Christmas on the Potomac: Gaylord National

If you follow me on Instagram {and if you don’t, what are you waiting for}, you know that my family and I visited Gaylord National in National Harbor, Maryland this past weekend. If you are looking for the ultimate holiday destination for your family, this is it!

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As soon as you walk into the lobby at Gaylord National, you know they are in the holiday spirit. Twinkling lights. Christmas trees. Red and green everywhere! Not only do they decorate, but they make it snow every night…inside. At the end of the hourly light shows, a light snow falls on you while you are mesmerized with all the lights. The kids thought that this was the most amazing thing ever.

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During the day, there are a TON of activities for you and your family to keep you busy. We chose to make a Gingerbread House with Gingy from Shrek!

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Every year we make a gingerbread house and, every year, I am left by myself at the table to finish said gingerbread house. But not this time!

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The boys were so excited to be making a gingerbread house with Gingy just a few feet away. Ben kept yelling over to Gingy “Look at our house Gingy!” And, of course, we got Gingy’s approval!

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Another great activity at Gaylord National is the DreamWorks All-Star Adventure Scavenger Hunt! We were handed a book full of clues and sent off on a mission to find the Magic Staff to save all of the ice from melting. The boys loved running around the hotel from each clue and it was a great way to see the entire hotel. In the end, we found the Magic Staff and saved the ice!

Other great activities happening around the hotel are the PEEPS & COMPANY® Potomac Express {which of course the kids loved}, photos with Santa, and the Gourmet Holiday Cake Pop Experience {yum!}.

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But the two biggest things happening around Gaylord National would have to be the lights shows and ICE!

Gaylord National’s must-see holiday attraction is the all new Christmas Theme. ICE! featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas bring to life the classic poem sculpted from over two million pounds of ice!

And did I mention it’s 9 degrees inside! You are provided a warm parka so that you don’t freeze and so that you can slide down the ice slides! I lost count how many times Ethan went down them. He loved them!

The award-winning ICE! attraction is carved by a team of 40 master ice artisans from Harbin, China. These talented craftspeople spend more than a month in  National Harbor creating our one-of-a-kind display. Harbin, known as the “ice city” of China, hosts the famed International Ice and Snow Festival annually, where more than 2,000 sculptors carve a 100-acre walk-through ice park using ice from the nearby Songhua River.

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Next to ICE!, the boys loved sitting on our balcony and watching the light shows. Every evening kicks off when the Atrium comes to life with the nightly lighting of the Christmas tree.

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This beautiful extravaganza features choreographed Christmas music and lights, indoor snowfall, and dancing fountains that shoot 60-feet high! The centerpiece of the light show is the Tree of Life. 

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Suspended from the center of our atrium, the 60-foot-tall Christmas tree is made entirely of synthetic “candy” glass. By day, it looks like a spectacular stained-glass window. At night, it glows brilliantly and casts a festive mood throughout the atrium.

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You don’t just have to stay inside at Gaylord National, there is a lot going on at National Harbor. We took Ethan ice skating for the very first time at the outdoor rink! He loved it!

There’s also a PEEP store {who knew they existed} where you can get Peeps in all shapes and sizes.

National Harbor is great location for a quick family weekend getaway and we will definitely be returning!

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You can view more of our photos from Gaylord National over on Facebook {because you know I took a million of them!}

Thanks to the wonderful team at Gaylord National for inviting my family and I to enjoy Christmas on the Potomac! Gaylord National provided lodging, meals and entertainment in exchange for talking about our experience. All opinions are my own.

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  1. You are kidding me, that place looks AMAZING! We’re looking for something fun for the kids over the holiday break and I think we just found a winner!!! Thanks for sharing.

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