There are SO many amazing things to see and do at the Gaylord Opryland Resort hotel, especially during Christmas, that I decided to take my years of first-hand experience at the most “Christmassy” hotel in America and condense it into my top things to see and do while visiting Opryland.
I had the chance to speak with my friend (& General Manager of Gaylord Opryland hotel) Pete Weien about the 29th Annual “A Country Christmas” this year and we shared our favorite experiences Opryland has to offer this season:
First of all, here are some of my top tips for enjoying Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Hotel:
1. Take advantage of what’s free
There is so much to see and do just by simply walking around Opryland Resort: the nativity with the Christmas story being told, the beautiful lights lining the drive to the Magnolia Lobby, the new addition of the Nutcrackers throughout the resort this year and so much more! It’s worth the drive over just to walk through the property (But don’t forget your camera to take lots of pictures!)
2. Eat at an Opryland restaurant and Valet Park for free!
Yes, when you eat at one of the Opryland sit-down restaurants, your valet parking is validated! My favorites are the fries at the Irish Pub and the table-side freshly made guacamole at Solario.
3. Avoid the weekends
It is nearly impossible to get off the highway during the weekends, sometimes resulting in a 2-3 mile line off the exit. If you are planning a trip to ICE! or the Rockettes during the weekend, allow an extra hour just for travel/parking from the highway.
4. Park at Opry Mills
Now that the Opry Mills Outlet Mall is back open, we once again have a first-rate outlet mall right in our backyard…and it happens to literally be in the backyard of the Opryland hotel! Why not park in the Opry Mills lot situated between the Grand Ole Opry and the new Opryland Events center (where ICE! is) and then you’ll be perfectly poised to take in everything Opryland has to offer (ICE!, Rockettes, shopping and all that lives inside the Opryland resort!).
5. Wear Comfy Shoes
Gaylord Opryland is a lot of things…but it’s not small! You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure to invest a pair of cute shoes or boots ladies! (Remember point 4 above!). Pack a variety of shoes for the kids so they don’t get blisters and don’t forget a pair of flip flops for the indoor pool!
My next best advice would be to book a 3 day package at Opryland to take it all in at your leisure.
Book a Gaylord Opryland DreamWorks Christmas Package
If you have kids, they’re going to love the Christmassy Dreamworks Experience Package! For us, this is the ultimate way to enjoy ALL that Opryland offers during Christmas and not have to worry about opening our wallet once we’re there! Packages start at $199 and include the following:
Accommodations at Gaylord Opryland Resort, Upgraded ICE! VIP Experience ticket including front of line access to ICE! featuring DreamWorks Shrek the Halls, a piping cup of delicious hot chocolate and a Gingy Meet and Greet, ShrekFeast Interactive Character Meal (our kids’ favorite!), DreamWorks Character Holiday Meet & Greets, Scavenger Hunt featuring “Rise of the Guardians”, VIP seating for the Holiday Shrektacular, UPGRADED DreamWorks Collectible Madagascar Gift Bag Welcome Amenity with Package Check-In to also include Puss in Boots/Kitty Softpaws key chains and activity book, Souvenir Family Photo and even Special Wake-Up Calls by DreamWorks Characters!
I know not everyone can afford the time or money for an Opryland Christmas package, so if you absolutely have to pick and choose, here are my favorite Gaylord Opryland offerings in order of preference this Christmas.
Gaylord Opryland Hotel Christmas Must-Dos:
1. The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular happens to be one of my favorite shows of all time (yes, I said it…and I’m not just including Christmas shows in this category!). What these women do with their legs is AMAZING, and it keeps getting better and better every year. We are so lucky to have the show right here in Nashville at another institution in its own right, the Grand Ole Opry, and it is the perfect show for families of all ages to get into the Christmas Spirit. (Read my full Rockettes show review…)
Outside of Orlando, I’m not sure where you can find character dining like this! Guests are treated to the high quality food you’ve come to expect from Gaylord Opryland while also being visited by DreamWorks characters like Shrek, Fiona & Puss in Boots. Kids love the “Swamp Juice” and “Green” chocolate fountain for dessert. I love the wide array of choices for adults too, such as the fresh berry selection and custom egg station. (Read my full Shrek Feast review…)
ICE! is quite a phenomenon…especially if you live in an area (like Florida or Texas) where snow doesn’t typically fall. It takes 40 artisans from China over 3 months to create this indoor winter wonderland that depicts some of your favorite fairy tale characters. This year’s ICE! takes you through the story of “Shrek the Halls!” with Shrek, Fiona and all their friends. I think this year’s ICE! is better than ever, but even in saying that, it is a pretty hefty price tag considering it’s 9 degrees in side and you can’t stay in there that long! If you’re looking for ICE! ticket discounts at any of the Gaylord resorts, I’ve got those for you too 😉 (Read my ICE! review here…)
There are also a ton of other offerings at Gaylord Opryland this Christmas, such as Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Dinner Show and the Holly Jolly Town Square, but they’re not worth the investment in my honest opinion. I’d much rather spend my money on staying in the hotel and enjoying my surroundings rather than a dinner show with my family.
Of course, don’t forget the other free fun, like pictures with Santa and the DreamWorks Scavenger Hunt. However, I don’t think there’s anything our family enjoys more than waking up to the voice of our favorite Shrek character, opening up the doors to our veranda and sitting out on our balcony and enjoying the atrium.
I hope you have the chance to enjoy Christmas at Gaylord Opryland not only this year, but for many years to come! What is your favorite part of the Gaylord Opryland resort at Christmas?