At Gaylord Palms’ “Shrek the Halls” 2011 Christmas Event
Puss ‘n Boots and me…. we’re buds! My hubby treated me to a weekend of revelry at Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee, FL for my birthday in December. The resort, normally a feast for the senses any time of year, was awash in Christmas magic, blanketed in twinkling lights, colorful wreaths, ongoing seasonal music and spectacular holiday shows. This year’s theme is “Shrek the Halls” … a tribute to the loveable cast of characters from the movie, “Shrek.”
From now through January 2nd guests and visitors can partake in some pretty cool happenings, including ICE!, the legendary annual exhibit of ice sculptures that, this year, features Shrek and friends.
The fact that the festivities are geared toward kids added to the appeal, since my husband, Patrick, and I – though 50-plus – definitely qualify.
Patrick reserved a great package deal, which included, among many other perks, tickets to ICE! as well as to the “Shrek Feast” character breakfast buffet. After having checked in on Saturday and receiving royal treatment as a birthday girl (surprise complimentary room-to-suite and dining upgrades), Sunday morning found us at Villa del Flora for a sumptuous meal while characters milled about, including the giant ogre himself.
We hugged and took photos with Shrek and his beautiful pre-dusk Fiona, a vision in Cameron Diaz chic. But the cat’s meow was meeting Puss ‘n Boots, the movie character voice-acted by Antonio Banderas. Keep in mind that these larger-than-life cuddly creatures are not permitted to make a sound, much less speak during public appearances.
So, we’re dining on smoked salmon with capers and onions, spinach quiche, fresh fruit, assorted omelets and an array of cheeses and meats – forgoing the waffles, pancakes and pastries – while sipping bloody Mary’s and Mimosas along with freshly brewed coffee. Lo and behold, Puss ‘n Boots appears at our table.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been on a “cat” kick lately (that’s another story) or if I got swept up in the sheer magic of the moment, but not only did I hug the huge cat-masked Banderas look-alike, but I scratched his fuzzy tummy to see if he would purr. His big body went wild, right leg shaking in a frenzied motion that cracked up the crowd. Then we snuggled cheek-to-cheek for my photo op, when I whispered to him that his whiskers were indeed tickling my face.
That did it. He tried to stifle his unauthorized audible laughter… snorting, snickering… obviously moved by the unexpected sentiment from this perennial child… and remained available for my amusement throughout our meal. Hey Puss, not trying to “rat” you out, but rather expressing appreciation for one of the highlights of our visit!
Among others, of course, was ICE! – a colorful 20,000 square-foot display of Shrek characters and Christmas-themed figures sculpted from two million pounds of ice. Don’t miss the 30-foot ice slide… despite all the health warnings, it’s tame enough for me… and all the other kids. Pack gloves and be prepared to wear a resort-issued quilted parka as the exhibition area is maintained at a frosty nine degrees. A refreshing break from tropical temps and a great reminder of why we choose to chill out in Florida, any time of year.
Written by Lisa Codianne Fowler for and courtesy of Getaway Plus