from the Branch Avenue Metro Station (Green Line) to National Harbor, running every 30-45 minutes (visit www.wmata.com for full schedule).
Gaylord National, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745, Reservations: 301-965-4000, email@example.com, www.gaylordnational.com.
Gaylord Hotels: The Place for Christmas
The Gaylord National Resort is one of four Gaylord Hotels, all of which have spectacular Christmas Holiday festivities, amazing decorations and an ICE! spectacular.
Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville, TN: Experience America’s favorite Christmas tradition like never before! Gaylord Opryland’s 29th annual A Country Christmas® brings you the 2012 edition of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular® starring The Rockettes®. New this year is Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show. Explore ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Shrek the Halls – a walk-thru winter wonderland sculpted from ice. And now you can animate your holiday getaway with The DreamWorks Experience! Vacation with the beloved characters from such films as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. (Gaylord Opryland, 2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214, Reservations: 1-866-972-OPRY (6779), 615-889-1000, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimissee, Florida (near Orlando): Experience Orlando’s Coolest Holiday Tradition. It’s Christmas at Gaylord Palms with ICE! featuring Dreamworks’ Merry Madagascar. Experience 9 degrees of thrills and chills! You’ll see 4.5 acres of glitter and gold, magic and cold, as well as a winter wonderland hand-carved from two million pounds of ice. And now you can animate your holiday getaway with The DreamWorks Experience! Vacation with the beloved characters from such films as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. (Gaylord Palms, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, Florida 34746, Reservations: 407-586-2000, 407-586-0000, email@example.com).
Gaylord Texan Resort, Grapevine, Texas (on outskirts of Dallas): Gaylord Texan’s annual holiday events are back and better than ever! The awe-inspiring ICE! attraction — carved from 2 million pounds of ice — will for the first time showcase DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar! Additionally, Lone Star Christmas at Gaylord Texan will provide a winter wonderland including 1.5 million holiday lights, a 52-foot rotating Christmas tree, a life-sized Gingerbread House, 12,000 ornaments, and Santa Claus himself. And now you can animate your holiday getaway with The DreamWorks Experience! Vacation with the beloved characters from such films as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar (Gaylord Texan,1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, Texas 76051, Reservations: 866-782-7897, 817-778-1000, firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, visit www.gaylordhotels.com.
The Gaylord Hotels have recently joined Marriott International, so Marriott Rewards members can now earn and redeem points at three of Gaylord Hotels’ premier resorts – Gaylord National, National Harbor, Md (just outside Washington, DC); Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee, FL (near Orlando, FL); and Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, TX (on the outskirts of Dallas). Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, TN, will join the program in early 2013 and The Inn at Opryland will join the program toward the end of 2012.
Members earn 10 points per dollar spent at Gaylord Hotels on room rate only or two airline miles per dollar spent on room rate only. Gaylord Hotels participate in Marriott Rewards Rewarding Events. Meeting planners can earn up to three Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent up to 50,000 points or one airline mile per dollar spent on meeting-related expenses such as room blocks (attendees also earn their points on their room rate), food and beverage and audio visual needs. In addition, meeting planners will earn 10 elite nights toward elite status for each qualifying group, meeting or event held at Gaylord Hotels.
For information about Marriott Rewards, call 800-450-4442 or log onto MarriottRewards.com.